Related topics

Former Congressman, First Head of International Atomic Agency, Dead at 82

March 16, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ W. Sterling Cole, 82, a former Republican New York congressman and the first director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, died of cancer Sunday at George Washington University Hospital.

Cole, a resident of Arlington, Va., served in the House of Representatives from 1935 to 1957 from the 39th and 37th districts of New York.

During his years in Congress, Cole became an authority on nuclear weaponry and atomic power and was a proponent of both the peaceful use of nuclear power and the need for nuclear weapons. In Congress, he was chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.

Cole resigned from Congress in 1957 to serve a four-year term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The agency was set up to help implement President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s ″atoms-for-peace″ proposals. It called for international supervision of programs to bring nuclear power for peaceful purposes to nations around the world.

The program envisioned nuclear powers like the United States and the Soviet Union supplying training, expertise and raw fuels, while an international body would supervise reactor construction and operation. For the most part, however, the superpowers continued to deal on a bilateral basis with other nations on nuclear matters rather than using the agency.

Cole was a native of Painted Post, N.Y. He attended Colgate University and the Albany Law School of Union University in New York. He entered private law practice in Bath, N.Y. before his election to the House in 1934.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Thomas of Arlington; two sons, Thomas E. and David A., of Arlington; a brother, James P., of Buffalo; 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Update hourly