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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Joseph B. Koepfli

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Interview with Dr. Joseph B. Koepfli
By Ron Doel
At Montecito, California
August 3, 1995

 
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Joseph Koepfli; August 3, 1995

ABSTRACT: Interview focuses primarily on Koepfli's work in the government and NATO in the 1950s and 1960s.

Transcript

Doel:

This is Ron Doel, and this is an interview with Joe Koepfli. Today's date is the 3rd of August, 1995. And I want to put on this tape before we begin that there is another long and very complete oral history interview with you done by Elizabeth Hodes in 1985 on deposit at the California Institute of Technology archives, which covered your earlier career in biochemistry, your interaction with Linus Pauling, and some issues regarding your work in the State Department and NATO in the 1950s and 1960s. This interview will be focused much more on your work in the latter organizations and related activities in the 1950s and 1960s. One question that a number of historians have been very interested about: You were the first active Science Advisor in the State Department, but briefly before you came on [Herman] Augustus Spoehr was on. I'm wondering how that appointment had come about?

Koepfli:

Augustus who?

Doel:

Spoehr. He is listed as being the first Science Advisor.

Koepfli:

No. That's not the right word. The man that helped them out for a time  and I don't think he was formally offered it  now, it's a name which I have great difficulty at the moment in getting back, but I knew him very well. He was at Carnegie Institution, he ran the Carnegie Institution Labs at Stanford University when I was there as an undergraduate. And I guess he went back and was on the Carnegie Institution, did a lot of things, and because of Berkner's report  I think he helped Berkner on it  and he was around the State Department when they were trying to figure out what they were going to do. And if you will, he was the pro tem. That's a good a word as anything I can see. But I'm the first person that was appointed Science Advisor of the State Department, in January of 1951. And that's not his name. I can find his name for you.

Doel:

The spelling that I've seen in a few documents is S-p-o-e-h-r.

Koepfli:

Not quite.

Doel:

Okay. Well, we'll check on that. That's fine.

Koepfli:

I can find it.

Doel:

We'll check on that. One thing that I'm also curious about is what perception you had of the International Relations Office that developed within the National Academy of Sciences. That had been developed initially in 1950 as I recall.

Koepfli:

I had a lot to do with it, because Bronk and I were very good friends. Bronk was president of the Academy at that time. Detlev Bronk was a nut on the question of international science. Well, the story that he loved to tell was, at the time of Captain Cook there was a war going on between England and France and the United States. And despite that war, Captain Cook was given free passage because of his scientific pursuits and interests, by all three nations, and protected and helped even though those three nations were at war with each other. And Det Bronk loved to give that as an example that international science was above wars and petty squabbles and highly important. So he had a lot to do with all of that development at that time. Both in his position as president of the Academy, and they really developed the international part of the  what was it called? Well, you spoke about it 

Doel:

The Office of International Relations?

Koepfli:

Yes, but see, the First World War Millikan  they set up the thing which I am trying to think of.

Doel:

The other branch ?

Koepfli:

Well, it's not the branch, it's the working 

Doel:

The National Research Council. The NRC?

Koepfli:

NRC, National Research Council.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

Set up by Millikan, et al. at the time of the First World War when we discovered that no research was going on on chemical warfare or anything else. And Millikan was head of it. The experience was not very satisfactory, as I am told. And because it was so unsatisfactory, Bush and Conant went to Roosevelt, the President, in 1939 as soon as the war started in Europe and persuaded him to set up NDRC with $100 million which he could use from his, he had $200 million a year that he did not have to account for. It was a word that again I can't think of. It had a word attached to it. His  could use it for whatever purpose he thoughtwithout any accounting to Congress.

Doel:

Right. At his discretion perhaps.

Koepfli:

Yeah, exactly. What word did you use?

Doel:

Discretion.

Koepfli:

His discretionary fund. That's the formal name of it. His discretionary fund. He took $100 million and set up the National Defense Research Council. It was classified. Not secret. But all correspondence was restricted. And that's when Kistiakowsky got going on chemical, various people got going on things. That's when we started the malaria research  which we knew from the British they were having a helluva time in West Africa with malaria and using atabrin. So that started the whole program which became the largest medical research program of the Second World War. At any rate, then the NRC was used as the active machinery for the National Academy.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

Due to Bronk's influence, international science was heavily accentuated. So I knew about it because I knew Bronk so well.

Doel:

Yes. Of course there were, in addition to the kind of examples referred to by Bronk, the inherent internationality of science that had existed up to the early part of the 20th century, which office was also intended to help in a very practical sense in passport applications for scientists and in generally making the machinery work for the U.S. community.

Koepfli:

Yes, and it did. I was trying to think who was 

Doel:

It was Wallace Atwood that was directing it I think.

Koepfli:

Yes, Wallace Atwood.

Doel:

Right, in the initial years.

Koepfli:

We were very close.

Doel:

One thing I'm curious about: Do you remember any discussions among members in the Academy at that time over the way in which international science programs should be run? I'm thinking particularly of Bronk's assistant Doug Cornell, who seemed to have misgivings about having international contacts with scientists behind the Iron Curtain.

Koepfli:

Can you cut it off while I do some thinking here for a minute?

Doel:

Let me pause it. Sure. [tape turned off, then back on...]

Koepfli:

I don't think I ever had any rows with him. I don't think there were any problems with him. Because Det and I were really very close friends. In fact, when he got Rockefeller University on the tracks, he called me up and he said, Joe, you've got a job." And I said, “What are you talking about? I've already got a job." Yeah, but," he says, you've got another job." He says, You're going to be provost at Rockefeller University. You are going to run the inside and I'm going to run the outside and get money." And I said, Det, that's the biggest compliment ever paid me, but I'm not going to live in New York, period." And so we had many arguments about that, and I used to visit Det and Helen there. It was a funny setup, but Det could never understand why I wouldn't take that job and live in New York.

Doel:

Did he finally understand?

Koepfli:

Well, he never did understand. He said, “I'd go and ski in the winter, and I've got a boat in Maine in the summer”, and he said, “What do you mean you don't want to live in New York? You do all those things.” I said, “Not for me. I was born in California, and that's where I'm going to be." Okay, I don't remember very much about Cornell, no.

Doel:

Okay. I meant just given that there was a range of reactions for many scientists over how one ought to try to do international science relations.

Koepfli:

You mean after the Second World War.

Doel:

After the Second World War, and particularly after the Korean War.

Koepfli:

I wasn't there after the Korean War, you see. I was a consultant to the State Department and I was on the PSAC committee —

Doel:

Which came later.

Koepfli:



But I really had nothing to do with the State Department after October of '53, and especially after the U.S. News and World Report contretemps. Although a lot of people in the State Department wrote me thanking me for having taken a stand. Because it was a terrible thing they do that sort of thing to a person whose sustenance and career depended, and they weren't in a position to sue the Defense Department or the State Department, or they'd lose their job! And I fortunately was in a position that I could sue them and I did.

Doel:

Yes.

Koepfli:

I mean, U.S. News. But I had a lot of letters from people. John Davies and those people, you know had a terrible time. And the story on John Davies is just unbelievable, because in what, 1950 Robert Joyce, who was a Foreign Service Officer and was then on Kennan's Advisory Committee to the State Department. Paul Nitze I guess was the director of that, of the Advisory Committee. At any rate, Bob Joyce, whom I'd known in Pasadena a long time, called me up and said, “Joe, I'm going to take somebody to lunch that I think you'd like to meet, but I'm not sure you want to.” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I'm not sure that considering your position that you want to be seen — want to meet him.” Well I said, “Who is this?” and he said, “John Davies,” and I said, “Of course I'd like to meet him!” so we went and had lunch together. Well in due course Mr. Davies had a trial and appeal in the State Department, and being one of the China boys and supposedly having been prejudiced, and finally the decision was rested with Mr. Dulles, the Secretary, and Mr. Dulles at 11 o'clock in the morning told him he was through, he was finished, he was out, fired, no longer a Foreign Service Officer. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon  this is true!  Mr. Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, called down John Davies and said, “John, I know this is difficult for you,” but he said, “I just want to tell you, in getting another job, if you want anything from me, you have it. I'll be glad to give a recommendation,” having fired him at 11 o'clock in the morning. There it was.

Doel:

That was an awfully difficult matter.

Koepfli:

So, okay. Cornell I don't know very much about. I can't remember very much except that I remember Doug Cornell. And he was assistant to Det.

Doel:

Right. Of course there were a number of other people who became very active in international science from the U.S. perspective back in those days. Isidor Rabi, I. I. Rabi became active.

Koepfli:

Yes, Rabi was a very good friend of mine, and Rabi of course was much more in the NATO deal.

Doel:

Right. He, particularly in later years. But he had started getting interested in international issues early on.

Koepfli:

Very much so, right at the beginning, and he was the one that felt things could be done about it. He was interviewed for the Berkner Report. And I saw Rabi off and on for years.

Doel:

Right. And also H. P. Robertson, your colleague 

Koepfli:

Well, he was a wonderful guy. Bob Robertson was just a wonderful man. I knew him at Caltech, not terribly well, and then we discovered our interests were such  Bob was a scientific advisor to Eisenhower with Supreme Allied Headquarters. And when I took on the NATO job and Bob and I saw  over a period of years we saw each other a great deal. We had dinners at each other's houses and we were very, very, very dear friends. And I was just undone when he got hit, got thrown out of his station wagon. I went to see him at the Huntington Hospital about 2 o'clock in the afternoon when I was on my way up here to Santa Barbara for the weekend. And midnight somebody called me up from down there and said he'd died about three hours after I'd seen him. He had multiple, multiple contusions, and they just overcame him, that's all. He's a wonderful chap.

Doel:

That must have been a shock.

Koepfli:

And he was all for international science.

Doel:

Right. Now his career in international science took him more into military agencies, into intelligence aspects of international relations.

Koepfli:

Well, yes, I would say, but he was a mathematician. You're bringing up old memories. Bob, I was trying to think what the physicist's name at Princeton was that wrote the original Manhattan publicized report.

Doel:

Oh, yes 

Koepfli:

Wheaton. No, I almost had it.

Doel:

Henry Smyth.

Koepfli:

Smyth. Henry Smyth. Well, Bob and Smyth had been colleagues for some time, and they didn't see things at all the same way. They really didn't.

Doel:

Do you mean particularly on atomic energy, or on a broad range of issues?

Koepfli:

Broad range. They just didn't see things the same. I don't think I ever met Smyth. But of course I saw the Smyth Report, which I think he did a very good job on, at least from my perspective. Because the security in that Manhattan Project was incredible, and yet probably the best security that will ever be done anyplace by anybody, and yet it's completely violated by Fuchs. I mean, we may just as well have not had security, when you look back on it and see what Fuchs did. And so that sort of security is pretty hard. But at least three of my colleagues in the chemistry department were on the Manhattan Project, and they had been in Chicago in Fermi. A man by the name of Yost was a professor of inorganic chemistry, Don Yost, and Millikan called me up and said, “Joe, you know about antibiotics and all that sort of thing,” he said, “you know, Don Yost is in the hospital with jawbone”  I can't think of the technical term for it, infection of the jawbone  “and he is not expected to live. And we think the only thing that would save him would be that drug penicillin. Can you get any for him?” And I said, “I'll do my best,” and I knew the man in Boston, I'll think of his name in a minute. He had the final say on whatever happened to any penicillin that came into existence. And this would be '42. So I got him on the phone, and I said, “Look, there is a friend of mine I know, a colleague of mine, Don Yost. I know he's in Chicago, I don't know what he's doing, but I know it's highly classified and therefore it's got to be for the war effort, and he is in a very bad way and not expected to live a day or two more with ”

Doel:

We can put that on the transcript later.

Koepfli:

— of the jaw,” and he said, “I'll get back to you in 15 minutes.” And he called me back in 15 minutes and he said, “Send an automobile to such-and-such a location in Hollywood, and they'll get two million units of penicillin for Dr. Yost." And they got it, and it saved his life. That was my little help for the Manhattan Project.

Doel:

And help for Dan Yost.

Koepfli:

But that was a funny one. The reason I spoke about the security was, I go back and forth on the train. I flew as little as I could. Going back and forth on this malaria business, Washington, back to Pasadena, back to Washington, all the time, and we go through Albuquerque and I’d see these people get off the train in Albuquerque. And sort of among the fellow scientists in Washington and what not. Well, they got one helluva thing going on, nobody knows what it is, called the Manhattan Project, but nobody knows what it's about." And all I can tell us is that, at the time, the security was such that we in the chemistry department at Caltech, threw around various ideas. One of which, well, it had to do with atomic energy for submarines, that submarines would not give any emissions and not have to come up to charge their batteries and so forth and so on. This is an enormous thing. And we knew that Pauling had done something, but to the day he died Pauling never told me what he had done. I asked him once. He said, “I can't say now.” This is years after the war, he said, “I can't say, Joe.” He got the Legion of Merit for what he did. I still don't know what it was. But obviously some contribution at that time toward the Manhattan Project. So the security was absolutely first class! [phone rings; tape turned off, then back on...] Well, I just speak of security that, despite probably the best security that was ever attempted, it turned out to be useless.

Doel:

It was breached, in any case. But did you mean that particularly with regard to Bob Robertson, though, his views on how security ought to be established.

Koepfli:

No, because at the time Bob, before Bob died we didn't know about Fuchs. We didn't know to the extent that Fuchs had compromised the whole thing. At least I didn't know, and I doubt that Bob knew. Maybe he knew, but I doubt it.

Doel:

Right. But could Bob talk to you about some of the other activities that he was involved in with regard to international science?

Koepfli:

No.

Doel:

So you didn't know very much either?

Koepfli:

Because all of this stuff was obviously on munitions, obviously on bombs and atomic stuff.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

The question was, you know, short range stuff and all that sort of thing, and I had nothing to do with that. Gordon Arneson was in the State Department representing everything that had to do with atomic energy. He ran a very tight office, and he only reported directly to the Secretary, and that's all that Gordon had to do. He was the AEC guy in the department. He and I fortunately liked each other and we got along very, very well. In fact, Gordon, in I guess it was the summer of '51, had me included in a group that went out to see the second power shot in Indian Flats, in Nevada.

Doel:

I didn't know that.

Koepfli:

And, about three 4-star generals and two Congressmen, and I think there were eight of us. We were flown out in a Connie from Washington to Indian Flats. We went to bed and were called at 4 o'clock in the morning and given some breakfast and then driven over to a place, the observation site, and saw the second tower shot. It was impressive. I'll never forget it. So I didn't have anything to do with atomic energy matters at all. That was Gordon's. If anything came my way that I thought was interesting, or if anything came his way that he thought I'd handle better he'd turn it over to me. So we had a very happy relationship together, never any problem at all. I had a Q clearance, but that came for some other things that I had been involved in, but we didn't want high security in the things which the Science Advisor's Office and his Attaches were dealing with.

Doel:

You really wanted to make the lines clear, the distinction very clear?

Koepfli:

Very clear. And the only time I got involved at all, I knew two or three of the top people. I knew Allen Dulles very well socially, and Wisner  not Wisner, a guy who all through the '50s was the operations  Oh, I'll think of his name in a minute. He shot himself, committed suicide.

Doel:

Oh, I know who you mean.

Koepfli:

Wisner. He was a social friend of mine, Frank Wisner. The only time I was involved formally with CIA was I met with, in Dulles' office, with three or four CIA people in 1952. I think in '52, because Joseph Needham and his group of fellow travelers, very high placed. European scientists had finished a trip to China. They'd spent three months at the invitation of the Chinese government seeing the terrible biological warfare that the Americans were waging on the poor Koreans and North Koreans.

Koepfli:

Needham and cohorts published a several hundred page report with illustrations and so forth. Then the thing that was just ridiculous, but then the thing which could be unpleasant, they put out a publication the size and quality of Life magazine devoted to the use of biological warfare by the United States in the Korean War. And they had these pictures of these chaps in white coats going around with magnifying glasses looking for crawling insects and so on and so forth, so, you know, appealed to the layman, but so utterly ridiculous from a scientific point of view. But it had a great effect, no question, propaganda-wise. It was published in Spanish, in English, in French, this Life-size publication, and it was all over South America distributed. And for example they claimed that the Americans had flown clams infected with cholera and had distributed them in a reservoir near the coast of North Korea and infected the drinking water of the population and a lot of people got cholera and families got cholera from this. Well, it was all such utter, complete nonsense that it was ridiculous. But Joseph Needham and those scientists put their names to that; they'd seen it. And the only thing that I could do as Science Advisor to the State Department was use my knowledge and relations with British Royal Academy to go to Alec Todd, and people like that and say, “Come on, boys, this is pretty ridiculous stuff,” and “Can't you do something about your fellow member?” And they were just as offended as I was by what Needham did, and they had no illusions about Joseph Needham. He was pathological on the question of China. Just no question about it. A very fine scientist, no question, an outstanding scientist in his field. And all they could do was that they wouldn't allow him to use any of the Royal Society publications to put forth this nonsense. That was the only time I had anything to do with CIA formally, or at any rate that I had to do with the CIA as Science Advisor to the State Department.

Doel:

And the CIA representatives were concerned with what part of the question?

Koepfli:

Well, propaganda.

Doel:

The propaganda aspect entirely?

Koepfli:

Well sure. I mean here's an outstanding member of the Royal Society of England signing his name to this report. Six hundred pages I think it was.

Doel:

Yes. I remember particularly the French left, the intellectual left, Joliot-Curie and others then who contributed to the magazine La Pensee did extensive excerpts from the report and publicized that quite a bit. Did you have any contact directly with them, any of those scientists?

Koepfli:

No, none at all. The only place that I told you, if you want me to repeat it, was by getting the Proviso 9. I think I probably got that in the archives.

Doel:

That's in the archives, and I think you also mention that in the Hodes interview.

Koepfli:

Well, the thing was that people would come to me. I've just had recently within the last year, I've had a thing from Professor for, chemist at Yale 

Doel:

Joseph Frutkin?

Koepfli:

Hmmm? Frutkin. Yes. From him, because he ran across this problem trying to bring a scientist in, and appealed to me in the State Department. He sent me the correspondence recently, and he said he wanted to write about it, and he's going to publish about it. And I gave him what I could. But the Proviso 9 situation was that I was continually up against having an American university of high standing invite a European, a Frenchman, to come and be in residence for three months or six months. And as a visiting professor. They would be invited, they would go to the Consul in Paris and apply for a visa, and they would be given what amounted to the runaround, and finally after months they'd be told, “No, we can't give you one because,” “you were a member of the Communist Party,” or “you've traveled with the Communists,” and they had been members of the Resistance! That's how they had to do with the Communists, many of them sort of informally were Communist Party members, but when the war was over, for most of them that was finished. And many of those people the Russians were trying to bring into Russia full time, “get 'em in the academy, get 'em over.” And so we were trying to pull the other way, and they'd get this runaround, and they had a lot of hard feelings. People hated us because of the  especially as they'd be wait and wait and wait and wait and then be told, “You can't come.” So we got the agreement, the Science Advisor's Office got the agreement between the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. If the Secretary of State wrote a letter and citing Proviso 9 as it was named, to the Attorney General stating, “In my opinion, it would be in the national interest of the United States if Professor so-and-so was given a visitor's visa.” And almost always those were done. But by the same token, I was bringing Communists in, in the eyes of the Security people in the State Department!

Doel:

Right. Which led to a number of difficulties, including, as you say, what ultimately appeared in the U.S. News and World Report.

Koepfli:

Yes, well that was an example of it. The Office of the Science Advisor was “a stink-hole of out-and-out Communists,” I think. Well, was, past tense. I left, and Wally Joyce, who had been my deputy was acting, but Neil Caruthers had also left. This affected him as well as me. We were both Communists according to this statement, and that's what I sued them on. And Neil Caruthers’ father was an outstanding economist at Lafayette, had an international reputation as an economist. Neil had gotten a Rhodes Scholarship. When we got in the war, they said that they would excuse him and let him come back after the war, so he came over and he was a test pilot in the Navy, and this out-and-out Communist, you know. At any rate, I had the satisfaction of retraction. But it was a very, very bad situation. It affected everything at that time.

Doel:

We were talking about at lunch that the McCarthy era poisoned a lot of relationships in the mid-1950s.

Koepfli:

Oh, it poisoned, it was just all over this place.

Doel:

Yeah. One thing I wanted to make sure that we had a chance to cover from an earlier period, when you and Vannevar Bush were talking initially about your appointment to overseas and related matters with international science, did he ever talk to you about his frustrations with the attempts of the CIA to develop its own scientific intelligence and what role the RDD would play in that?

Koepfli:

I don't remember that specifically, but I certainly was aware that there had been a lot of frustration with CIA about these matters. Because they were mutually exclusive, and if they wanted to have somebody in the guise of Science Attache reporting anything that he could pick up that was of interest to CIA scientifically, we were at odds, that's all. And the big problem with the Science Advisor was, as mentioned before, was that they had to get people that have the reputation that was sufficiently high in standing that the Russians couldn't say that, “Oh, that guy is just reporting for the CIA.”

Doel:

Right. The formal attaches in the embassies, to make sure that they are not...

Koepfli:

Yes, they had to have a man of scientific standing. Otherwise he'd be accused of that…

Doel:

Did you already know Wallace Brode well at that time, in the late 1940s?

Koepfli:

Oh, Wally Brode. Oh good God yes, of course I knew Wally. As a matter of fact, one of the great disappointments of my life was I got Brode appointed Science Advisor. Because after I had left they tried to get somebody and tried to get somebody and tried to get somebody, and I said, “Well, Wally Brode for example worked on UNESCO, and I'm sure very interested,” and I think Wally at that time was number two.

Doel:

He was number two at that point at the National Bureau of Standards.

Koepfli:

That's right. And so they took him on. Well, I have to say Wally was a disaster, complete disaster. And I was so sorry that I had recommended him, and I was so disappointed because I was responsible for his getting the job, I'm sure of that. He just didn't understand. He didn't understand at all what had to be done. And he was narrow and insular about it in every way, shape and manner. He'd come into the Secretary's meeting in the morning, and you know he'd sound off and sound off and sound off, and they went just nuts.

Doel:

What sort of things irritated him when he was sounding off? Did you hear from [Secretary of State] Chris Herter or others what it was that were his hobby horses?

Koepfli:

You mean what he'd talk about at the Secretary's meeting? B.S., as I understand it. He'd just go on about gripes that he had at  stuff locally, within the government, within our government, or gripes that he had with the Bureau of Standards, how these things were affected by this, that or the other thing. But instead of something directly that had to do with foreign policy, he'd go on about minutia!

Doel:

It was more personal issues than even broad policy concerns?

Koepfli:

Minutia, minutia! Which you don't talk about at the Secretary's meeting in the morning.

Doel:

When you had recommended him, were you aware that Brode had been the one who organized the initial Science Office in the CIA? I was wondering if that had played a role in your decision.

Koepfli:

No, I knew nothing about that. Did he do that later?

Doel:

He did that in 1947 and '48. It was done under the cover of his... 

Koepfli:

Oh, at the beginning of the CIA.

Doel:

Yes.

Koepfli:

I may have known it, but I don't think it meant anything to me, because he didn't stay in it in any way.

Doel:

Yes, you're right. He was only in it for about a year, a little over a year.

Koepfli:

That's right. I'm sure I must have known it, but it didn't register with me. I just thought that he had thought internationally, and had some feeling for this, and that  he had a chance of really doing something with the job which I had tried to do and failed.

Doel:

I want to continue on Brode in the context of that revival period so-called in the after post-Sputnik phase, but one thing I'm still curious about from the early 1950s when you were the first Science Advisor at State: were you called in to advise at all on the CIA's own issues?

Koepfli:

No.

Doel:

Was it really kept entirely separate?

Koepfli:

Absolutely.

Doel:

You never really came into contact with [H.] Marshall Chadwell or Machle or any of the other people who were running the office of scientific intelligence?

Koepfli:

See, I knew the tops of the CIA. On a first name basis. Allen Dulles and Joel, Frank Wisner and Frank, but all I knew  and Gates. But all I knew these guys, I knew what they were doing, and but I knew them purely on a social basis. It wasn't until I had a formal meeting representing the State Department and the science on the biological warfare 

Doel:

On the Korean biological warfare.

Koepfli:

Yes, that's the only time I did any business with them at all.

Doel:

Was it widely known among the science advisors or the attaches in the top level of the State Department the Secret Supplement to the Berkner Report? I'm wondering how widely discussed the aims and objectives in that supplement were.

Koepfli:

I think you're talking about something I don't know about.

Doel:

Is that right?

Koepfli:

A supplement of the Berkner Report?

Doel:

It was called “The Secret Supplement” and it addresses how international scientific contact could be used to further intelligence aims. There have been a number of references that have recently appeared to it, although I haven't seen a copy of the full document, and it's referred to as the quote-unquote, “Secret Supplement of the Berkner Report.”

Koepfli:

I may be drawing a blank due to memory lapse.

Doel:

But it may have been that you simply never saw a copy of that too.

Koepfli:

I don't remember having anything to do with a secret report. After all, I knew Lloyd Berkner extremely well. I mean, he took an interest in everything I was doing. We were there as a result of the Berkner Report, and I saw Lloyd frequently. But no, if there was such a thing, either I've drawn a complete blank on it or I didn't know anything about it.

Doel:

It may have been entirely within just a few offices of the State Department at the time, but it was produced

Koepfli:

I don't see how it could be, because Gordon Arneson was titled the Special Assistant to the Secretary for Atomic Energy Affairs. But outside of that, I knew all the top people. I knew George Kennan for God's sake, I knew Paul Nitze very well, and they were as top as you could be other than the Secretary and the Undersecretary themselves.

Doel:

So it raises a question of where that report would have been distributed to.

Koepfli:

It certainly does. And as I say, I may be drawing a complete blank on it, but it doesn't exist in that file that I had at Caltech, and it doesn't in any file that I have here I'm sure. I'm sure that it doesn't exist.

Doel:

There's another topic that I'm curious about. Clearly one of the things you had to do as Science Advisor at State, was to determine which embassies were the highest priorities to put the attaches in.

Koepfli:

That wasn't hard to do.

Doel:

I'm just curious how you came to certain decisions. I was curious for instance about the decision to put an attache in Sweden, in Stockholm.

Koepfli:

To take care of all the Scandinavian countries.

Doel:

That was all of them?

Koepfli:

He took care of Finland and Norway and Denmark. It was either to put him in Copenhagen or in Stockholm, but we couldn't afford, and there wasn't a need. After all, the four Scandinavian countries worked very closely together in every way, shape and manner. I think I consulted with all of them on the question before choosing Sweden as the headquarters. He could fly across to Finland if he needed to.

Doel:

Right. So the geographic convenience and the centrality, of course the scientific tradition, so to speak.

Koepfli:

We didn't have the funds, and there wasn't really the need of covering individually.

Doel:

One reason I was asking about Sweden was simply because a political worry, independent of the scientific considerations of the time, was that Sweden had not joined NATO. One of the first reports that the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence produced was  this is something that's just been declassified  on science in Sweden. And it was a question of whether  if Sweden and the Scandinavian countries were overrun by the Soviets, what in fact would be lost. I was just curious if any of those considerations were communicated to you from other offices in the State Department.

Koepfli:

Not to my memory, no.

Doel:

So you had very much free reign in determining...

Koepfli:

Yes. I mean, nobody else had any interest, God knows. At that time. You know, the State Department, the Foreign Service felt, “What the hell's a chemist doing here?” And it didn't change very much, even though I knew the top people and we were friends with them, it didn't change very much as far as the overall Foreign Service went. We tried to sell it, we tried. The people I got, I tried to have them [???], because my experience, after all, my experience in London I was an FSO-II or III, and a lot of people that have been in the Foreign Service for 20 years are junior to me as far as the pecking order goes. And you had to be very careful. Whoever went as the science attache had to be very careful because he had a high pecking order, but had little or no Foreign Service experience, he had to be very careful. And I never had any problems with any of them. To the best of my knowledge, I never had any problems with any of them. In fact the craziest thing of all at that time happened, that  I'm trying to think of his name now, the fellow at the Rockefeller Institute, and, the guy that did the most on the electron microscope. Wyckoff. I persuaded Wyckoff  after all, I think he was a Fellow of the Royal Society  I persuaded him to take the London job. The Ambassador had been Chairman of the AT&T.

Doel:

AT&T, right.

Koepfli:

And do I have it in the archives? Maybe I did.

Doel:

You do in fact. The wonderful story of the electron microscope being set up in the embassy.

Koepfli:

At the old embassy, at the north end of Grovener's (?) Square, where the original embassy was for years, on the corner was the embassy and next to it was the annex. And the Science Advisor, the Science Attache's office was in the annex, and there I guess it remained. And I was there under Douglas, Lou Douglas, and wonderful and most sympathetic and understanding. I never had any problems at all in any way in '48. And then comes along, after I'm Science Advisor, three or four years later, and I get Hans Clark who was there for a year, and then I got Ralph Wyckoff there. The story is that the president of Bell Telephone, of AT&T, knew something about the lab work, how important it had been, what Shockley and the boys have just delivered, and so he said to Wyckoff, “You've got a lot of visitors coming in to see you,” and he said, “Don't you need an electron microscope?” “Oh,” he said, “it'd be wonderful.” “Well,” he said, put one in! Put one in!” So they put an electron microscope in, installed it in the annex of the embassy. And he had people standing at the door [laughs], trying to come in.

Doel:

To look at it?

Koepfli:

It was pretty interesting.

Doel:

Yeah, yeah. I think that's wonderfully revealing. It sets the mood for that piece. One of the things that you said in the 1985 interview, is that when you were a Science Advisor about every six weeks you had to go somewhere to put out fires, things that were happening. But that was never followed up. I was curious about the sorts of things that you remember as being the fires you had to put out.

Koepfli:

When I was Science Advisor?

Doel:

When you were Science Advisor in the State Department in the early '50s.

Koepfli:

It's funny, I can't think of what I was thinking about. I guess what I was saying was I had to go abroad.

Doel:

It might have been the occasions when you were abroad for a particular... 

Koepfli:

Five or six weeks. It's about the time that I had to go. I think it was misunderstandings within the embassy, or maybe the Science Advisor not getting any cooperation, not getting a thing, and I had to go and talk to the Chief of Mission. I think that that sort of thing would happen  See, there was a resistance, “What the hell is a biologist or a chemist doing in my Foreign Service establishment?”

Doel:

Right, that's quite clear. Yeah. That's what I thought you had in mind when you made that reference.

Koepfli:

Yes, I think that would be the sort of things that I'd have a problem.

Doel:

Right. Thinking back too to the Hoover Commission, the first Hoover Commission in the late '40s. Eberstadt helped run a good part of that; he was also the one who got very interested in the science issues.

Koepfli:

I just remembered. It's wonderful what this memory Herman Spoehr.

Doel:

That's the person I'm saying. Yes, Herman.

Koepfli:

Herman Spoehr. He was head of the Carnegie Laboratory at Stanford when I was an undergraduate, and I knew him for years.

Doel:

Right, thank you. Yes.

Koepfli:

And he was at the beginning trying to get the Science Advisor's Office started, but didn't want it himself.

Doel:

What sort of person was he as a personality?

Koepfli:

Oh, he is a dear guy. I don't know why Herman wouldn't take that job. Well, retirement, you know. I think he thought somebody with a little more energy probably had better have it. I never discussed it with him.

Doel:

You were saying that never came up in your talks with him?

Koepfli:

No.

Doel:

I had just a moment ago mentioned Eberstadt's role in the reorganization. Eberstadt had gotten very interested in the question of science, the international aspects of science. Did he ever talk to you about that when the first Hoover Commission was meeting?

Koepfli:

No. You see, it was Van Bush solely in '47 who pushed it to get something going on international science, some appreciation in the State Department, of the importance of science, bomb, God knows what, everything. And so it was his influence I think on Acheson who was the Assistant Secretary at the time for European Affairs that got anybody interested at all in State. And Acheson was I believe on the first Hoover Commission, and that's where I think it got into the recommendation of the first Hoover Commission that the State Department should look into this question of the effect of foreign policy on science and vice versa. I believe that's the modus operandi.

Doel:

Right. One thing that you mentioned in the first interview and that we spoke about briefly off the tape at lunch, was how certain university presidents like Jim Conant resisted the idea of having faculty members go out as attaches.

Koepfli:

Don't take one of my good people, for God's sake. Somebody down the line, why that's alright, but don't take one of my good people.

Doel:

Right. How hard was it for you to find scientists willing to go?

Koepfli:

It was damn hard. That's what I spent all my energy on. I mean, for example, I think one of the things that I was proudest of, I had just incidentally heard from somebody that Otto LaPorte at Michigan was I think born in Germany, I think in Bavaria, educated I think in this country, could speak Japanese. So I called up and made an appointment. I jumped on an airplane and went up to Ann Arbor and had lunch with Otto and talked him into going as a Science Attache to Tokyo. We'd been looking for a long time. Who the hell were you going to get to go to Tokyo? And we needed somebody in Tokyo very badly. And so that's how we got Otto. And then my wife was quite intrigued, because the National Gallery had a giant exhibition of Japanese prints, and the label on it was written by Otto LaPorte.

Doel:

Is that right?

Koepfli:

Yeah! He was an art nut.

Doel:

When you would approach people to take on this assignment, did you find that many of them understood well the kind of international contacts you wanted to develop? Or did it take a little bit of persuasion just to get people interested in the idea?

Koepfli:

They all were interested, you know, and if you would say, “Will you go three months?" they would go like a shot.

Doel:

It was the length of time that —

Koepfli:

At least a year. And you could take your family, and prefer you do it two years. And the average guy didn't want to leave the lab for two years. And so I'd settle for one year. It was difficult. They'd just get broken in. Two years is much better. But some of them liked it so much they wanted it back when they did. Uchup [?] and Atis [?] from Minnesota, chemical engineer. And he spent the rest of his life in Paris. And that's when I got into one of the rows  about Pauling. And that was an outrageous thing. It's all in that book. I won't repeat it. It's all in the thing. I'm sure I told it, because it had to do with the fact that Oppenheimer  was a professor at Caltech and a professor simultaneously at Berkeley. He'd spend about half the year at Caltech and half the year at Berkeley. And up there he got involved with that 

Doel:

Chavalier?

Koepfli:

Chavalier. And after the war was over, Chavalier got a job translating at I guess UNESCO in Paris, headquarters, and he got hold of Pauling  in Paris  and said, “You know, they won't give me a passport to come to the United States, and I want to go back to the United States. I want to visit France,” and so forth and so on. And Pauling said, “Well, I can't do anything about it. There's a Science Attache now at the embassy. Why don't you go and talk to him?” Well, again, Mike [sic], I'd have to get the State Department book down and look it up. Was at Harvard  chap. He was a wonderful guy. And slightly naive, slightly naive, as I discovered. Well, Chavalier called up and he said, “Certainly, come in.” And they talked and then they went out to lunch together, and the Science Attache said he'd look into it and do what he could. And the next day he took a two weeks holiday and went to Rome. He gets to Rome late in the afternoon and goes to his hotel, and he's just going to sleep and knocks on the door, and FBI Agents are there, and take him back to Paris, for God's sake. Outrageous damn thing I ever heard of in my life. I just blew six fuses. At any rate, there were enormous apologies and all the rest of it, and tried to make it up to him, but it was inexcusable.

Doel:

I'm sure that must have been a shock to all the other attaches who heard about it.

Koepfli:

Well, that's a fire I had to put out. One of the fires probably. In any event, it was inexcusable. But that's the sort of thing that happened. As a result of the whole damn McCarthy business.

Doel:

You had mentioned in the other interview that when the U.S. News and World Report story broke that you were in touch with Phil Graham of the Washington Post.

Koepfli:

We were friends.

Doel:

I was curious how you'd become acquainted.

Koepfli:

Socially. Purely socially. Joseph Hirsch was a columnist for the Boston Globe I guess. He wrote a column and said how I had come from the California Institute of Technology to do this job at the State Department and so forth and so on. This was the sort of thanks I got for it. And used my name. You see, the U.S. News and World Report didn't use names.

Doel:

Did not. That's right.

Koepfli:

He used my name and identified me. And then Phil Graham wrote an editorial in the Washington Post and referred to the Hirsch report and said, “This is what happens to a man who is a Republican, comes back in a Democratic Administration, and tries to do a job in Washington, and that's the thanks he gets for it, accused of being a Communist,” and it was a stinker of an editorial.

Doel:

It was prominently placed. I was wondering what kind of reaction came from that. Did Phil ever tell you?

Koepfli:

I left, you see. I was back off and on in Washington all the time, but  that editorial I guess was January of '54.

Doel:

I think that's right.

Koepfli:

No, I was back from the Eisenhower still quite a lot.

Doel:

Yeah. Did Phil Graham have any particular interest in science and the operation that you had ?

Koepfli:

Not per se. Not per se. He was a brilliant guy, you know, yes. It's sad, because I and another chap had him out at the Bohemian Grove, and he just had the most wonderful time, had such a good time. I remember we'd gotten a little bit too much alcohol aboard, and at 5 o'clock in the morning we went to a pay phone of what they call the Civic Center, and we called Katharine in Washington, which would have been 7 o'clock or 8 o'clock in the morning 

Doel:

Eight o'clock in Washington.

Koepfli:

And so I knew them fairly well. I used to go down, oh, several times I went down to their farm in Virginia, and they were building a damn down there to have a swimming pool for their kids, and I used to sleep in the guest room, and the guest room bathroom  it was an old farmhouse type of thing  didn't have a shower, and I would complain to myself about, “Oh hell, I've got to spend Saturday night at Phil and Kaye's and take a bath,” and I hated a bath, I liked to shower. At any rate, the tragedy of this whole thing was that I was on my way to Moscow in '56 to visit Chip Bohlen, and as I got on the boat in New York, I bought a copy of Times and it had Phil Graham on the cover, and it was a eulogizing article about this brilliant, brilliant guy from Florida and so forth and so on, and it said, “Lincolnesque." So I sat down and I wrote Phil  the best I could do in the way of, “Who the hell do you think you are? Lincolnesque!” you know, and gave him the business as best I could. We'd done that in conversation, I'd get it to him this way, and I mailed it in Paris, and I never heard from him. Never heard a word from him. I came back from that, and I went through Washington on my way home, and somebody said, “Well, you know Phil's in an institution.” I said, “What?!” “Yeah, he's in an institution. He had a nervous breakdown.” I didn't have a clue about that. Any rate, just to finish off the story, I heard later that they had gotten him out for a weekend. They went to the farm and he went down to that bathtub and blew his head off.

Doel:

That's where he killed himself?

Koepfli:

With a double-barreled shotgun, in that bathtub which I used to bathe in. Then, if you want to talk about Washington, Frank Wisner, who was head of operations in my day in Washington. I went to his house several times, his and Polly’s at P Street. One day somebody said to me, “You know, Frank's going a little bit cuckoo.” I said, “What do you mean?” “Well, Polly found him out going through the garbage can after they had a party. In the garbage can.” I couldn't believe it. Well, the next day of course Allen Dulles knew that something was happening, and so he took him out of ops job and sent him to London and he was there for I think two years. He came home, I saw him a couple of times, he seemed perfectly all right to me. They had a farm on the Eastern Shore. They used to spend a lot of weekends in. He climbed into his bathtub and shot his head off with a double-barreled shotgun  exactly what Phil Graham had done, Frank Wisner did. He and Phil were good friends.

Doel:

And he knew what Phil had done.

Koepfli:

Oh, sure. So, sad. Sad.

Doel:

That is sad.

Koepfli:

But Phil there's no question he had gone pathological, because he  they bought Newsweek, and he spent time, and the next thing I knew he wanted a divorce from Kaye to marry his secretary at Newsweek. And it was after that that they put him in an institution. And that was the end. He was a brilliant guy, great fun.

Doel:

That must have been very hard on you, too.

Koepfli:

Well, you know, I felt so badly about having written that thing. And one of the sadnesses in that thing that I kick myself about was that I was so undone that I couldn't write to Kaye. I just couldn't do it. I just could not write to her. And I should have, and I usually do anything like that. But in this case for some reason, I don't know why it was, whether [because] I'd written that letter to him about the Lincolnesque business or, you know, or what have you, but I couldn't write to her, and I've never seen Kaye since. I got a message to her rather recently that I had always regretted not having written to her, but that's the best I could do. Next.

Doel:

I'm thinking about another person that you knew well in that period of time, who was running the Ford Foundation, Ray Gaither.

Koepfli:

Who?

Doel:

Gaither.

Koepfli:

Running the Ford Foundation?

Doel:

At least in the 1950s the head of the Ford Foundation.

Koepfli:

Davis.

Doel:

Gaither?

Koepfli:

Hmmm?

Doel:

G-a-i-t-h-e-r, Gaither?

Koepfli:

Oh, oh, Gaither. Yeah. Well, at the moment I can't say very much about it, because I just don't remember very much. I've certainly never seen him in later years.

Doel:

Because Ford Foundation came at times to aid international science in a variety of ways, the funding in the late '50s when the State Department tried to cut out funding for the unions, the scientific unions that still had 

Koepfli:

Well, of course UNESCO. See, I was two years the U.S. Representative on the UNESCO National Commission, and a chemist from Berkeley, whose name I can't remember, and I were both scientists and we were on at the same time, and we ended up by recommending that they had to do something about UNESCO or quit it. We just didn't have any use for what they were doing at all, absolutely not. And that's when we dropped UNESCO. I can't think of his name. He was a terribly nice guy. It's again one of your memory lapses. Now, getting back to Gaither, the funny part of it was that when Van Bush asked me to come back see the web I knew Paul Hoffman, had known him all my life. He was a Los Angeles type. I knew him, and I called Paul up and asked him whether he would have lunch with me in Pasadena, and we had lunch together, and I told him, I said, “What do you think? You think I ought to do it?.” And he said, “Yeah, I think you ought to do it.” He advised me to do it. They had just moved the Ford Foundation headquarters to Pasadena. And he said to me, “I'll tell you, Joe. I was on the University of Chicago Board of Trustees for a number of years, and I got to know Hutchins very well, and I think the world of Bob,” and he said, “When the Ford people came to me and Gaither came to me and said ‘Will you be president of the Ford Foundation?’ I said I would take the presidency of the Ford Foundation if I could have Bob Hutchins as my associate and when I resigned he would become the president. And they agreed to it, and Bob agreed to it.” So, Hutchins got the Ford Foundation to buy the house next to mine in Pasadena in San Marino. His wife had a very bad heart though, and during most of the year  I was in Washington  my wife said that she called on her once, but she really almost died. She lived up here for years. We saw a lot of her and we saw a lot of Bob. But, so it was really Hoffman who pushed me over to take the Washington job because of his experiences in Washington. And the thing of the Ford Foundation was of course  this has got nothing to do with the science, but the Ford Motor Company for their very reasons wanted Bob Hutchins out and they set up a fund for the republic. And most people don't know, but the fund for the republic was set up with $10 million or something like that with the proviso that the principal was to be used. And after he moved up here, a lot of people accused him of being a spendthrift and not having any money and having to go out to get money. Well, the reason was he had to spend by the terms of the thing. Most people didn't know that! And I had a lot of respect for Bob Hutchins. I think he was a good citizen. He didn't do a very good job at the University of Chicago because he'd built all those special things with no money to run them, and my colleague at Caltech had to go back and he had to raise the money. 

Doel:

The institute structures were wobbly.

Koepfli:

Yeah, he had to go back and get the money, because all those special institutes that they get the bricks and mortar from but nothing to run it.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

So Gaither was a lawyer, you know, and I think he did a very good job on the Ford Foundation. I really do. I never saw much of him in later years.

Doel:

Do you remember any talks with them about their feelings about international science, those who were interested in the role of science in the broader societal western questions?

Koepfli:

You see, the thing was during my three years  well, almost three years  in Science Advisor, I should have quit in January of '53 but instead I stayed.

Doel:

But you stayed for clear reasons. Yeah?

Koepfli:

During that time, the foundation office was in Pasadena, and so I didn't see anything of them. I didn't see anything of Paul or Hoffman or Hutchins. I didn't see anything of them because I was in Washington all the time. Except that right next door was Mrs. Hutchins when I came home for a weekend or something.

Doel:

Right. But that's too limited a contact then for you to really have known what was happening.

Koepfli:

I don't think I ever had anything to do with them on... 

Doel:

Ford was funding innovative developments in that period, the Institute for Defense Analysis for instance.

Koepfli:

Yes, I remember that. But I had no connection with it. As a matter of fact, as I repeat again, in a lot of ways we didn't want to be associated with Defense. I later did things. I was a consultant to that, what was it called? PACE was the chairman of the damn thing. It was a presidential commission. I went abroad and visited all our principal establishments, military establishments. I never will forget, I got to Paris. I was talking to them and they were talking about the French had this anti-tank missile on the end of a wire. The French had developed one that could work. And I said, “Well, have we got it? Have we got it at home?” “Oh no. We're going to develop our own.” I said, “What do you mean you're going to develop one? You've got one! Why the hell do we have to spend the money to do another one?!” “Oh, that's French. We've got to have our own.”

Doel:

Chauvinism.

Koepfli:

Oh boy, I'll say. Very costly.

Doel:

Extremely so.

Koepfli:

So that was later, but I was no longer 

Doel:

Right. That was, if I remember, in the '60s that you were on that commission? We'll check on that later.

Koepfli:

Yeah. '59 I think.

Doel:

We'll make sure.

Koepfli:

I've got the report someplace.

Doel:

There were just two questions I wanted to ask you before we talk about the period right around Sputnik when you got involved writing the report for NATO and related things. After you were out from the State Department and as things got harder and harder and after a time Walter Rudolph became the only person running that office.

Koepfli:

Well, Walter Rudolph should have a monument raised to him. There wouldn't ever have been any, and we would never have continued it any way, shape or manner, except Walter Rudolph. He is a quiet, little man who'd done graduate work at USC, and not a Foreign Service Officer but a Staff Officer. And he was the soul of the damned thing and kept it going right up 'til the day he died. And he retired and [???] never did anything for him. I did everything I could to try to get somebody to do something about recognizing what Walter's done, but not very much success at it.

Doel:

Were there any other allies anywhere in the State Department that he could rely on during that period?

Koepfli:

No.

Doel:

He really was operating alone.

Koepfli:

I had friends, you see, like for example Paul Nitze who was the Chairman of the Secretary's Advisory Committee. George Kennan had been the first  he set it up at Marshall's request. And while I was there, Paul was there, and my friend Bob Joyce was on it. And so I had access that a lot of people wouldn't have had coming in like Whitman. When Whitman came in, he was well known in scientific circles, but I was very fortunate to get along as well as I did and get as much done as I did do, because if you must say, it's social contacts, which I had had previously or later times. But it wasn't an easy job, and no, I had no allies. I'll give an example. It was after Eisenhower had taken over as President. I'm trying to think of the Assistant Secretary for Administration. He later went and ran the Rockefeller setup in Virginia.

Doel:

Yes. I can't think of the name.

Koepfli:

I'll think of his name in a minute. I know it as well as my own. He was the Chief Administrative Officer of the whole thing, and eventually became Ambassador to Cairo before he retired. He had been one of “Marshall's Colonels,” as they were referred to. When Marshall became Secretary of State he put a lot of his colonels in, and this chap was one of them. And he and I always got along very well. I could not kick on him. But for example across my desk, comes the fact that the anti-conception pills had gotten down to quite a low cost, and WHO was making the suggestion that possibly the United States would be interested in helping to send and simple instructions to India where birth was a terrible problem  Contraception pills. Simple to take and so forth and so on. And what could I say about it? I forget who it came to me from, but it came to my desk, and it was classified “Confidential.” And I had just finished reading the damn thing, [phone rings; tape turned off, then back on...] — In any event, Inez Larson, my secretary, came in and she said, “The Undersecretary has sent for your copy of the thing you just received or you've just gone through, and he wants it returned.” And I said, “What the hell's going on?” I said, “Alright, take it,” and so a messenger was there, numbered copies you know, back it went. So I finally went up and had a little chat with him, and I said, “What's going on?” He said, “Look,” and he had a white phone and a black phone, and the white phone was the White House. And he said, “I just hung up that damn phone,” he said, “They called up from the White House and said the President says we're to have nothing to do with anything that has to do with contraception!” So he said, that's the end of story.

Doel:

Yeah. That's very interesting, because I remember seeing recently, in the Eisenhower Presidential Library either a note or a recollection by Kistiakowsky, and Kisty had said he wanted to raise this at a PSAC meeting, that this was significant and that this was a pressing scientific and social problem, and Eisenhower had said at that meeting, “No. The U.S. will not be involved in this.”

Koepfli:

[laughs] I told you what happened to me!

Doel:

I recalled that, but I didn't know what the topic of that was about, and that's interesting.

Koepfli:

Well, Eisenhower felt it was political dynamite, you see.

Doel:

Were there any people in Congress who were helpful for the international science efforts that you were involved in? What was his name out (?) Runi (?), the New York Representative, was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee for State Interior and something else, and he was the guy that, oh he was a Democrat, and he was a guy that for a long, long time simply said, Oh, that bunch of cookie pushers," and when  [phone rings].

Koepfli:

The answer is no. [tape off, then back on...]

Doel:

You were talking about the person from Congress who was the Democrat in charge of allocations.

Koepfli:

Oh, yeah. I think of Runi, but that's not the one. He was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the House for State Interior and somebody else and  When Kennedy became President in 1960, before he was inaugurated he had been elected, he brought this chap three times down to Florida to their estate in Palm Beach and worked him over. And as a result of Jack Kennedy's understanding, and talking to Runi  I keep on thinking of Runi, but I don't think that's the 

Doel:

Well, we'll make sure that on the transcript we get it right.

Koepfli:

At any rate, he persuaded him to for the first time give an adequate representational allowance for Rome, Paris, Bohne and London so that it did not have to be a political appointment. And there were some very fine appointments. Well, that's the reason Chip Bohlen could go to Paris. It's the reason that Jim Reinhart could spend six years in Rome, where there was that loosening up by the State Department. To my knowledge, no one in the House of Representatives or the Senate, was pushing to help increase science and technology and foreign policy understanding. I can't remember anybody that did. No.

Doel:

There really was no one you could turn to for any 

Koepfli:

I think some of the chaps like the Ohio the astronaut; I think some people like that in later years would obviously have an understanding. But I knew of no one. I knew John Sherman Cooper (?) and Fulbright. Bill Fulbright and I were at Oxford at the same time. That's where I knew him. I was a graduate, and he was a Fulbright student at the Christ Church at the House (?). I got to know Bill then and knew him ever since afterwards. And we'd see Bill all the time during the years I was in Washington, and I never asked him for any help, but he obviously had an understanding of this, and knew what I was doing. I never asked him for any help, and he never offered anything. But I knew him very well. The other senator I knew was John Sherman Cooper, but I really knew him later. I knew him when I was later off and on in Washington. And in fact he got me in to hear the McCarthy hearings when the lawyer from New York said, "Have you no shame?!" I heard that one. I was in the audience.

Doel:

That's interesting. It was a poignant moment.

Koepfli:

Yes.

Doel:

When you took on the assignment for NATO on writing what became the Kopley Report, how much hope did you have prior to the time of Sputnik's launch that there really would be something that would come out from ?

Koepfli:

I'll tell you exactly what happened. I can't remember if it was Allan Waterman, or whoever. Somebody in the National Science Foundation recommended me. I was called and asked whether I would consider going to Paris as the U.S. member of a task force to do something about science and foreign relations. I said, "How much time is it going to take?" I had my graduate students again. “Oh, it will probably take three or four short trips to Paris.” And I said, “Oh, I'll call you back.” And I figured out okay, I can handle that, and it's worth doing, and I'd like to do it. So I called him back and said I'd do it. Well, of course they got over there and the first thing they did is elect me president, chairman of the group, or as the French say, présidante of the group. Well, that meant I really had to be there. And I finally thought, “Well, I've gone this far. I guess I'm stuck.” Solly Zuckerman was the English member. I called Todd and I asked him whether he could find somebody to be my assistant. He did, and they got me a wonderful guy. His name was Glass, Ronny(?), spoke fluent French, smart as hell, stayed on forever in the U.S. economic thing. He stayed on that for years. At any rate, that's how I got involved, and had to spend the best part of a full year. And the Sputnik went off after I had finished the report, turned it in. Did I tell you this or did I put it in the things of how it finally got put through by the chiefs of, heads of state?

Doel:

You have it in the Hodes interview, and how you finally in the last moment 

Koepfli:

Heads of state.

Doel:

Yes. After Eisenhower had said he wasn't going to raise any further.

Koepfli:

Yes, and I was over there with the  Well, Jim Killian called me up in Pasadena. He said, “Joe, I'm going over and the Secretary of Defense is going over with the President for the NATO meeting in the end December. Because of your past year's work, would you be willing to go along?” And I said, “Certainly. I'd love to.” So I had a chance to go and be in their entourage, and I was sitting behind the President in that damn place, and Killian came to me and said, “Eisenhower says he's not going to introduce another thing. He's tried to do too many." And it was 20 minutes! Twenty minutes before 12:00 and the end(?). And I rushed around and got the Canadian member.

Doel:

Ethan Baker(?).

Koepfli:

 and I said, “Do you think you could get your boss to do this?” and he says, “Let me have a go at him.” He came back and he said, “Yeah, he'll do it.” So he introduced it.

Doel:

Yes. That was a trying moment for you.

Koepfli:

Oh boy. I'll say it was.

Doel:

How did your thinking about what NATO could do for science change over the course of your deliberations?

Koepfli:

Well, I believed that what it could do was primarily education, and also giving science support in government. Because all science nowadays is government supported. And if they weren't giving any real support, the French had CNRS, well it was obvious what that was for. And they had the Institut Pasteur and they had some very fine things. There was never any problem really with the French except they ran out on NATO.

Doel:

Which was problem enough.

Koepfli:

And they'd just finished the new building, which I was not in, when Charlie deGaulle, big Charlie popped 'em out. And, I worked at that because I believe in it. I remember going down to Italy and having dinner with the Foreign Secretary in Rome and spent two days in Rome, had a short meeting with him, then he asked me to dinner. And then money, you know. If the government would allot a little bit more money to these things, they would go very much better, because they're all lacking in this day and age, lacking money, support. Education particularly  higher education. We set a standard for it in this country really, I mean as a result of the war. OSRD and that whole business of contractual research changed the whole business in this country, especially with NIH. Seeley Mudd and I worked on the aspect of malignancy for 14 years. I did the chemistry and Dr. Mudd did the animals. We'd never have done that if we hadn't had NIH money. We'd never have done it. So I believe in, and I think, you know, I think it's done a lot. Because I get these bulletins from NATO every so often about what the science people are doing, and it's nothing that I have ever conceived of. They've got so damn many committees that you just can't believe. Now whether they're wasting their time or not I don't know, but I don't think they are. I think there's a real involvement in NATO countries through the science, original committee.

Doel:

Would you and Solly Zuckerman and the other early members  Wilham(?) I think was the representative from Belgium and —

Koepfli:

Seven members.

Doel:

Right. Do you recall any particular points of disagreement issues that were hard to resolve, or did you recall it mostly as a real consensus among the group?

Koepfli:

There was no problem among the group at any time.

Doel:

So all the countries in essence felt similar needs as far as what needed to be done.

Koepfli:

Yes, sure. No, we never had any rows about anything that I remember. I had known Solly before, so that was nice to have him aboard. He's bright as hell, and extremely able, and he contributed a lot.

Doel:

Did R. V. Jones have any involvement in that, that you recall?

Koepfli:

I don't place him at the moment. As a person I don't place him.

Doel:

He was a close friend of Bob Robertson's and was involved in the British 

Koepfli:

He wasn't at Caltech.

Doel:

No, he was British, and he was 

Koepfli:

Arthur Jones.

Doel:

Reginald. R. V. Reginald V. Jones.

Koepfli:

Yeah, okay. That rings a bell. The guy that followed Bob Robertson at SHAPE, uh, I get SHAPE and the wartime one mixed up, but anyway, the one at Versailles, at the Fountainbleu. The guy that followed him was an Englishman. He lived on his boat, and I'm trying to think of his name, and funny, I can't think of his name. I knew him perfectly well, because I went on his boat once from  they were bringing it up at the end of the summer to a quaion the Seine in Paris. I went for the Saturday night, and then we came up Sunday, and he was a terribly nice man. He followed Bob as the Scientific Advisor to SHAPE. By that time it was oh, the Air Force General was a handsome man and 

Doel:

Bob Robertson had advised for General Gruenther.

Koepfli:

Eisenhower was his boss.

Doel:

Right. And then Gruenther, if I'm pronouncing it right, followed.

Koepfli:

Was who?

Doel:

Gruenther?

Koepfli:

Gruenther?

Doel:

Yes.

Koepfli:

Yes, but he didn't follow Eisenhower did he? The military guy was an American Air Force General, and I just know his name as well as my own, but I can't recall it at the moment. I had quite a bit to do with him on the NATO while I was in the NATO thing, because we'd get involved in one way or another. No, Bob was still there! By God, yes. Bob was still there. I'd forgotten that. Bob was still there when I took on the NATO job, and he helped. Let me see whether I'm getting things mixed up or not. No, Bob had to be there when I was Science Advisor, because Eisenhower ceased to be there when he became President - So I'm talking about when I was doing the NATO job, the then 

Doel:

Advisor to SHAPE?

Koepfli:

 was a Four-Star General who  God, what happened to him? Vandenberg. Oh, not Vandenberg, Vandenberg. Yes, of course. Well, I'm confused now, but I knew him, and I would go down on a couple of occasions and have lunch with him when I was doing the NATO job. And we didn't want any mix-ups with the military side of the things. We'd try to keep that straightened out, and I remember that, but his name is gone now. I knew Vandenberg in Washington later on. He was Secretary of the Air Force. And he was a nephew or son of Senator Vandenberg's.

Doel:

That's right. We'll make sure of the chronology.

Koepfli:

Well, I just can't think of the  It wasn't  But he was an Air Force General towards the end of his career. He was comparatively young, very good looking, a very handsome guy, and I liked him very much. And oh, there's so much I could talk about if I got some of my names right. For example the man that ran NATO, Dick  who was the British poet? The 18th century British poet, Samuel Coleridge! Dick Coleridge was  later Lord Coleridge  was the Administrative Head of NATO, and fortunately he gave me, as my NATO assistant, a wonderful Italian who had been in the Italian navy and helped the Italian navy  told me the whole story one time, going out from a beach onto a submarine to give over the Italian navy at the time, surrender it to the British. And he was instrumental in that, in that he was married, he was the son of an Italian Senator married to the daughter of a British Duke. So his mother was English, his father was an Italian Senator. Dick Coleridge assigned him to me and we became fast friends and saw each other up until the time he died. This man helped me no end, running these meetings and doing all those things. Wonderful. And I was forever grateful to Coleridge. He was a great supporter of what we were trying to do. And sufficient supporter to give him to me for the whole time I was there, for the whole year. So we had support from the NATO people themselves  a lot more than we had in the State Department.

Doel:

I'm sure. How much interaction did you have with Senator Henry Jackson?

Koepfli:

I had nothing to do with Pete Jackson. I met him, didn't know him personally other than “How do you do?” I saw him at dinner once someplace in Georgetown. But he had written a Jackson Report, you see.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

And so the question was, the three wise men had recommended that a task force be set up. But Jackson had already put out his report. So there was a little bit of who's doing this and who isn't business in it. But never any problem at all, never any problem.

Doel:

And you never met whoever on was on Jackson's staff who originally wrote the report or anything else?

Koepfli:

Oh, no. I mean he was supportive, no question about that.

Doel:

Yes.

Koepfli:

But the NATO thing you see was certainly because Rabi and some people like that were very much involved that we got absolutely first class people on the NATO Science Committee which was set up on our recommendation. And they really put in time. The first American was the guy that got a Nobel Prize. The Harvard physicist was the first U.S. member but them became Scientific Advisor to NATO following me. I having started the task force business. But what the hell is his name?

Doel:

That one I know too.

Koepfli:

Well, he was two years. About ten years ago he got a share of the Nobel Prize. A wonderful guy. I like him.

Doel:

Right. We'll put that in. And then Fred Seitz came on after him.

Koepfli:

Yeah. Crazy, I can't think of his name.

Doel:

It will come to you. I know it too, and I just can't come up with it. And then Bill Nierenberg was the third person then.

Koepfli:

Yes. Bill Nierenberg was fine, and I guess I had known Bill before, because he was at San Diego. He did a good job. There's no question about that. They all did. That's why the NATO thing was successful. They got good people, and people in the Academy or equivalent. Of course it's almost at the same time that you become involved in the PSAC's Science and Foreign Affairs Panel.

Koepfli:

Well, that's because of Bronk. He, Bronk chaired that.

Doel:

Right. Do remember why Bronk convened it?

Koepfli:

Because he believed in it. He was the biggest supporter of my job at State  And as I say, when he'd give speeches he'd talk about Captain Cook, and science was international.

Doel:

I was just wondering if you recalled any particular event that made it possible to organize the committee in the way that it was.

Koepfli:

You mean the PSAC committee?

Doel:

The PSAC International Science Committee.

Koepfli:

No, I think it was that Bronk was president of Johns Hopkins and had been president of the National Academy, and he was an international scientist, he'd done his graduate work at Cambridge with Lord Adrian [?], he's the eldest child of was named Adrian, and so forth and so on. And the Rockefeller Foundation people thought the world of him, and he had been on the board for years. They went to him to decide what to do with the Rockefeller's Institute for Medical Research.

Koepfli:

He recommended the graduate university. Rabi of course, Nobel Prize winner, took a big interest in it and was always supportive. And Rabi was on the PSAC thing.

Doel:

Right. Berkner was on it too, Wallace Brode, and Albert Noyes was on that as I recall. Bob Robertson was also on it too, along with Waterman.

Koepfli:

Was Waterman on it?

Doel:

Formally he's listed as being on it, according to my notes.

Koepfli:

Oh. I'm trying to think when Bob had that horrible accident and died.

Doel:

I thought it was around 1960. I might be wrong, but I'll make sure of that. That's very easy to check.

Koepfli:

Yes.

Doel:

But I'm wondering what you most recall from the discussions of the panel meetings.

Koepfli:

Well, one of the things we did and were doing our best to do was to get the Science Advisor going again at State. That's one of the things we were doing I spent a lot of time on, trying to get it going again, and I think it was during that period that we got Whitman too.

Doel:

As you mentioned, Wally Brode was appointed in 1958 as the first person in the post-Sputnik period.

Koepfli:

Yeah. And then after his was Whitman.

Doel:

Walt Whitman.

Koepfli:

Yes. And then had languished and died.

Doel:

Yes, I know. Then we had the repeat problem. One thing that I was curious about a moment ago when you mentioned that you had been responsible in part in getting Brode elected. There was a list that appeared that included as possible candidates Roger Adams and Howard Aiken, Richard Arnold, Carl Marvel and Bill Noyes and others as candidates.

Koepfli:

Well, I fought the war with these people. Carl Marvel and Roger. Roger was surely retired by that time, and Roger wasn't going to do anything like that. They were at their peak during the Second World War in research and graduate students and advising the government and God knows what. So they weren't going to go down and be Science Advisor to the State Department. No way. I'm sure I wouldn't even talk to Roger about it. I don't think. I knew him very well. I knew Carl very well. I think Carl Marvel was on the PSAC one. Maybe not, maybe not. I'm too fuzzy about that. It's a long time ago, you know. Thirty-five years.

Doel:

Yes. As I recall, one assignment or one task that all of you had was to prepare individual reports on particular problems.

Koepfli:

I don't remember that.

Doel:

There are some notes to that effect at least in the some of the surviving papers from the panel.

Koepfli:

We were pretty classified. We really didn't talk about it at the time. Everything in the President's office was confidential, at least at that level. More than restricted. I think.

Doel:

And international science was clearly a touchy or delicate issue as well.

Koepfli:

I mean, what went on in those meetings was classified, because it was in the President's office. And international science was certainly not classified. But to the extent that we were dealing within the President's office, anything was classified I think; at least confidential.

Doel:

Yes. I think that's right.

Koepfli:

Once in a while you'd get something that was secret.

Doel:

Right. Many of the records that were not then considered Top Secret have been declassified. One of the things I've been very interested in that came up by 1960 was the way in which Brode was not only being an irritant in those meetings, but advocating the position that science and scientists in the United States ought to be more subservient to the State Department's political interests as opposed to following what more internationally-minded scientists thought was the appropriate way to maintain contact.

Koepfli:

All I can tell you about Wally Brode is that I made a mistake. And I think one of the reasons was that Wally, although he had to do with UNESCO and some things like that, he was naive. And he was sufficiently naive to not just get the fact that here was a scientist sitting in the Secretary's morning conference in the Department of State with wars going on and God knows what going on in the world, and you just don't babble on about something that was of interest to you. That was I think the real thing about Wally Brode, was that he wasted their time talking minutia.

Doel:

But did you ever talk to him about this as an ideological matter, or as a philosophy of the best way of handling international science? I wonder if he ever articulated that in the International Affairs Panel, because he wrote  he published a few things, including a speech that he had made  I'll double-check it for the record  it was either his speech as President of the American Chemical Society or as President of the AAAS [pronounced "triple A-S"] in which he clearly argued that it was better for the interest of the United States if American scientists were much more aware of why certain kinds of political contacts were not good for U.S. diplomacy and that the international science should be adjusted accordingly. And Kistiakowsky felt that that was very wrong, and a number of other scientists felt that that was not the best position to take.

Koepfli:

You speak of it, it rings a bell, but I can't remember any details about it. I remember Kisty and I had no disagreements. And Kisty followed Jim  as Science Advisor to Kennedy  uh, no, Eisenhower.

Doel:

Eisenhower in the second term.

Koepfli:

And then Wiesner became president of MIT Jerry Wiesner.

Doel:

Later on, under Kennedy in the later administration.

Koepfli:

Jerry Wiesner, that's correct. When I was trying to think of the associate director for operations, I was thinking of Wisner. The CIA was Frank Wisner.

Doel:

Frank Wisner. And this was Jerry Wiesner. I'm wondering if this was something that became known among the members of the panel. But the debate that I mentioned between Brode's position - what Kisty was arguing. Kisty got a National Security Council  what was it called?

Koepfli:

A resolution?

Doel:

A resolution debated over international science and put in it the wording that the broadest international contacts were desirable because it furthered U.S. national aims in the broadest sense. And it was clearly in opposition to what Brode had been arguing from the State Department. Ultimately that was passed by the NSC. I was just wondering if that ever came up in debate.

Koepfli:

I just don't remember very much about it. It doesn't really ring a bell for me. I certainly missed very few of those meetings, I was there from the beginning until the end. Lee [?] went back as Science Advisor to Nixon for about 20 minutes.

Doel:

That's about the size of it, yes.

Koepfli:

Probably if I ruminated for a while and I read something a lot of stuff would come back to me, but it's pretty long ago.

Doel:

As you say, that's 35 years ago.

Koepfli:

Unless it's something particularly impressed itself on me at the time, it's hard for me to bring that up. I knew we were busy. We met regularly once a month.

Doel:

And pretty much everyone made it to the meetings when you had it up there.

Koepfli:

We had very good meetings. Pretty good meetings.

Doel:

One thing that Kisty wrote in a supporting document that accompanied the NSC resolution was that one solid reason for supporting international science was that it could help to democratize the Iron Curtain countries; that it could have an effect within the Soviet Union, and that it did have an effect in places like Czechoslovakia. Do you remember any discussions about that and in practice?

Koepfli:

No. You see what I associate, unfortunately, what I associate that particular period in time with was with Kisty and Jerry and those people. They were all Defense Department types, you know, basically, and they were, well, I would spend the night at the Cosmos Club  I've been a member of that since '52 or something like that  but I really started to use it when I was going to Washington a lot.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

And we'd sit there around the fire, you know, in the library, and it would be Kisty and half a dozen of these guys, and they'd talk awful much, oh so much classified stuff, because they were all concerned with the Defense Department. And that's why I made this point that when I was in Bordeaux and Chateau Lascombe for the weekend, after I'd finished my report and with me were Clark Millikan and the chief engineer of Douglas Aircraft, who was his very good friend. And we were both there for the harvest, at the request of some mutual friends. And went around and saw a lot of Chateaux. And that's when I got a telephone call from Paris, from NATO, saying, “Where's that science guy?”

Doel:

That was Spaak who was saying that, wasn't it?

Koepfli:

You know, and I said, "Well, the Secretary General if he wants me he can send a plane for me, because there's no train." There was only a train three times a week. And no planes, only a train. Oh, then I said, “What's all the fuss about?” “Well, the Russians have set up something, they've got something in orbit called”

Doel:

The Sputnik.

Koepfli:

Sputnik! And then I got a telephone call from Washington, “Where is Clark Millikan?!” Well, I said, “He's in Spain.” “What's he doing?” I said, “He's on a bus. He's taking a bus tour with his friend from Douglas Aircraft. They're doing a bus tour.” Well, Clark was chairman of the DOD's committee on rockets. And so they finally got Clark. Of course it was all too late. The principal thing was that what really happened was, it's my understanding, and I told him in Paris, “Look,”  on the telephone  I said, “Tell the Secretary General that I'm sure if he gets the American Ambassador to find out what the President is doing that the President will have good scientific advice on this.” As a matter of fact, the President got Berkner in. And Berkner said, “My advice, Mr. President, is that you congratulate them on getting this little basketball up in the sky.” Because, as a matter of fact, as Berkner explained, we were planning on putting up one about the same time because there was the International Geophysical Year, and we were going to put one up in celebration of the International Geophysical Year! But we didn't understand the PR that the Russians got out of it, so we didn't do it first. But we were putting weather satellites up. Well, we didn't put weather satellites I guess, I mean we were putting weather satellites when we didn't put photography satellites up until 1960 when  the beginning of the Kennedy Administration's — when... 

Doel:

When you first began to have the recoverable satellites with the film packets? 

Koepfli:

That's right. And that also returned the information constantly. And before that, it was simply weather satellites. So we could get them up there, but didn't realize what the PR was. So that was Berkner's advice, and that's what the White House did, congratulated the Russians on this achievement.

Doel:

There's something else on the panel that interests me. It's about the same period of time, the late '50s, that there's the first real stirring of interest in aiding science within Latin America and the sub-Sahara Africa, the recognition of interest in regions where science had simply not been seen as strong. It's not for instance where the embassies had had the science attaches. Do you remember who was principally interested in pushing science in Latin America and science in sub-Sahara Africa and ?

Koepfli:

No. I think, oh, the Columbia Nobel Prize winner.

Doel:

Rabi?

Koepfli:

I think Rabi was as much of a vociferous pusher as anybody that I remember.

Doel:

Right.

Koepfli:

Continually. Anything that he had to do with, he pushed for that.

Doel:

Ray Seeger from the NSF seemed to be interested in that issue too. He was the assistant director under Waterman.

Koepfli:

Seeger?

Doel:

Seeger.

Koepfli:

No. I'm trying to think of the chap that got I think under Allan [?] got me into the NATO business. I'm trying to think of his name. But he ran all the chemistry stuff.

Doel:

Chemistry programs?

Koepfli:

Programs. I've got his name down. It's just one of those things. I cannot retrieve it.

Doel:

We'll get it in.

Koepfli:

And nothing we've talked about has allowed me to. I'll have to get a book out.

Doel:

We'll make sure it gets in there.

Koepfli:

I'll have to get a book out.

Doel:

Was there any contact that you remember between your panel and the international cooperative administration, that agency that was in charge of that development?

Koepfli:

Not that I remember.

Doel:

Much of that seems to be in the Kennedy Administration, when it becomes AID and when it really begins to grow. That's hopeful. One or two last quick questions. Had you much involvement when Joseph Platt began his survey of science in UNESCO?

Koepfli:

I recommended Joe. I saw him about, oh, about a month ago. I had dinner with him. I told Joe, and he said, “I never knew. If you ever told me that, I've forgotten it.” I recommended him for the guy to go to Taiwan. And he went over spent almost a year in Taiwan. Then he stayed with it, and all the way along on the Taiwan thing. I had gotten to know him in Washington through something that he was doing on UNESCO. And for the life of me, I can't pin it down. And somebody came to me and said, “Who could we get to go on an advisory scientific mission to Taiwan?” And I said, “Well, Joe Platt's a physicist and he's interested in those things,” because I knew he was giving time to UNESCO, and that's the reason I suggested him. Of course it made a big difference in his life. That's why he's said, “Well, I knew that you had been the one that got me started on the [???].” I said, “Well, all I remember was that I gave your name as a possibility for the Taiwan thing.” And he spent a long, long time on it  before he became president Harvey Mudd.

Doel:

How effective did the science organization within UNESCO seem to you in the 1950s?

Koepfli:

I thought they were hopeless. None of his things he wanted to do were anything I was interested in or my fellow national commissioner. This Berkeley guy and I, spent two years on the National Commission and then ended up recommending we get the hell out of UNESCO and not spend money on it, because money wasn't being spent the way UNESCO was meant to be spent! And that guy lasted on for quite a little while. I can't think of his name. Never knew him, never met him.

Doel:

But UNESCO's science component had already seemed pretty troubling to you back in the '50s in the, throughout that whole decade.

Koepfli:

Absolutely useless as far as we were concerned. Certainly had no respect for it. That's a bureaucracy. You see, I mean speaking frankly, NATO and UNESCO and WHO and United Nations, they were places that politicians who were at the top could shunt somebody off and get 'em out of the way. They would be taken care of career-wise, they'd have retirement, they'd have all those things. They were either in their way or they didn't want to fire them, and yet didn't want them and they would shoot 'em off to  And that used to be  I don't want to be on paper on this, we can just rub it out. But that was the reputation that NATO and UNESCO and United Nations had. That it's a place a top diplomat who you don't want to have as cabinet officer in England, your foreign policy minister, you sent him off as ambassador to UNESCO or ambassador to NATO. Now some damn good people went. For example Perkins was ambassador to NATO when I was doing my job, and he was a brother-in-law of George Merck, American Coal. And Perkins had been an Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and he knew what the hell he was doing, and he was a damn good NATO ambassador in Paris. Also Jim  I think Jimmy Reinhart was for a year or so U.S. Ambassador to NATO in Paris. He had been ambassador to Vietnam at one time, and then ended up in Italy with six years of ambassador to Rome. But the bureaucracy was considered to be places where they were going up in their own country and they get this far, and then they get sent off there and I don't think I'm being unkind about that. It was just my impression, and a very lasting impression of what a great many people rightly or wrongly thought. This wasn't a career for any of us, you see, but there were career people. I must say that I don't know where NATO's going now. I think the enlargement of NATO and what has happened in the Balkans is just terrible. I think it's detracted from NATO in every way. I don't want to get off on that.

Doel:

That'll be another story in itself. There are a few things I just wanted to ask, and I think we've been going on for a while and probably should wrap this session up. Overall, I'm wondering what the strongest impression is that you had of the change between the Eisenhower and the Kennedy Administration towards International Science Policy.

Koepfli:

Well, see unfortunately I knew Jack Kennedy when he was a Senator. I knew him socially. And you couldn't help but like the guy, you know. He was an extremely charming, likeable man. Did I vote for him or for Nixon? I can't remember. I knew Nixon very well for a long time, and I knew that Nixon was extremely knowledgeable internationally and he had a first class mind, a terribly flawed character with a very first class mind. I remember up at the Bohemian Grove one time he was guest for the weekend in my camp. Hoover used to do it on a middle Saturday by the lake, be given about a 30-minute talk called the “lakeside.” The Saturday was for the most important person in the grove. It could be a Supreme Court Justice, it could be the Premier Schmidt of Germany, or what have you. And Nixon was just out as Vice President and had not run for Governor yet, and he was to give the lakeside the next day, Saturday. As I ...saw him sitting on the deck of our camp with a legal pad under an umbrella under the trees scribbling, and went out about 1:30, quarter to 2:00, and came back about 4 o'clock and he was still in the same position, still scribbling. The next day he came down, and I went to it of course, and he gave in about 35 minutes as fine a summation of our foreign policy and our problems and where we were than I'd ever heard! Clear, concise, never looked at a note. Of course he'd written the whole goddamned thing out the night before, the day before. And gave it. Very impressive. So I knew that about Nixon. Jack I knew as a charming guy. I don't think Eisenhower was a politician, and most people would say that Eisenhower had put Dulles in as his foreign man and stood behind him. Well, I think Foster Dulles was a disaster, as far as I'm concerned. I think that Kennedy was a disaster to this extent: He allowed himself on the Bay of Pigs to be talked out of supporting it by Stevenson  who was UN ambassador at the time  and by a guy who was Secretary of State and I've known. He was an Assistant Secretary when I was in the State Department. I used to have lunch with him three or four times a week. A southerner, I can't think of his name at the moment. He was Kennedy's first Secretary of State. What Kennedy should have done was called it quits! Call it all off, stop it. But instead, he would not allow U.S. aircraft be used  to support. And so it was death and destruction for these poor bastards, you know. And then they went ashore and got killed. And I never forgave him for that. So that's something that Eisenhower would not have done, and as far as international things are concerned, Eisenhower was very sympathetic, all for it, because after all he'd been as international as anybody could be, and I think Jack Kennedy had a feel for it and that's why he had worked to get real support for foreign service officers to be able to get a top job, which up until he did it they couldn't do it. So I think he was  I can't make a distinction between the two, but I think his Bay of Pigs thing was a disaster, and I think if he had been more mature or something he would not have done that. Otherwise I don't think I've got very much comment.

Doel:

You didn't see much difference operating initially on PSAC or on the international efforts for instance.

Koepfli:

No. I didn't see really any difference. I think Kennedy certainly had a reputation for being an internationalist, but I don't think he understood the Russians very well, I really don't, and Eisenhower did. And for example the summer that I was in Moscow for a month when Chip was ambassador, the honeymoon was on. Chip took me, and Davis took me to the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic or whatever they called it. A marvelous embassy. I’ve never seen such a place. I met Khrushchev [misspelled on spelling list] and all the rest of them. And as Chip explained to me, it was the first time. Because Eisenhower and Khrushchev had met in Geneva the summer before, and it was the "honeymoon" is what they called it in which for the first time people from the West would circulate in the Iron Curtain embassies and back and forth with each other. I was there the month of June, and it lasted until October when the Russians moved into Hungary. There was the end. So there was just one year, a sort of honeymoon there, and but Eisenhower understood the Russians. I'm not sure that Kennedy did.

Doel:

That's an interesting comment.

Koepfli:

I wouldn't fight about it.

Doel:

Yes.

Koepfli:

He didn't last long enough, poor old Jack Kennedy, but I don't think he had what Eisenhower did. No way. And Nixon, except for his flawed character, was damned good. But no question he had a flawed character. I knew him reasonably well.

Doel:

It was mostly social?

Koepfli:

Well, yes, and for example, when he was president he wanted to go to, at the music center in Los Angeles he wanted to go to a music opera that was going on, and Mrs. Chandler

Doel:

Of the LA Times?

Koepfli:

 Of the LA Times. Buff, Mrs. Chandler called me up and said, “Well, you're the president of the founders of the music center, so you've got to be the one to be the host to Nixon.” And I said, “Well, he wouldn't remember me. I [???] at the grove, and so has Norman, your husband, but I” And she says, “Well, you've got to be. That's the job you have at the present time. You're president of the Founders,” somebody had to do it. At any rate, we stood out about 6 o'clock in the afternoon on the steps by the music center where the limousines came up. A limousine drove up and Nixon and his daughter got out, because Mrs. Nixon had a cold and couldn't come at the last minute. And the daughter came. And he walked forward and said hello to Buff, and she said, “You know Norm, and,” “Oh Joe! How are you?” you know. Boy, what a politician. And he said, “I haven't seen you since that airplane ride we had down from the grove.” I was really amazed, you know, that sort of a political memory. And so I saw him then, and had to introduce everybody to him. I had somebody staying by him to say who's coming. I'll tell you about him, what I feel is that I don't think he dreamed up or okayed the bad time in Washington. I don't think he knew anything about that they were going to do a chicken job of listening to, breaking into a Democratic office and getting something. I don't think anybody cleared it with him or anything. He's too smart to have had such a stupid thing done. But of course he shouldn't have dealt with it the way he did, and that's where the flawed character is. But he was a very able cookie. One of the ablest I think, intellectually. Had a great grasp, and a quick learner, and to write these damn things out that afternoon. He wrote there for two hours and then produced a half hour just marvelous. So I had a lot of use for him in that way. And I think he and Kissinger opened up China, and to the extent that they did I think they were damned good. But as far as anything in science is concerned since those days, I know practically nothing. Bill Scranton was out here for a couple of months every winter, and sent me a tape. They had a Channel Island Club here, and a man by the name of, I think his name is Wheelan  I've only met him once, he's on the Board of Trustees of Caltech  I met him up here just at a luncheon incidentally. I know he lives up here now, and he was president of Hughes Aircraft. And before that he had been the scientific guy at the CIA and he gave this talk  sometime in March or April  at the Channel Island Club up here, which my friend Bill Scranton had attended and thought I would be interested. So he got a tape of it and sent it to me. I was highly interested, because particularly  and I'm going to call Wheelan sometime, take him to lunch and really get the dates straight, because Kennedy got him, and he ran the whole CIA weather satellite business and spent I think a total of six years in Washington. And then became president of Hughes. What he said in this lecture was that they did not have those weather satellites  I mean those photographic satellites  until the Kennedy Administration when he was running it out of CIA. And so my interest was that knowing Caltech and when Carmen the Goo [?] were there and (???) Slab [?] and Clark Millikan having been successor to  and a very dear friend of mine  that in '57 when Sputnik went up, that we could have put one up. And Clark always told me, “We could have put one up. We were going to put it up sometime during the Geophysical Year!” And so there must have been a very big difference between putting up a weather satellite and the photographic travelling satellites, of one helluva big difference I guess. And Perkin-Elmer I guess did all the opticals for the photography and screwed up the Hubble Space Telescope. Oh boy. It was something.

Doel:

That's all interesting. One of the questions that we always ask that I don't think is in the Elizabeth Hodes interview is whether there have been any strong philosophical or religious feelings that you feel have played an important role in your career, and in this case it would be both your scientific and your broader professional career that we've been talking about today.

Koepfli:

I'm sorry to say that am an agnostic. I think people who make flat statements don't know what the hell they're talking about. Too many possibilities that we don't know about. So from a religious point of view. Actually I was never baptized, but I don't think I was brought up  Certainly, you know, "Now I lay me down to sleep," and my mother was an Episcopalian. Certainly a member of the church. My father's family up to his father were Catholics in Switzerland, but he broke with the Catholic Church, and the grandfather founded the place and he would conduct it at his house on Sunday morning a meeting from 10:00 to 12:00, but read philosophical stuff. Philosophical stuff. At any rate, I would say I knew a lot about religion because I was presented to Pope Pious the Tenth when I was about 7 years old, kissed the papal ring and all that stuff, but I don't think it's had any great effect on my life or anything. And I had a wonderful professor of philosophy at Stanford that I took a number of philosophy classes from, and the crazy thing is that it turns out at the end that he had become a Communist. I never had a clue about it until after this. And if he hadn't gotten a coronary and died in his early '60s he would have been probably fired from Stanford. But he had a lot of influence on me as a kid, and I think my father had the greatest influence on me. My father was an internationalist and he was educated for six years from 9 to 15 in Geneva, Switzerland in private school which in the '80s a lot of people went to. It's like Parose(?) is now. And international sort of school, and he was trilingual and he spoke French, German and English and later pretty good Italian. He was a damned good linguist, which I am not. And I think my father had the biggest  For example, I came back from  did I tell you this?  I came back from Oxford in 1928, the first time I could vote for President, and I said to my father, “Who are you going to vote for?” and he said, “I'm going to vote Al Smith(?).” I told you this?

Doel:

You mentioned this at lunch. You might want to continue just to save it.

Koepfli:

Yeah. Well he said, “I'm going to vote for Al Smith,” and I said, “Why? That Tammany Hall guy?” and he said, “Because Prohibition is the worst thing that ever happened to this country, and he's strongly for appeal of Prohibition and your Mr. Herbert Hoover won't take a position.” Well, I explained to Father that Mr. Herbert Hoover couldn't take a position because Mrs. Hoover was a strong Prohibitionist  strong, strong Prohibitionist. So Mr. Hoover always had his Old-Fashioned before dinner. But she was a Prohibitionist, so he couldn't take any stand on it. At any rate, I had great respect for my dad, and we were close fortunately, and I think if I have any virtues I got them, any idea of virtues, I think I got them mostly from my father. He didn't usually go along with the crowd. He did some pretty independent thinking. For example, Al Smith. I would be shocked [laughs]. And I said to him one time, “Dad, what are you? You voted for Roosevelt the first time and you voted for Al Smith and yet  What are you?” and he said, “I think I'm a Cleveland Democrat.” And he apparently, Mr. Cleveland, after his first term he was being asked by his Secretary to sign and then take along a bill, and he put that and say, “Oh, you're not that now, so you don't have to do that now,” and he said, “What is it?” And he said, “Well, it's something you know it would embarrass you greatly if you did it,” and he said it's such and such. Cleveland said, “Did the Administration back it?” “Yes, sir.” “Give it here,” and he signed it. And it was defeated. My father said he was a man of principle.

Doel:

Yes. You put it I think quite well. Well, I want to thank you very much for this long session.

Koepfli:

I'm sorry I'm not sharper and I'm sorry my memory isn't better.

Doel:

Truly I think you've done marvelously. And I want to just put on the tape that we will not release the tape or the transcript that will be made from it without your express knowledge and approval as defined by the permission forms that we will be sending you governing the use of the interview.

Koepfli:

I respect that and appreciate it, and I don't think I've done anything that I would  I can only think of one thing I might [tape turned off—end of interview]