Letter from Daniel M. Singer to NIH Study Section members
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1970-01-09 (January 9, 1970)
Singer, Daniel M.
Strasser, Spiegelberg, Fried, Frank & Kampelman
Original Repository: Stanford University Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Paul Berg Papers
Reproduced with permission of Daniel M. Singer.
Protein Synthesis, Tumor Viruses, and Recombinant DNA, 1959-1975
Letter from Daniel M. Singer to Paul Berg (January 12, 1970)
Letter from Paul Berg to Daniel M. Singer (January 19, 1970)
Letter from Daniel M. Singer to Paul Berg (January 21, 1970)
For enclosure see:
HEW press release on the selection and appointment of advisors and consultants (January 2, 1970)
January 9, 1970
I am writing to you, as a member of an NIH Study Section, on
a matter of concern to both of us.
Over the last year and a half I have been concerned, personally and professionally, about HEW'S security clearance program
as applied to appointees to bodies offering primarily technical advice on wholly unclassified matters (advisory councils,
study sections, review committees and the like). In the newspapers this has now come to be known as the "blacklisting"
problem. My professional involvement with this issue stems from my longstanding position as general counsel of the Federation
of American Scientists and, more recently, my employment as special counsel for the American Orthopsychiatric Association.
AOA, with the cooperation of several other organizations of scientists, took the lead in seeking abolition of the security
program as applied to casual advisors. (See extract enclosed from Science, Jan. 9, 1970).
You are undoubtedly aware that, partly as a result of our efforts, HEW is now instituting what may be significant changes
in the procedures and standards governing appointment of consultants and advisors to HEW constituent agencies. A copy of
HEW's January 2, 1970 press release is enclosed. My particular present concern is the administration of the new policies
with regard to appointments to NIH study sections. I believe it important promptly to take steps to assure that the promise
and the performance are reasonably well-aligned. And that is where I believe that you could play a helpful role.
As a senior, well-informed member of the scientific community, you doubtless have acquired some knowledge (or at least a good
hunch) about those of your scientific colleagues who may have been victims of HEW blacklisting practices. I have in mind
individuals who, on the basis of professional standing and competence, might have been members of study sections but who,
probably because of the blacklisting, were barred from such appointments.
One useful approach would be for you, at an appropriate time in the deliberations of your next study section meeting, to suggest
for appointment one or more of these individuals. I recognize that present study section members do not, in a strict sense,
appoint their successors, but it is my understanding that present members do have an informal role in suggesting to the executive
secretary of the study section names of scientists who should be considered for appointment as vacancies occur.
If you wish to discuss the matter further, please telephone me.
In any event, I would appreciate your letting me know what, if any, action you take; and if you do act, whether you are successful.
However, since the matter is sensitive and private, there is no reasons for me to know the name of any person you may suggest
for a study section appointment. You are entitled to know also that I am writing similar letters to several other members
of various NIH study sections.