Oral History Transcript — Richard Garwin
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Interview with Richard Garwin
Aaserud:We're going to pick up where we left off the last time. The last time, we started with your PSAC involvement, and went on a little bit on that. I would like to pick up the thread there. We were talking about, I think, the mode of working in PSAC, or that's the heading that I have on my card here anyway. And we were talking a little bit about the nature of the meetings, how often the meetings were, and things like that. We have also talked a little bit about specific topics that you worked with in PSAC.
Garwin:Do you have the previous transcript there?
Aaserud:Yes, I do.
Garwin:OK, why don't you look at that, and I will try to make sure I don't repeat too much. I was just speaking last Friday, June 5th, at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, and they had several previous Presidential Science Advisors or members of the President's Science Advisory Committee. Phil Smith from the National Academy of Sciences, who had worked with Frank Press — not only there but in the Office of Science and Technology — was there. They have even published a book of synopses (by Kenneth W. Thompson) of what these people said. Phil Smith calls the days in which I was on PSAC "the glory days of PSAC," and suggests that it's unrealistic to believe that a time of national emergency like that, and the ascendancy of science, could ever be returned to. But I must say I disagree with him. I think that a President who really wanted to do his job could very well have such a committee. It doesn't take any of his time, and it would be a very good bit of insurance as well as a help.
Aaserud:During your period in PSAC — you started in 1962, I believe — what was the access to and the communication with the President like? Do you have examples of that during that time — lows, highs?
Garwin:Well, there was very little communication from the committee to the President or back. We might meet with the President once every couple of years for a meeting that was largely ceremonial. We would report then what we were doing. The President would give us his concerns. But really the communication went through the Science Advisor to the President and back. The exception was in 1962, I think before I was a member of PSAC, at the time of the Starfish explosion, the Dominic test series, in which we had our 1.4 megaton explosion at 400 kilometers or so. That injected so many fission product electrons into the Van Allen belt that the radio astronomers were complaining. But worse, several satellites died from the effect of the enhanced radiation on their solar cells. The Telstar satellite of Bell Labs, I believe, was put up a few days after that, and measured some of the electron densities. There was a Canadian satellite that died, and there was a Soviet manned space mission in orbit at the time. I had to go to Washington for two weeks because Panofsky, who had been involved in the certification and analysis of this test, was away, and look into very urgently what would be the effect on this Soviet manned space mission, as well as on our future in space. And when I did that, and had spent about a week at such things. We decided that the radiation dose to the cosmonauts, even going through the South Atlantic anomaly where radiation is higher because the magnetic field lines dip closer to the earth's surface, would not be excessive, and we had thought of various ways of sweeping the electrons if necessary over the years or decades. Jerry Wiesner took me to see President Kennedy, and so I spent half an hour with President Kennedy at that time — the only time I had seen him alone. Then we met in similar fashion I guess with President Johnson a couple of times and President Nixon. There wasn't much difference from President to President in the frequency with which the whole committee saw the President. But there is a big difference with Science Advisors, some of whom hardly ever saw the President alone, some of whom had weekly meetings. Jerry Wiesner had a very close relationship with President Kennedy, as did George Kistiakowsky with Eisenhower.
Aaserud:And that is what counts, of course.
Garwin:That's what counts, yes, but in addition, it's not just what you tell the President. In fact, it's not so much what you tell the President that determines the effectiveness of the committee, but it is whether the President gives even a nod to encouraging the committee to involve itself in the affairs of government, not to direct anybody, but simply to inquire of people.
Aaserud:How different were the different Presidents in that respect?
Garwin:Well, Eisenhower specifically needed the committee to look after the colonels in the Defense Department — the colonels who had pet projects and who would support things with funds without concern for whether there were alternatives, or the actual feasibility of what they were supporting. So he knew that he needed help in running the Defense Department, and it had to be done from outside the Defense Department. In the Kennedy Administration — and Johnson Administration, I guess — there were various Secretaries of Defense, Robert McNamara primarily. And he also was not averse to meeting with the President's Science Advisor. There was a Tuesday morning breakfast, as I remember, every week, between Don Hornig for instance and Robert McNamara. But McNamara was a personally very competitive sort, and he would enjoy showing Hornig how much more he, McNamara, knew about anything than Hornig, which made it difficult, for instance, to go to a meeting with McNamara and to bring an aide or a member of a PSAC panel who might be able to contribute expertise. Hornig would, as I recall, just have to go with what he could remember from the reports and meetings and discussions. I didn't think that was particularly a way to run the government's business, but it was in part McNamara's fault for insisting on this mode of operation. I think I may have mentioned that the one case in which we did things the way I thought they should be done, was with the President's Science Advisory Committee Military Aircraft Panel, which I chaired. We had done a study on the CX-HLS, that is Cargo Experimental Heavy Lift Support aircraft, which was to become the C-5 aircraft. McNamara wanted to know whether this would really be feasible, because he was not about to buy the Air Force just the largest aircraft in the world, which was clearly the reason why the Air Force wanted it. So first he had his systems analysis group under Alain Enthoven work with the Air Force, and point out to the Air Force that there had to be some mission for this aircraft.
Aaserud:Was that a group directly under McNamara?
Garwin:Yes. It was his greatest innovation coming into the Pentagon, to bring in not only a comptroller but a system analysis group, which was initially under Charles Hitch, and then under Alain Enthoven; Enthoven was a terror in the Pentagon. These were called the Whiz Kids. And of course when they worked with the Air Force, the first thing that happened was that they showed the Air Force how to find a mission for this aircraft. The Air Force would say, well, you know, the Army has a lot of divisional equipment that it has to transport. I expect that the systems analysts sat down with them and said, "Let's be quantitative about this. How many tons are there? What is the distribution in size? How big a volume does the aircraft have, a cube, so to speak, compared with its weight capacity?" — and what not. But once the systems analysts had done this negotiation with the Air Force, and the Air Force provided a kind of joint definition of the mission, systems analysis was locked in. So in this case the Military Aircraft Panel was brought in by the President's staff. I remember Vince McRae was our executive secretary of the Military Aircraft Panel. We had the White Papers, the Draft Presidential Memoranda ("DPM") that McNamara would send over, which had rather detailed descriptions of the various budget categories including airlift and sealift, which is where this one was. We were of course to look at the technical aspects of the — call it C-5. So we did, and we found no difficulties making an airplane which was twice as big as any airplane that had ever been made before. There were no guarantees we would do it right the first time, but no fundamental difficulties. And the interesting thing, of course, is that of the two principal bidders, Boeing Corporation and Lockheed, Lockheed got the contract for the C-5, and built the airplane, which came in much over cost, and with wings which were inadequate and had to be replaced at least twice, I believe, whereas Boeing, the loser, had made its preliminary bid, was turned down, and took its designs and made a commercial aircraft out of it, namely the 747, which was a very great success, which they delivered at fixed price to the airline customers. Which just shows that if you want to get things on time and at the right price and efficiently, you don't do it through the government, although the government is quite good at getting people to think about various programs.
Aaserud:The idea came from that task.
Garwin:Oh yes, that's right. So we looked at it technically. But then we looked at the suitability for the mission, and we decided that the airplane would never be used in the way that it was proposed. It had a five million dollar radar in every aircraft with dual frequencies for imaging airfields where the airplane might want to land, to make sure there were no fence posts sticking up in this soft field, and that was unnecessary. Why was this airplane necessary at all compared with the Lockheed C-l4l, a smaller airplane, smaller diameter? We looked at the divisional equipment and found that it would be far preferable to pre-stock the rather small number of earth movers and things like that multiply around the world, rather than carry them in this airplane, and to have other equipment break down into smaller pieces. The clincher in that regard was the soft-soil landing capability of the airplane, California bearing ratio 5, CBR 5 soil, which the C-141 simply couldn't do. The way that the C-5 got this soft-soil capability was to have in-flight deflation of tires; so the airplane would take off from the concrete runway fully loaded, and by the time it got to the theater where it was to deliver its equipment, its tires would have lower pressure in them. They would have automatic deflation of the tires, and then those tires would not go so far into the earth, and the airplane could land on softer earth. So we asked the Air Force how much it would cost to have in-flight deflation of tires done for the C-141. They somehow couldn't answer this question for many, many months, until after the decision was made to build the C-5. Then it turned out to be a negligible cost, like $50,000 per aircraft, compared with like 50 million dollars per aircraft to build a C-5. Furthermore, the benefit is not determined by the one airplane that gets there first; that is, the airplane is not expendable, it's reusable. The task of the airplane was to move the equipment of five to eight divisions to Europe, as I remember, in a month. A month is much longer than it takes to get ships from any place to any other place, so why is an airplane preferable to ships? In fact, we showed by inserting the ship as an aircraft which moved at 25 knots and was based at a fictional airfield off the Cocos Islands in the East Indian Ocean or wherever, that ships were a factor 7 cheaper, even including buying two sets of ships and two sets of additional divisional equipment — one set of ships based in the Atlantic, one set of ships based in this region west of Southeast Asia. We could deliver all of the equipment in ten days any place in the world, instead of in a month. So finally, as our mode of operation, we wrote our report. We presented it to the committee, the PSAC. We had some comments or criticisms from them. We rewrote the report. Then we had a special session before the President's Science Advisory Committee, where Charles Hitch, the comptroller of the Defense Department, and Harold Brown, who was the Secretary of the Air Force at that time, came in. They had been provided with the report, and they were supposed to argue why the aircraft should be built. And here the Military Aircraft Panel was arguing that it shouldn't be built, that we should have these FDL, Fast Deployment Logistic Ships, instead. The quality of that argument is best illustrated by Charlie Hitch, after about an hour, getting up and stamping to the door of this enormous room in the Old Executive Office Building, turning around and saying, "I still say airplanes are better," and leaving. In fact, Charles Hitch is a very competent nice man, but airplanes weren't better, and the Secretary of the Air Force, Harold Brown, was reduced to saying, "Look, no weapon has ever been used for the purpose for which it was built." That's a fine reason for the Secretary of Defense, McNamara's Defense Department, to build this thing! Finally, the Congress was very much against the FDL ships. It was Senator Richard Russell, I believe, from Georgia, where Lockheed was; Lockheed, Georgia, was to build the C-5. He argued that we didn't want these ships because they were too cheap and they would give us too good a way of moving military equipment, so we would intervene in fights where we had no business intervening. But of course that's exactly the purpose of the airplane! In fact, after the C-5 program was approved, some people in the Congress did have some enthusiasm for the FDL ships, but I don't think they were ever built. The reason is that they are just too cheap, and people who want aircraft, for whatever reason, aren't about to allow it to be demonstrated that FDL ships are better. It was systems analysis which eventually got religion and did propose these ships in the next year's budget.
Aaserud:This same group?
Garwin:The same group. I think by then Congress was against it. So that was one example. Other examples: In the Vietnam activities, we had a panel that met two days a month with everybody from Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard on down to the Marine major or lieutenant colonel who was in charge of development of laser target designators. We tried to understand the data that people were getting on the effectiveness of the operations in Vietnam — how one might improve those capabilities, how one might better assess what was going on. In fact, a study of the bombing of North Vietnam was done by the Military Aircraft Panel and the Vietnam Panel, and a parallel study by another group under Gordon MacDonald who was also a Jason.
Aaserud:Also a PSAC group?
Garwin:The other group was not a PSAC group. The other group was a group associated with the Institute for Defense Analysis.
Garwin:No, it was a special study for a few weeks of the bombing of North Vietnam. Those were very influential in demonstrating that for the same effort, one could do a better job of interdicting the flow of supplies if one kept the bombing below, I forget the parallel, but limited to the panhandle of North Vietnam, and not to the populated areas. Those studies did have the effect of McNamara and Johnson calling off the bombing of most of North Vietnam.
Aaserud:When was this?
Garwin:Oh, I don't know. 1968 February, I think.
Garwin:Then there were various other things. For instance, much more technical things — to look at the proposed new helicopters, and to evaluate their capability, to look at cruise missiles. We tried to persuade the Army and the Air Force to build armed cruise missiles, non-reusable, rather than airplanes, and to use them for everything from air defense to attack on ground targets. Bud Zumwalt, who had been the liaison officer between the Department of Defense and the Submarine Warfare, Naval Warfare Panel that I chaired, was a captain, then. He went off to Vietnam to command the brown water navy, and he came back as Chief of Naval Operations. He and I had been enthusiastic about the Captor mine, that is the Mark-46 anti-submarine torpedo, which would be encapsulated and held vertically submerged, automatically looking out for submarines and shooting them when they came within lethal range. The Captor mine and the cruise missile were two of our favorite systems. Zumwalt, when he came to be Chief of Naval Operations, was the one who authorized and initiated the Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missile program, which then became the air-launched cruise missile program for the Air Force, much against the desires of the Air Force, which wanted instead the B-1 bomber. So we had a lot of influence. There were other panels, of chemical warfare. There was a biological warfare panel under Ivan Bennett or maybe Paul Doty. At a critical period in 1969, at a time when people would not have thought that we could have been disaffected with the new Nixon Administration, Henry Kissinger was very dubious about scientists being involved in such things, and sent two young lawyer types to watch us very carefully on this Biological Warfare Panel. One of them, Walter Slocombe, now of course very well known, and the other one was Barry Carter, at one time McNamara's son-in-law. Eventually these people (who were also very negative), saw that we were really trying to do a respectable job. Kissinger obviously had told them, "this is just a bunch of liberal scientists." Like a kind of miracle, our report to the President resulted in his unilaterally abandoning biological weapons, much against the advice of many people who said that if the United States does this, it will lose whatever bargaining power it has to bring the Soviets to abandon their BW capabilities. They said, what the United States ought to do is to develop very good biological weapons to show that we are stronger and superior to the Soviet Union, and that's the only way that they will be willing to give it up, when they see that we are ahead. Now, in fact, the clearest counter-argument to that logic is the experience of this BW panel and the fact that very soon after Nixon unilaterally abandoned biological warfare, and even research on offensive BW weapons, the Soviet Union and we negotiated and signed a treaty, first bilateral, which most of the nations of the world have now signed. That was a very good thing. I tried to get Kissinger and Nixon — I wrote Kissinger at the time of the second Nixon campaign in 1972 — to use that as a triumph of their first administration. They never said a word about it. I think it just doesn't go well with their normal constituency.
Aaserud:But Nixon gave you an ear this early in his presidency.
Garwin:He did this, and he asked in fact about toxins. We said, "You know, we have to tell you that these toxins, that is, the materials produced by bacteria, very powerful poisons, are not biological. They're of biological origin but they're chemical, and we have no doubt that those precise compounds can be made chemically, synthetically." Nixon made the policy choice of including toxins in the BW treaty, that is, biologically produced bacterial warfare and toxins (whether synthetic or natural).
Aaserud:Did you have internal problems as well in communicating your views? Were there other groups that competed with you within the government?
Garwin:No, BW and CW are not very popular, except with the Army. Of course in this administration you've had Amoretta Hoeber in the Department of the Army who has been a fan for decades of biological and chemical weapons. But most people don't like them, so it wasn't so hard as when there's something which people really like, like fighter airplanes or whatever. It was really a good time. There were some things that we missed, and some where we had differences on the committee, but for the most part, once one looks at a problem together with people committed to understanding it, and having everybody say what they have to say, the course of action is pretty clear. Sometimes the President wouldn't do it, maybe didn't understand it. I remember in the discussion of energy problems, we had a set of reports on the future of energy and what to do about US oilfields and imports from the Far East. My strong recommendation (perhaps in 1969) was that we should provide a couple of billion dollars in government money to drill up the oil fields, the known reserves, and put in gathering pipelines, the whole thing adequate to supply all of the US needs. Then we should cap those, close the valves, so that we would draw on cheaper foreign oil wherever it could be obtained. But we would eliminate the power that the suppliers would have of reducing supply and increasing price and causing emergencies or whatever. We never did that. In fact, people couldn't see that it would be worth the couple of billion dollars it would have cost. But it was worth hundreds of billions of dollars to do that.
Aaserud:There were no technical problems involved in that?
Garwin:No, I don't think so.
Aaserud:It was feasible but it was never tried?
Garwin:It was not tried. Not even considered. And then of course, truth told, there are a lot of domestic producers who like it far better when the price goes way up, and they can sell their products for more. I could tell you forever about our PSAC panels. One of the most important was the panel under Edwin Land, which was not strictly a PSAC panel, but worked for the President's Science Advisor and studied questions of satellite reconnaissance and verification. And that was very important in making choices of technology and providing confidence that these things that were built over the years would in fact work.
Aaserud:We could go on for a long time with projects that you remember.
Garwin:Well, President Johnson for instance said about Edwin Land, this was quoted in LIFE MAGAZINE, that the value of this intelligence was such that it more than paid for the entire space program, military and civilian; that we were doing things that we didn't need to do, and learned only through the satellite information that we didn't need to worry about some of the Soviet threats. So, for such things, for instance, which helped eliminate the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, US Air Force program, simply because we could do things better without people aboard satellites than with.
Aaserud:Yes. So are these, have you mentioned ones you've been involved in that you think are the most important ones or would you rate things in this way or how is that?
Garwin:Well, I think the ones which were the most interesting and most important were the Land Panel, where, I can't really talk about the technical aspects of it, — the Military Aircraft Panel, with the C-5 aircraft, and the attempt to get Cruise missiles, and the arguments over the B-1 Bomber, the AMSA at the time. For instance, typically the Air Force would come in and say, "The Soviet air defense is going to be such, " this was 1965, or '66, " that in 1970, the B-52 aircraft will not be able to penetrate Soviet strategic air defenses, and we need a new manned strategic aircraft, one which will go not at Mach .55, like the B-52 at low altitude, but at Mach .85, and besides the B-52 won't fly beyond the year 1970 because its wings are falling off from metal fatigue." And so we had the Air Force come back, and tell us how maybe by giving the aircraft a gentler ride, by changing the autopilot, the wings would last longer. And sure enough, by making a few-cent modification in the autopilot, to change the control authority, the wings last a very long time. And we didn't understand why surface-to-air missiles, which go at Mach 3 or Mach 5, couldn't catch the B-1, the advanced manned strategic aircraft in those days, as well as the B-52. Would they please show us? So they came back the next month, and they showed us their analysis, which assumed that a B-52 and a B-1 would equally well be detected by the radar at the same distance, then they would cross the region of radar observation, a circle, and have a missile launched at them, but the B-1 would leave the circle before the missile could reach it, and the B-52 would not, thereby accounting for this big difference in survivability of the B-1. But how can that be true when the missile goes at Mach 3 or Mach 5? Well, the Air Force had assumed that the SAX 70, the Soviet surface-to-air missile which they would have in the 1970s, would take 45 seconds to launch, after the radar detected the aircraft. Well, right then in Vietnam the Soviets were, the Vietnamese were launching Soviet made SA 2 missiles within five seconds after radar detection of the aircraft, and they would have had to go way backwards in capability to have a 45 second delay, but it turned out that 45 seconds was just enough to allow this distinction to be made between B-1 and B-52 survivability. So that sort of thing helps make the decision that you don't build an advanced manned strategic aircraft, and that detailed insight which other people don't have the time or maybe the talent for then helps the Defense Department, not just the President. It never gets to the level of the President.
Aaserud:Yes, was that a conscious, I mean a self-serving— ?
Garwin:Yes, it certainly was. In fact, the same thing happened in the Ford Administration. And this is usually done in the service, that is, in the Air Force or even in a project office in the Air Force, and not in the Defense Department and certainly not by the administration as a whole, but my testimony on the B-1 versus the Cruise missile in 1975 or 1976, when I testified with Colonel Wood, Arch Wood, against Pete Aldridge from systems analysis at the time, and General Robert Lukeman. They had a secret joint strategic bombing study, and the question was, B-1 or Cruise missiles for the future. A cruise missile carrier, if you needed a new airplane eventually. Their analysis of the worth of Cruise missile carriers and mine were very different. It turned out that I had assumed that the Cruise missiles could all be fired on 15 second intervals, so an airplane that had 20 Cruise missiles would take five minutes to launch, to empty. And when they were asked at my urging by a member of the House Armed Services Committee what assumption they had made, they said, an hour to launch all the Cruise missiles from the airplane, during which time the Cruise missile carrier was flying parallel to the borders of the Soviet Union and being shot down by long range airplanes. So they needed a lot more and a lot bigger Cruise missile carriers than I did, because of this assumption. So they were asked, is that the only assumption you made? And they said, no, alternatively it would take two hours. So I later met somebody who resigned from systems analysis in the Defense Department, over exactly that point. They had done the analysis, an honest analysis comparing B-1s and Cruise missiles, and they had the same result that I did, and then they were told that that result was not acceptable, and they shouldn't lie about it but they should change the assumptions, the secret assumptions. So what would happen if you assumed it took a whole hour to launch a plane load of Cruise missiles? And that's how it goes. I've written about it. Of course, there aren't very many people in high places who read such history.
Aaserud:Yes. But you view that as one of the main purposes of PSAC, to avoid that kind of thing.
Garwin:That's right, to be an honest broker, and of course, once there is the threat that things will be looked into by the committee, then most of the time the proponents are more honest than they would have been.
Aaserud:Yes. How did you come across such things, or rather, what was the basis for choosing?
Garwin:Choosing things to look at?
Garwin:Well, I had my own view, which I think is fairly sensible, and I didn't have to argue too much about it, and that is that we would look at all costly programs, because there is the opportunity cost, you're not doing something else, as well as the cost in monetary terms and labor; and second, we would look at important programs, even if they didn't cost very much, so some communications programs; and we would look at the advanced development, the advanced research, where other people mostly couldn't evaluate them. And finally we would look for opportunities, that is, places where nobody was working necessarily, and where we could think of applications of either new or old technology. For instance, satellite navigation systems were in that category, and we looked at, in our Aircraft Panel, eventually our Air Traffic Control Panel, we looked at satellite systems to replace the ground-based monitoring, communications and navigation of aircraft, commercial aircraft.
Aaserud:Yes. And you had freedom to learn about whatever projects you wanted to look into.
Garwin:That's right. That's right. We would set an agenda and it would be discussed by me as chairman of the panel, or by the staff with the President's Science Advisor, and occasionally with the committee, but mostly not, and we would go and do something. It had to be constructive. We weren't in it to make troubles for anybody.
Aaserud:Yes. Did that kind of access to problems that needed to be looked into change over time?
Garwin:Yes. In the late Johnson Administration, even Johnny Foster became more reluctant to appoint people as liaison and to give them carte blanche to arrange these sessions. So it became more and more difficult at times to get people to come over. Once people had the option to come or not, then they're going to want to stay away, because they have more freedom to put their programs together with arguments which might not pass the screen of PSAC. But in the Strategic Military Panel, for instance, which dealt with ballistic missile defense, ICBMs, submarine launched ballistic missiles and all that, we looked at all of the questions of stellar inertial guidance, but we looked also at the question of defense and decoys, and it was in one of those panel meetings that we really decided we'd seen enough of the competition between discrimination of decoys on re-entry, and the perfection of decoys, and that multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles, MIRVs, were the way to go, a sure fire way, for that purpose. And I remember for instance in 1960, we had a Vulnerability Panel of the Strategic Military Panel or something like that, looking at how our ICBM re-entry vehicles would fare against Soviet nuclear armed interceptors, and a new idea came in, a new vulnerability that I think Albert Latter and Richard Latter had identified.
Garwin:Yes, at Rand or IDA, and this was the X-ray impulse, that is, the X-rays from the nuclear explosion typically in the few kilovolt range absorbed in a very thin layer on the outside of the re-entry vehicle, as discussed in the Bethe-Garwin 1968 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN article, and a thin layer blows off, so just a thin layer, the X-rays don't penetrate; however, that thin layer blowing off produces a large shock, and an impulse which is the momentum per square centimeter, which is the energy divided by the mass. And so a small — and the efficiency of communicating the X-ray energy to the wall of the RV is the ratio of the absorption depth of the X-rays in grams per square centimeter to the thickness of the wall. We published that a number of times. So two things happened, one, the shock wave going through the wall, very thin shock, very high pressure, because the solid material is evaporated in place, and that can go through and evaporate a, or blast off a similar thickness of layer on the inside, and destroy things in the interior, and if you mitigate the shock somehow, you don't change its momentum that's carried, because that's a constant of the motion, but you can reduce the peak pressures. So I devised a means and brought it into the President's Science Advisory Committee— did I tell you this? A hacksaw with a flexible blade.
Aaserud:Yes, that was the first —
Garwin:And then a So that's how that arose, and that solution was adopted for the re-entry vehicles, and is conventional now. So that's the sort of thing we worked on, and the permissive action links were done not so much through the committee but through the Wiesner, Keeny, interaction with me and Harold Agnew and others.
Aaserud:Yes, that was the one you had declassified, R and D, the early study.
Garwin:Right, 1962, right.
Aaserud:I think you told me the last time that there's a list of PSAC reports and I didn't find that.
Garwin:It's in ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, I think.
Garwin:Yes, we have that here.
Aaserud:Yes, that will be helpful.
Garwin:It's not in ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. It's in SCIENCE ADVICE FOR THE PRESIDENT. Bill Golden's —
Garwin:Right, in an article by Dave Beckler, I think.
Aaserud:Oh, maybe I didn't look close enough then.
Aaserud:OK. How representative are those reports of PSAC's work? Is there other work that is not reflected in those reports?
Garwin:Oh yes. Most of the military oriented, security oriented work.
Aaserud:Oh, just by it being classified, you mean.
Aaserud:Oh, so that's a list of unclassified reports only.
Garwin:Yes, I believe it didn't list classified reports. I would like to find it and check.
Aaserud:Yes. It's a red book, isn't it?
Garwin:Well, usually I write "Bib" (?) on these books and I keep them here, if they have an article or a chapter by me. They may be in the other room.
Aaserud:Yes, OK, we can look into that. Later.
Garwin:We'll find it.
Aaserud:Yes, sure. So, I brought some publications here that I found interesting, you know, that came out of your work in PSAC. I don't know if — this proposal on international air, sea and space traffic control, that's from '58, so that's probably from a panel you worked on.
Garwin:Well, that's something which I just started myself, and it was — but it was probably in the context then of the negotiations for the prevention of surprise attack. And that was the ten nation negotiation in Geneva. We had sort of six weeks of preparation in Washington, and then went over in a delegation technically chaired by Jim Fisk, I guess, as the chief technical person, and Jerry Wiesner was the other chief of staff.
Aaserud:Yes, so that wasn't PSAC as such at all.
Garwin:Well, that was done through the Office of the Science Advisor, yes. It was. It wasn't a PSAC report, and it was going to be a year end report or whatever, so
Aaserud:But it was your initiative.
Aaserud:So I guess that's not too different from the work in PSAC. I mean, that must have happened there too, that you did something on your own initiative, I don't know how —
Garwin:This one was just mine, because it was July, 1958, and the other thing, the surprise attack thing, didn't get started until September or so, and it was just something that I had been thinking about, because of my other involvements or whatever. It seemed like a good thing to do.
Aaserud:Yes, right. You did a lot on navigation and air traffic control.
Aaserud:Did any of that enter into PSAC? It must have.
Garwin:Yes. As long as I had the PSAC involvement, that was the only place I could do this, because otherwise there would be a conflict of interest, and in fact, IBM was very much involved in supplying computers and analysis to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is in charge of this, so I got rumors that the Federal Systems Division wasn't in fact very happy at my proposing satellite systems which would replace them, but nobody ever did anything, except to offer to tell me what was going on that they were involved with, which is the same kind of information that I would get from other contractors too.
Aaserud:Was that a panel activity in PSAC?
Garwin:Yes, we had a Military Aircraft Panel, an Aircraft Panel, and then finally an Air Traffic Control Panel, which was duly constituted, and then wrote this big fat report, on re-doing the nation's air traffic control system or whatever.
Aaserud:Improving the nation's air traffic control system.
Aaserud:It's this one from March, 1971.
Garwin:Right. This had a rather checkered history, because it was suppressed by the Department of Transportation. It had not been published by the time PSAC was destroyed in January, '73, and it was decided that the various reports should be published by the target agencies, but the DOT wasn't about to publish that report because they didn't like it at all, and eventually Russell Drew, who was the staff person on it, rescued it when he was working in the National Science Foundation, and got it published, at least given to the National Technical Information Service, the NTIS.
Aaserud:Yes. But that was a long term concern of yours anyway.
Aaserud:So maybe even in PSAC it came out of your concern, to an extent.
Aaserud:OK, so I guess that covers pretty much specific projects in PSAC, unless you —
Aaserud:OK. Of course, the SST also that we haven't talked about — I mean, it was the ABM and the SST problems that were most instrumental in the dissolution of PSAC.
Garwin:That's what people said at the time. The commentary was about that. Of course, the excuse that President Nixon used was to save money. He was going to save a million and a half dollars a year or something like that. But nobody believed that. And eventually, more recently, I was told that it wasn't the ABM or the SST at all, it was that the FBI had had the notion of listening on some of the phones in the Executive Office Building, and they heard some of the members of one of the panels, after a panel meeting, at a time of the 1972 campaign, talking to people in the Democratic campaign. That is, some of these people who were on our Strategic Military Panel were involved in Scientists and Engineers for Humphrey. In fact, I think my name was even listed there. And they may have used the government telephone to talk about their political strategies or whatever. They never in any way, not anybody that I know ever gave any information about what they were doing to the political opposition, or did less than their best for the administration, but it was said in recent years, maybe six or eight years ago, that this had been discovered to be the reason why the President abolished PSAC. But certainly the SST and the ABM, when Lee DuBridge came in, he held a press conference, and he told the press that this was going to be a very open administration, he had been promised by President Nixon, and for instance, when asked what President Nixon was going to be doing, he said, for instance, we have these two studies we've been asked to do, a study on ballistic missile defense under Marvin Goldberger, and a study on the supersonic transport by Richard Garwin, and these are both very short term studies, and we will certainly tell the press the results, and we hope to have the studies unclassified even so that you will get your copy. Now, naturally the press, given this information, wanted to keep track of what was happening, and they never got any information out of the administration. The administration in February, 1969, went ahead with the decision to deploy the Sentinel system, and on a mistaken analysis by a very capable person, Larry Lynn, who had come to the National Security Council staff after a career in systems analysis in the Pentagon, in the McNamara era, and really eventually when we — well, PSAC wasn't asked or wasn't given a draft of the Nixon Administration proposal, nor was the Strategic Military Panel, which was very unfortunate, because the proposal didn't make any technical sense. And Larry Lynn had been in the habit of evaluating proposals by the Army to deploy ballistic missile defenses, and turning them down by pointing out that the Soviets could have more warheads than we had interceptors, and so what good would such a system be? They could just exhaust the interceptors. So the Nixon proposal for Sentinel was to have more interceptors than the Soviets had warheads, and Larry in my opinion, maybe because he was tired or something, just didn't see the difference, so he said that would be adequate, the side with more interceptors than the other side had warheads would win, but in fact, the interceptors are now allocated, and the other side knows how many interceptors there are at the various places, and doesn't have to distribute the attack evenly, can ignore some targets and attack others of them. So it didn't really make sense. It was vulnerable and all that. And the Strategic Panel was very unhappy about not having been asked. Jerry Wiesner had asked Lee DuBridge in the PSAC meeting, he said, "You know, I'm going to testify against this proposal. So should I resign from PSAC?" And he was told, no, that DuBridge had asked the President, and the more the merrier. So I had been asked, I was enthusiastic about doing it, to do a one month study about the supersonic transport, together with Gordon McDonald, Bill Niskanen who became a member of the Council of Economic Advisors eventually, General Ledford and some other people, and we did, and we produced our study March 31 and gave it to Jack Schaeffer, the head of the FAA, sent it to the President, to Jim Beggs, the head of the Interagency Committee, and so on, and the next day Jack Schaeffer announced that in his judgment the Boeing General Electric SST would satisfy the requirements of the contract, and therefore he recommended that it go ahead. The Congress and the press, knowing that there was such a report because Lee DuBridge told them there would be one, hounded the Office of Science and Technology for it, and me too, but of course I wouldn't talk to them about it, and eventually, after a couple of years, I did testify, a year and a half, I guess, I did testify on my knowledge of the SST but not on anything that I learned in writing that report, but just from documents which the Congress had. But one would be right in saying that the Nixon Administration was told by people who didn't like the committee, or by people who did like the SST or did like the ABM, that the President's Science Advisory Committee and its staff and its people were not loyal supporters of the administration.
Aaserud:But did you hear anything of that sort?
Garwin:Oh, sure. There was a lot of discussion at the time, and much discussion in the committee as to whether it was appropriate for members to testify, either for or against.
Aaserud:Yes. But it took a long time for you to testify in the first place, so that —
Garwin:Yes, let's see —
Aaserud:So you must have given it a lot of thought too.,
Garwin:Well, certainly. I was one of the biggest thinkers about such things. And I continue to think about it, and it seems to me that, you know, you can either, if you have people testify in favor, then you have to have people free to testify against as well. Otherwise the committee is not an advisory committee. I testified in April. It was a year later, April 23, 1970.
Aaserud:One year after the report.
Garwin:But in March of 1970, I sent a Safeguard discussion paper with letter to selective members of Congress. And a discussion paper on the advanced manned strategic aircraft and such things.
Aaserud:Yes. So how much discussion within PSAC was there of this ? I mean, did you clear it?
Garwin:Well, a good — no, I didn't clear it— a good deal of discussion. And after I had testified, there was a good deal of argument that this was not a good thing to do and it could result in the demise of the committee, and Harvey Brooks, I think, told me that he agreed with everything that I concluded, but he didn't agree with the way of presenting it in this way. And I don't know, one should ask Harvey, who's a very thoughtful person. But my own view was that a committee, and that's in the Bill Golden book too, that it was more important for the committee ..... Talk to Harvey Brooks. He's a very thoughtful person and so on. So my own view was that it was much more important for PSAC to have integrity than to simply exist hoping for better days, because it was not the only source of advice in the country, and I don't know whether that's right or not. Perhaps it would have been better had I resigned. Some people, I think Harvey thought it would be fine if I resigned, not that he wanted me to resign, but it would be OK if I resigned and then testified. But I remember, my judgment was, it wouldn't make any difference, that whether it was a current member or a former member or a panel member of the committee, the impact on the committee would be the same, because you couldn't conceal the fact that you'd been a member of the committee, and that would be newsworthy, and people who were trying to suppress the testimony or to deter the testimony would be enthusiastic about bringing out that a person who testified was a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, and also people in favor of the testimony. So if anybody who knew anything was going to testify, I thought it would have the same impact on the health of the committee.
Aaserud:Yes. Was it known at the time that PSAC as a group had been against.....
Garwin:It wasn't a PSAC recommendation. This was the SST panel of the Office of Science and Technology, so it was not even nominally a PSAC panel, although as I remember, it was briefed to PSAC, because the whole thing had to be done in a month. It couldn't have the imprimatur of the committee and didn't need it. On the BMD side, yes, it was well known that the committee was largely against, but it wasn't known ever I think whether they were, I think Gordon McDonald may have testified in favor of the ballistic missile defense system.
Aaserud:Ok. So he testified the other way.
Garwin:Yes. So the committee did not have a committee position in general. There was often a report, and the report said technical things, and reports often said, as did our reports every year to the President, on strategic defense, that we recognized that these technical considerations were only one part of what goes into a Presidential decision, so we're ready to be overruled if you really think you know better.
Aaserud:Yes. So there actually wasn't a PSAC position on the SST?
Garwin:I was asked once by Dave Beckler, and it must have been in 1970 at the beginning of the Ed David — well, it was during Ed David's reign as Science Advisor—whether I could help in analyzing and recommending equipment for a taping system in the President's — in the Oval Office. And I said I didn't think that this was something that the committee ought to be involved in, but I thought that in his role as technical staff, Ed David, as the President's Science Advisor, could no doubt recommend people who would help, but also there was a shop down on Pennsylvania Avenue called the Spy Shop where the regular White House staff might go. I don't know exactly to whom they went to install the famous Watergate taping system — that is, the taping system which produced all these tapes.
Aaserud:So you think that was what it was a question about, then, when you were asked that. Well, there's always a problem in an organization like this. I mean, the independence you have and the impact you have. I mean, that's — well, you want to have as much as possible of both, of course. Did you ever see that as a conflict?
Garwin:The competition between independence and — ?
Aaserud:And the impact, yes. Or do you have any instance of that?
Garwin:Well, we were not independent — I guess you might call it a manifestation of independence that I didn't want to be involved in this, or didn't think it was appropriate to be involved. And I suppose later on, when the Nixon Administration was showing its contempt for scientists, — well, there were times, for instance, one of the staff, a person who I guess eventually joined the Electric Power Research Institute, EPRI, I remember a person who had been a football player came around with a kind of public statement for PSAC to sign, endorsing inertial confinement fusion, saying that magnetic confinement fusion had been around for all these years and hadn't come to success, and it was time for a big push on ICF. And I told this person that certainly it was not suitable for the committee to sign a public statement like that, we hadn't even looked at it, but that we certainly could look at it for the President if there were some urgency to such a program. So I don't think that we were independent in the sense that we were significantly averse to doing studies that the President wanted, and early on, we had I think explained to Lee DuBridge that it was not suitable for the PSAC committee to make public statements in support of Presidential programs or objectives. That is, we could have our own reports and say our own things in our own way. And I suppose if one maintained personal independence, that is, the ability to make statements on matters of public interest, then that might result in people being less candid in talking to one, or having less access, and perhaps that did cause certain problems. But that's a problem that the President doesn't recognize the value of an independent review, and so doesn't insist that there be this access even if there is a kind of thrust at independence.
Aaserud:Yes. Well, that varied, I'm sure, between different Presidents.
Garwin:I think Eisenhower was probably the best that way because he was immune to criticism. Kennedy was a little more careful. And then probably the Johnson staffs were more leery about this, because of the word that they got from the President's Science Advisory Committee about the Vietnam War was not very encouraging. The committee as a whole never took any kind of stand against the war.
Aaserud:Yes. But it's also a question of trust for that kind of group, I mean, Johnson was not as trustful of scientists or that kind of people generally as the earlier Presidents had been, right?
Garwin:That's right. Well, partly because the scientists in general were opposing the war, and so his scientists he thought were probably drawn from the same pool, which they were, but they had a commitment to serving the President, and they were not about, as a group, to oppose the war.
Aaserud:Yes. PSAC did give much broader advice than advice on specific technical scientific questions, of course.
Garwin:Not a lot. I remember when maybe Walt Rostow or somebody came in to brief us, and we would hear a review of what was going on in the war, and that Westmoreland had asked for another doubling of the troops. Well, obviously you could project that this was the last possible doubling, because the next one would use up the entire Army. And so you point out that you can't go on like this, where you double for political effect, because you're going to come up against a hard limit, like the lotus pond. But we did talk about the effectiveness of the bombing. That was an analysis, a bombing analysis.
Aaserud:But I mean not only for Vietnam but you were also discussing things like criminology, for example.
Garwin:Yes. We had some of that. And we had insecticides and pesticides and the overall value of such and the problems that would be encountered, and also things like the world population problem, the food problem.
Aaserud:Yes, where you had a strong view, a strong involvement, that's right. But certainly — well, I guess the kinds of members in PSAC changed over time, too. I mean, at the beginning it was essentially natural scientists, correct?
Aaserud:And physical scientists, right.
Garwin:Especially those who had been involved during the war and were sort of known to one another, and gradually that changed, because we ran out of those people, and they were supplemented by relatively few physical scientists who had not been involved in the war, and then a few political scientists, that is, Herb Simon and social scientists, I guess you would call them, and there was a person who did a study of teenagers or whatever. Well, anyhow, a well known social scientist. But the trouble with social science is, it's pretty hard to see why you should believe A instead of B, or yes instead of no, on a particular topic. And then I mentioned Pat Moynihan who was appointed by President Nixon, when Moynihan left the Nixon staff.
Aaserud:Yes, so the broadening of topics went along with the broadening of the kind of people?
Garwin:No, I don't think so. I think that insecticides and pesticides was a pretty broad topic, and that was done before we broadened our membership. And even though membership might be 18 all physical scientists, that wouldn't keep us from studying questions of broader import. For instance, we had the responsibility for staffing the National Commission on Health Manpower, New Technologies Panel, in 1969 or thereabouts, and that's a fairly broad question. The Office of Science and Technology had a few people on the staff who were physicians or maybe social scientists.
Aaserud:How would you compare PSAC with other advisory groups of scientists? Was it something completely different?
Garwin:Yes, its purpose was to serve the President, and not like the Naval Research Advisory Committee, Naval Research or the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, which was a clacque very much, that is, something which would help the Air Force get what it wanted. I've been on many advisory committees, for instance for university departments or organizations, and there's a very strong tendency for the organizations to appoint people who will help the organization achieve its goals. But that has to stop at the level of the President, whose goals are that of the entire country, and so there I think people had a much broader view of what they were supposed to do, and it was not acceptable to be an enthusiast or to do a study with just enthusiasts for the technology. That was enforced, I thought, really quite well by the requirement that the panels report to the committee, even with a report that was going to be a panel report, and occasionally if the committee took considerable interest and it seemed that the conclusions and recommendations of the report would gain more attention by having been reviewed by people who had this broader responsibility and involvement, and were not so focused on the particular problem, then it became a PSAC report. I think this two stage activity and the access that the committee had to all of the government departments and industry and academia was very important.
Aaserud:Yes. It was also part of the committee's duties to report to the President on the state of science in the country, correct?
Garwin:Not really. That was much later, I believe, and that was done by the Office of Science and Technology, mandated by Congress after the OST was born. And never was, in my opinion, a good thing for OST to do. Eventually it was given to the National Science Foundation, and now some of that is done by the National Academy. I was never involved in that.
Aaserud:Aha, so that was a minor part of the advisory committee's task.
Garwin:I don't think it was PSAC at all, because it was OST.
Aaserud:OK, so that the role was to —
Garwin:The committee, so far as I was concerned, and we had a lot of discussions of this, was not a lobby for science in the White House. I was a way for the President to use science to understand his problems and opportunities.
Aaserud:It's easy to — one must be careful not to overstep that, of course, because then you —
Garwin:Yes. Why don't you write Ken Thompson at the Miller Center? I'll give you a letter from him so that you get the address. And get the Miller Center's publications in Presidential science advising.
Garwin:Because I read a book, I didn't take a copy with me, I think they may have two books or one book and another just about to come out, and this presentation by Phil Smith and a couple of informal comments by other people there on the role of PSAC might be helpful.
Aaserud:Yes. So to what extent — you don't know of any specific reason for the demise of PSAC? Was that something that had to happen under the circumstances?
Garwin:No, I don't think so. I don't think it should have happened. It was in part because the Nixon staff didn't like anybody else to have access, in part because they were drawing the wagons around in order to protect the President, and because they only cared about gaining approval and support for programs that had already been decided, and didn't understand how important it was to look at options, and whether one should have programs.
Aaserud:Did Watergate play a role in this ?
Garwin:I think this was before Watergate. I remember, right after the Nixon right after Nixon won, he went to the Soviet Union, I guess, and when he came back, I guess that was with the SALT agreements, and he immediately made changes in the administration, in the agencies, as if he had learned in the Soviet Union that you have to have a party person as second in command at least of the ministries or departments. So people went out from the White House staff to be the under secretaries or deputy secretaries, to enforce ideological purity or something. It was very striking, and distasteful to my mind.
Aaserud:So you have a rather —
Garwin:But I can tell you something. During the campaign, so it must have been in the fall of 1972, I don't know whether I told you, one of the ante -rooms, 108, 208 or 206 that we used as our big PSAC meeting room, I was having a Military Aircraft Panel meeting or we were having a PSAC meeting or something, and during the coffee break I came out, and there were two little ante-rooms and a secretary staff was set up in the hall to take telephone messages and check people in, and I went into one of the ante-rooms to use the telephone, and while I was using the telephone, I saw in the typewriter some letterhead paper, and as I recall, it said Project Gemstone, the letterhead, real letterhead paper, see. It seemed like a strange thing to find in the Old Executive Office Building, and there was a reel to reel tape recorder next to it, and there were half a dozen lines of typing on the page. So as I was making the phone call, my eye fell on that, and it didn't sound like anything that the Nixon Administration would say. It sounded much like Democratic speeches. And I puzzled about that. And when I came out from making my telephone call, there was a great heavy short man who asked me not to go into those rooms. I told him that they were our telephones and we were the President's Science Advisory Committee, and he explained to me that I didn't understand, that he was a Presidential appointee. So I told him I was too. I said I was going to continue to use those telephones unless there was a sign on the door saying, "Please don't enter and use telephones," or whatever. And then John Dean, whom I didn't know, I only learned later who it was, was brought by this person to argue with me. So eventually I used another telephone. But there weren't very many more PSAC meetings, and I suppose that might even have contributed to the demise of PSAC. But when the special prosecutor or the Watergate investigation began, and it was revealed that there was this clandestine taping of the Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, I called the special prosecutor, because you're supposed to tell those people everything you know, and I told him what I had seen and I told him who the secretary was and how they could identify these other people. So I never thought of it, but I suppose if the staff heard of that incident, it wouldn't have increased their love for the President's Science Advisory Committee either.
Aaserud:No. But did you have — was there any way of saving it, I mean, by hindsight, or was there anything that could have been done differently?
Garwin:I don't know. It's possible that if nobody had testified against these Presidential programs, then the committee would have survived. And of course, it only had to survive, it turned out, through the Nixon Administration, that is, until 1974, I guess, which is when Ford came in. So I don't know.
Aaserud:Did you have any suspicion then when you testified that the result might be so severe?
Garwin:Well, I thought about it. And I decided that there was some probability, insofar as one can assign probabilities to the unique life, but that it was better to take that risk and to do the right thing.
Aaserud:The committee wouldn't be worth —
Garwin:Well, that was my view. Other people might have different views.
Aaserud:Yes. Well, they probably told you so, too, at the time.
Aaserud:OK, maybe that's enough on PSAC. Are there any lessons that you would derive from this, on the usefulness of PSAC?
Garwin:I think PSAC is extraordinarily useful, and that Presidents or Presidential candidates ought to be talked to quite a lot, until they accept that it's very difficult to run a country, that we need the strength of openness. Here, it's strange Mr. Gorbachev is looking for glasnost, openness, and realizing that it's the only way he's going to be able to manage his country, and over here, we seem to be going in the opposite direction. So I find that very unfortunate.
Aaserud:Has there been anything like PSAC since?
Garwin:Well, there's the White House Science Council, a version which does not report to the President at all even nominally, but to the Science Advisor, and it is a smaller and much narrower activity. It has done some good things, although I'm not familiar enough really to make an overall judgment.
Aaserud:You haven't been part of that ever?
Garwin:No. David Packard of course has what I think is an outstanding report on government laboratories, and of course Packard has another report, not a White House Science Council report, on the Defense Department. But I don't know. You have to talk to members of the White House Science Council. And in fact, there may even be members who were on PSAC, but I don't know that.
Aaserud:Yes, because that was established not too long after the demise of PSAC.
Garwin:No, it came in with this administration, 1981.
Aaserud:But it was also an advisory structure under Ford, right ?
Garwin:No. There was a President's Science Advisor who was created under Ford, and at first that was Guy Stever, who would have his role as head of the National Science Foundation and President's Science Advisor, and then when Carter came in, I guess, eventually he appointed a President's Science Advisor, Frank Press. But that happened really with not a high priority on the part of the Carter Administration. In fact, Jessica Tuchman, who was a — who I guess is a biochemist, PhD in biochemistry from MIT, as I remember, and was on the National Security Council staff, eventually after a few months told Hamilton Jordan, "You know, there are a lot of these technical things that I can't handle, and besides, there's only one of me, and in other administrations there was a President's Science Advisor." And so Hamilton Jordan said, "Oh well, I'll appoint one right away," and so they found Frank Press, who is an outstanding person and had been a member of PSAC and so on. But I asked Jimmy Carter, I don't know if I told you this, I had breakfast with him in 1984, fall of '84, when there was a meeting at the Ford Library in Dearborn, Michigan, in preparation for the US-Soviet consultation that Presidents Ford and Carter were planning in April, 1985, in Atlanta, at Emory University, and so we had a small table at breakfast, eight people or so, Jimmy Carter was there and Brezhinski, and maybe Marvin Goldberger, a few other people, and by then, I'd gotten to know President Carter fairly well. I'd met him twice. That's when I was working on various panels for him, although there was no President's Science Advisory Committee. For instance, when we had written a book on ENERGY, THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS, or the previous book, NUCLEAR POWER ISSUES AND CHOICES, I guess Frank Press, who was in the habit of bringing interesting groups or people in to see the President, brought us in to talk with him in 1977 about our book that we were about to publish. However, I really got to know President Carter when he called me up the summer of 1984. I was in California. And I had a message that the White House had called, I should call President Carter at such and such a number, so I called 202-456-1414, which is the standard White House number, and asked for President Carter, and he answered. Actually, he wasn't there. Former Presidents have White House privileges and their calls are placed by the operator. So he talked to me about helping him perhaps in organizing this US-Soviet consultation, and I counseled him to be very careful about dealing with the Soviets this way, and I wanted to know exactly what he was getting at. So he talked to me for about half an hour on the telephone, and we had quite a lot to do with one another. So I asked him at this breakfast in Dearborn, " In retrospect, Mr. President, would you have preferred to have had a President's Science Advisory Committee?" And Brezhinski speaks up and he says, "What's a President's Science Advisory Committee?" So I explained to him what that was, and President Carter said, "No, I was well served by Frank Press, my Science Advisor, and besides I had a physicist as Secretary of Defense." So I gave him a couple of examples, as I recall, how it would have been good to have had a President's Science Advisory Committee. But I don't think that he recognizes to this day how much he lacked by not having one.
Aaserud:Yes. But you're implying that this situation has improved under Reagan?
Garwin:No, I'm not.
Garwin:No. Reagan in 1983 gave his Star Wars speech. He had brought Jay Keyworth into his office a few days before, but he hadn't done anything with the President's Science Advisory Committee, which also doesn't have routine involvement in the security aspects. No, I don't think it's improved at all. I think it's worse.
Aaserud:So what you're implying is that there's been nothing like PSAC since PSAC got—
Garwin:That's right. Keyworth is far more ideological, and spending all his time the last month on supporting Star Wars, something which would never have happened with Press and President Carter.
Aaserud:OK, well, maybe we should get back again. You've done some other science advising than what you've done in PSAC, of course. You've been involved in other capacities too. I just came across a letter, I think, yes, that you sent to what's his name, the president of IDA, in 1962, where you had been offered the chief scientist position, I think after when he resigned.
Garwin:Yes, that could be.
Aaserud:And you were also a consultant for WSED, which was a division of the IDA.
Aaserud:I don't know what more you have to say about
Garwin:— well, it wasn't advising. That was consulting and technical work, so I was just trying to help people with their analyses, to review their reports in part, and I do a lot of that, but I do that for the Academy. I review many reports, many classified reports but many unclassified reports, and then I have worked in a technical capacity for the Department of Energy and the intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation, I guess.
Aaserud:That kind of activity.
Aaserud:How extensive was your connection with the IDA over the years?
Garwin:Well, mostly it was through Jason, which belonged to IDA for a while.
Aaserud:Yes, the seventies.
Garwin:And I guess I had something to do with the WESG (Weapons Evolution Systems Group) thing up in systems evaluation group.....(off tape)
Aaserud:WESEG, when was that? Was that before IDA or after IDA?
Garwin:I think it was before probably, or during or whatever. Anyhow, they would have tasks from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It would take them a long negotiation before they decided on exactly the phrasing of the task, because WESEG didn't want a report which would be negative, have negative impact on one of their programs. And I remember, one was a study of a supersonic US interceptor, the F-12 or whatever, and this was in the mid-sixties, I think it was, and WESEG, the information from the Joint Chiefs was that intelligence showed that the Soviets were about to field a new supersonic bomber, and WESEG should analyze the performance of the existing interceptors versus a new F-12 interceptor, against this, and I remember, I had seen this all before. The Soviets were always about to field a new supersonic bomber. They still don't have a supersonic bomber, that is, one which goes supersonic for long distances. So it's rather discouraging that people who stand to gain by having the results of analyses prescribe so carefully the inputs or the mode of analysis, so that they can direct the answer to get what they want out of it. So I didn't really have very much to do with WESEG or IDA. I had a talk with them once in a while about transportation or analysis or things like that.
Aaserud:Yes. The Defense Science Board?
Garwin:I was on the Defense Science Board for three year terms.
Aaserud:'66 to '69.
Garwin:Yes. And I guess Fred Seitz was chairman for most of that time. But it differs very much from PSAC, because mostly the Defense Science Board is vice presidents of firms that do most of their business with the government in the defense field, and I remember working very hard to get them to pay some kind of stipend, so that we could get university people. After all, it's easy enough to say, if you're a vice president of Hughes, that it's part of your job to go and support the administration and the industry and the role of Hughes, and find out things which will benefit your company. But it's very different for a university person, who in general doesn't make so much money anyhow, who has the alternative of consulting with a company for expenses and daily fee, instead to have to go to work for the government for nothing. And so whenever there was a proposal to save some money by cutting out these stipends, although I never benefitted from receiving them, I always argued that they should continue to pay people by the day. And we looked at a few things there. In addition, I had this Defense Science Board Advanced Tactical Fighter Task Force, which was very interesting. I don't know that that was — I guess it started while I was a member of the Defense Science Board.
Aaserud:But it needn't have, you're saying.
Garwin:No, I don't think so.
Aaserud:That was a panel sort of thing?
Garwin:Yes, a separate task force. I may have been the only member of the Defense Science Board on that.
Aaserud:But it was under the Defense Science Board.
Garwin:Yes, and because I'd had so much experience with the PSAC panels, I organized it very much the same way, and I thought it came out quite well.
Aaserud:Yes. Robert Sproul was chairman of the panel, wasn't he?
Garwin:I was chairman of the Advanced Tactical Fighter Task Force. Seitz was head of the Defense Science Board part of the time I was chairman, but maybe Sproul was another part. But the Defense Science Board is not about to rock the boat. I remember I think I was not a member at that time, but somewhat later, when Harold Agnew was a member, and I tried to get the Defense Science Board to look at the Captor mine. I arranged to have present the case for the Captor Mine, and gave the Navy the option of choosing anybody to present the opposite case, because the Navy didn't want it, so they had some Navy captain type, and there was just really no argument. Any reasonable judge would see that I had analysis and a case. But after they had heard it, I tried to get — I guess I was a member still with Harold Agnew — I tried to get the Defense Science Board to take a position on this program, and they wouldn't. Agnew was the only one who was willing to do so. The rest didn't want to offend the Navy. And there was a large amount of finding out what the views were of the leadership of the Defense Department before you gave them a report which might disagree with those views.
Aaserud:Yes, which was very different from your general experience with PSAC. That wouldn't happen. You were a member of the Defense Science Board precisely when you were not a member of PSAC, right?
Garwin:I think so. It's a little bit hard to know because —
Aaserud:So it's not significant, you're saying?
Garwin:No, I don't think so.
Aaserud:You wouldn't see that as a conflict of interest?
Garwin:No. I guess you're right. We did have quite a lot of discussion in PSAC, though, about how one handled these things, and for instance, I would never give any information from one panel to another panel. If I got information which was not in the national interest, if I learned that there were games being played or lies being given by one organization to another, that would be a real problem, because I could not accept that. In fact, it may be one reason why people are reluctant to get independent outsiders involved, because if there are dishonest dealings going on, not necessarily for personal profit, but people who are simply not telling the whole truth in order to get their programs supported, then those people, as in all criminal activities and many non-criminal activities, want to be protected by privacy and secrecy. They want their own people, not any people with independent judgment and responsibility, there. But it never came up. No, it never came up that I had to go to some higher authority and complain about some problem which I was not authorized to talk about.
Aaserud:OK. Were there cases in which it was on the spot, so to speak, I mean, did you encounter such problems at all?
Garwin:Well, I guess, you know, if I were to discover, for instance, these phony assumptions in the President's Science Advisor Committee on the B-1 versus AMSA, I didn't have any conflict of interest. I was talking right there in front of the whole Defense Department, so I had to go back and talk to the Defense Department about it.
Aaserud:But did you have any compartmentalization of clearance?
Aaserud:So different panels could talk about — that's what you meant by saying that one panel couldn't talk to another panel ?
Garwin:In some cases, yes. In most cases there wasn't any such problem. Insecticides and pesticides — everybody on the committee had top secret clearance. But there were other questions, like dealing with communications intelligence, which are different levels of clearance.
Aaserud:Yes, right. How much of each was there, do you think? How much of the work required high clearance or clearance at all, what percentage?
Garwin:Oh, I would think half of the work required secret and top secret clearance.
Aaserud:Yes, approximately. OK. Then I see here, you made major contributions to health care questions. There's this public health report here on impact of information handling systems on quality and access to health care.
Garwin:Yes. That was as a result of my involvement for a year or two as part of the — as the New Technologies Panel of the National Commission on Health Manpower, and so I looked into those things, and I had thought about such things before, and I'd worked a little bit with IBM on some computer systems for hospital questions, and I'd traveled for the National Commission on Health Manpower, visited the Kaiser centers in California, and the Los Angeles County Hospital, and the hospital in Stockholm.
Aaserud:This was something you more or less drifted into?
Garwin:Yes, a little bit.
Aaserud:Then there's your computer —
Garwin:Yes, I worked on little things for health care or medicine at times, and looked at electroencephalogram and electroencephalograph machines and things like that.
Aaserud:Was that on your own initiative? I mean, this wasn't something you were asked to do?
Garwin:No, there was a problem in the family, so I looked at that, and decided it would be good to have people who could wear helmets and go around being continuously recorded and so on.
Aaserud:OK. And then there's the artificial kidney.
Garwin:Well, you know, you see these things, and it's very expensive to go in and have dialysis, and you would rather be able to do it at home, and right now, you separate body fluids by a thin membrane from these artificial fluids, and you have to ask whether that's the only way to do it, or whether you could work more efficiently by having an actual transfer in this fashion. And there are a lot of analogous systems. For instance, in the Sterling engine or refrigerator. Instead of having a heat exchanger, there you have fluid to fluid heat transfer throughout a fixed metal structure. You can have a regenerator where you have only fluid to solid heat transfer, and then because of its cyclic flow, you can take it up again, and that's far easier to design and much more efficient, and so the idea was, couldn't you have a medium which would sort of alternately contact the physiological fluids and the other...
Aaserud:The impact of the Mansfield Amendment — to what extent were you involved in discussions of that, and what effects, good or bad, did it have?
Garwin:When was the Mansfield Amendment?
Garwin:Well, quite a lot.
Aaserud:Yes. In PSAC?
Garwin:I'm sure we were. My own view was that Senator Mansfield and his staff had done this because of unhappiness over the Vietnam War and the military, and so they were trying to get the scientists or the research community caught in a vise, that either they would say that the work they were doing was directly relevant to the war, in which case they would be thrown off the campuses, or they would say it was not, in which case they wouldn't be supported. It might be a good idea, as a result, to reduce — excuse me.....So maybe Mansfield was right in wanting to reduce the power of the military in the scientific community. And he chose that way to do it. But I don't think that he was trying to do the best he could by science. I think it was strictly an anti-military thing. So people went along with it as much as they could, and I suppose the university community tried to find the best phraseology to do what they wanted to do, and the military tried to continue to support the work that they needed.
Aaserud:Were you involved in discussing it in PSAC?
Garwin:Oh sure, but there's not much you can do about it, because I think it's not a matter of PSAC as a whole going to Senator Mansfield and talking about it.
Aaserud:Were you involved in that in other capacities ?
Garwin:No. Probably in the Defense Science Board. There didn't seem to be very much one could do about it.
Aaserud:No Congressional testimony or anything.
Garwin:Not by me.
Aaserud:For that. No. Then you wrote a long letter here, as an answer to questions of a blue ribbon Defense panel in 1969.
Garwin:Oh yes. May I see that?
Aaserud:Yes. I don't know —
Garwin:— there's always a blue ribbon Defense panel. This was the Fitzhugh Panel.
Aaserud:Have there been more, of a similar kind?
Garwin:I suppose. Nowadays, of course, the JCS has been reorganized, supposedly, and to meet some of these problems, that the JCS has no actual assessment of the capabilities of our forces, and too long a reaction time, they're too rigid and so on.
Aaserud:What was the context of that questionnaire being created at that particular time, do you remember?
Garwin:Let's see, now Laird presumably came in, and I suppose that he was responding, I suppose, to Congressional demands. I don't remember.
Aaserud:It was at about the time of the Mansfield Amendment.
Garwin:Yes. Could be. And when the Congress demands of the Secretary of Defense that he does something, the first thing the Secretary of Defense does is to appoint a blue ribbon panel which puts off the problem for two years, at which time the mood of the Congress may be different, but even if it isn't, they have two years of grace period. And I talk about the revolving fund in here, and I think that's a reasonable thing to do, and larger packages, so we don't have micro management from the Congress, and rapid dissemination of studies made by outside contractors, so that you provide information to the White House and to the Congress, and you reckon the social costs and social benefit. I think that's good. And better idea of capabilities and opportunities. Then I say, on page 12, the Department of Defense ought to make its best efforts to educate Congress and the officials of the executive branch, because the interaction with the Congress and with the public right now is more like propaganda than education. And I still believe that. And I say, "The NSC is dangerously secretive. There ought to be a rather formal educational and informational exchange between NSC and DOD." I believe that. And if you read page 14, "Lack of candor with the public will simply result in disbelief and distrust, and the frequent claim that we have the best Navy and best armed forces only serves to deny the Defense Department the support it needs. There are many good programs and many bad programs, good officers and incompetent officers," and so on.
Aaserud:Well, did you answer that in a specific capacity?
Garwin:Oh no. No, no. Here is the letter which I got, but it may be to me as a member of PSAC — yes, well, it was sent to me just as a person, so maybe somebody in IDA or somebody suggested, perhaps — I think Marvin Goldberger was a member of that blue ribbon panel.
Garwin:So that's probably how I got it.
Aaserud:Yes, right. Committee for Economic Development.
Garwin:Well, there was a policy review panel or whatever of which I was a member, and we would review reports or discuss things there, and I guess I was a key member of one investigatory or reporting panel, under Tom Schelling, to look at national security from the economic point of view.
Aaserud:Yes, there is Congressional decision-making for national security, that's a report here.
Garwin:Right. And then I tried to help out, and tried to create an institute for the Congress, kind of predecessor of the Office of Technology Assessment, but with more initiative and independence.
Aaserud:Yes. I don't know to what extent you were involved in this.
Garwin:In that Congressional decision-making? Oh, very much. Yes, very much so.
Aaserud:In this report here, the authors aren't specifically stated, I think.
Garwin:That's in fact right. If you look on the last page, so, Research Advisory Board, the chairman was Carl Kayen, and I think maybe at the time this was published, I was not any more a member of the Research Advisory Board, so let's see, I remember seeing that my name was really not on this. And that was rather strange. Where is Tom Schelling's name?
Aaserud:It's in there some place.
Garwin:Oh, here it is, Research and Policy Committee, right. I was not a member of the Research and Policy Committee. Here was a Subcommittee on Decision Making for National Security, and this was Frank Lindsay, and then advisors to the subcommittee, so I was an advisor to the subcommittee, with Alton Fry, and the project director was Tom Schelling, so the most important page here is page 6. But I had a lot to do with this. And this Sol Horowitz, project leader, has just published an article in the Travel section of the NEW YORK TIMES yesterday, on a five day walk in the section of Switzerland.
Aaserud:OK. I missed that one. So what was the background for that? That's a free standing committee that you were asked to contribute to?
Garwin:Well, the Committee for Economic Development describes its objectives back here, and it's a public-spirited, business-oriented and we decided, or it decided that the role of the Congress really ought to be looked at, and appointed a panel to do that, a subcommittee I guess. Frank Lindsay was probably, I worked with Frank quite a lot, in his role as head of ITEK, I guess it was, and so they created this subcommittee, and the advisors to the subcommittee really had a lot more to do with writing the report than the subcommittee did.
Aaserud:But what was the impact of that ? Did it get an input of sorts or was it?
Garwin:Well, I don't know.
Aaserud:You didn't follow that?
Garwin:It has things like disallowing programs. Congress is not entirely at the mercy of the executive branch. Summary of recommendations. Second decade projections. Five years authorizations. Strategic arms limitation, Congress has a positive role to play. But Congress should be doubly cautious about authorizing any system that's justified principally in terms of its bargaining value. Institute for Research and Evaluation. And then there are various people who comment on that. Kermit Gordon commented on that, on page 54. It says, "Inadequate attention to the explosive growth of Congressional research services; use of outside resources. We support the development of responsible budget analysis by organizations and individuals outside the government, especially in relation to the Defense sector, and Congressional security clearance." So you do your part, and that's more process than substance. It doesn't tell you about any particular program.
Aaserud:No. But you were strongly involved in that.
Aaserud:OK, there's the Solar Energy Institute that you were
Garwin:Well, I did that for the Academy.
Aaserud:That was in 1975.
Garwin:I was not very much in favor of a Solar Energy Research Institute, and the Congress had mandated that, and the ERDA, I guess, Energy Research and Development Agency, which had just been created by the Congress, had to know what to do, and so they asked the Academy, and I figured that I could do that in a very short time, and it probably would be more work for me if I didn't lead that study than if I did, and so we had a two week summer study at Scripps, that is in San Diego, and then I brought the drafts. The last few days we just sat there and wrote our drafts by hand, or maybe there was a typewriter and a secretary, and then I brought the drafts back, and my secretary here put them all into the computer, and every day or two days we would send by express mail the latest version with the changes marked out to the members of the committee, and they would phone in, dictate their changes, or send them back, and so I think in six weeks after the start of the program, as I remember, we had a final version ready for printing. We have a photo-composer here. And I tried to get the Academy to recognize that as a kind of standard in how you do these studies, but now, even though they now have computers, word processors, and have access to photo-composers, mostly it takes a lot longer than that, and I'm not sure that it's any better.
Aaserud:Yes. Electric Power from Project Pacer, 1975.
Garwin:That was a study we did for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. That was my own appendix to it. Frank Londe was chairing that committee, to look at peaceful nuclear explosions, and to try to help guide government policy on test bans. And I remember, the Los Alamos folks had proposed mining underground cavities and setting off hydrogen bombs to keep up the level of steam which would then come out and be condensed in an ordinary power plant and go back into the cavity, so a hydrogen bomb a day, a couple of them would be as much power as a standard nuclear power plant, and indeed hundreds of hydrogen bombs a day, but it turned out, and Frank Londe kept asking whether we had to believe these results, and so eventually he asked me long enough that I decided I would do a side by side comparison between that thing and the normal nuclear reactor driven plant, and of course, if you make optimistic assumptions about all the parts of your proposal, whereas the other people, that is, the ordinary nuclear power folks have to use reality, you can get a much more appealing program. Yet when you put it side by side, and you didn't ask how much hydrogen bombs would have to cost, but you asked, what would be the maximum that this cavity could cost in order to be competitive with what we know very well how to do, then you find that there's no way that that can be an economical program. And that was sort of the end of it.
Aaserud:That was the end of that proposal?
Aaserud:Report of the Conference on Air Quality and Automobile Emissions, that was NRC and NAS. That was in '75 too.
Garwin:Well, in 1970, the Congress passed the Clean Air Amendment, and that mandated an Academy study of the feasibility, technical feasibility of achieving the air quality, that is the emissions and fuel economy standards, and the Academy formed a group under Ed Ginzton and I was a member of that committee on Motor Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Economy.
Garwin:... years making a report, and then a follow-on committee was organized under Ross McDonald from Texas Instruments, and that worked for another two years, and there are always people who didn't like the government regulation, and there were parallel committees in the Academy on air quality, overall, and measurement thereof, so finally after this long period, and the individual reports were issued, Phil Handler was persuaded to have a small conference, just a few people, to see whether the recommendations and conclusions of the reports were still valid. And he did. The chairmen of the two panels, that is, Ginzton and I guess Ross McDonald and Gordon MacDonald were there, and I was a member, and the whole thing was recorded, and a transcript issued, and what happened, we decided, yes, the recommendations and conclusions were still valid. That was a very short report, and the oil industry and the automobile industry read it, and it had a lot of play in the press, because it was so short, people could read it rapidly, and Phil Handler got telegrams from these folks claiming that the committee was demonstrably biased, and hadn't done its job and what not, and that's when in fact Handler, after a few weeks, looked at the arguments and issued another report supporting the report of the conference, and that's when we began our couple of trips to General Motors, Ginzton and Gordon MacDonald and I, and arguments with the General Motors scientists and vice presidents, where they said that — I told you this, right?— that the —
Aaserud:— no, I don't think so.
Garwin:OK. When we got there, and we had done our work very carefully in that conference report, and we had prepared for the, since there could not be a public meeting in a large hall, we had this recording and stenography and we identified all the materials that we had available for us at the conference, and made them into a briefing book that people could buy, and the report referenced the report of the chief scientist of the Department of Transportation, to the effect that exhaust gas recirculation did not impair fuel economy, and was effective, as effective as lean burn engines, in maintaining fuel economy while reducing nitrogen oxide, but only increased carbon, hydrocarbon output. When we got to General Motors, at their invitation, come out and see what the real world is like instead of this fantasy that you people in Washington are living is what they sort of said to us, they had the person there who had done the analysis and experiments on exhaust gas recirculation versus lean burn engines or whatever, and his first slide, prepared slide, quoted our words, and claimed that there was no such statement in the reference document. But I have a very good visual memory, and I remembered exactly where that statement was, and I asked them to bring the briefing book and the document, so our report and the document, and they brought our report and they brought the document, and sure enough, it didn't have that statement. And I looked at the date of this chief scientist of the Department of Transportation's report, and it was after our meeting, so obviously we couldn't have had it at our meeting. And if we looked in the briefing book, we found an earlier version of this, which indeed did have the statement, but they didn't like the statement. The Department of Transportation didn't like it, so they just took it out. Well, we got their attention that way, and showed him. I said, "Well, never mind what it says, let's look at the data. You're the person, Gumbelson or whoever, you're the person who has done this," and he had his chart there and I showed him how, if you looked up on the slide, and you went over, indeed it supports this statement. And the other thing that happened at that meeting which was very interesting was that they said, they don't understand our emphasis on electronic fuel injection, that they believed in the electronic carburetor at General Motors, first, because it was simpler, and second, because if all your electronics fails, it still works. And I said, "You know, there must be somebody here who has looked at the instruction manual for the type K-Bosch Jetronics electronic fuel injection, because that has exactly that characteristic, that all the feedback system does, unlike the type D, Druck for pressure, or the type L, L for Luft, the type K has a force balance system, whereby a vane in the intake manifold measures the amount of air going into the engine, and is mechanically balanced by a valve which determines the amount of fuel, and all that the feedback system from the oxygen sensor in the exhausts does is to add a slight bias to this, so you can turn off the electronics or have it all fail, and the engine will work apparently just as well. It just will not have that very fine adjustment which will use a three-way catalyst to remove nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide." And they said, well, they didn't know that and didn't believe it either.
So I told them, there must be somebody there who knew about it. We went to lunch, and so I asked them please to see whether they couldn't find the manual, and also I would like to see an electronic carburetor. So when we came back from lunch, we passed through a big room on the ground floor where they had cars being worked on, and they had brought in a Chevrolet with a type-K Jetronics electronic fuel injection fitted to it, and I could point out to them all the characteristics that I had told them about, and the person there knew this thing backwards and forwards because he had put it in the car, he was working on it. And we went back to the conference room, and there was an electronic carburetor about that size sitting on the table, with I think 39 adjustments on it, mechanical adjustments, and I told them, I said, "You know, there's no way this can be cheaper than the Type K Jetronics which has no adjustments that I remember, and I just bet you, you're making it only because you've got this plant that makes this kind of carburetor, and that you will go to electronic fuel injection." So eventually in fact, of course we came back the next year, and their plan of record was electronic fuel injection, for all the reasons that we had given, but it was throttle-body fuel injection, because it's cheaper. But it misses a lot of the benefits of better distribution of fuel-air mixture. So it was very interesting to see industry, we visited the industry, General Motors, Ford, plants in Sweden and Germany, Japan and so on, while we were writing our report. It was very interesting to see their response to this small report in Washington, and their intrepid action in bringing us out there, without having reviewed our report, with the possibility that perhaps we knew what we were talking about. They had all of the technical information there, but the head of the company, the vice president of the company, the chairman of the board, were all decoupled from the real world. They didn't know what the competitive threat was, the type-K fuel injection, and they could make the arguments with all the honesty and vigor in the world, because they were ignorant.
Aaserud:So what came out of this in the end?
Garwin:Well, what comes out of it is, gradually, in a glacial way, the industry moves to improve its efficiency, and what comes out of it on my part is an even greater attraction to the free market and competitive technology.
Aaserud:Yes. The last two pieces I have here in this little discussion of advising is defense of Minutemen silos against ICBM attack, in July, 1975.
Garwin:Is that building bombs?
Aaserud:— to learn the context for it, because it's just a printout, and I don't know if that fits in with any PSAC work or other work, or if it stands by itself.
Garwin:I probably sent it to people. I'm sure I sent this to the State Department and I can find out. And then, I published this, as part of EFFECTIVE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY in 1976. So this led to that 1976 publication.
Garwin:Oh hell. I was trying to look to see to whom I sent this Congressional Decision Making for National Security. And I found that I've put a trace on this program, so it may run very slowly.
Aaserud:Oh well. So that was a fairly common method, your writing something and sending it out for comment like that?
Garwin:No, I don't really send it out for comment. I send it out for influence. That is, I know a lot of people. And — my goodness — I know a lot of people and sometimes it helps to send them something.
Aaserud:Yes. So you knew what you meant already, which is, getting others to see it the same way.
Garwin:Yes. Oh, there it is. All right, now we'll see. Now I can see which one, to whom I sent that other one, which might be of interest, although that was 1974 and that was before I had a lot of this tracking system involved, available. But we'll see what it does.
Aaserud:Yes, OK, fine. Well, up to now we've spoken mostly about inside advice, that is, advice to the government. I think last time we talked, we concluded that there was a turnabout in around 1968 or something like that.
Garwin:That's right, that's when we published our article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.
Garwin:And that was the result of a Christmas time American Association for the Advancement of Science Symposium, and Gerard Piel asked several of us to publish in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, and I guess that Hans Bethe and I were the only two who decided that we would make the effort to do so.
Aaserud:Yes, so that was the beginning of another way of attempting to make an impact.
Garwin:Yes, aside from talking at universities and elsewhere.
Aaserud:Which you had been doing for a while before.
Garwin:Yes. For instance, I sent that "Congressional Decision-making for National Security, " I will give you this printout, to Jim Fallows, to W. Coyne at Harvard Reception, which I think was part of the New Congress People Reception, and I sent it to Gunderson, C. Hatcher (who probably new Congress people) to Tom Johnson, to Herb Keller, Alan McGowan, various other people, so to whoever — Robert Sheer, Jonathan Schell, Chimansky, who must be another Congress person, and Peter Stein, Robert Toft from the LOS ANGELES TIMES in 1980, Kosta Tsipis and V.E. Weber, again Harvard Reception, so I tried to send those people the things that I think from my experience are best for them. Now, I could look to see what else I sent them — that might be interesting.
Aaserud:That's spread out in time. You didn't send all those copies immediately after you'd written it.
Garwin:That's right. That's right. Absolutely. And now I can look for that other one, what is its name? " The Minuteman." That was in BIB also.
Aaserud:"Defense of the Minuteman Silos Against ICBM Attack."
Garwin:OK, so I'll see to whom I sent that.
Aaserud:Yes. So maybe we could talk a little bit about the outsider critique and the forms that that took, aside from the article with Bethe, of course.
Garwin:OK, well, a lot of obligatory, in my opinion, symposia, colloquia at universities, because that's what those people in my opinion ought to be doing. And so then, and then there's the Congressional testimony, so something comes up, you read about it in the newspapers, you may hear, people may call up and ask you to testify, and in general, my answer is Yes, if I have the time and the expertise. I won't testify about things that I don't know about, or have to do research to find out about. And IBM has always had a policy that they encourage their employees to give Congressional testimony on things on which they had some expertise. So I would do that, and some of that would be on the basis of information or expertise or the fact that I knew that I was right in my views, although they might not be picked up by the government, so I would do what I could to help the Congress and the people. And then in addition there were a number of writings. So sometimes I would just write things and send it to people in the Congress or in the administration or to my friends in the scientific community, and sometimes I would just write something for my own purposes, but not very often. Usually I would send it to somebody. And the ones that I wrote without sending to people are the ones where I never really did get through because I ran out of time, or something like that.
Aaserud:Yes. Writing to newspapers?
Garwin:I would write to newspapers. I think I published my first letter to the editor in 1965 or something like that.
Aaserud:OK, there's one from 1967 here. Maybe there's something before that.
Garwin:Maybe. This is the one I was remembering. But I could look.
Aaserud:OK, this is '67.
Garwin:All right. Now, I sent this "Defense of Minuteman Silos Against ICBM Attack" to a lot of people. I sent it to you April, 1986.
Aaserud:I guess the most interesting ones are the first ones.
Garwin:Right. I sent it to Vic Teplitz who was in the Arms Control Agency in 1981, and to some other people, but I don't have any record of whom I sent it to in this way. I'm sure I have the letters which recorded it as an entry.
Aaserud:Yes, because the later ones are probably more other people's requests than your wish.
Garwin:Not necessarily. No. (Yes, if I look for "letters", there are a lot in PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS.) Yes, that was the first one, which was a letter to the editor, 1967.
Aaserud:OK, was that when you started to become interested in the ABM debate more generally speaking?
Garwin:No, no, I'd been working on ABMs since 1953 or '54.
Aaserud:Yes, but I was thinking more from a policy perspective or political perspective.
Garwin:I was always interested, but it wasn't something that you talked about outside. And yet here were all kinds of people who were talking about less desirable things, and I wanted to tell them what I thought about it.
Aaserud:Yes. So what was it that made you decide to use a newspaper to go out public? Was that unprecedented for you then?
Garwin:It was the first time. The first time is by definition unprecedented. And I didn't know a lot of people, because when, you know, my view is, when you're involved in these things, it's to contribute and not to influence. Now I still don't go out of my way to meet people and talk to them, because too often I find I get misquoted, and I probably would be more effective if I were less accurate.
Aaserud:That's a problem. But that was the beginning of that anyway, so was it in any way a beginning of a more political involvement or more, you know, attempt to — at a more general approach to things?
Garwin:Well, I don't know whether it's more general, but it certainly was the beginning of a willingness or recognition that it was necessary to be more public about this.
Aaserud:Yes. Was there anything behind that, I mean anything specific, or was it just something that came gradually?
Garwin:I just recognized that one would not solve the problems if one dealt only with the Presidency or the people who were most involved at the time that they were interested. That you had to educate more people if you were going to have a chance at solving problems.
Aaserud:Yes. And of course to some extent the article with Bethe, for example, was solicited, wasn't it ? I mean, you were asked to write it ?
Garwin:Well, that's right, but that doesn't make any difference. If I were convinced it could be published, then any article would be solicited. And in fact that is a problem, because if you write something, it has to be not only correct and interesting but acceptable to the people who are going to publish it, and that somewhat reduces one's enthusiasm for spending a lot of time on writing such a thing, so there is a benefit associated with waiting until there is a request, an invitation to do that.
Aaserud:Yes, of course. What was the response to that article?
Garwin:My letter to the NEW YORK TIMES?
Aaserud:No, the article with Bethe.
Garwin:Oh, that really got a lot of attention. For instance, the Secretary of the Army, Stanley Resort, wrote a letter to all the folks in the Army to get their scientists to write in support of the ABM system, and to "counter the damage" that this had done. I may have mentioned to you that Resort later on, when I got to know him, it must have been in the mid-seventies, volunteered to me that he didn't know, about that memo that he sent out; he may have signed it but he didn't read it, and that he wouldn't do it, he was ashamed of it.
Aaserud:So who did it for him?
Garwin:Well, I don't know. You know, it's really unfortunate that people who are in office do not give strict orders about the kind of thing that should and should not be done in their name. So I think it had a very major influence, because people in the scientific community who had had no contact with that program, who saw, on the one hand, quotes from Teller or Wigner or people like that, and on the other hand quotes from Wiesner who were against, and the press doesn't really understand the arguments very well, and they don't have space to publish it either. Their editors won't let it be published. At least these people in the scientific community could read the article, and could see our names on it too, and there wasn't an article which says why it can be done. Now, some people might say that's because SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN has a bias, which it does, in favor of arms control, but where are these responsible other articles published? There is in my opinion no shortage of places where you could publish such a thing. So I think it had a big effect.
Garwin:It was interesting that Andre Sakharov in his "Co-existence" and whatever makes reference to this.
Aaserud:Yes, OK. OK, then there's a publication I came across on your list in SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY in October of '68, "Strengthening Military Technology," I don't know if that is something comparable to the Bethe article, I mean, that's also
Garwin:Well, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY I think was a magazine which didn't do very well. And I guess I saw the opportunity to write something. This is just a kind of think piece, which says what one ought to do. Maybe I was talking to the editor. Sometimes people call me up, and I may have been talking to the editor and he may have invited me to present this.
Aaserud:Yes, but you don't remember.
Garwin:There may have been an issue— yes, discussed in this issue by John Foster, right, and there was probably a whole issue, and I think there was an article by Leonard Sullivan in here also. And so they were having a kind of topical issue, and they invited me as somebody who was a member of the Defense Science Board, and I suppose they may have been talking to people like Bill McLain or others who were in the system, maybe some people who agreed with me but weren't willing to say these things themselves.
Aaserud:Was this a debate with Foster, or was it just —?
Garwin:I don't know. I don't think so.
Aaserud:OK, then the Pugwash Conference. You participated in the Pugwash Conference in USSR in October, '69.
Garwin:Yes, but I'd been at a Pugwash Conference for instance before that in Sweden in 1965 or '66, and maybe others. I guess I hadn't been to the Soviet Union before that, maybe. Maybe I had. Maybe I had. I don't remember.
Aaserud:Was that something you saw as a useful forum?
Garwin:Sure, because in those days, one didn't have so much opportunity to see the Soviet scientists, and I had been, I'd spent all these years in our defense sector, and Soviet scientists who had been in theirs mostly didn't come out, so you might see them there. But there were high level people, (Russian names ).... people who had some influence in their Academy, and I thought as long as — you get trapped into these things. As long as you've spent so much time and so much of your life trying to do something, then even I agree with the economist who says that that's split milk or sunk funds or whatever, still, if you can be very effective with a little bit more investment of effort, you ought to do it, whether or not you've spent all this time before. It may be that investment that makes it possible to do something. And so I had this enormous background and I thought it might be useful to try to see what we could do with the Soviets, and sometimes it's not just knowledge, sometimes it's a way of arguing. If you can show people not something which will persuade them, but to give them analogies or words whereby they can persuade others, so you have a kind of chain reaction of spreading of a particular idea. And so I wanted to see those people first hand. I wanted to see the Soviet Union. So my wife and I went to the Soviet Union and spent three weeks traveling on our own as much as you could or can, as tourists paying guests and then we went to Sochi for a week and came back to Moscow for a day or so of further discussions with the Soviets. It was very interesting. At that meeting, I guess I presented a paper on "Emplaced Weapons for Deterrence" which isn't to say that we should do that, but you ought to think about it, and maybe it would be a way to reduce the amount of potential destruction in the world.
Garwin:... be enough. It wasn't original with me. It had been proposed by Louis Ridenour of the University of Illinois, and Leo Szilard, and I had probably seen an article by Ridenour in the BULLETIN of the Atomic Scientists, but it doesn't matter, except I would have given them credit if I had known at the time or remembered. But it came up fairly recently, when I was testifying at the first session of the Senate Armed Services Committee at which General Abrahamson testified, April 24, 1984, and Senator Wilson at the time, after my testimony, when the Senators were asking me questions, one of his aides had fed him with this question, "Isn't it true, Dr. Garwin, that you proposed that we allow the Soviet Union to put a hydrogen bomb under Washington?" I told him he was probably referring to this, and that no, it wasn't true, but think about it, what would he say if the Soviet Union invited him to put a hydrogen bomb under Moscow? And then said, after we had ours there, in turn to our letting them put one under Washington, they would throw away 10,000 nuclear weapons? So in fact he thought that was sufficiently attractive that he changed the subject. And I explained that I had put it forth not as advocacy, but as a way of understanding, and of course if he felt attracted to it, he could advocate it, but I wasn't advocating it.
Aaserud:What was the reception at the conference?
Garwin:It wasn't a proposal, and it was really a rather vigorous discussion. I remember, that was the conference at which— in which the Russians turned around, and from supporting ABM publicly, and stalwartly, the educational campaign that Jack Reuna and others had mounted against the Russians from '66 to '67 on finally took root, and Emilyanov gave his speech about how the allegory of the man who was walking in dangerous territory, and struck his rod against the ground, and through this one inch square hole, the Devil emerged, and he said, "That's what the ABM is like." And so it was really the first indication that the Soviet policy was turning against the deployment of ABMs. They had always said previously that defense can only be good. So I don't remember the discussion of my paper. There isn't much discussion.
Aaserud:Well, that's an example of your sending a paper to people too. Just by chance I came across Charles Townes's response
Aaserud:— response to your paper, and he didn't quite agree, of course.
Garwin:Well, the question of how many other countries might demand the same rights is a very important one.
Aaserud:But you weren't entirely serious with the proposal, at least not at the Pugwash context?
Garwin:No. I see — He says, we already have a system which is almost as hazardous. I think it's more hazardous and much more expensive. The present system leads to an arms race, and the other one doesn't. But I'm reasonably relaxed about it. Just because you think of something, even something good, doesn't mean that you have to do something to implement it. In fact, people should spend their effort on implementing or arguing for things that are best, not things that are novel or original.
Aaserud:Yes. But did it ever come up again, that proposal?
Garwin:Well, in fact there is a person who was in correspondence with me, an Irish engineer, Neil D. Clotworthy, who is taking this very seriously. He's retired, and he wants to present it, anyhow, to bring it to the Soviets and to the Americans and get them both to sign on.
Aaserud:Yes. He picked it up from you?
Aaserud:OK. Of course you said that you've been doing a lot of talking on campuses and stuff like that, from the very early years. You've come across a lot of talks at the University of Utah. Is that —
Garwin:The people out there asked me to come and talk to them. I guess they had some money for a series on Science and Society or something, and a person there, I forget his name, I could find it, — and the skiing in Alta is very good, and so I used to go out in February, and take my family, and give a couple of talks at the university, and I thought that was a good thing to do. I think gradually it became much more pro forma, to some extent. The availability of money for such programs is not a benefit when all they do is get you to come one place instead of another place. But that's my problem, because I may not say No when I should, but I try. Peter Gibbs was the person who originated this there.
Aaserud:OK, so, well, did you find a good response there?
Garwin:Yes. They would have, in many cases, 500 or 1000 people, live, and put it on television as well. I remember one speech I gave, I was told later by a friend of ours here that she had been in the hospital with a broken leg, in Salt Lake City, that she had broken skiing at Alta, and she had heard me talk, and I think I was talking about abortion or something like that, which people in Utah don't go for much.
Aaserud:That was on population control.
Garwin:Yes, right. So we probably had most impact.
Aaserud:Yes. Then you were involved in the debate leading to SALT, of course, too.
Garwin:Not so much in the debate. I had done, you know, a lot of this work on ballistic missile defenses and offensive forces and means of verification, and consulted with the Arms Control Agency and the White House, in all administrations, and the State Department and the Secretary of State and all that, and so that was my major involvement.
Aaserud:Of course it was, yes. But I came across in a publication like this the occasional paper of the Center for Study at University of Chicago —
Garwin:Yes, I think that was a kind of republication. Let me see. Does it (crosstalk ) — let me see that, please.
Garwin:Maybe not. No, I'm thinking of another one from Chicago about superconducting transmission lines. See, this is a seminar which will continue through 1973 founded by the Ford Foundation. They had the Balls paper and Johann Holst's paper and so on. No, this was not a re-publication, this was done specifically for them.
Aaserud:OK. Was that also by invitation ?
Garwin:Oh, sure. I actually went there and gave a talk. This is my talk.
Aaserud:So even though your involvement with SALT was mostly technical advising, you did go out of the way in a few instances to argue for it, to argue for the agreement.
Garwin:Oh yes. I testified in support of the SALT agreement. So I delivered this paper March 4, 1971. But you see, this before there was an agreement. The agreement was made May 26, 1972. So I argued for an agreement.
Aaserud:Yes, that's what I meant.
Garwin:Right. And this is the kind of agreement that I wanted, so I thought that this might help to obtain the kind of agreement which would be good, instead of the kind which would be bad. I say, "In principle, there's no strategic disadvantage to the defense of offensive missile silos. In fact, such silo defenses would benefit the strategic balance. Unfortunately, our defense of Minuteman Safeguard uses very long range radars and very long range interceptors," and so on. "Silo defense equipment could in principle be very different from city defense, but this would require a system completely different from Safeguard. I believe that a system which is both less costly and more effective than Safeguard for this purpose should be developed, although not necessarily deployed." So I was trying to educate people. You can have, these all belong to you.
Aaserud:OK, thank you. And I guess the same can be said about this, although this was after the fact, yes. The SALT agreements were signed in Moscow 26 May 1972, so this is definitely after.
Garwin:What is that?
Aaserud:This is PROCEEDINGS of the American Society of International Law.
Garwin:Oh yes, that was a debate with Richard Perle. And it was very interesting. I debated December, 1972 with Senator Henry Jackson in California, and that was also very interesting. So I think I've told you, ever since I was very young, like 20 or 21 years old, I thought there were three important problems. They were unrestrained population growth and nuclear war and destruction of the environment. And now I would say, retention of an efficient form of government, which I think is more threatened than I realized then and more important. And so I tried to work on those things as much as I could, and when some people would be doing their gardening or mountain climbing or skiing or whatever, I would do what I could on those problems, because it's just as much exercise as anything else is. You might as well do something where you could do some good. So that's what I do.
Aaserud:So those are —
Garwin:And if I had the opportunity to debate Henry Jackson or, I mean, to influence him, that would be good, and even if I can't, then to show where his ideas fit and what opposing ideas are. I try to do that.
Aaserud:So from how early on was it clear to you that those were the main problems?
Garwin:Oh, when I was 20, 21 or so. When we had our first son in 1949.
Aaserud:Did you in any way attack those problems then, or was it something that was lying there maturing?
Garwin:Well, I tried to look at the nuclear war problems by being involved with these things, learning about them. On population control, I've always had an interest. I've clipped all kinds of articles. We've given what little money we had to Population Council or Planned Parenthood or whatever, and have supported such things politically, but we're not, neither my wife nor I are very able politically, but we will work for such things, and for the availability of legal abortion, and environment, I did what I could. For the most part I couldn't do anything, but then when I was a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, I tried to put such things on the agenda, and as I mentioned, I pay attention to hazards like beryllium or whatever and try to do something about them, and all things being equal, look at the question of motor vehicle emissions with more interest than money would involve, and brought the Rachel Carson articles from the NEW YORKER to the President's Science Advisory Committee.
Aaserud:SILENT SPRING, yes.
Garwin:SILENT SPRING articles from the NEW YORKER. (crosstalk )... the xerox machine and I went to the trouble of copying them and distributing 20 copies and what not, which I think probably led to the panel on Insecticides and Pesticides. And so I don't have any particular expertise in these things, but I try to do what I can. And in the population problem, on the President's Science Advisory Committee, a number of us were very persistent in trying to get President Johnson to reverse the edict by President Eisenhower, that he couldn't think of anything less suitable for the government than to invade what happens in the bedrooms of the American people. So first we had the Academy do a study on the world population problem, and then the US population problem, and then through the White House staff, in one of the State of the World messages, got President Johnson to endorse this, which led to much bigger budgets in the Agency for International Development for population control.
Aaserud:Yes, which is reversed now, of course, but that's another —
Garwin:Right. So I tried to do those things, and right now, since there are so many people who are interested in environment, there's not so much I can do there, but I am trying to do more toward good government, and I wrote the Common Cause — Wertheimer, I guess it is — and said, "You know, it's welcome to have you guys try to fight nuclear war and do the right thing on defense, but we really need you more in preserving a decent government, " and after a while, he wrote me back a long letter saying he brought this to his board, and I think really the answer is that his constituency in Common Cause isn't satisfied with their concentrating simply on the mechanism of government, but insists that they do something about the problems themselves, and I think that's maybe the wrong way to go, because we need a lot more attention to good government. And so I try to phrase these questions. There's the question of the President as Commander-in-Chief, General Abrahamson saying that the President is his Commander-in-Chief in peacetime, and I think that's nonsense, and keeps General Abrahamson from saying to the President, "Look here, it would be nice to have what you want, but you have to understand that we can't achieve it." And it leads to Abraham Sofaer in the Department of State saying to his aide, "Your Commander-in-Chief needs this new interpretation." And he's not a military person even. So I'm trying to have that explored. But I have to tell you that too few people care about fairness and justice and too many care about advantage for themselves, or for some other people, groups with whom they're allied or have an interest, so I don't know how long society and civilization will last, but I wouldn't behave any differently if I knew it wouldn't last very long. You have to keep trying.
Aaserud:Yes. There's the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN article, again—
Aaserud:On "Anti-Submarine Warfare and National Security, " from 1972. What was the background for that one ? Was that PSAC work also?
Garwin:OK. Well, you know, I had been head for years, throughout the sixties, of the ASW panel, and had a large interest and a lot of knowledge about such things, and not very many people knew about such things, so that was July, '72. I think though there was a —let's see, Naval, National Security — yeah. Yes, in December '72 I wrote a paper, "The Interaction of Anti-Submarine Warfare with the Submarine-based Deterrent." And I gave that at a conference at the Johnson Foundation. But that followed by five months my SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN article. I think what happened was that Jerry Piel probably said, "You know, we hear all this about submarines and nobody knows anything about anti-submarine warfare, wouldn't you write something about it?" So I wrote something about it. I think Piel was probably not very happy, and some of the arms controllers also wanted me to put in more about submarine sanctuaries and such like. I don't think submarine sanctuaries are a terribly good idea, because if you put your submarines some place where they're guaranteed safe, that reduces the amount of the ocean that the other side has to monitor covertly to find out where they are, so there are difficulties. I tried to explain in that article what sanctuaries would mean, and what would be involved in giving safe passage to sanctuaries in time of war and all that. But there are better approaches to ASW— that is, to a minimum deterrent— and many of them are unilateral, in the sense of having much smaller submarines, with much shorter range submarines, because you put intercontinental ballistic missiles on them, so you don't have to send them out into the broad oceans of the world. This was a kind of potboiler. And that's what's so unpleasant about many of these things. You don't say anything new. At best, you may have some new way of phrasing it. So for a scientist, it's not very rewarding. I did publish fairly recently in this book EMPTY PROMISE a chapter on Soviet response to SDI, "New Missiles and Counter-Measures," and there I did some real new work and looked at the deployment of decoys by fast-burn boosters at low altitudes, and here even the Physical Society report misses that point, I think. Did I give you my letter to the American Physical Society?
Aaserud:No, you didn't. I'd like to see that.
Garwin:I will do that.
Aaserud:After the report?
Garwin:After the report, right. In fact, there's a lot of controversy, of course, predictable controversy about the report, because some of the so-called scientific supporters of SDI, Fred Seitz, Lowell Wood, Gregory Cannavan, met with the House Republican Study Group or something, the House Republican Research Committee, giving their usual character-assassination readings of the Physical Society Review Panel, the authors of the Physical Society study, and all that.
Aaserud:There's an article here on the Trident, that you sent to the NEW YORK TIMES on the 14th of June, and that exists here in two versions, probably because you were asked to change some things in it.
Aaserud:I was wondering, was that a problem? Did you have a problem getting the word out, when you were sending letters for example to the NEW YORK TIMES?
Garwin:Well, sometimes you don't get published.
Aaserud:Yes. You're not the only one, of course.
Garwin:Right. And for instance, there's one which I've written recently on single warhead Midgetman in soft silos, which I'm sure I gave you, February 9 article for the WASHINGTON POST.
Aaserud:No, I don't think so, because I don't think I got articles so late, no.
Garwin:Well, this one hasn't been published, and I've sent it to the NEW YORK TIMES and I guess the LOS ANGELES TIMES, and it's really an important article. It's one, when I went to the 24th Wehrkunde Conference in Munich the end of January, I had the opportunity to talk to not only Senator Gore but Bill Graham, the President's Science Advisor, and Pete Wilson, the Senator, and Paul Nitze was on the airplane and Richard Perle, and six Senators and seven Representatives and Ken Adelman and Ed Rowney and all those folks, and so Wilson's— Pete Wilson's staff gave me an Op Ed article he'd published January 16 in the WASHINGTON POST saying Midgetman is too expensive and we can't afford it. So I talked to him, and I gave him an article from October 10, in SCIENCE MAGAZINE, where I had said the right way to base Midgetman is in a small silo, and surprisingly Pete Wilson came to me in the airplane going back and he said he found my argument compelling in favor of the single-silo Midgetman. So I wrote it up, and I sent it to the WASHINGTON POST. I couldn't say, here Pete Wilson says he finds my argument compelling, so I just wrote the thing, and I've been sending it around, but nobody has decided to publish it. I sent it to Freddy Ikle, and I'll give you his response. He had his staff take a look at it, and he said, "The relatively low program costs you quote may not have factored in a myriad of requirements, " and so on and so on. And he says it will cost three times as much, and Helicopter would require new technology. Vertical shelters would cost about a million dollars each. Fine, my missiles cost about 10 million dollars each, I can eat a million dollars." The land and appropriate security to support 30,000 silos based one mile apart, your design may cost from 10 to 15 billion." But we're not talking about 30,000 silos to begin with, we're talking about 1000 silos to begin with. "We believe we've made the best choice with regard to small ICBMs using hardened mobile launchers." But, you know, I wouldn't expect otherwise. But that's the sort of thing that I try to do, and very often, all too often, eventually these ideas are picked up later on, when it's too late, and never used at a time when they could be competitive or constructive.
Aaserud:There's a series of seminars here.
Garwin:Yes, I was spending six months at Harvard, and I thought I would give some of those seminars, and then I published some of those things in that article in the 1976, I guess, in EFFECTIVE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY.
Aaserud:Yes, OK, and there's also something in HARVARD MAGAZINE, that relates to that, but that's more of an interview, I think.
Garwin:Is that "Can Nuclear Deterrence Outlast the Century"? Yes, that was a symposium.
Aaserud:That was a symposium.
Garwin:I have it in French, too.
Aaserud:So you were invited to go to Harvard for the semester, is that it?
Garwin:Oh yes. Well, yes, indeed, the Program for Science and International Affairs, and I don't know whether you knew, I was a professor at Harvard for a while.
Aaserud:Yes, at the Kennedy —
Garwin:Right, so I was appointed a professor, and they wanted to appoint me full time but I wasn't ready to leave IBM, so it was arranged I would have a half time appointment for five years, and then I would go there full time, if I wanted to, but I decided after being there half time for one year, namely I was there for one semester, not this time, but it was later, 1979 or something, that really, it wasn't for me, that I couldn't support my office staff here and keep it intact and at the same time have anything there, and that if I were going to be a professor, I would have to do it full time. But it really had nothing to offer, that anything I wanted to do, I could do better here. Now, whether that's true or not is another question, but that's the decision I made, and it was a matter of relative support, of the opportunity to do technical things, the constraining aspect of having to teach classes, and be there at that time, and the lack of a benefit. Perhaps if one were more of a leader or a worker in a group, that would be OK, but it's not my strength.
Aaserud:Yes. Well, Branscomb has made that transition, hasn't he?
Garwin:That's right, but he had to retire. Right, because he got to be 60 years old and he was a vice president of IBM.
Aaserud:Yes. You don't have that problem
Aaserud:... you found the Harvard experience? Did you feel that you had some influence on students?
Garwin:No, it's mostly graduate students, and I didn't teach, because it would have involved making a new course or teaching a new course, and I just decided I didn't want to do that. I'd been a professor before. A lot of people at Harvard, I think, prize very much the fact that they are on the faculty at Harvard, and I've never been one for show or reputation or whatever. And that may be wrong, too. It may be the best way to make an outstanding organization is to have a myth that it is outstanding, and then maybe it grows to meet the myth.
Aaserud:Yes. It's also what you're comfortable with, I suppose.
Garwin:I figured that since I was, for that period, holding down a line that was a full-professor appointment, from the school, maybe they should have somebody who would be there full time and who would do a better job for them. So I resigned.
Aaserud:Yes. Did anybody else take that position?
Garwin:I don't know that it was a particular position. I don't know. One of the things you have to do is not inquire too closely into these things, because either you're involved or you're not involved.
Aaserud:Yes."Can the regulatory agencies make use of science and technology?" That's also a speech at Utah.
Garwin:Right. I was wondering what to tell them this year, having told them something the previous year, and I guess I'd been involved with the FAA and the Civil Aeronautics Board and the EPA, and one had to be a little bit pessimistic about their ability to use science and technology.
Aaserud:Yes. Then you gave a speech at the Leo Szilard Award of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, in 1976. That's largely — have you been involved in that forum other than giving that talk, is that something you've been involved in ?
Garwin:No. I don't think so. They gave me a prize. You get an award, and a dinner goes with it, and they get a speech in return. But I thought it was an opportunity to do a good job and try, since I knew Leo Szilard very well, and since I had things to say, I took the opportunity to say them.
Aaserud:Well, it's a good background for your general views on advising, I think. Then you —
Garwin:I was, in 1978, I think, head of the Panel on Public Affairs of the Physical Society. I think the forum is a kind of division which is organized by people who want to do that kind of thing.
Aaserud:So maybe we should talk about that instead. Were you involved in the origins of that, of POPA?
Garwin:I think I was. I think the council asked my views as to whether, what should be done, or whatever. But I was so busy in that era that I don't remember whether I was a member of POPA before I became chairman. And I do know that when I was elected chairman, the first thing that I said is, "Why do I find myself in this situation?" And the second was that I needed to get help, much as that is not my way, and so we looked around. The Physical Society would pay half of the stipend of some person to come and work with me on this half time, and so I looked around and found somebody, Bill Gallagher, who is here at Yorktown now. He wasn't here then. He was just getting his PhD at MIT in low temperature physics, I guess. And we had low temperature physics here. I'd done low temperature physics. And he seemed a reasonable candidate. We had a post-doc arrangement, so I arranged for him to be hired half time for me as aide on POPA for a year or two years, and half time as a post-doc in low temperature physics, and so he and his wife moved here, and they were sufficiently happy with him that he became a research staff member, as well as having done a good job for me as aide in POPA.
Aaserud:OK. How long were you chairman?
Garwin:I don't remember.
Aaserud:What time period was it?
Garwin:It was 1978, sort of. Maybe I have it in here. It says, during 1978, so at one time I must have thought it was in 1978.
Aaserud:You wrote this large article on the "Second Nuclear Regime," as you call it, or maybe —
Garwin:—that was a chapter.
Aaserud:Because there's a first and a second and a third, I think.
Garwin:That's right. I think my title really is REDUCING DEPENDENCE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS: A SECOND NUCLEAR REGIME. And that was a Council on Foreign Relations book. I thought that was a good project, although I hesitate to say, I think my chapter is the best part of the book. In fact, Mike Mandelbaum, I believe, who ended up writing another chapter of the book, had contracted to write that chapter, and somehow or another, it was decided that he wouldn't and I volunteered to write it. I may have been on the review committee or something, and I figured, that's exactly where we ought to go, and it was worth the investment by me to write it. I enjoyed writing it. I thought, first of all, there wouldn't be anything new in it, but then I tried to provide a more philosophical foundation than usual to these things.
Aaserud:More a synthesis of your views than anywhere else I've seen.
Garwin:Right. I still send it out occasionally. And the interesting part was that there was a review committee which met with me a couple of times. Cyrus Vance was head of the review committee, and about twenty other people, maybe, and they all read the draft, and then they criticized me mercilessly about the draft, and I listened to them. And since I had for many years advocated that as a way of doing business, when you're writing a book or study, that's what you ought to do, and in fact you ought to get two candidates for each chapter, I could hardly take it with other than good humor and attention. So I listened to what they said. And I'm not sure they were satisfied, because I think Cy Vance likes nuclear weapons even less than I do. But that was my effort, so—and then I wrote for the United Nations. I wrote a
Aaserud:So this was a unified presentation, so to speak. Was this book an attempt at a unified presentation of a view on arms control?
Garwin:That book, for the Council on Foreign Relations?
Garwin:It was to provide an option, a menu for the kind of world, the choices that one might make. Here it is.
Aaserud:Yes, but I mean, the —
Garwin:So, I guess Mike Mandlebaum eventually wrote "International Stability and Nuclear Order, the First Nuclear Regime." That's what we have now, or maybe even more. And then John Barton, "Prescription of Nuclear Weapons," and then "Strategic Deterioration," under David Gompert.
Garwin:Now, I see that these United Nations things had been suppressed in the listing.
Aaserud:That's why I don't have them.
Garwin:That's why you don't have them. So in 1979, and this is rather interesting, I'll print this out.
Aaserud:So did you get a response on this book, or on the use you expose there, so you find that's the use?
Garwin:NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN WORLD POLITICS? I don't think so. Oh yes, here it was published. It was finally published in March, 1980, STATUS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS SYSTEMS, that's the fourth draft, chapter 1, for the United Nations Group of Experts on a Comprehensive Study of Nuclear Weapons, and then "Trends in the Technological Development of, " and I did this with Robin Staffin, who was a post-doc with me at Kennedy School at Harvard. He had worked at Stanford, and has a PhD in physics, and then he went on, together with Ashton Carter and Ted Postol, to work for the Office of Technology Assessment, to do the MX Missile basing study, which was published in 1981 and had a very big impact. And I was asked by the United Nations people to do this draft, and I like working with these international organizations, but if they would let me do it alone, I would. And I sent them the draft and then they discussed it at their conference of so-called experts, and they sent it back, and I remember the innovation I had in that, I had two versions, one in which I had full documentation, bibliographical documentation of where I'd gotten the various references, and it was arranged so that it could be printed out optionally without that. So I have one version which is full of footnotes and superscripts and what not, another text version. And it talks about status and trends in nuclear weapons, in unclassified fashion. Solly Zuckerman, I think, had done the previous version ten years before.
Aaserud:All right. I should look at that. It is on your bibliography, isn't it?
Garwin:Yes, it is, 1980. The earlier drafts are not there.
Aaserud:Those are the ones that were suppressed.
Aaserud:OK. Well, I have a whole folder here on your relations with Congress. Maybe we should talk about just the early ones.
Garwin:All right. Maybe we should plan to be through at, what, 5 o'clock do you think?
Aaserud:Fine. Oh yes, definitely. I was planning to take a 5 o'clock train but I won't make that now anyway, so —
Garwin:Probably not. So the next one is what, 6 o'clock?
Aaserud:6:15, I think.
Garwin:OK, let me talk with my staff for a moment....
Aaserud:OK, the origins of your relationship with Congress. How early did you encounter a request from Congress, or in any other way so you were prepared for some connection with them?
Garwin:Well, I guess the earliest was when I was working on a Committee for Economic Development, I guess —
Aaserud:Yes, that wasn't actually —
Garwin:No, but I met Congress people then. But maybe even before that. No, I guess it was during the supersonic transport program, and Congressional staffs had called me, early on, as soon as it became known that I was doing the report for the President's Science Advisor. I told them, no, I couldn't testify on that, it was for the President's Science Advisor and the President, and eventually they continued to ask me, and finally there was some discussion back and forth and discussion in PSAC, and I told them that I would testify, but only on the basis of materials that they showed me, and not on anything else. So I did, and I gave a couple of testimonies within a month or so.
Aaserud:Yes, I think you testified on the 7th of May, 1970. That was probably the first time.
Garwin:Actually the first time was April 23. 7th of May, but there was one April 23, 1970, too, Appropriations Committee.
Aaserud:Yes, that's right, but that was on Safeguard.
Garwin:No, no, that was on supersonic transport program.
Aaserud:OK, but there's also one on the 23rd of March, sorry, 1970, even before then, which concerns the Safeguard.
Garwin:Really? Isn't that interesting. Yes, Safeguard discussion paper, with letters to selected members of Congress, but it wasn't testimony.
Aaserud:That's right. So that was something you sent on your own.
Garwin:Right. I suppose I had sent things to people in Congress before that. But my view has always been that I should only communicate with people by signed letters, only things that I am willing to sign and record. ...
Aaserud:Yes, we were talking about your first connections with Congress, and you sent a letter on the 23rd of March, 1970.
Aaserud:And Safeguard discussion paper, along with a letter.
Aaserud:So was that also a case of being frustrated with PSAC, or did it have nothing to do with that ?
Garwin:Well, I mean, clearly, what happened in 1967 — let's see, when Mr. McNamara gave his San Francisco speech and announced the decision tentatively to deploy the Sentinel system, that was a Congressional, and a Republican, question, so if the Congressional pressure were not there, the administration would be able to do more sensible things. So obviously administrations can only do things so far as they're permitted to do it by Congress, and they may in fact be required to do things that make no sense, so I figured that there were people in the Congress who ought to know more than they get from the newspapers or perhaps from the lobbyists for the Defense Department or the weapons manufacturers.
Aaserud:Yes. But it's clear where you stand here with regard to Safeguard.
Garwin:I don't remember.
Aaserud:It's ineffective, inefficient, incapable, penetrable. Those are the —
Garwin:—well, it's true.
Aaserud:So was that something that was discussed in PSAC, or?
Garwin:Oh, my writing? No. No, that would not have been appropriate at all.
Aaserud:But this was something that might be seen as inappropriate, just to send it along to Congress, perhaps.
Garwin:Let me see it. I don't think so. It just has my name. It doesn't even have IBM. No, I was an expert in such things. It's my responsibility to do that.
Aaserud:But I mean, it was that kind of thing that was criticized later on.
Garwin:I don't know that anybody criticized letters. Probably they had more egregious acts to criticize. They wouldn't waste their ammunition.
Aaserud:Yes. But I mean, this is more your initiative than a testimony would be, for example.
Aaserud:They were asking for your testimony, this comes from you entirely, so on that basis it might be more reason to criticize you for it.
Garwin:You can say, I had no choice but to give testimony. In fact, I was giving testimony on the SST once, and the committee members, one of the committee members asked me whether what I was saying was consistent with my report, what that report said, and provided the report, and I said, no, I couldn't, it wasn't my report, and if they wanted it, the only way I knew for them to get it was to ask for it from the Executive Office of the President, and that I just couldn't give them any information as to what was in the report.
Aaserud:Yes, but you were never criticized for that?
Garwin:For not giving the Congress the report?
Aaserud:For giving that kind of information?
Garwin:Oh yes. For going to Congress, yes. I was.
Aaserud:But it's clear from the record that you didn't—
Garwin:In fact, one of the few times that IBM was ever involved in these matters occurred in 1970 or '71, when I was on the Corporate Technical Committee of IBM at Armonk, at corporate headquarters. Did I tell you this? And Tom Watson, Jr., who I guess was no longer chief executive officer of the company but had been until about two years before and was very much involved at Armonk, stopped me in the hall on the way to the cafeteria. I'd known Tom Watson for a long time. And he said, "Dick, my friends in the aircraft industry tell me that you're giving Congressional testimony on the SST and talking about things you don't know anything about, economics and such." And I explained to Tom that I thought I really did know something about that. I had had this panel, for instance, and I had been long involved in airline economics, and we had looked at this, and Bill Niskanem was a member of the panel, and that I felt quite confident of the numbers that could be deduced from the information that the Congress had. And so I told him, I hope that clears up the matter. So then I thought he was through with me, so I turned away, and he stopped me. He said, "I guess you don't understand. I want you to stop doing this." And I told him that he really didn't have that choice. When I came in 1952, it was with the understanding that I would do the things that I felt I had to do, and if they at any time found that I wasn't worth the amount of money they were paying me or was doing something that was wrong, they should just tell me, and I would go away. But they couldn't pick and choose. So that was the end of the conversation. But I noticed that my boss, Manny Piore, chief scientist, was very busy for the next few days. I think he was writing a letter of explanation to Tom Watson, explaining the circumstances under which I made these studies, and that I really did know what I was talking about. I'd given Tom Watson some references of people who would support the fact that I knew what I was talking about here. So I never heard from him again about this, and Tom Watson and I are good friends, I mean, not socially, but in security and arms control matters. It's just that people in the government probably had gotten to people in the industry, to put pressure at a vulnerable point, as they analyzed it.
Aaserud:Yes. So there was never any more question about — that's the only time that happened. OK, then there's the SST testimony, of course, which I guess speaks for itself, unless there are some circumstances there that you'd like to add. Then there was a testimony in February, 1972, on priorities in military and non-military research and development.
Garwin:Do you have it there?
Aaserud:I don't know how that fits into — that's also before the dissolution of PSAC. Do you remember the date for that, by the way?
Garwin:This is February 2, 1972. I believe the dissolution of PSAC is January, 1973. I think they were having a rather broad review in the Committee on Appropriations, and I wanted to explain some things, so I did. And as reproduced in Senate hearings, — so I figured by then that the program by program review that Congress had or has, in individual committees, is not necessarily the best way to make the right decisions, and therefore one ought to do more, and look at it more broadly. I wasn't under any illusions I could solve the whole problem.
Aaserud:Yes. That is what you said. Was there any increase in requests for testimony on the part of scientists at that particular time, generally speaking?
Garwin:Oh, I don't know. I think after the 1969 era, the testimony on the ABM, there was more receptiveness. I don't know. The proper person to ask is someone like Jeremy Stone, who has a broader view of all the scientists. I'm just so busy with other things that I pay little attention to things other than what I'm doing.
Aaserud:Yes. Then there's a statement in support of the SALT agreements. Also in 1972.
Aaserud:Let's see. That's in July, 1972, that's right.
Garwin:Yes, that was my testimony. And there, you know, I'd worked a long time on those things. I thought people should know, since there were many people who were vigorously outspoken against the SALT agreements, and some who were in favor, I thought they ought to have my views, and that was that the ABM Treaty was a good thing, that the Limited Offensive Agreement was of marginal utility, and optional, we would have been just as well off without it, in my opinion, but I supported it marginally. But that the so-called "Safeguards", that is the programs that were being authorized to get the military support for SALT, namely the B-1 bomber and the Trident submarine program, were the most costly and the longest delayed way to achieve military capability, and they wouldn't satisfy those people who complained about an imbalance in land-based missile throw weight on the part of the Soviets, so why do that? Why not put big dumb missiles into the Minuteman silos? I said, you could increase the payload by a factor of three or four, that is, nine or twelve warheads on it, which is just like the MX, and why not do that? And of course I don't know why we didn't do it. My arms control friends were too smart, too cunning, and Kissinger I guess felt that he could just as easily pay off the military with these vastly expensive programs, rather than hurry up and put cheap big missiles into the Minuteman silos. And of course, from the point of view of strategic stability, to have more vulnerable targets there doesn't solve any problems, but that wasn't the problem, the problem was getting the SALT agreement. I've written about it a number of times, that you can't count on being in the right place at the right time talking to the right person, and so if analysis and fact and reason are going to have any influence, it has to be because they're recorded in accessible form, in words, and they have to be available, preferably in books, or in a continuing document, continuing journal, and preferably be taught to people in schools, even though a lot of people will not use the information or will misuse it, still one has to believe that the more people know, the better judgments they will make. And so that's why I write so much now. It may not be the right thing to do, and it's certainly not the right thing to do to send out two documents of different date and similar content when with a little effort you could judge which one is better, and not send the other one any more. So that investment really ought to be made.
Aaserud:Yes. Then you have testimony against the B-1 penetrating bomber, right, that was favoring the Cruise missile, I suppose.
Garwin:Yes. When was this, '75?
Garwin:Yes, that was famous testimony. That was the case in which, as I mentioned, the Air Force and the whole Defense Department in their Joint Strategic Bomber Study had made this concealed assumption of one hour or two hours launch time for all the missiles.
Aaserud:That was the precise testimony.
Garwin:That was really a bad show on their part.
Aaserud:Did that come up explicitly in Congress?
Garwin:Yes. Right at that hearing. Incredible. The only thing that didn't come up at the hearing was this one person who told me he had resigned on that particular point.
Aaserud:Any comments on Concorde and the Congress? What was the context of that little piece, congratulating Congress for making the right decision on the Concorde?
Garwin:Well, they weren't holding hearings, and it was four years after the termination of the US supersonic transport program. I was congratulating them on killing the SST program, and then I was saying, that was my introduction, that ought to guide our actions on the Concorde.
Aaserud:You were connecting those two.
Garwin:Right. So I thought I would be nice to them. And so the FAA was considering this maximum of 30 or 40 Concordes in the world. They were saying, "We ought to let them in, there's going to be so few of them." Of course the FAA had said previously, the United States alone would own 300 of them. And so I was telling them that we should not admit the Concorde, that Concorde flights, although they would not lead to a discernible increase in cancer, is like my going out at night in my automobile and only killing one person every week, and you'll never notice it in the statistics, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do everything you can to stop me. So, a little bit of environmental approach. So then I talked about airport noise, damage to the ozone layer, fuel utilization, and cost subsidization, and that we shouldn't do it.
Aaserud:Was that written for Congress?
Garwin:I sent it to them. Let's see, "SST and Ozone." Well, I don't think I can tell to whom I sent this.
Aaserud:No, probably too early to — yes.
Garwin:One could look back at the things of that time. I suppose I gave it to people who were interested and involved in the Congressional fight.
Aaserud:Yes, and then we get to civil defense, and the Schlesinger doctrine. Testimony in September, 1975. "Analysis of Effects of Limited Nuclear Warfare."
Garwin:Well, that's a big testimony of mine, right. That's the one —
Aaserud:Well, it's not so big. Yes, it is, it has a lot of pictures in it.
Garwin:Yes, that's right, that's the one in which Schlesinger gave this speech, and it was a dumb speech, and it says, you know, the Soviets could attack and only 80,000 Americans might be killed and you would never notice it, and then I guess Jerry Wiesner was a member of the board of directors of OTA or something like that, or on the technology advisory panel, anyhow, various people got Congress to ask the Office of Technology Assessment to analyze the truth of this assertion. Jerry Wiesner was the head of the OTA panel. And I was a member of the group that was brought together, and we decided, it really wasn't a good analysis we could do, but the Defense Department really ought to have the analysis itself, so what we ought to do then was to ask questions of the Defense Department that they should answer. And Henry Kelly of OTA had been doing this analysis of fallout, and as an OTA employee, he felt it wasn't appropriate for him to give testimony like this, so I picked up his analysis, and I presented it together with my testimony, so that's where those pictures came from. And indeed, we asked the —
Aaserud:The date I think is on there.
Garwin:— yes— the Defense Department those questions, and when they came back, instead of killing that many Americans, that many Canadians would be killed, but the number of Americans would be between 20 million and 40 million, typically, which makes a difference in the way the Defense Department plans. So they really should have thought about it a little bit more.
Aaserud:Yes. Well, that was another case of rationalizing policy, perhaps.
Garwin:Well, somebody thought, what was the best argument they could make, and didn't ask whether it was necessarily true, and deluded the Secretary of Defense. He's a pretty smart Secretary of Defense.
Aaserud:Yes. OK, well, then you have a testimony on the Solar Energy Institute.
Garwin:I'd written the report so I had to give the testimony.
Aaserud:Yes, so that's — OK, the testimony for the Department of Transportation, '76.
Garwin:Let me look at that, please. Oh yes, I was a member of the Federal Energy Administration Environmental Advisory Committee, and I was asked by the FEA to testify, and I was testifying about the Concorde. This was not a Congressional committee. This was a Department of Transportation public hearing. I had five minutes to speak. The interesting thing is that I just saw William Coleman, who's the director of IBM and was the Secretary of Transformation at the time, and we discussed for the first time personally the Concorde, and he said he was sure he had made the right decision in allowing the Concorde flights, and he said the Concorde was no noisier than the 747, but that's absolutely wrong. It's no noisier than a 707, an early 707, and thank you for calling this to my attention because I will send it to him.
Aaserud:OK. Oh yes, then it was "Providing Intelligence and Technology", a chapter for the Senate Intelligence Activities Committee, April, 1976.
Garwin:That was a very interesting activity. I think that Bill Miller —
Aaserud:— "History of the Central Intelligence Agency, " OK, yes.
Garwin:William Miller was head of the staff of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and some of the staff, in my opinion, had a view that computers were destroying privacy or something, and they would have been happy just to have a paper written about that. And I told them I didn't really believe that was the case. However, I would be happy to write how computers could be used to provide information, and also to protect information, and some things that ought to be done, and at the same time, I would try to put it in context with other means for invading privacy, and so there is a section there on hidden cameras and hidden microphones and letter opening and things like that. But I find it very interesting to make those analyses, and I talk there about special purpose search engines for going through files with multiple, inquiries, with multiple search terms, and in fact, such a thing now exists. It's offered commercially for sale by TRW, called their FDF 2000 Fast Data Finder 2000, and has very similar characteristics to what I'm talking about there, except it's eleven years later.
Aaserud:Yes. So you —
Garwin:So I wrote this -I thought —
Aaserud:—wrote that little part of a general report, I mean.
Garwin:I wrote that chapter, right.
Aaserud:That chapter, yes, "Intelligence and Technology" chapter.
Garwin:Yes. There is another version of that in my file in which the abstract and other material I restored, the conclusions, which were not appropriate in that volume.
Aaserud:Yes. Were you involved in working out the whole report?
Garwin:I was a consultant to the Senate Select Committee, but I had no editorial responsibility or any part in the investigation or the hearings.
Garwin:I gave them some advice on things that I knew about.
Aaserud:Yes. Then I have some miscellaneous things here towards the end. I'm getting to the end of my pile, believe it or not.
Aaserud:THE JOURNAL OF DEFENSE RESEARCH was established in 1963, and Sol Penner was an important person there, maybe the most important person there. To what extent were you involved in the establishment of that journal?
Garwin:Well, I was a big advocate of that, and I guess to the extent that IDA was instrumental in creating it, and I had some influence at IDA, and Alec Tachmindji, I guess was also involved, I just kept saying, in my testimony and comments and letters, that what we really needed was a place where one could write substantive analyses which could be found again, so that you would write about radar for defense against strategic ballistic missiles, and even though people weren't interested at that time, they would be perhaps interested at a later time. They wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel. So it finally happened, and I was sufficiently interested that I agreed to serve as an editor for a while.
Aaserud:Yes, from the beginning.
Garwin:I guess so.
Aaserud:Yes. So did it serve the purpose that you had hoped it would?
Garwin:Yes, to a considerable extent. I wanted to have also unclassified articles in it, because there are many things that I write which are totally unclassified, which do not have an appropriate locus of publication. And they're too detailed for any mass circulation journal, but they're not sufficiently fundamental for physics journals, and the write place for them would be the JOURNAL FOR DEFENSE RESEARCH. But they have never accepted unclassified material.
Aaserud:Oh. But they would be classified by virtue of being in a journal, unless you pulled it out of it.
Garwin:Yes, but you could. That would be very useful. The purpose would not necessarily be to say, "Here is this from JOURNAL OF DEFENSE RESEARCH, or this was submitted to JDR." But the importance would be to get the people who read classified material to read right next to it simple arguments which could be presented also to the Congress. So maybe I'll try to do something about that again. Perhaps there could be an Annex to the JDR, at least a listing of unclassified material.
Aaserud:Yes, but you have tried that before.
Garwin:A couple of times.
Aaserud:But it may be a while ago, now. So the JOURNAL was used, it was the open journal for — an open journal for closed communities?
Garwin:Right, and it has things up to Secret, No Foreign, that is in some cases you have No Foreign Access. So for instance —
Aaserud:Are even the titles and the authors classified?
Garwin:No. For the most part, there are unclassified listings of titles and authors. But these days, unfortunately, some of these things that are unclassified are on the Critical Weapons Technology list, and so they cannot be exported.
Aaserud:Yes, OK. There's one particularly interesting instance, here, I think, of a clash between the physicists, science advisors, and the operations analysts or the —
Garwin:The Operations Research Society of America?
Aaserud:Exactly, yes. I was wondering whether that was just an isolated incident, or to what extent this event signifies a broader —
Garwin:It shows how vicious some people can be. And in that case, it was, oh, what the hell was his name? I know it as well as I know mine. Begins with a W.
Aaserud:Oh, you're looking for a person?
Garwin:I'm looking for the name of Albert Wohlstetter. It was Albert Wohlstetter. The whole thing was done by Albert Wohlstetter. And to have a witch hunt, to look at the professional integrity and what not of the people who might do this. And here I'm looking at this thing by Lowell Wood and Gregory Canavan, and Fred Seitz and so on, who say — "you know, it seems remarkable that all these substantial errors and inaccuracies are in the direction that makes the job of defending the United States against missile attacks seem harder than it actually is. Why did a group of outstanding physicists not check their results and conclusions more carefully?" And so on. And it's just character assassination, and it's not the Operations Research Society of America. They were just too naive, in my opinion, to see from the beginning what Albert Wohlstetter was doing. And once they got into it, they couldn't really back away. And the key point really is very funny. It is that George Rathjens and Jerry Wiesner or whatever —I wrote a comment, I wrote a response, and I think the key points is that Rafjens and Wiesner, in saying that the Soviets could not get the required damage expectancy of 85 percent or whatever with their 65 percent or whatever reliable warheads, they would have to use two per silo, and that's what Wohlstetter takes objection to. He says, "If your job is to destroy 85 percent of a thousand Minuteman silos, you use one per silo, and then you use two, a second warhead against only as many silos as are required to make up the 850 destroyed, and it's a gross exaggeration to say you need to use two against each of them." And he's right, in that it is an error and an exaggeration, but to imagine that Wiesner and Rafjens did this intentionally, rather than doing an analysis to about the level of detail that it deserves, is ludicrous, and the bad faith and the viciousness of a person who would do that sort of thing is beyond my ken.
Aaserud:Right. So you're saying that the argument is valid but it —
Garwin:That particular argument, Wohlstetter is right about, but the rest of the arguments are not, and the same thing, there are some things about, although very few, about which Canavan is correct. The main problem is that the Stategic Defense Initiative Organization has never published anything, nothing technical, and when you leave it to a group of outsiders who are also insiders to publish something, there are likely to be some errors. Now, Canavan of course at Los Alamos never ever admits that he has published, among the things that —- not published, but he has distributed things with Los Alamos report numbers on them which are dead wrong. And in one of them, it's not wrong but it's what he's been criticizing other people in earlier documents, still earlier documents, for doing. He assumes satellites distributed uniformly throughout the world. That's a factor of 3 exaggeration of the number. And the other thing, which is really just wrong, is that he does his averaging wrong, I mean absolutely wrong, no justification for it at all, and so he will attack other people's integrity for doing such things without admitting that he makes mistakes. Of course, his integrity is above reproach! A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force!
Aaserud:But in this case, you wouldn't say that this is an example of a more deep-lying general disagreement between two advising communities, at odds with each other?
Garwin:I don't think so. I think that the professionals of the Operations Research Society of America may have, in their modus operandi, more of an expertise for hire aspect, like lawyers, and may have a problem with people then who give advice free. But aside from that, no.
Aaserud:No. So it's Wohlsteller more than the Operations.
Garwin:I think so. George Rafjens is an operations researcher. That's been his career. Even though I guess he was trained as a chemical engineer or something like that.
Aaserud:Yes. Right. But what was the motivation?
Garwin:Well, the motivation was to attack the opponents to Safeguard.
Aaserud:So it's political.
Garwin:Yes. If you can't win it on the argument, on the facts, you win it on the personalities, and so if you don't have dirty personalities to begin with, you dirty them. You fight them.
Aaserud:So it was a question of the Journal or the Journal editors not seeing through the motivation of this?
Garwin:It wasn't so much the Journal. It was the Operations Research Society of America which had a kind of court hearings, kind of hearings on this.
Aaserud:Oh yes, of course. It just came out in the Journal.
Aaserud:By virtue of that — yes, exactly.
Garwin:OK, do you have one last, or have we had it?
Aaserud:Well, I guess we've generally had it. I have this China trip here.
Aaserud:1974. The context of that, I mean, how this —
Garwin:How it came about?
Aaserud:How it came about.
Garwin:Well, in 1972, the US National Academy of Sciences, and I may have been a member of the Committee on Cooperation with the — no, Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China. I think I may have been a member of that. And so, in the days in which there was no interaction between the government of the People's Republic and the US Government, we tried with the Social Science Research Council and other people to keep some contact, and to send people there, and to understand what was going on. And then all of a sudden, the Chinese scientists were traveling. There was a delegation of 12 of them or so in Sweden looking at environmental things, and the US National Academy of Sciences and the Committee on Scholarly Communications were communicating with them, inviting them to come to Washington, and Jeremy Stone for the Federation of American Scientists, and Murph Goldberger, who I guess was chairman at that time, were also communicating with them. And the poor Chinese didn't understand who was what, and so they sent acceptances I think to both, and now there was a squabble, because Jeremy Stone and the FAS thought the scientists belonged to them, and the National Academy folks felt that the Federation of American Scientists really was a very small time organization compared with the National Academy of Scientists. Well, since I'm a member of both, I decided, hearing this rather petty argument, in my opinion, that something could be done about it, so I was kind of a peace maker, I think, and I helped meet the Chinese when they arrived in Washington, at the airport, and I took over arranging their visit to the New York area for both FAS and the US National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy has a lot of staff support and can do this sort of thing, although I had to do the entire New York arrangements myself. One of the few things I asked IBM for help with, and in fact there was a person named Garvin, this must have confused the Chinese no end I think, James Garvin was the staff person from the IBM World Trade Organization who was assigned to help me on this. And so we arranged lodging and transportation to Bell Labs and the New York Polytechnic Institute and a couple of dinners and entertainment and a visit here, and we had them at our house and what not. And of course there were other things. T.D. Lee had them at his house, and so— and at the time, the Chinese of course are very protocol-conscious, and of course they invited (for a reciprocal visit) the people who had been involved with their visit, but there were too many of them all to go with their wives, and we had a discussion how we should settle it, and anyhow, the Chinese, I guess the Chinese had recognized that there were too many, and they said leading members of the delegation could bring their wives. And then it was up to the US side to interpret that, and they decided that "leading members of the delegation" could be interpreted as those who were heads of organizations, the president of the National Academy, Jeremy Stone, or whoever. And I wasn't head of anything, so I wrote them and I said I was sorry I couldn't make it, and perhaps next year they could invite me and my wife to come. Because I figured it was the only time I could go to China, and I wasn't going to go without my wife. As a matter of fact, the next year things were not — I guess the group went in 1973 or whatever— and things looked bad for a while in US-China relations. But then the Chinese Electronics Society, with no warning at all, invited me and my wife to come for a month, and we did. So I gave many talks about gravity waves and computers, which I thought might help the Chinese.
Aaserud:IBM perhaps too?
Garwin:Well, I told them what I knew about computers, and when they wanted to know about IBM computers, I told them what I knew. I'm not a sales person. So that's what I did, and my wife visited schools and hospitals and gave them what advice she could about how you run things. She's a substitute teacher in the school system. So we saw a lot of China, and I thought that would help both our country and IBM, and I wrote that report, just for whatever good it would do.
Aaserud:Yes, quite. Did that lead to anything?
Garwin:Well, just to my continuing interest in China. You can't have all these things lead to anything.
Garwin:I was for a while— Stanford University has a Pacific Affairs interest section or whatever, and then John Lewis and Sid Drell are co-heads of a US-China committee of some kind, which they had formed without any Chinese participation, and I think it still has no Chinese participation. And for a while the Chinese did not want to deal only with the West Coast. They wanted to deal only with national organizations. So I was nominal president or whatever of their organization. I used to meet with them, because it's only honest, and I went to China in 1979 for a week to Beijing with those folks. I don't know that I was still president at the time, but —
Aaserud:So you did go again.
Garwin:Yes. Just for a week. All right. I do hope this is useful to you, because it takes a lot of your time, and mine too.
Aaserud:Yes, it does.
But I contribute my little to you.