R. Gordon Arneson was a retired State Department official who also worked as a writer and an artist and who was an authority on the atomic bomb. Born in North Dakota, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from North Dakota State College (Wahpeton) and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Pau).
While a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1945, Arneson served as secretary to the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy, a special body appointed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson to provide advice on the use of the atomic bomb and the future development of atomic energy. Later, Arneson served in the State Department as a special assistant for atomic energy affairs to the Secretary of State from 1948 to 1954. In this position, he worked during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations with Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Acheson’s successor, John Foster Dulles. In 1954, Arneson served as Deputy Science Advisor to the State Department. Arneson’s oral history, along with his papers related to the U.S. energy program, are housed at the Truman Library.
After retiring from the State Department, Arneson worked as a writer, contributing book reviews to The Post, and was managing editor of Potomac Books in Washington from 1965 to 1966. He also painted in acrylics, holding a dozen one-man shows, including ones at the Foreign Service Club and the National Arboretum. His paintings also hang at the State Department and at several U.S. embassies around the world.