July 3, 1946
Dr Harlow Shapely, Chairman
Division of Science and Technology
Independent Citizens Committee of
the Arts, Sciences and Professions, lnc.
New York 19, New York
I have the following suggestions to make in answer to your letter of June 10.
A. Appointments to Atomic Energy Commission envisioned in the McMahon Bill. I believe
that the scientific members of the Atomic Energy Commission should be men of very
high professional standing and also of great personal reliability.
It might be wise, in case that it could be achieved, for the Board to contain two
scientific representatives, a physicist and a chemist.
One man that I would like to recommend strongly is Professor J. H. Van Vleck, of Harvard
University. Van Vleck is a man of penetrating intellect, extremely clear in his thinking,
and completely reliable. I think that every one would have confidence in him.
I myself feel very strongly that you would be an admirable appointee to the Atomic
I do not believe that Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer should be appointed to this Commission.
He is a very able theoretical physicist, who has held an important part in the organization
which produced the atomic bomb. However, I think that his personal characteristics,
and the impression which he gives, should rule him out. What is needed in this post
is a man in whom people have confidence, rather than a man who is outstandingly brilliant.
Among chemists, I suggest Dr. Reuben 0. Gustavson and Dr. Thorfin R. Hogness.
B. Cooperation of scientific organizations in work of UNESCO. I think that the American
Chemical Society might well be included. The American Chemical Society is especially
interested, I believe, in the interchange of scientific students and teachers.