CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
GATES AND CRELL1N LABORATORIES OF CHEMISTRY
15 May 1958
National Broadcasting Company
New York, N.Y.
On Sunday 11 May 1953 I appeared on your program Meet the Press. The reason for
my appearance was, of course, to discuss the nature of nuclear war and of the tests
of nuclear weapons, especially their biological effects. This is a subject in which
I have been deeply interested and it is one that concerns every person in the United
I am writing now to tell you that I think the producer handled his job very badly.
I think that his greatest error was his failure to have present any representative
of the press who had any knowledge of the subject.
In addition to Mr. Spivak himself, who seems to know nothing about the subject, there
were three representatives of the press, none of whom seems to know anything about
the subject. The questions that they asked me were poor ones, which did not bear
sufficiently closely on the great problems involved, and it was only with difficulty
that I was able to introduce some pieces of information of value to the large group
of viewers of the program. It was evident that none of the members of the panel
had any basis for judgment as to the quality of my answers.
There are several representatives of the press in Washington and New York who have
an excellent understanding of this subject. I might mention Mr. Earl Ubell of the
New York Herald Tribune, just as an example. If even one reporter with some background
of information about the subject had been on the panel, the program would have been
Also, I feel thoroughly dissatisfied with the behavior of Mr. Spivak himself. We
had only 25 minutes on the air, to discuss this great problem; the greatest problem
facing the world today. And yet Mr. Spivak wasted a large fraction of this time
by dragging in puerilities, completely extraneous to the problem itself. I judge
that he has no understanding of the present serious world situation and of the issues
involved, and that he is not interested in having the program function in such a way
as to provide information to the American people.
cc Mr. Spivak