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 States.
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
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 significantly better.
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