Friday, March 21, 2008

Columbia University's IDA Jason Project 1960s Work--Part 4

On April 15, 1966 MIT Professor of Physics J.R. Zacharias then mailed out the following invitation to at least one of the U.S. university professors who was a member of IDA’s Jason Division, along with a “partial proposed list” that included the names of former Columbia University Professor Townes and Columbia University professors Garwin, Lederman and Rabi:

“A group of us have been discussing with the Department of Defense the possibility of conducting a special study of the military and technological options open to the U.S. in Vietnam. The original impetus stemmed from the obvious concern with the poor progress and rapid escalation of the war…Our hope is that by re-examining the present military tactics, especially in the light of technological opportunities that may not have been adequately considered, military alternatives might emerge that would be less costly and more likely to lead to a political solution.

“The Department of Defense has shown strong interest in our conducting such a study, and discussions with the Department are now under way. A steering committee for the study will include Carl Kaysen, George Kistiakowsky, Jerome Wiesner, Eugene Skolnikoff and myself. Tentative plans call for a session from June 13 to 25, a break for staff work and other studies, followed by another two-week session late in July. The possibility exists of a third two-week period late in August if needed. Financial and administrative arrangements are being handled by D.H. Gould, Room 8-407 at M.I.T….There will be more information forthcoming on these subjects later.

“I hope you can manage to arrange your schedule so that you can take part in the study. Please call me when you get a chance…Meanwhile, I will try to call you.

“We are planning an exploratory discussion meeting of the group on Wednesday, May 4, at M.I.T. and would be very pleased if you could join us. The meeting will be held in the Penthouse of the M.I.T. Faculty Club, 50 Memorial Drive, at 9:00 a.m.

“I would appreciate your keeping information about this study confidential.”

Next: Columbia University’s IDA Jason Project 1960s Work—Part 5