JANUARY 24, 1958
ELYRIA, Ohio—Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, said the other day that he has no plan to reconsider "the adverse security finding against Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer." And, I believe, this was confirmed by President Eisenhower.
I feel a little sad that our country has to forego the services of one of the finest scientific minds in the world. Dr. Oppenheimer was never accused of anything except having felt, as most scientists do, that progress in science should be shared, regardless of nationality.
The scientific approach seems to make this almost inevitable, and I cannot understand the attitude of fear which now has enveloped us.
It was childish not to have congratulated the Russians on their recent satellite achievements and not to have taken for granted that any development in science must be shared by the world, just as it must benefit the world as a whole.
We may know that the Soviets are glad to do something new that will give them, at our expense, prestige among the uncommitted countries of the world. But perhaps we will be the ones to do it next.
We must cease to be afraid and, instead, rejoice at new discoveries, from wherever they come. And the scientific approach, which holds that any discovery is the result of the work of many people and must be shared for the benefit of mankind, we can ill afford to neglect.
Have we become so rigid in government that:
Nor all your piety or wit
Can call it back to cancel half a line
Nor all your tears wipe out a word of it"?
Could not our government see the advantage of using one of the brains we need for our scientific development? Dr. Oppenheimer may have made a mistake, but all of us do!
* * *
Dr. Nathan N. Pusey, president of Harvard University, also the other day pleaded that "as a nation we need to be strong in basic and applied science." But, he added, we should show equal deligence in the study of the "social sciences and humanities, for these disciplines are no less important than the natural sciences to the national welfare and security."
I could not agree more, and I hope we will heed this warning.
* * *
Just by luck, a friend called me one evening this week in New York and I was able to go to Carnegie Hall for a delightful concert. It was given under the auspices of the National Orchestral Association with Leon Barzin as musical director and the assistant artist Maurice Gendron, the French cellist.
Sad to say, I missed the first number, Haydn's Concerto in D Major, which must have been beautiful, but I did hear the Dvorak Concerto and the Hebrew Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra.
I cannot remember when I have had such a delightful evening and heard a more skilled and beautiful performer than Maurice Gendron. I hope I have the opportunity of hearing this gifted cellist again.