London, April 20 (ANI): Almost 40 years since the successful Moon landing, a document has emerged that contains former US President Richard Nixon's speech, which would have been read out to the American public in the case the mission had ended in failure.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the typed document, entitled "In the event of Moon disaster", was consigned to an archive until now.
It is dated July 18, 1969 - two days before the landing was due - and was prepared by Nixon's speech writer, Bill Safire, and sent to White House chief of staff Harry Haldeman.
As Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon on July 21, 1969, his immortal words "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" became synonymous with the scale of the achievement.
However, in the event that astronauts Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin had been stranded on the Moon, Nixon would have delivered a far more chilling address to the nation.After calling their widows, he would have told the watching millions, "Fate has ordained that the men who went to the Moon to explore in peace will stay on the Moon to rest in peace."
"These brave men know there is no hope for their recovery but they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding," he would have said.
Nixon would have further said, "They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown."
"In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man," he would have said.
The document reveals that Nixon would have added, "Man's search will not be denied but these men were the first and they will remain the foremost in our hearts," would have been his statement.
Once the speech had been delivered, Mission Control would have closed communications and a clergyman would have conducted a burial service.
However, following the success of the mission, the document was laid aside in Nixon's private papers in America's national archives. (ANI)