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Today In Radiation Safety History

On March 16, 1955 President Dwight D. Eisenhower publically the US was seriously considering using atomic weapons Taiwan Straits and states:

“In any combat where these things can be used on strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes, I see no reason why they shouldn't be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else”.

Late in 1954 Taiwan’s Nationalist attacked and occupied a group of islands off the China mainland. On September 12,1954 the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) recommended the possibility of using nuclear weapons against China. And in November 1954 China sentenced 13 US airmen shot down over China in the Korean War to long jail terms, prompting further consideration of nuclear strikes against China. Despite domestic political pressure, President Eisenhower refused to bomb mainland China.

However early into 1955 China began to have the upper hand and is now threatening a full invasion of Taiwan . The US-Nationalist Chinese (Taiwan) Mutual Security Pact, was ratified by the Senate on February 9, 1955. The Resolution pledged the US to the defense of Taiwan, authorizing the president to employ American forces to defend the Island against armed attack, including such other territories as appropriate to defend them.

On March 16th President Eisenhower publicly stated that "A-bombs can be you would use a bullet." These public statements sparked an international uproar, and NATO foreign ministers opposed atomic attack on China.

At the Afro-Asian Conference in April 1955 China’s Foreign Minister announced a desire to negotiate with the United States. The China’s sudden shift stemmed from pressure from the Soviet Union to ease tensions a concern about the very real possibility of war with the United States. In September, 1955, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the United States began talks at Geneva to address the issue of repatriation of nationals, but also to discuss preventing the escalation of future conflicts.