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Letter from Linus Pauling to Otto Bastiansen. October 4, 1960.
Pauling writes to discuss the status of his conflict with the Senate Internal Security Subcomittee.


4 October 1960

Professor Otto Bastiansen

Institutt for Teoretisk Kjemi

Norges Tekniske Høgskole

Trondheim, NORWAY

Dear Otto:

Now, in one week, I think that my affair with the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee will be ended, and I shall be very glad. However, perhaps it will not end in one week.

As to your concern about the U.S. government, I may say that only a small part of the government is involved in controversy with me. The policy that I support is the policy of the Eisenhower administration, although President Eisenhower has not been very vigorous in advancing it. Also, this policy is supported by the State Department. It is, however, opposed by the AEC and the Department of Defense, as well as by some powerful people outside of the government.

I judge that the great majority of members of the Senate are on my side. A number of Senators have written to people who had approached them, saying that they would keep an eye on the Internal Security Subcommittee, and oral statements to this effect have also been made, but, of course, not in public, because there is a general policy that Senators do not criticize one another.

Senator Dodd has just withdrawn somewhat from his position. Yesterday he issued a statement announcing that the Subcommittee had not discussed citing me for contempt. He also accused me of trying to make a martyr of myself.

A number of groups, in Los Angeles and New York, have gathered money to publish advertisements asking public support for me. I enclose one of these advertisements, which was in today's Los Angeles Times. Several others should be published in the next few days. A number of the signers are distinguished people. For example, Carl Sandburg is a great American writer.

Many newspapers have published excellent editorials. An example is the one that appeared in today's Pasadena Independent and also the Pasadena Star-News, which I enclose. I also enclose a newspaper account of my talk to the Caltech students.

My suit is now before the Supreme Court. However, the attorneys for the government have advanced an interesting argument, which may be successful. They have said in their brief to the Supreme Court that the order that the Subcommittee gave me was to appear in Washington and to bring with me the letters of transmittal of the signed petitions to me; but that the order did not say that I would be required to show these letters to the Subcommittee. Accordingly, the Subcommittee has not yet ordered me to do anything that would go against my conscience, and the Supreme Court should not intervene at this stage.

My lawyer and I think that it is likely that the Supreme Court will decide not to hear my case, because of this clever argument, and that then, on 11 October, the Subcommittee will announce that it is not asking me to do anything - that it is satisfied that I am a loyal American. But perhaps something else will happen.

I have had a fine lawyer working steadily on this case for about three months, and I have not been able to do my scientific work. Three months ago I had nearly finished a very interesting paper on a molecular theory of general anesthesia. I hope that this affair will be over soon, and that I can settle down to making a few more calculations and getting that paper published, as well as some others that I have well along toward completion.


Linus Pauling:lh

P.S. I am giving you some information about my career as a peace worker in another letter, which accompanies this one.

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