One of the bravest men in the world recently summed up what is wrong with American policy toward the Soviet Union, in a sensational press conference in Moscow, Russian H-bomb scientist Andrei Salcharov referred to the way the Soviets are importing Western commodities and technology, and then he said: “By liberating us from problems we cannot solve ourselves, we could concentrate on accumulating strength. And as a result the whole world would be disarmed and facing our uncontrollable bureaucratic apparatus.” Sakharov went on to say that detente on Soviet terms could lead to a disarmed world facing a Soviet Union “armed to the teeth” and dangerous^
What Sakharov warned us against is exactly a summary of what the United States is doing. Our shipments of wheat, corn and soybeans, of the largest truck factory and our technology— most of it on credit or by subsidies — are assisting the Soviets to solve their food and other economic problems, and thereby allowing them to concentrate their manpower and spend 40 percent of their Gross National Product on building weapons to control the world.
Sakharov even warned against the favorite current flight from reality, detente, saying that, “when the West in fact accepts our rules of the game in this process, such a detente would be dangerous.” It is devoutly to be hoped that he accepts the place at Princeton which he has been offered; he would provide a breath of fresh air amidst diehard academic accommodationist illusions.
In 1962, another highly placed Russian, with access to top Kremlin military secrets, risked his life again and again to warn the West. His name was Colonel Oleg Penkovskiy, and he gave us what is called the “geography” or the locations of the Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. This was the information which enabled President Kennedy to force Khrushchev to back down in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Penkovskiy paid with his life for warning us, but before the Soviets caught him, he also sent us 5,000 secret Kremlin documents which spell out the Soviet plan to surpass the United States in nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, these documents, which were turned over to us eleven years ago, are still kept Top Secret. The Pentagon argues that secrecy is necessary because the Penkovskiy documents are “still extremely relevant to current Soviet strategic doctrine and war plans.”
It would seem that, if the Soviet Union has any “current war plans” involving the United States, the American people have a right to know what they are. In any event, the Soviets have known for more than eleven years what is in the documents, and it is high time that the American people know, too.
The great historical movie, TORA, TORA, TORA, which was recently aired on national television, vividly portrays how in 1941 our Government disregarded the clear warnings from decoded Japanese messages of the coming attack on Pearl Harbor. Is our Government repeating the same mistake it made before Pearl Harbor?
Andrei Sakharov and Oleg Penkovskiy both risked their lives to warn the United States about the superior Soviet missile force and their intent to use it. It is time that we heed these warnings and stop giving the Soviets free food, computers, and technology so they can spend their money on weapons.