George Bunn ’50

April 21, 2013

Spring 2014

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George Bunn '50 was a lifelong advocate for nuclear arms control who helped develop the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He passed away on April 21, 2013, at the age of 87.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Bunn was born in 1925. He served in the Navy during World War II and studied electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin. After graduating college in 1945 and earning a J.D. at Columbia Law School five years later, Bunn went on to work for the Atomic Energy Commission, the federal agency created in 1946 to manage the use of atomic energy.

Less than 10 years later, Bunn was called upon to draft legislation creating the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, which is responsible for maintaining the country’s arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament policies. He then served as the organization’s first general counsel. During this time, Bunn worked to create the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in outer space and underwater.

In the late 1960s, Bunn helped negotiate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international agreement joined by 190 parties that slowed the nuclear arms race during the Cold War era. President Lyndon B. Johnson later named Bunn the U.S. representative to the Geneva Disarmament Conference.

In 1969, Bunn returned to Wisconsin to teach law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He later spent three years serving as the school’s dean. Bunn moved to Newport, R.I., to serve as an instructor at the National War College in 1982, and then joined Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation four years later. His published works include Arms Control by Committee: Managing Negotiations with the Russians and U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy.

Bunn is survived by his children, Jessie, Peter, and Matthew, as well as by two granddaughters.

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