Telephone Conversation with Dr. Maurice Visscher - 5/26/66
Dr. Dennis: Hello. How did it go yesterday?
Dr. Visscher: Well, of course, nothing was done by the Committee, they just listened. I would say that our two witnesses
did very well.
Dr. Dennis: Which two did you have?
Dr. Visscher: We had Albert Sabin - who really did a wonderful job, and John Hogness, the Dean of the University of Washington
Medical School. We had him
because the Committee wanted to have a Dean of a State Medical School, and we suggested several, but the Committee Staff thought
it would be best to have somebody from the State of Washington, and I guess we shouldn't quite say it that way, because
they don't want to have it known that they are taking too much part in this, you know . . . but I'm sure that underneath
the Staff of the Committee is very anxious to have Mawson get out from under the dilemma that he is in. Now, Jim Shannon made
a very good presentation for the Department of HEW, and Philip Lee who is an assistant secretary was there, and also the assistant
secretary for legislative affairs was there, and all three of them participated. I would say that they made a first-class
case. The man from Agriculture, a man by the name of Irving, was not quite so convincing. He was pressed pretty hard by Monroney
and had to admit that Agriculture could do the job, but he felt it shouldn't be asked to do it, you see.
Dr. Dennis: Well, it's a good thing to have him say.
Dr. Visscher: Yes. Well, oh they took the right formal position. The Department of Agriculture does not want the thing at
all. I've had two conversations with Freeman about the matter. One, a month ago, and one the day before yesterday, and
Freeman said that he was instructing his people to get rid of the thing and have nothing to do with getting inside scientific
laboratories, he said "that's the last thing in the world I want to do", and they made the case look pretty dismal
as far as Agriculture is concerned by pointing out that in the present wording of the Bill with all of its amendments including
other animals they might have to license and inspect 7,000 laboratories over the country, and they said that the cost of administration
alone of this sort of inspection and certification would be between $2 or 3 million dollars, and this would not take into
account at all the cost that would be incurred if institutions had to make large capital improvements in order to meet requirements.
Every body who testified testified to the great importance of tying up any new form of setting up standards with appropriation
of money, and the real point that Agriculture, I think, missed in its testimony was that they didn't say that Agriculture
could hardly be expected to get into the business of appropriating money to Medical Schools, which is one of the important
points. Well, then in addition, there were two stooges of Christine Stevens there.
Dr. Dennis: Did they let them testify?
Dr. Visscher: Yes. Well, this is supposed to be a fact-finding proposition, you see. If you fact-find, you have to get all
the interested parties together, Now, one of them was a neurologist from a V.A. Hospital in N.Y. City. His name is Derby.
Dr. Dennis: D E R B Y, I'll be darned.
Dr. Visscher: And he made I would say almost no impression, really; it really did them very little good. The other one is
a person whom I am sure you know, that is a man by the name of Gimbal, a surgeon in Detroit who had been at one time a professor
full-time of Surgery,
Dr. Dennis: Yes, I know him, you mean he was testifying for Christine Stevens.
Dr. Visscher: Yes, that is correct.
Dr. Dennis: Oh gee, I can get to him.
Dr. Visscher: Are you sure?
Dr. Dennis: No, but I think I can.
Dr. Visscher: I am dubious, That guy is slightly nuts.
Dr. Dennis: He's brilliant, though.
Dr. Visscher: Yes, but he's nuts.
Dr. Dennis: What does he think we should do, quit doing research?
Dr. Visscher: Well, I don't know, he quoted Barney Zimmerman at the American Surgical Society meetings and after he had
quoted what Barney had said, word for word, he said, "Now that's a fine piece of poetry." He said, "We have
too many people who neglect to water their animals on Sundays and Holidays" . . . I am just reading a quote that I wrote
down . . . " too many dieners in the laboratory, don't see the doctor responsible for their animals for weeks, and
he said then that AALAC couldn't possible do a job because they had people like Bennett Cohen and
Nate Brewer in it who were employed by the Deans, and it would be impossible for those people to be objective, because their
jobs depended on their white-washing the situation, and he said every dog should have a warm, soft, dry place to lie on."
I just put this down. Now, he says the opposition to the Monroney amendments are based on groundless fears.
Dr. Dennis: I'll send you a copy of this paper I am putting together, it is pretty
near ready. Because this is exactly what some people did in 1876 in England, and this is what got them to where they are.
Maurice, there's something that bothers me . . . you know a Robert Williams, University of Washington.
Dr. Visscher: Yes
Dr. Dennis: Well, he is organizing Councils like mad, of one sort of another to try to deal with all kinds of things, and
he just set up what he calls a Research Society Council. Do you know about that?
Dr. Visscher: No.
Dr. Dennis: Well, let's see the people that are on it, Huckaby? and Wagner from
The American Federation for Clinical Research, Grant Little and Lloyd Smith from the Society for Clinical Investigation federated
Society, Carl Byer and J. F. A. MacManus, and so on. I am an officer in the Society of Surgical Chairmen, and I am along
with Jonathan Rhoads. Now, this man Williams has sent out a flyer to everybody that's on this Council, there are 22 people
I think, May 21st, wanting something done immediately, in the way of letters, and he said, we should write to Senator Magnuson
and other members of his Committee, to Senator Hill, to the Senators from your State, make sure you carry the following points.
Oppose the Monroney Amendments, encourage confinement of S-2322 to the regulation of sale and transport of laboratory animals
as originally drafted by Magnuson. Request preferral of the Monroney Amendments who would be Senator's Hill's Committee,
and so on, but the implication is that the Magnuson's Bill is fine, he put it at the bottom, "You will note that
both the Poage Bill and the Magnuson's original Bill are satisfactory from the point of view of regulating the transportation
and sale of dogs and cats for medical research."
Dr. Visscher: He hasn't read the original . . .
Dr. Dennis: Alright . . . he has written to a lot of people and he is encouraging them to do this, it is just like the AAMC.
Did the AAMC ever send out a correcting notice?
Dr. Visscher: Yes, in effect they did.
Dr. Dennis: They did. What do you want to do about this?
Dr. Visscher: Well, in the first place, it is our opinion that we should not bombard the Committee with any more material
right now. We're advised by other senators that we . . . all that is necessary to let every man in the Senate know where
we stand, and that there is a lot heat in this issue, and furthermore, that they are getting a little bit fed up with more
letters from either side.
Dr. Dennis: Who said that, Maurice?
Dr. Visscher: Fritz Mondale,
Dr. Dennis: Mondale, said so. I would accept that right off,
Dr. Visscher: Well, he says . . .
Dr. Dennis: What'll I do about this, or do you want to do it?
Dr. Visscher: Well, I don't know . . . He's done it with the best intentions in the world.
Dr. Dennis: Yes, he's done it with the best intentions of the world. At the end of his letter, well he spent a full 20
hours working on this, and this is what he says is right there for him.
Dr. Visscher: He's wrong.
Dr. Dennis: Well he's wrong, he's gone off half-cocked and he is sabotaging us.
Dr. Visscher: Well, I don't think I should do anything about it, because he hasn't sent it to me, you see.
Dr. Dennis: I see, well he has sent it to me.
Dr. Visscher: Well, why don't you ask him to look at the original Magnuson Bill?
Dr. Dennis: S2322, yes I have it right here in front of me.
Dr. Visscher: And you might point out to him the provisions in it that we don't want.
Dr. Dennis: Spell out for me just for the moment, the exact provisions.
Dr. Visscher: Yes. You see I have a fear that he hasn't got the original S2322 in
front of him.
Dr. Dennis: Well, I've got one dated July 23rd; is that correct?
Dr. Visscher: July 23rd 1965, that's correct, and there are numerous provisions in it that we wouldn't want.
Dr. Dennis: O.K. Let me put this down on a recorder, I'm sure I have it straight,
and I'll send it to him.
Dr. Visscher: I'll see if I've got a copy of the original S2322 here, and I am
afraid all I've got in front of me is the Committee print, and you can't tell from that what the original was, because
they've had 3 prints, you know.
Dr. Dennis: Yes, they've been crossing them up like mad. I've got Committee print No. 1 here. And that's inaccurate
because it doesn't even refer to this Bill, the page numbers are wrong. Does he want to leave in there anybody that has
an accidental infraction as of a fine of $10,000.
Dr. Visscher: Well, in the original, the definition of "dealer" is such that we could not accept it. It would exclude
farmers from selling dogs or cats unless they had a license. It does not clarify the position of pounds.
Dr. Dennis: No, it certainly doesn't.
Dr. Visscher: The "dealer" definition is Section 2G.
Dr. Dennis: Yes, I've got Section 2G.
Dr. Visscher: I am looking at the original Bill. I did have it here.
Dr. Dennis: It could be interpreted as preventing us from getting dogs from pounds.
Dr. Visscher: Yes. Let me see, well certainly we wouldn't want Section 12.
Dr. Dennis: No, I think that's true. I just commented on this here, Dr. Sawyer is sitting here with me. I don't think
you want the Secretary of Agriculture licensing laboratories, any way.
Dr. Visscher: No, we don't, but actually, this license is much like the Poage Bill license, it doesn't call for any
Dr. Dennis: Yes, but it's got this business in here, Maurice, that he's authorized to promulgate standards governing
the handling of transportation of dogs, also under Research Facilities, provided, however, that this authority shall not be
construed to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to set standards for handling during the actual research.
Dr. Visscher: Yes, that Section 5. That goes into the Research Facilities.
Dr. Dennis: Yes. You don't like that, do you?
Dr. Visscher: No. No. We don't want them to go into the Research Facilities. Now, those are the main things.
Dr. Dennis: Those are the main things.
Dr. Visscher: Yes.
Dr. Dennis: Alright.
Dr. Visscher: There is a little point, Section 16, says, that the Administration of the Act, in order to finance the Administration
of this Act, the Secretary shall charge, assess and cause to be collected reasonable fees for licenses issued to Research
Facilities and dealers. Well, that's going to cost an awful lot to the dealers and then most of them would go out of business.
If the dealers had to pay for all the administration. You see the Poage Bill does not require this. The Poage Bill does not
require that all the cost will be borne out of licensees, and I think it is utterly improper to charge this all to the dealers,
because you put the little ones out of business.
Dr. Dennis: That's fine, that's what I wanted to know and I wanted to be sure we
were on the same wavelength and I'll call this man and talk to him.
Dr. Visscher: Do that. I am sure he's got the best intentions in the world, but tell him that among others, Senator Mondale
thinks that right at the moment we should not bombard the Committee with more telegrams. I'll tell you what we are doing,
Clarence. We are identifying individuals who know the Senators personally, and asking them to contact all members of the
Commerce Committee to urge them to be present at the Executive Session, one week from today, when this bill will be taken
up. The worst thing that can happen to us, is that most members if the Committee will not be present. Then you see, Monroney
can work his will with the few people that he has got on his side.
Dr. Dennis: He's psychotic, isn't he?
Dr. Visscher: Well, he's absolutely hipped on this issue, and I'll tell you what he is hipped about. It came out in
the testimony yesterday, in his questioning. He thinks that every dog should have an outside runway, to get out in the out-of-doors,
fresh air; he says, I know you can't do that while they are under experiments, but he said, before and after the experiments
they ought to be treated like pets. Well now, Albert Sabin really got after these boys. He said, you know the fact of the
matter is, that in our better laboratory animal facilities, the animals have better quarters, better refined plumbing and
tiled walls, and air-conditioning then the people who take care of them have in their slums where they have to live.
Dr. Dennis: Yes, that's true.
Dr. Visscher: And, I don't know if this shook Monroney at all, but I know it had an impression on some of the Senators
who were there. Albert did a wonderful job.
Dr. Dennis: That's good. Maurice, did you get squared away alright with the New York State Society, when Lowell Greenbaum
went down there.
Dr. Visscher: Oh, I think so.
Dr. Dennis: He is really on the same wavelength at the moment, is he? Because I insisted. They kept trying to drop it, and
I insisted that this be the number one order of business when they had the Council meeting up here.
Dr. Visscher: Well, they are coming to our Board meeting on the 7th in Chicago, and the are still quibbling about a few things.
Now, for example, Paul Kranefield yesterday in Washington complained to me that there was no one in the office on Saturday
and Sunday of this last week-end. Well, we can't keep people in that office on Saturdays and Sundays, unless there is
a good reason for it, and although Paul and Lowell may have felt that there was a good reason last week-end, we didn't
think so, because there was really nothing that we could do. What was there to do, last week-end, really.
Dr. Dennis: I can't see it.
Dr. Visscher: We had the people who were going to testify lined up and actually I
called Albert Sabin myself and got him to agree to do it and I had several conversations with the people in the State of Washington
abut the matter, We had arranged everything, as we thought, so that it was ready to go. Well, John Hogness is the name I
was trying to recall a moment ago, he is the Dean there.
Dr. Dennis: How do you spell that?
Dr. Visscher: "Hogness". He is an internist. Well, actually, you see, we had done everything that we thought was at
all necessary, and the truth is that we were in the office part of the time on both Saturday and Sunday.
Dr. Dennis: Well, that's a petty complaint, anyway.
Dr. Visscher: I was there myself. I was in Washington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of last week and I had meetings at the
Academy Building on Saturday and I spent Sunday had to go to Chicago to bring his wife. (The Exec. Director) They are just
now settling in Washington and he used Saturday and Sunday . . .
Dr. Dennis: Can you by any chance get the office there to send me the Members of this Committee of Magnuson's?
Dr. Visscher: Oh surely.
Dr. Dennis: I won't send anything until it looks to you that it is the right thing to do, but I'd sure appreciate
Dr. Visscher: I wonder whether I shouldn't have them send the list of members of the Committee to quite a number of people.
Dr. Dennis: Yes. It might be very useful because it is a time . . . that we want letters sent. We could be putting things
together beforehand and then all we have to do is to drop it in the mail.
Dr. Visscher: And also the Committees before which the Hill Bill will go,