|SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASTRONAUTICS
AND SPACE EXPLORATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., November 14, 1958.
DEAR MR. COLLBOHM: The Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration of the House of Representatives is completing its work before turning over its responsibilities to the new standing Committee on Science and Astronautics in January 1959. Our major accomplishment has been the writing of the National Astronautics and Space Act of 1958, which we hope will be an important step toward assuring that our country shows the necessary leadership in the field of the space sciences and their practical application to strengthen the position of the United States in the larger struggle.
Our committee is very conscious that the job is not complete, even so far as the Congress is concerned, although the executive branch has been supplied with some of the tools for pushing space development. There will be future decisions on directions, speed, priorities, and many other matters which will come before the Congress under our system of government.
We are particularly conscious that a major responsibility of this committee is to aid the Congress in gaining an understanding of the new technologies and their implications for future defense, economic application, and scientific advance, and what some of the less tangible although very real psychological and political potentialities may be.
In light of these responsibilities, it is important that this committee prepare for the incoming Congress and the successor committee the best possible appreciation of the state of the art and the future trends which are likely to result from aggressive development of our capabilities, or conversely, from the failure to do so. The committee staff has given considerable thought to these matters and for a year has diligently sought to learn the opinions of those best qualified and to evaluate these matters for the committee. But they and I recognize that the final report on so grave a matter must be the most authoritative assessment which it is possible to give the American people. We have had many offers of help from different organizations, and their advice has been beneficial. However, we have come to the conclusion
after careful review, that The RAND Corporation could make a unique contribution to the cause of public understanding, if we can persuade it to marshal its resources of long experience and talent in this field to help us prepare a balanced report on the space outlook suitable for public release. We particularly like RAND's reputation for independence and integrity.
I appreciate the importance to RAND as an independent, nonprofit corporation of confining its work to technical comments and scientific analysis and conclusions, since expressions of opinion on policy or administrative matters are the purview of the Congress or the executive as responsible branches of the Government. I am in complete agreement with this view. The committee wishes assistance on those matters in which RAND has scientific competence where we think you can contribute to a better understanding of the implications of the scientific possibilities in the field of space technology.
I have said nothing about the form any report prepared by your company might take, whether it would be printed as received with direct credit or whether it would serve better as grist for the mill for a report issued under committee staff auspices. I would prefer to leave this question to the good judgment of your people and mine when there is something concrete to consider. You may rest assured that we would not tamper with the content of a RAND report issued by us without full consultation and consent by your people. On the other hand, it is clear that our public responsibilities require that we review any material before printing it with our sponsorship. I do not anticipate any difficulties, of course, or I would not have made such a request for assistance of you.
There is a classified report which I will not describe specifically in elks letter which your organization prepared for us earlier in the year. It was an excellent job, and I hope that in expurgated form it can be at least a point of departure for any new study for us.
I hope that with this explanation of our needs, I can have your agreement in principle with a plan for RAND cooperation with our committee. If you concur, I believe your people and mine on the committee staff who have already been in consultation are prepared to go ahead with specific arrangements.
The committee and I personally will be very grateful to you for such help as you can render.
|JOHN W. MCCORMACK,
Majority Leader and Chairman.
|THE RAND CORPORATION,
Santa Monica, Calif., December 1, 1958.
Hon. JOHN W. MCCORMACK,
in the field of astronautics, which as you know have been and continue to be sponsored largely by the United States Air Force under the Project RAND contract. Also, we deeply appreciate your generous remarks on RAND's reputation for independence and integrity.
We welcome this opportunity to be of service to your committee as outlined in your letter to us. In accordance with RAND's purposes as a nonprofit organization to further and promote public welfare and national security, we concluded it to be appropriate that work by our staff in response to your request be supported with RAND Corporation funds.
We are aware of the importance of the committee's responsibilities to the Congress, to the successor Committee on Science and Astronautics, and to the public. Consequently, we have been proceeding as rapidly as possible in the collection and preparation of relevant material ever since the informal inquiry from the committee staff. We plan to have a preliminary draft of our response available to your committee this week. We certainly understand your requirements to review any material prior to printing and stand ready to consult with members of your committee and staff on the content of material furnished by RAND.
We trust that our contribution will assist the committee to build public understanding of the state of the art as well as of the uncertainties and complexities associated with the development and accomplishment of a vigorous, adequate astronautics and space exploration program.
|F. R. COLLBOHM, President.|