An article in the Canadian Forum, October 1957.
Things will never be quite the same as before August 26, 1957, when the Soviet news agency announced that "a super long distance intercontinental ballistic missile rocket has been released". How far has the Soviet rocket tipped the balance of power in Russia's favour? That depends on two things: the truth of the announcement and the performance of the rocket. The President and his Secretary of State are being congratulated for the sober realism with which they have taken the TASS announcement at face value, and not even the most chronically sceptical American officials have so far denounced the claim as false. They might well refrain from denunciation, for some days before the news of August 26 the firing of the missile had been detected by new United States radar capable of tracking an ICBM at a range of 3000 miles.
About the performance of the rocket the announcement is more than slightly vague. It flew, we are told, "at a very high unprecedented altitude", covered "a huge distance in a brief time", and "landed in the set area". At their press conferences both Mr. Eisenhower and Mr. Dulles have had a little fun at the expense of this wording. Yet for all its studied imprecision it is more -- a great deal more -- than may truthfully be said about the Soviet rocket's American counterpart, the oddly-named "Atlas", which, on its first test firing off the Florida coast, wobbled uncertainly to a height of twenty miles where, having veered off course, it was ignominiously destroyed.