|Politics Vs. Science
Anti-communism and the U.S. passport policy did not alter the history of science in this case. Instead, three unrelated factors
combined to set Pauling wrong. The first was his focus on proteins to the exclusion of almost everything else. The second
was inadequate data. The x-ray photos he was using, Astbury's, were taken of a mixture of two forms of DNA and were almost
worthless. The third was pride. He simply did not feel that he needed to pursue DNA full tilt. His success with the alpha
helix had proven that he was the only person in the world capable of solving large biological molecules. "I always thought
that sooner or later I would find the structure of DNA," Pauling said. "It was just a matter of time."
Pauling sent in another passport application for travel to England and France in the summer of 1952, and while talking to
the press -- told one reporter, "This whole incident, to be blunt, stinks."
Pauling's new passport application was discussed intensively at the highest levels of the State Department. A decision was
made to end what had become a public relations fiasco with minimal fanfare. Shipley's routine refusal was overruled. Pauling
was to be granted a limited passport -- good for a short period of time for travel only in England and France -- provided
that he sign a new affidavit denying membership in the Communist Party. No public announcement was to be made. If reporters
asked, the official line was to be that "new evidence" had altered the case. Although Acheson had been involved in making
the decision, his name was not to be attached to it in any way. No other details were to be provided.
Pauling was surprised and jubilant when he heard the news. On July 11 he showed up at the Los Angeles field office to sign
the affidavit. On July 14, his passport was granted.