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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to the Federation of American Scientists Annotation pdf (233,267 Bytes) trs (4,461 Bytes)
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to the Federation of American Scientists
Transcript provided by Joshua Lederberg.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (233,267 Bytes)
1949-06-10 (June 10, 1949)
Lederberg, Joshua
Federation of American Scientists
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence B
Original File Name:
/fu1/jsl/x/bw.wolfe (4,461 Bytes)
Box Number: 7
Folder Number: 14
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1947-1953
Folder: Federation of American Scientists
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Annotation by Joshua Lederberg:
Node: Biological warfare; BW; biological weaponss;

KW: BW; FAS; Kabat; Rosebury; Wolfe;

perhaps my first comment on BW - difficulties of international
control; solicited by Wolfe;
Without recourse to the context, the report being commented upon,
it is hard to reconstruct the tonality of the response.  The issue
seems to be about the intrinsic feasibility of BW, rather than the
policy issues, although some kind of reciprocal arms control would
seem to be in mind.  The overriding threat in 1949 was the nuclear
arms race, and at this point no significant arms control agreement had
been negotiated.  Although I discuss retroactivity, I do not believe
this has reached my conscience to the level that it did in the 1960's;
and I am not aware of any other effort on my part to deal with BW issues
through the 1950's.  I was acquainted with figures like Werner
Braun and Riley Housewright, who were still actively involved in the
Ft. Detrick research programs, but had only a vague idea of what they were
doing.  Not to be blindsided by what the USSR might be doing in this arena
(to match their competitive developments in nuclear arms) would have
appeared to be an imperative.
As of 6/99 I am still seeking further documentation of FAS role;

11/99  Milton Leitenberg has searched the FAS files, with 
little success, but did uncover an FAS newsletter, by internal
evidence < May 1949, referring to Rosebury book about to be published,
and a "draft report of an FAS Study Group on BW".  Evidently FAS was
trying to assess the relative hazard of nuclear, CW, BW.;

jl 10/15/98;  6/5/99;  8/6/01;