GBH Openvault

War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Philip Farley, 1986

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


After briefly tracing his career, which including writing the official U.S. evaluation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Mr. Farley describes the salient issues at play during the Nixon administration. He recalls the role of Gerard Smith and that of other figures such as Roy Allison (whom he describes as an unfortunate “fall guy” in the context of the SALT I agreement), and Richard Nixon. He recounts a short narrative on how the Nixon administration arrived at the decision not to pursue strategic superiority, which in turn led to its interest in pursuing arms control. He recalls moments of particular interest, such as an NSC discussion of MIRVs and he goes into some detail in describing the dynamics of an arms control negotiation. In response to questions, he recounts the attitudes of Congress toward the MIRV issue, the view from Europe about the Nixon administration’s interest in negotiations with Moscow, and his own views on the history of arms control in the United States.

License Clip
Got it
War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
One Step Forward
Program Number



Interview with Philip Farley, 1986

Series Description

The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.

In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989

Program Description

Soviet and American nuclear forces reach rough nuclear parity in the 1970’s. Each side, pursuing its own interest, negotiates the first successful arms control agreement, SALT I.

In May 1972 President Nixon found himself in Moscow delivering a message of peace and friendship. Nixon announced the first major superpower arms control agreements, SALT I and the Anti-Ballsitic Missile (ABM) treaty. Nixon described his feeling about negotiating with the Soviets. “I didn’t trust the Russians. But I recognized that ... there was no alternative but to have some relationship of ‘live and let live’ between the two superpowers.” Two years after the historic meeting in Moscow, Nixon was forced to resign due to Watergate. ABM silos in the United States were shut down but the production of ballistic missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads (MIRV’s) contributed to a massive increase in weapons in both the United States and the Soviet Union.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Smith, Gerard C.
Nuclear arms control
Allison, Royal Bertram
Soviet Union
Jackson, Henry M. (Henry Martin), 1912-1983
Packard, David
Nitze, Paul H.
United States
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
Weiss, Seymour
McCloy, John J. (John Jay), 1895-1989
Nuclear arms control -- Verification
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Spiers, Ronald I., 1925-
Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
Brown, Harold, 1927-
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Farley, Philip (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Philip Farley, 1986,” 11/10/1986, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Philip Farley, 1986.” 11/10/1986. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; One Step Forward; Interview with Philip Farley, 1986. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.