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1. An organization integrated into the Federal Government, with a full-time Administrator appointed by the President, and with direct responsibility for disbursal of Federal funds; and assisted by an advisory council from representative fields of science, government, and the public.
2. Specific assignment to the Foundation of responsibility for formulation of national science policies, with the duty to survey public and private research and to make recommendations for its coordination.
3. Full discretionary power for the Foundation to set up necessary divisions and commissions without prior legislative enumeration.
4. Pending the establishment of a general education program, responsibility of the Foundation for developing the Nation's scientific personnel through scholarships and fellowships.
5. Provision for distribution on a geographic and population basis, to privately and publicly supported institutions alike, of part of the funds allotted for support of research for training of personnel.
6. Authority for the Foundation to publish and disseminate to scientists and the public, results of scientific inquiry; and to promote international scientific cooperation,
7. Free availability or dedication to the public of all patentable discoveries made during research financed through the Foundation.
8. Provision that all research supported by the Foundation be nonsecret.
9. Provision for a miiltary liaison committee to ensure that results of research supported by the Foundation are brought promptly to the attention of military agencies.
At its April 1948 meeting the Council of the federation reaffirmed its adherence to the above nine points and stated its belief that the section entitled "Coordination with Foreign Policy" in pending bills should be deleted and replaced by a statement permitting support of international science through international agencies. Again in November 1948 the federation council affirmed its basic policy declaration and instructed its representatives to make its views known to Congress.
A number of the points raised in these official federation statements deserve special comment, particularly in comparison with bills now pending before Congress. These bills fall into three groups (a) S. 247, the Senate version; (6) H. R. 12, 185, 311, 1845, 2308, and 2751 which are identical and will be referred to under the heading of H. R. 12; (c) H. R. 359. Analysis of these bills shows that none of them fully conforms to federation recommendations, and hence none is given blanket endorsement. To facilitate discussion, however, H. R. 12 is taken as the “basic bill" and suggestions for improvement are made in the form of amendments to this bill.
1. Powers of the Director and the Foundation.—After studying the long, detailed controversy over the administrative structure of the Foundation, the Federation supports the view that actual initiative and responsibility should rest with the Director, as a full-time functionary, and that only advisory and consu'tative responsibilities should be assigned to the part-time Foundation. This view is based on considerations of sound public policy as well as administrative efficiency. The disbursement of public funds by private citizens is undesirable, particularly when these individuals are so situated as to benefit from their own decisions. Moreover, it is feared that part-time personnel cannot give to the Foundation the cohesive, continuing leadership necessary for vigorous and effective action. For these reasons the relationship between "Administrator" and “Board" provided in H. R. 359 seems to us preferable over that of other bills. As between H. R. 12 and S. 247, we prefer the former. S. 247 rests all authority in the part-time Foundation and makes the Director only “chief executive officer.” In this situation, we believe, capable men will either not be attracted to the Directorship, leaving the Foundation without effective leadership, or they will become involved in constant conflict over authority with the part-time Foundation. H. R. 12 at least delimits and defines the relative powers and responsibilities of the Director, the Foundation, and its Executive Board, although still leaving initiative and final authority with part-time personnel. H. R. 12 would be further improved by amending section 11 (line 12) as follows, “The Director, within the general policies developed by the Foundation, is empowered to do all things necessary to carry out the provisions of this act, and without being limited thereby, is specifically authorized * * *."
We suggest also that a sentence be added to section 2, as follows: "The Foundation shall consist of a Board and a Director." Thereafter the term “Board" should be used to apply to the 24-member body, whereas the term
"Foundation" should be used to apply to the agency as a whole. This will eliminate ambiguity presently existing in several provisions of the act, and avoid confusion in the actual operations of the Foundation.
2. Scope of the Foundation. It has been pointed out repeatedly since the war that, alone among the major powers, the United States does not have a unified, comprehensive policy on scientific research or the support of science. The realization of this gap was one of the original incentives toward national science legislation. It was hoped that the proposed Foundation would be assigned the responsibility for study of needs and performance, and for making recommendations leading toward a national policy on science. In formulating such a policy it must be kept in mind that (1) the influence and activities of science extend into industry, agriculture, education, defense, public health-virtually every aspect of the national life; (2) scientific discovery and application are inextricably intertwined; (3) scientific research goes on in hundreds of laboratories supported by government, industry, colleges and universities, and private foundations. Therefore, although the National Science Foundation will primarily support basic research, its surveys and policy recommendations should encompass all of science. None of the pending bills appears to us to focus sharply on this point. H. R. 12 would meet the objective if amended as follows:
(a) Page 3, line 15, delete "basic."
(6) Amend section 4 (a) to include a paragraph instructing the Foundation "to maintain a continuous survey and evaluation of research programs carried on by government, university, industrial, and other agencies, and to report annually to the President the results of such surveys, and recommendations based upon them."
3. Divisions and special commissions.—The establishment of specific divisions and commissions, i. e., the organization of the Foundation in terms of subject areas, is a technical question requiring careful coordinated study by experts in a number of fields. Although H. R. 12 gives wide latitude to the Foundation in establishing divisions, it specifically enumerates three special commissions on particular medical problems, thus imposing on the Foundation, prior to its consideration of the matter, special commissions on the subjects already provided for by the establishment of a Division of Medical Research. We recommend that the specification of particular commissions be deleted from H. R. 12, section 4 (a) 7, by substituting the corresponding section of S. 247.
4. Distribution of support. The Federation of American Scientists, conscious of the need for expanding our basic research plant and tapping all sources of potential scientific talent, has consistently supported provisions seeking to spread Foundation support throughout the country, and particularly to areas previously underdeveloped. We regard the provision of S. 247 on this point as totally inadequate, since it gives two simultaneous directives—to seek efficiency in achieving results and to avoid undue concentration of research-directives which may in practice be contradictory. If efficiency in obtaining solutions to known problems is desired, it can best be obtained by concentration of effort at existing centers. But if long-term development of scientific potential is the goal, it can best be attained by encouragement of expansion, even at the sacrifice of immediate efficiency. It is the latter which should be the primary objective of the Foundation since other sources can, and do, provide for short-term goals.
H, R. 12 avoids the conflicting directives but does not make a clear statement on the importance of expanding the scientific plant into new areas. It instructs the Foundation “to avoid undue concentration” of research and education in the sciences. Without definition of what constitutes "undue concentration” this is no directive at all. What is needed is a clear statement of the desired basic policy of wide-spread distributio nof funds. We suggest the following amendment to section 4 (b) which we believe achieves this result without binding the Foundation with a specific formula :
"In exercising the authority and discharging the functions referred to in subsection (a) of this section, it shall be the objective of the Foundation to strengthen basic research and education in the sciences, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, including its Terri. tories and possessions, particularly emphasizing the development of scientific resources in the scientifically underdeveloped and undeveloped areas of the Nation."
5. Security classification.—All pending bills provide that the Foundation "after consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall establish regulations and procedures for the security classification of information or property (having military significance) in connection with scientific research under this act,
and for the proper safeguarding of any information or property so classified."
Since responsibility for security classification in the field of atomic energy continues to rest with the Atomic Energy Commission, it is clear that provision is being made for security classification in other fields of research. The extension of security to new areas of science, particularly basic science, is a source of serious concern to nearly all scientists. We believe on the basis of long experience that free exchange of information and of ideas is essential to the rapid advance of science. Consequently, scientists who accept security provisions as necessary and right in the specific field of military research are loath to see them extended into science proper.
The existence of work under Foundation auspices which could not be freely discussed would tend to act as a damper on discussion of related work which was not actually classified. Mr. Pike of the Atomic Energy Commission has indicated that this sort of thing has occurred in the case of nuclear physics. It is therefore urged that, in order to maintain as sharp a separation as possible between classified military research and unclassified civilian research, the policy of the Foundation be to give continuing support only to unclassified research. Where research under the auspices of the Foundation results in discoveries of military significance, such research should be transferred, as soon as feasible, to one of the agencies whose concern is with classified research.
It should be noted that the problem of the effects of security on science is a general one of far-reaching importance in these critical times. A piecemeal approach, granting authority for security regulation to individual agencies, does not seem sound. There is need for a broad study of the whole problem, to result in a uniform policy clear to all. This will go far to reduce the uncertainty in the minds of scientists and others, and thereby alleviate the dampening effects of security regulations on free investigation.
With these considerations in mind, it is recommended that section 16 (a) of H. R. 12 be amended to read as follows:
"It shall be the general policy of the Foundation not to give continuing support to research requiring security classification. When any research under its auspices is deemed by the Foundation, in accordance with such national policies as may be established by Congress, to require security classification, the Director shall consult with the Secretary of Defense to determine the appropriate agency to which support of the research should be transferred. Pending such transfer, security classification and procedures shall be determined by the Director after consultation with the Secretary of Defense."
6. Coordination with foreign policy.-The Federation of American Scientists believes firmly in international cooperation in furthering scientific activity. It therefore approves the general purposes of all pending bills in authorizing the extension of support by the Foundation in such international activities. The method adopted, however, requires consideration. In S. 247, section 15, the support is made contingent upon "the foreign policy objectives of the United States as determined by the Secretary of State after consultation with the Director." H. R. 12, section 16, contains an essentially similar provision although with somewhat improved wording. Real dangers exist in this frank coupling of scientific support and foreign policy. To scientists it will represent a breach of a longstanding tradition—that the search for objective knowledge is not to be cast along national lines or limited by national policy. To critics of the United States, it will afford an opening for the charge that our assistance is no indication of genuine concern for extension of knowledge or for the welfare of other countries, but only an attempt to further our own interests. In the past, only totalitarian nations have sought to make science subservient to national interest. It seems hardly appropriate for us, who so strongly oppose totalitarianism, to accept one of its objectionable features. We believe that the National Science Foundation, in giving support to international science, should do so through established international agencies, e. g. UNESCO and the international scientific unions, with no strings of special national interest attached. Therefore, we recommend that the section entitled “Coordination with foreign policy" be deleted from pending bills, that the words, "and foreign countries" be deleted from section 11 (c) of H. R. 12, and that section 16 (a) of H. R. 12 be amended to read as follows: "With the approval of the President, and through the facilities of the Department of State, the Director is hereby authorized to cooperate in any international scientific research activities, including scientific activities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and other accredted international scientific organizations, consistent with the purposes of this act, and to expend for such international scientific research activities such sums within the limit of appropriated funds as the Director may deem desirable."
7. Support of research by the Foundation in the field of atomic energy.-Section 15 (k) of H. R. 12 states, “The Foundation shall not support any research or development activity in the field of atomic energy * * *, without first having obtained the concurrence of the Atomic Energy Commission.” It should be noted that the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 delegates to the Atomic Energy Commission exclusive responsibility and control not for the whole ill-defined field of atomic energy, but for the more limited and more precisely defined field of fissionable materials. The present provisions of H. R. 12 would require the Foundation to obtain the approval of the Atomic Energy Commission, for instance, before it could support research employing radioactive isotopes-rapidly becoming commonly used tools in investigations in medicine, agriculture, chemistry, physics, engineering, and other fields of science. To bring H. R. 12 into accord with the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, it is recommended that section 15 (k) be amended by deleting the words "in the fields of atomic energy," and substituting the words, "involving fissionable materials as defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946."
In summary, the Federation of American Scientists urges the passage of a National Science Foundation bill during the present session of Congress. It believes the bills now pending provide a sound basis for establishing an effective Foundation, but they can be improved in the following ways:
(a) Clearly defining and extending the authority and responsibility of the full-time Director,
(6) Broadening the survey and policy recommending functions of the Foundation to include all of science.
(c) Omitting the enumeration of specific commissions.
(d) Strengthening the provisions designed to ensure wide-spread distribution of support, and thereby the expansion of basic research activities and training of personnel.
(e) Emphasis on a policy of support of non-secret research by the Foundation.
(f) Emphasis on the extension of human knowledge through scientific activities rather than emphasis on our narrow national interests.
(0) A clearer definition of research to be supported in the field of Atomic
Finally it should be stressed that the need for a National Science Foundation remains urgent. We cannot delay longer without grave consequences to our scientfic position. In basic science and in training of scientific talent the war years were lost years. Temporary mechanism, wisely established by the Armed Services, have provided a limited substitute for a national science policy since the war. But we must now deal with the problem directly and permanently. As scientists our members value science for itself, for the personal satisfaction it yields, and the increased understanding it brings. As citizens, they value it for the promise it offers to human progress and well-being. As an organization of scientists aware of their responsibilities as citizens the Federation regards the establishment of a National Science Foundation as one of the most important contributions the Eighty-first Congress can make to our national life.
Mr. PRIEST. Dr. Dael Wolfle. Will you come forward Dr. Wolfle?
STATEMENT OF DAEL WOLFLE, SECRETARY, INTERSOCIETY COMMITTEE FOR A NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. WOLFLE. My name is Dael Wolfle. I represent the Intersociety Committee for a National Science Foundation.
That group was organized 2 years ago by the scientists of the country to give themselves a means of coordinating their own thinking about science foundation legislation and as a means of expressing their joint judgment.
The committee consists of representatives from each of some 75 scientific organizations. That group with almost complete unanimity wants to endorse, as it has in previous hearings, the National Science Foundation principle. We are willing to approve either the group 1 or group 2 bills or any reasonable compromise that lies within that range.
I have here a prepared statement which summarizes our preferences and recommendations on a half a dozen or so specific points in which the group 1 and group 2 bills now differ.
I will be glad to have that put in the record and not read it now.
Mr. WOLFLE. No; I think the statement in the record will be adequate.
Mr. PRIEST. We appreciate your interest and appreciate the interest of the intersociety group, and personally the Chair appreciates some personal help that the doctor has given the Chair in connection with these hearings and at other times.
Thank you so much..
STATEMENT OF DR. DAEL WOLFLE, SECRETARY OF INTERSOCIETY COMMITTEE
FOR A NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Members of the Subcommittee on Public Health, Science, and Commerce, my name is Dael Wolfle. I represent the Intersociety Committee for a National Science Foundation. That committee was organized 2 years ago by the scientists of the country to provide themselves with a means of expressing their judgment concerning national science foundation legislation. The committee consists of representatives from each of some 75 scientific organizations. Most of those organizations are national in scope; they represent all branches of science; and they include several hundred thousand individual scientists.
Through questionnaires and correspondence and through several meetings of the entire committee we have considered the various bills that have been introduced into the Eightieth and Eighty-first Congresses and have in previous hearings informed the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of our complete endorsement of the principle of a National Science Foundation,
On this point we are in full accord with the President, the Commission on Scientific Research which he established by Executive order in 1946, and the Members of both Houses of Congress who have introduced the bills now under consideration. With almost complete unanimity, American scientists who have expressed themselves on this issue are convinced that a National Science Foundation is necessary for the maximum development of the Nation's scientific resources.
As to the specific provisions of the bills now before the House of Representatives and the bill, S. 247, which has passed the Senate, the intersociety committee has the following recommendations to make :
1. With regard to the administrative structure, we have a slight preference for S. 247 over H. R. 12 or the similar House bills. The Senate bill does not require a specific committee organization as is required in most of the House bills. It is extremely unlikely that the Foundation would try to operate without an executive committee. The appointment of such a committee is therefore almost as likely under S. 247 as it is under the House bills. But other committees may also be necessary. Time may change the Foundation's requirements. Since fairly general agreement has now been reached upon a Foundation consisting of 24 experts, we believe that they should be given as great freedom as possible to arrange the details of their own internal organization and to change those details from time to time as changing conditions may warrant.
2. With regard to the Director of the Foundation, we support the manner of appointment described in section 6 (a) of H. R. 12. We strongly recommend the retention of section 6 (b) of H. R. 12, which specifies the duties of the Director. This statement of his duties and authority seems much preferable to the silence of S. 247 on the question of the authority of the Director.
3. With regard to the special commissions provided for in section 4 (a) (7), we prefer the Senate version to that included in the House bills. Nowhere else in the bills are specific research problems mentioned. And that seems wise as a general