"Deterrence" (a discussion with H. Stuart Hughes), Commentary, July 1961.
I have stated my own position, which is that the United States should unilaterally renounce the first use of atomic or nuclear weapons. And I mean that renunciation to be unequivocal. I am perfectly willing to face the possibility that, in a contest limited to political and economic competition, or in an eventual war limited to conventional military weapons, we might be defeated. But I see no reason why we need be defeated, if we are really willing to mobilize our peoples for this contest. And, until this issue has been decided, or until we have successfully negotiated a disarmament or arms control agreement with the Communists, it would be foolish to abandon our own nuclear deterrent. I don’t want to use the bomb first against anyone. But I don’t want to tempt our enemies to use it first against us, either.