When the war ended and the great menaces of oppression to so many peoples had disappeared, an immense relief was felt all over the world. Nevertheless, the political situation was fraught with ominous forebodings. Divergences in outlook between the victorious nations inevitably aggravated controversial matters arising in connection with peace settlements. Contrary to the hopes for future fruitful co-operation, expressed from all sides and embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the lack of mutual confidence soon became evident.
The creation of new barriers, restricting the free flow of information between countries, further increased distrust and anxiety. In the field of science, especially in the domain of atomic physics, the continued secrecy and restrictions deemed necessary for security reasons hampered international co-operation to an extent which split the world community of scientists into separate camps.
Despite all attempts, the negotiations within the United Nations have so far failed in securing agreement regarding measures to eliminate the dangers of atomic armament. The sterility of these negotiations, perhaps more than anything else, made it evident that a constructive approach to such vital matters of common concern would require an atmosphere of greater confidence.
Niels Bohr – Open Letter to the United Nations