The comments I will make in this section will cover a variety of matters and events having to do with the nation's space program as it has been conducted since 21 January 1961 by President J. F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and my successor, the Honorable James Webb. I hope I can succeed in avoiding any attitude of "I told you so" or "Why didn't they continue the way we started out to accomplish the objectives of this program?" At least, I will intend so to do. But his is not a small activity nor is it one in which the average citizen can be assumed to have more than an excitable interest - rather than a real understanding. With the strong support of President Eisenhower and of my staff (although they did not always agree on the pace to which I wanted to hold the agency), I was able to do what I thought right in mounting the nation's space program. Basically, it was a broadly-based program in science and technology pursued aggressively with the intent to extend the state of the art as rapidly as possible but with no intent to endanger the lives of anyone or to undertake shots purely for propagandistic purposes. It seems to me clear that the present program has a somewhat different apparent motivation, although fundamentally it must be the same. But I have refrained from talking about this matter publicly because it is being carried out by the good people who served with me and because it seems clear that those responsible for the program today should have a fair chance to manage it in the manner and for the purposes they believe to be right. Ultimately, the public will react to this program and will require that it be changed or that it be carried out as now proposed. Already, there is evidence of substantial discontent with the "race" concept. (This is being dictated on 12 November 1963.)
In the days immediately following 20 January 1961, Ruth and I wanted nothing more than to get away and to get a little rest. Through the friendship and interest of Jim Perkins of the Carnegie Corporation, I had agreed to join an activity known as the Council for Higher Education in the American Republics (CHEAR), which seemed to meet once each year for a solid week, men and wives, in some Latin American or North American city. The 1961 meeting was scheduled for mid-February in San Francisco. It was to be preceded by a meeting in Los Angeles. Together with Jim and Jean Perkins, Ruth and I traveled to Mexico City about  the end of January, hoping for a few days of rest. Early in February, a call came to me from Hugh Dryden in my hotel in Mexico City. Jim Webb had been appointed to the post of administrator and had asked Dryden to speak with me about my attitude toward an association with the program. His purpose, as Dryden reported it, was to avoid any appearance of a sharp break between management philosophies to be pursued in carrying out the program we had started. I suggested to Hugh that I thought Jim Webb ought to speak to me about a matter of this kind. Almost immediately, a call came through from Webb and it turned out that what he desired was that I serve as a consultant to the Senate Space Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Kerr (Lyndon Johnson had become vice president). Again, I suggested to Jim that I thought the senator ought to make this request himself and, in a few days, a telegram came through that I responded to in the affirmative. Actually, I have never been called as a consultant by Webb, Kerr or anyone else. This is not surprising - but it does give some insight into the way in which politicians move to cover all the bases.
As a sidelight on the above situation, after an interval of 12 months, I called to the attention of Jim Webb the fact that I had not been asked to consult with the Senate committee and thought that this association should be terminated so as to avoid any embarrassing questions on the part of the press should anyone remember that such an appointment had been announced in February 1961. Jim Webb agreed and there followed a comedy that can only suffer in the telling. An hour's discussion with Webb was needed to set the stage for a lunch with Senator Kerr. I had said that I was quite willing to submit my resignation - that I had a number of other commitments taking up my time. But at lunch, Senator Kerr in his suave way, went through quite an exercise before he asked me to write such a letter in which I was to point out that I had had "many meetings" with Senator Kerr and had finally concluded that conflicting obligation required that I resign. I simply smiled - and needless to say, I have never formally resigned from the consultantship. Why is it so hard for a person in that position to make a straightforward statement in which he admits that the situation that called for the appointment no longer exists?
It is of interest to note - and purely from the point of underscoring the long lead times involved in a program of this nature - that practically every launching undertaken in the first two years of the Kennedy administration had been in hardware status before the end of the Eisenhower administration. This is in the nature of a program of this sort, as I have pointed out. Yet it does mean that the successes, if any, of the program must be credited in the minds of the public to the administration in being at the time of the flight. Some columnists were kind enough at the time of the first Mercury flights to point out that this whole program had been brought to a state of near completion under our administration and that the Kennedy administration deserved very little credit for it even though it was claiming the entire credit. I pointed out in a letter to one of the Washington correspondents that, had the program failed in any detail, the present administration would have to take the "rap" for it - therefore, it deserves the credit for its satisfactory completion.
 The program has really come of age in the years 1960-1963. The unbroken record of the Tiros weather satellites, the advent of the Telstar and Relay communications satellites, the successful flight of the Mariner probe toward Venus, the suborbital and orbital flights of the astronauts in Project Mercury - all of these and the many supporting flights that have worked in a satisfactory manner are evidence of the reasonably well-managed and well-structured program.1 I think that the...
....current record would show that about 85% of the launchings are carried out successfully. During the Kennedy administration, of course, a very significant change in the program has occurred and a good many additional programs have been instituted - most of these having to do with manned space flight. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to attempt to review this period of activity and comment on it as  objectively as I may. Kennedy had criticized the Eisenhower administration as one lacking in leadership and neglecting the prosecution of rapid advances in science and technology. I don't recall that space, as such, came in for any great amount of individual attention in these statements, but clearly, space was very much in the national consciousness and in the mind of Congress at that time. Our last budget had been processed at a figure of $1.11 billion. I think we had begun our negotiations at $1.45 billion but had been settled back to this figure. It was lower than most of us thought it should be by at least $150 million. But NASA was now the seventh largest agency of government. Within days after taking office, Kennedy amended the budget and added another $145,000,000, as I recall it, to NASA's program. I applauded this move and subsequently, in a letter to President Eisenhower, told him so.
It will be recalled that we were attempting to have the law changed so as to eliminate the Space Council entirely - it being our purpose to replace it with a civilian advisory committee similar to the old NACA committee. Action was taken by the Kennedy administration to change the law to eliminate the necessity for the president being its chairman and to eliminate all civilian membership. Lyndon Johnson was appointed the chairman and an executive secretary, Dr. [Edward C.] Welch, was appointed.2 So far as I am able to tell, the new arrangement has worked out better than the old. I don't think they have had nearly as many meetings of the Space Council as we had under the Eisenhower administration. But the executive secretary makes speeches from time to time and does speak with some semblance of authority about the total national program. Whether or not this is a sound situation, I don't know.
About this time - mid-April 1961 - the unfortunate incident of the Cuban invasion at the Bay of Pigs took place. The nation drew back in some shock and amazement and the complete story on the reason for the invasion and the manner in which the U.S. was to support it has never been told.3 It does seem clear that Kennedy changed his mind at the last moment and withdrew effective air cover from the landing forces, and this act is given by most reasonable people as the major reason for the failure of the "invasion." In the aftermath of that fiasco, and because  of the successful orbiting of astronauts by the Soviet Union, it is my opinion that Kennedy asked for a reevaluation of the nation's space program.4 To the extent that my information is valid, a period of about ten days was spent in assessing the costs of drastically speeding up the lunar program (a program aimed at landing a man or men on the surface of the moon and retrieving them safely). I should not indulge in hearsay, but there was apparently very little more real solid thought and planning given to this problem than is indicated.5 In any event, Lyndon Johnson recommended it to the president over a weekend and then left on an overseas trip. Kennedy made his now famous speech to Congress on 25 May in which he called for an all-out effort in a race with the Russians to get to the moon. While his words were not exactly those - mine are a not-too-liberal paraphrase of his statement - I think an unfortunate statement by Bob Seamans before a congressional committee gave the newspapers, and through them, the public, the idea that this flight was to be accomplished by late 1967.6 Today, the objective is still "within this decade," which means by the end of 1969, I presume. In any event, this single speech and the decision made before undertaking the speech is destined to cost the people of this nation at least an extra $20 billion and probably much more to race an uncertain opponent on an uncertain course toward an uncertain goal.
I strongly hold that the United States should determine for itself the nature of the program it will undertake and the pace at which that program is to be pursued. Kennedy did call for debate in Congress - a debate that did not take place. The nature of the public's interest and congressional interest at that time was such as to insure that such a debate would not take place. The result is that only in recent months has there been any public debate of the nature and pace of the nation's program in space. As a result of that 25 May 1961 speech, the FY 1962 budget request was again increased and an appropriation of $l.825 billion was made by Congress. The 1963 appropriation totaled $3.74 billion and the requests for FY 1964 - not yet acted upon by Congress in finality - totaled somewhat more  than $5.7 billion with the probability that Congress will appropriate somewhere between $5 and $5.2 billion.7 It is my contention that such an expansion of a program in science and technology should be undertaken only when the stakes are clear and the national interest is paramount.
While others may debate this - and they are entitled to their opinion - I think events have shown that there is not a great deal of carryover value to the propaganda successes of the Russians in their spectacular shots. Whatever damage has been done to the image of the United States by the success of Sputnik I will remain. The retrieval of that image has been accomplished to a very large extent by the solid achievements of the program we had laid on, which has been carried out with significant success. To allow the Soviet Union to dictate the course to be followed by the U.S. seems to me to hold great dangers in the future. On many occasions, I have suggested that Khrushchev, if he were as smart as I think him to be, would continue a barrage of propaganda and successful space flights until he had the U.S. committed to a costly program. Having accomplished this purpose, he might then withdraw from the "race." In recent days, there seems to be some evidence that this is exactly what he has been doing although it is clearly too early, as I write this, to be certain of this assessment.
Webb has done a good job in managing the affairs of NASA with the wise counsel of Hugh Dryden and the strong support of Bob Seamans. Webb works much more closely with Congress than I ever did and I presume that his associations with the White House are, therefore, somewhat less intimate than mine were. Webb states rather frankly that with the money at his command, he is determined to improve the economic lot of various areas of the country, and I think the allocation of contracts would indicate that this is, indeed, what is taking place. There has been a great deal of talk about the "spin-off" nature of the space program but there is little substance behind such statements. Certainly, there is nothing to justify the tremendous expenditures from which some of these minor industrial applications have been derived.
The NASA staff continues in much the same configuration as when I left it. Webb has brought in a number of very good men and has managed to avoid any serious inquiries related to the management operations of the agency. Quite naturally, it takes a vastly different organization to manage a $5 billion program than one running between $750 million and $1 billion. While it may be too early to make a solid evaluation, I am of the opinion that - given the directive JFK has set out - Webb, Dryden and Seaman are doing a very, very creditable job. To summarize, then I take issue with the philosophies now guiding the activities of NASA in the sense that I cannot agree we should be engaged in a "race to the moon" with the Soviet Union. I am convinced that we will one day land a man on the moon and  retrieve him with safety. I am convinced that this should be done. I am of the opinion that a space program which might have reached the budgetary level of $2 to $2.5 billion by the end of the decade would have provided the basic information and the material resources on which such a lunar flight might have been mounted during the first five years of the decade of the 1970s. If I were to guess - and it would only be a guess - such a flight might have been accomplished under those circumstances by 1975. And I doubt very much whether Kennedy's program is going to result in a successful flight much before 1972 or 1973.8 But these are only conjectures and what is at issue here is really only the matter of basic philosophy determining the pace and nature of the program. Certainly, the emphasis on the lunar flight is placing altogether too much of the resources of the agency on this one program. In the long run, this may work strongly to our detriment, but only time will tell!
1. All of these programs have been covered in previous noted (see index) except the Mariner probe. This was Mariner 2, launched on 27 Aug. 1962, Mariner 1 having had to be destroyed after a booster deviated from course. Both satellites were constructed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from components built by numerous subcontractors. Mariner 2 passed within 34,762 kilometers of Venus and became the first spacecraft to scan another planet. It surveyed the atmosphere and surface of the planet before going into heliocentric orbit, whence it made measurements of the solar wind. (NASA Historical Data Book, Vol. II, pp. 335-336.)
2. The amendment to Section 201 of the 1958 Space Act gave the council a home in the executive office of the president, made the vice president the council chair in place of the president, eliminated the four appointed members of the council - leaving five statutory members: the vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, the heads of NASA and the AEC - and specified that the council assist as well as advise the president when he asked it to. President Kennedy signed Public Law 87-26 incorporating these changes on 25 April 1961. Meanwhile, the president had appointed Welsh, who had been an economist on Senator Symington's staff, to the position of executive secretary to the council in March 1961. The Senate confirmed him the same month. (Rosholt, Administrative History of NASA, p. 190n; "Chronology in Space Planning," folder, "NASC 1960-1961," in box, "NASC, 1960-1973," NASA Historical Reference Collection.)
3. This, of course, is no longer true. As long ago as 1979 there was available Peter Wyden's Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979). A more recent and briefer account appears in Richard E. Neustadt and Ernest R. May, Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers (New York: The Free Press, 1986), pp. 140-155.
4. This view is substantially the same as the one set forth in Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, pp. 111-112. McDougall, Heavens and the Earth, p. 8, adds some other factors, including "the growing technocratic mentality," but also includes the Bay of Pigs and the Gagarin flight.
5. In fact, Vice President Johnson asked Wernher von Braun, General Bernard Schriever, and Vice Admiral John T. Hayward, among others, for their views on speeding up the space program. All recommended doing so, with von Braun believing that a crash program could produce a lunar landing by 1967 or 1968. There was also a good deal of other consultation and planning before the decision was made, including that of NASA and the DOD. It is true that Johnson's overseas trip shortened the time NASA and the DOD had to make their recommendations, but the deliberations did last for a period of over two weeks before Johnson made his favorable recommendations to President Kennedy. He then had two further weeks for deliberations before his May 25 speech on "Urgent National Needs." (Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, esp. pp. 114-115 but the rest of pp. 112-127.)
6. This refers to testimony Seamans gave before the House Science and Astronautics Committee. As the Washington Post (15 April 1961, reproduced in NASA Current News, 17 Apr 1961, NASA Historical Reference Collection) summarized his comments, "Pressed as to whether this [a landing on the moon] could be advanced [from 1969-1970] to 1967, he said it would have to be 'a very major undertaking' - going 'all out on an absolutely crash basis.'"
7. Actual budget authority for FY 1962 was exactly as reported here. For FY 1963 the actual figure totalled $3.673 billion, and for FY 1964, $5.1 billion. (Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, FY 1991 Activities, p. 180.)
8. As himself notes in the Preface to this volume, "the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon on 20 July 1969 . . . and [I] was thrilled and emotionally moved as anyone could be."