OF THE COLD WAR RISES
UNTIL 1959, WHEN I reregistered so that I could vote for Nelson Rockefeller in the primary, I, like most immigrants, had been a Democrat. In this, I was confirmed by my association with an outstanding Democratic senator, Henry (Scoop) Jackson of Washington. He took a detailed interest in our work on defense. Among my memories about him, the most dramatic—if not the most pleasant—was when he invited me for lunch in the Senate Dining Room. It was in the late 1950s, and in the middle of lunch another senator came by. We stood up, and Scoop made the introductions. Senator Jack Kennedy smiled sweetly and fulfilled the ritual of bestowing a compliment: "I read so many nice things about you in the Shepley-Blair book, The Hydrogen Bomb."
That book was a great embarrassment to me. It was unabashedly full of praise for me and unrestrainedly full of criticism for Oppenheimer. 1 I felt it highly unlikely that Kennedy was unaware of the controversy surrounding the book. If he was familiar with the heated criticism, his comment was, in effect, a subtle insult. At best, he assumed that I would be flattered by Blair and Shepley's improper exaggerations. I reacted instinctively with a quotation from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers : "The things they have related, they are much exaggerated, very much exaggerated. Scarce a word of it is true." 2
Kennedy smiled a second time (a little less sweetly), and said, "I'm happy to have met you," and ended our encounter. As Scoop and I sat back down,____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Memoirs:A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics. Contributors: Edward Teller - Author, Judith L. Shoolery - Unknown. Publisher: Perseus Publishing. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 461.
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