The Atom and Oil
Twenty-five years ago Immanuel Velikovsky wrote in the New York
Post the following article. It appeared in the edition of
Tuesday, February 17, 1948, under the title, "Atom and Oil"
These days we are being told that work on atomic weapons will proceed on
a greater scale, and that new and more modern atom bombs are in the process
of development; that the development of atomic energy for manufacturing and
other civilian uses will be slowed down; that the prospects of seeing this
energy employed in civilian production are dimmer now than they were only a
few months ago; and that, not in one or two years, but only in ten years
from now will there be any chance to put atomic energy to work for the
benefit of mankind.
Why is this so? Because, we are told, we must be prepared for war with
Russia. Why must we engage in a war with Russia? Because Russia threatens
American oil concessions in the Middle East.
Oil is fuel and, thus, a source of energy. America is the greatest
producer of oil, but also the greatest consumer. The day may come when
America will import more oil than it exports. Especially in the event of
hostilities, oil will be the decisive raw material, and American oil
resources may not suffice to lubricate and fuel another war of several
Consequently, it is argued, we must prepare ourselves with atomic weapons
for a war, even a preventive war.
This is a chain of fallacious arguments. Although Russia, by its support
of partition in Palestine, demonstrated that it does not intend to exploit
American difficulties in the Middle East centering around Palestine and oil
concessions in Arabia, the oil companies of America and our Administration
feel insecure over the fabulous concessions in Arabia. These concessions
belong to private companies.
In January of this year, profits from Arabian oil by two foreign
corporations owned by two American oil companies were stated to be more than
$117,000,000, in disclosures made to the Senate War Investigating Committee.
Treasury agents told the committee, however, they saw little chance of
obtaining any tax revenues from these profits.
Sen. Owen Brewster, chairman of the Senate Committee, had presented the
facts unearthed before his committee to the Treasury Dept. on Nov. 21 last.
It appeared that the Texas Company and the Standard Oil Company of
California jointly owned the Bahrein Petroleum Company of Canada, which, it
was testified, piled up profits of $92,186,107 on an investment of $100,000,
and the California Texas Oil Company (Caltex), incorporated in the Bahamas,
had profits of $25,387,673 on an investment of approximately $1,000,000.
"No taxes of any kind had ever been paid to the United States or to any
foreign government," Sen. Brewster told the Treasury Dept.
Much has been made in certain quarters of the close proximity of Russia
to the oil fields of the Middle East. But if the threat were as real as it
is portrayed, considerable doubt should be cast on the wisdom of the State
and Defense departments' policy of placing our national resources behind the
oil concerns, risking involvement in war with Russia to protect these
Because Russia is so close to the oil fields in question and we are so
far away, in the event of hostilities, these fields, and the developments
financed with American capital, would not only be beyond the reach of
American forces, but would be an invaluable prize for the Russian forces.
From the Russian frontier to the fields of Iraq it is only 215 miles, to the
Persian Gulf about 550 miles, and to the Bahrein fields about 750 miles;
from the Bahrein fields to London it is 6,700 miles and to New York 8,560
miles by the sea route through the Suez Canal and much more around the Cape
of Good Hope. It is well to remember that in the last war the Mediterranean
route was closed to the Allies for three years.
Are the oil companies interested in a war that will engulf the Middle
East? They should certainly not be. They would be unable to exploit their
concessions during a war, and very probably they would lose these
concessions as the result of a war. War would be a death warrant for all the
profits these companies hope to extract from the Middle East.
Then do we follow the path of wisdom or the road of fools? To postpone
the development of atomic energy as a source of energy for national
manufacturing and other civilian uses in order to prepare for a war to
defend oil, an inferior source of energy in comparison with the atom, is a
One gram of atomic fuel has enough energy to carry a plane around the
world, and a few grams may drive a ship around all five continents. The
money and human effort expended on the development of atomic weapons, if
devoted to the development of atomic energy for civilian purposes, would
relegate oil to a secondary position.
Would we drive a donkey in a Rolls Royce? Should we use atomic energy for
the sole purpose of upholding oil concessions when the atomic product is
infinitely superior to oil.
America does not need to fear a lack of oil; the atom would keep
production going, and make the world a good place to live in.
The oil industry would like to prevent the development of the atom for
peaceful uses; it therefore presses it into war uses, totally blind to the
fact that in the event of a war the oil industry would lose its possessions
in the Middle East; the enemy would itself use the oil, the pipe lines, the
installations, and refineries now built, unless we ourselves blow them up at
the start of the war.
It is obvious, therefore, that the oil industry is leading not only
America, and the entire world, but also itself, to disaster. In the atomic
age no war should be fought for any source of energy whatsoever.
PENSEE Journal VII