May 10, 1957: Memorandum of Discussion at the 322d Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington:
In the course of his briefing, Mr. Cutler explained that another hike in the costs of this program had induced the President to schedule the matter for discussion by the National Security Council. Mr. Cutler said that there would be a presentation by Assistant Secretary of Defense Holaday and other officials of the Research and Engineering Division of the Department of Defense. Dr. Detlev Bronk, President of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Alan Waterman, Director of the National Science Foundation, were like-wise present, and would comment on the report by the Department of Defense. (A copy of Mr. Cutler's briefing note is filed in the minutes of the meeting.)
After Mr. Cutler had finished his briefing and had noted that the costs of the program had increased from the original estimate (May 1955) of $15-20 million to the estimate of April 1957, of $110 million, he turned to call upon Secretary Holaday to present the Defense Department report. The President, however, interrupted with a vigorous complaint to Mr. Cutler that before he slid over some very important facts it would be well to recall that the original program, calling for six satellites, was primarily a safety program designed to assure that at least one of these six satellites could be successfully orbited. There was no intention necessarily to launch six satellites. Another problem which disturbed the President was the very costly instrumentation currently being provided for the six satellites. Such costly instrumentation had not been envisaged when NSC 5520 had originally been approved by the President. The President therefore stressed that the element of national prestige, so strongly emphasized in NSC 5520, depended on getting a satellite into its orbit, and not on the instrumentation of the scientific satellite.
Mr. Cutler explained that he had not intentionally passed over these problems, and that they would be dealt with in the presentations by the Defense Department which were now to follow. Mr. Cutler then called on Secretary Holaday, who in turn stated that Dr. Hagen would make the first report on the nature and performance of the earth satellite program and the schedule of test launchings. (A copy of Dr. Hagen's report is filed in the minutes of the meeting.)
Dr. Hagen was followed by Assistant Secretary Holaday, who confined himself to an analysis of the cost aspects of the program to launch an earth satellite, with particular emphasis on the reasons which had led to the marked increases in the estimated costs of completing the program. He concluded his remarks with certain recommendations as to ways and means of funding the remainder of the program.
At the conclusion of Secretary Holaday's remarks, Mr. Cutler called on Dr. Bronk for a statement of the scientific aspects and importance of the earth satellite program. Dr. Bronk said that he would divide his brief report into three main parts. He dealt first with what he described as the immediate practical values to be derived from the successful orbiting of a scientific satellite. Among these, he stressed . . . information on the determinants of weather; and lastly, the influence of outer space on communications. He commented on the intense anticipation with which scientists were waiting for the receipt of this kind of scientific information.
Dr. Bronk stated that the second aspect of his analysis would be concerned with what might be described as the spiritual aspects of the program. If a satellite were successfully orbited, it would constitute the movement of man into an entirely new area of the universe into which he had never moved before. This was, accordingly, a challenging adventure, and if it were successfully concluded would mark a whole new chapter-indeed, a new epoch-in science and
Finally, Dr. Bronk said he would touch on the international aspects of the earth satellite program. These aspects, he said, were of very great concern to our scientists. The fact that our earth satellite program was being carried out in connection with the International Geophysical Year and in association with scientific groups from many foreign countries, would bring our scientists into a relationship with the scientists of other countries which could be very significant. We are taking the lead, but we are associated with a variety of other nations.
Mr. Cutler then called on Dr. Waterman, who said he would confine himself to discussing the matter of responsibility for funding the earth satellite program, as between the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. The gist of Dr. Waterman's remarks was that if it proved necessary to go to the Congress for a supplemental appropriation in order to complete the program set forth in NSC 5520, the Department of Defense was in a much better position, and had a much clearer obligation, to do so than did the National Science Foundation. On the other hand, Dr. Waterman expressed the earnest hope that some way might be found to provide for the costs of completing this program without going up to the Congress with a request for supplemental appropriations.
The President said that two thoughts had come to his mind at once as he had listened to this series of reports and comments. In the first place, there was no particular reason to assume that the latest estimate of the costs of completing the program ($110 million) would prove firmer than the earlier estimates. Indeed, it was quite possible that the costs of completing the program would go to $150 million, or even higher. His second impression, said the President, was that everybody wanted to duck responsibility for finding the money to fund the program.
Mr. Cutler then requested the Director of Central Intelligence to report on what we knew about the Soviet program to launch an earth satellite, and on the world-wide effects of a U.S. decision to abandon its own earth satellite program at this time.
Mr. Dulles indicated that the Soviets had not followed through on their promise to provide the organizers of the International Geophysical Year with the appropriate details of their program, . . . . With respect to the effect of a U.S. abandonment of our program, Mr. Dulles pointed out that the program had been widely advertised and warmly welcomed throughout the world of science. If the Soviets succeeded in orbiting a scientific satellite and the United States did not even try to, the USSR would have achieved a propaganda weapon which they could use to boast about the superiority of Soviet scientists. In the premises, the Soviets would also emphasize the propaganda theme that our abandonment of this peaceful scientific program meant that we were devoting the resources of our scientists to warlike preparations instead of peaceful programs.
Mr. Cutler then invited comments from Secretary Wilson. Secretary Wilson replied that when the earth satellite program was first broached in the spring of 1955, it had been clearly and publicly stated that any of the scientific information resulting from the successful launching of an earth satellite would be made available freely to the whole world. Accordingly, our earth satellite program partook of the character of a pure research product rather than of the character of directed research which the Department of Defense could appropriately describe as vital to U.S. national security. Of course, continued Secretary Wilson, we in the Defense Department do have some defense interest in the satellite program. Nevertheless, it was not the kind of program which Defense could properly underwrite and for which it could properly provide money, as it had done lately, out of the DOD emergency funds for research and development. Indeed, Congress had already criticized the Defense Department for allocating money out of its emergency funds to tide over the earth satellite program, and Secretary Wilson said he could not really blame Congressional critics for their attitude. He complained that he was already having enough trouble in providing money out of his emergency funds for research projects which were truly vital to national defense.
The Director of-the Budget pointed out to Secretary Wilson that the Department of Defense Emergency Fund ran out each year and had to be renewed each year.
When Mr. Cutler inquired of Secretary Herter the views of the Department of State, Secretary Herter replied that he felt much as did Mr. Allen Dulles. The State Department favored completing the earth satellite program because of the prestige it would confer on the United States. He could not speak authoritatively of the problem of funding the program, which he said did present a rather frightening picture. Asked for his opinion, Admiral Strauss ' replied that he concurred in the views of Secretary Herter.
The President then commented that there was one lesson to be learned from the experience with the earth satellite program: In the future let us avoid any bragging until we know we have succeeded in accomplishing our objectives. The President then said that he would like to be informed as to how much the increased costs of the earth satellite program derived from increased costs of more elaborate instrumentation. Secondly, he wished to inquire whether the launching of an earth satellite could be rendered easier if the satellite did not contain so much instrumentation as currently planned.
In replying to the President, Secretary Holaday pointed out that the diameter of the earth satellite had been reduced from thirty inches to twenty inches, although he admitted that the instrumentation had become a little "gold-plated", or at least""chromium-plated", as it had developed. Secretary Holaday also admitted that at the start of the earth satellite program we had not realized fully the requirements of the velocity. Likewise, more observation stations were now going to be established than had originally been thought necessary. Such items as these helped to explain the increasing costs of the program.
The President responded by pointing out that although Secretary Holaday had said that the 30-inch sphere had now been reduced to a 20-inch sphere, this was still larger than the "size of the basketball" which had been mentioned when NSC 5520 had first been considered by the Council. The President confessed that he was much annoyed by this tendency to "gold-plate" the satellite in terms of instrumentation before we had proved the basic feasibility of orbiting any kind of earth satellite. Secretary Wilson added the comment that irrespective of the merit of the earth satellite program, this program had too many promoters and no bankers.
Mr. Cutler alluded to a suggestion that if we succeeded in orbiting one of the test vehicles which would have no scientific instrumentation, it might be possible to abandon the rest of the program for launching the fully-instrumented scientific satellite. The trouble with this reasoning, according to Mr. Cutler, was that the six instrumented satellites were already in the pipeline. Accordingly, if we abandoned the attempt to launch these satellites, we wouldn't save very much money and we would miss achieving our objectives.
Secretary Humphrey inquired what was expected to happen if and when we succeeded in orbiting an earth satellite. Would we not then initiate another tremendous program to launch additional satellites and secure additional information about outer space. Secretary Wilson commented that this was the likely eventuality, and that this was the American way of doing everything-bigger and better.
The President observed that it was quite conceivable that the information we achieved from the successful launching of an earth satellite would be so great as to merit a continuing program thereafter. The trouble was that our original "basketball" satellite program had grown bigger, better, and more costly, at the same time that everybody wished to duck financial responsibility for its completion.
Secretary Wilson said that there was another significant factor to account for the increasing costs of programs such as this. Whenever you put a time limit on a new and large scientific program, you immediately encountered financial troubles. The costs were bound to rise if the objective had to be achieved when a specific and relatively short time interval was set.
The President observed that in any event he did not see how the United States could back out of the earth satellite program at this time. We should, however, keep it on no more elaborate a basis than at the present time. Beyond this there was the problem of how to finance the completion of the program. In this respect the President suggested that in view of the fact that we have run out of money, there was no other recourse than for Defense and the National Science Foundation jointly to appear before the Congressional committees, tell them the story, and ask for supplemental funds. Secretary Wilson agreed with the President that we could not now abandon the program, and the President informed Secretary Wilson, Mr. Brundage and Dr. Waterman that they should make arrangements to go before the Congressional committees with a request for funds to finance the program on its present basis. Before doing so, however, the President said he wished the scientists who had been concerned with this program to take another hard look at it to see if there were any ways by which the costs could be cut or minimized. The President said he was not hopeful in this respect, but that it was worth a try. Thereafter the whole truth should be presented to the committees of Congress.
Mr. Cutler said he assumed that the President wished Defense and NSF to make their joint presentation to the same committees of Congress which had been dealing with the earth satellite program in the past. Mr. Cutler also suggested that the President would wish an immediate report to the National Security Council as soon as the Defense Department has succeeded in orbiting a test vehicle.
Mr. Brundage pointed out that the President's decisions would also involve the use of $5.8 million more of the emergency funds of the Department of Defense. The President agreed, and again called for a report by the Defense Department scientists as to what could be saved if these scientists were a little more restricted in their hopes and ambitions for the earth satellite program. Secretary Wilson commented that at least such a review by the scientists might help to prevent a further elaboration of the earth satellite program.
Click to join 3rdReichStudies
Disclaimer:The Propagander! includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander! condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.
Fair Use Notice: The Propagander! may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.