The United Nations is essential because global war is now unthinkable as the result of new and devastating weapons.
— President Eisenhower to congressional leaders
Events in Vietnam, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East could leave one believing that the post-1962détente between the United States and the Soviet Union was ephemeral. It was not. A new bilateral rapprochement was under way with new trade agreements, an easing of the confrontation in Germany, more cultural and scientific exchanges, and, most important, some progress on arms control. Even the crushing of liberal reform in Czechoslovakia could only slow the thaw, not end it. For both President Kennedy and President Johnson a key element of détente was step-by-step arms control.
Central to the " Eisenhower model" spelled out in 1953 was the tenet that agreements on arms limitation were necessary and could be achieved with the help of the United Nations, but only after trust had been established between Moscow and Washington. By the late 1950s the Eisenhower administration refined that argument by pursuing limited arms agreements that might contribute to easing the cold war, not just be a reward for its conclusion. Kennedy and Johnson endorsed that approach, hoping to make significant breakthroughs in arms control even as the Soviet-American confrontation continued. The history of the period, however, confirms that arms agreements came during eras of "good feeling" and improved relations; they did not generate those relations. It also shows that the superpowers' effort at arms control was conducted with only a nod to UN responsibility for disarmament. For the most part, the depths of the cold war made disarmament impossible in the Eisenhower years, and only marginally more probable as tensions eased after the Cuban missile crisis.
Dwight Eisenhower believed in the power of an effective speech. An address by an American president on a matter of critical world significance could set in motion positive forces for change. His " Chance for Peace" speech in April 1953 had been given in that vein. He hoped to do the same regarding disarmament with his " Atoms for Peace" address to the United Nations General Assembly in December of that year. The president was deeply concerned about the arms race and the implications of the confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers. One of Eisenhower's first acts in office was to order a review of the