October 25, 1951
Dr. Holland Roberts, President American
Russian Institute 101 Post Street
San Francisco 8, California
Dear Dr. Roberts:
Thank you for your letter of October 16, in which you mention the celebration of American
Soviet Friendship Week in the San Francisco Bay Area, early in November.
I hope very much that a permanent time of international good feeling and of peace
can be instituted, and that the world will soon have passed through the present troubled
I have felt deep concern about the state of the world, and especially in respect to
science, during recent months. It seems to me that the field of science should be
truly international, and that there should be no restrictions on the dissemination
of knowledge and on the movement of scientists. Also, it is clear that science must
be allowed to develop without artificial restrictions or governmental interference
- there is no other way in which the truth can be discovered.
The World Chemical Conclave was held in New York last month. I know that Russia was
invited to send representatives - but none came. I attended the previous International
Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in London, in 1947. Three Russians appeared
there, at the last moment, and without warning - there had been no statement about
their attendance sent in ahead of time, to permit the titles of their papers to appear
in the program. These Russian chemists presented their papers, but they did not
talk with the other chemists attending the meeting, so far as I am aware. I wish
that more scientific intercourse could take place.
Also, I have been deeply concerned about the attack that has been made upon my own
work. I told you about the published report to the Academy of Sciences, by a committee
of eight chemists, in which my work and the theory of resonance are severely criticized,
and it is essentially forbidden to Russian chemists to make use of the theory. I
have since learned that this attack has been going on since 1949 - it began with a
virulent article in the Journal of Philosophy. Several other papers along the same
line have since appeared.
I have not been able to gain any understanding whatever of the meaning or cause for
such an attack. I would be grateful to you for your ideas, and any information you
can give me.