301. Memorandum From Washburn (USIA) to Cutler1
USIA feels very strongly that unless the President can state that the open shot at Eniwetok will be 90% fallout-free or better—and unless AEC is sure it will be at least that clean—it would be better for the United States not to hold the shot.
The President has already publicly used the figure of 96%.
If the 6 megaton shot is 95% clean, it will still yield 300,000 tons of fission contamination—or the equivalent of 15 Hiroshima bombs.
If it is 90% clean, it will still yield as much fallout contamination as 30 Hiroshimas.
Any “cleanliness” less than this, in our judgment, would be far more embarrassing to the President and to the United States than having to find some reason for not holding an open shot at this time.
United States Information Agency
- Source: Eniwetok test. Confidential. 1 p. Eisenhower Library, White House Office Files, Project Clean Up, Eniwetok Test, 1958.↩