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Nomination of Lewis L. Strauss, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Senate, 86th Congress, 1st Session,1959

As chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Lewis Strauss effectively ended the career of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the nation’s preeminent atomic physicist. Strauss suspected that Oppenheimer, who opposed the hydrogen bomb, was a communist. During Strauss’ Senate confirmation hearing, other scientists, including physicist David L. Hill, opposed Strauss’ because of his earlier treatment of Oppenheimer.

Publications of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Nomination of Lewis L. Strauss, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Senate, 86th Congress, 1st Session,1959 Nomination of Lewis L. Strauss, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Senate, 86th Congress, 1st Session,1959 Nomination of Lewis L. Strauss, Hearings before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Senate, 86th Congress, 1st Session,1959

Congress Rejects Eisenhower’s Cabinet Nomination

President Dwight D. Eisenhower precipitated one of the most contentious confirmation hearings of the Cold War era when he nominated Edwin L. Strauss as secretary of Commerce in 1959. Strauss’ controversial decisions as the former head of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), his arrogance, and his condescending attitude toward members of the Senate during his confirmation hearings ultimately led the Senate to reject his confirmation on June 18, 1959.

I was impressed by Mr. Strauss in the first days of the hearing. . . . It was only after that he began to unfold the step-by-step evasion and snow us with words instead of direct answers to questions, and sometimes use downright deceit and falsehood, in reply to questions which had been asked.

Senator Gale W. McGee of Wyoming, Speech to the U.S. Senate, June 9, 1959