A Senate professional staff member discusses Gregg's plan to send letters to editors of medical journals in support of
a National Library of Medicine.
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3 (201,953 Bytes)
1956-02-17 (February 17, 1956)
Reidy, William G.
United States Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Legislation as Topic
Postwar Work and Retirement, 1945-1956
Box Number: 18
Folder Number: 8
February 17, 1956
Dear Dr. Gregg:
I do want to thank you again and most sincerely for your kindness in spending the time you did with us the other day. We found
your contribution to our thinking of the utmost value.
After you left, Jack Forsythe and I discussed your plan to write to the editors of various journals urging them to lend editorial
support to the Hill-Kennedy bill. It occurred to us that if such letters are to be really effective they had best be written
just as soon as possible and without waiting for the bill to be introduced. Should you agree and undertake to write such letters,
if you were to send us a list of those to whom they were addressed we could mail the same people -- "At Dr. Gregg's
request" -- copies of the bill as soon as it was in print. Since, as you know, most journals are set up a month or two
before actual publication it occurred to us that it might be desirable to so alert the editors so that they might perhaps
be willing to save space for such an editorial as you are suggesting and get it in as early an edition as possible. I think
this is particularly desirable inasmuch as the greatest value such editorials in professional journals might have would result
from their stimulating the writing of editorials in the regular lay press. Whereas members of the Congress might not be particularly
influenced by an editorial in a, to them, more or less obscure professional journal, they do respond to editorials appearing
in their own home town newspapers. I would hope that your letters would result in the editors of the professional journals
advising their readers somewhat along the following lines:
Whenever men of medicine feel it urgently necessary, in the interests of the public good and their own profession, to strongly
oppose proposed legislation (as in the case of the socialized medicine bill) they have no hesitation in approaching the editors
of local newspapers, explaining the situation to them as they see it and urging that the local editors write editorials in
opposition to such bills. This is well and good and as it should be. It has, however, one serious drawback. To date it has
undeniably left in the public mind an impression that men of medicine are always opposing legislative attempts to act in the
field of health.
Now medicine has a chance to again do a worthwhile job and at the same time to correct that impression. Here is a bill --
the Hill-Kennedy bill to create a National Library of Medicine -- which every professional person in the country should and
will wholeheartedly support. Instead of telling one another about the fact that we endorse this bill, let us on this occasion
do as we have done in the past. Let us go to the editors of our local papers and just as vigorously explain the reasons why
they should join us in urging its prompt passage. Let us take this opportunity of showing the press, the public and our legislators
that we can be just as vigorous in advancing the cause of sound legislation in the field of health as we are in opposing measures
which we believe would adversely affect the public's health.
If such a sequence (Gregg to professional editor, publication date, receipt by professional audience, approach to lay editor,
publication of lay editorial, communication of same to members of Congress) is to happen in time to produce optimum results,
I think you will agree that it were best initiated immediately.
We make this suggestion hesitantly and with full consciousness that there may be many and excellent reasons why you might
well decide it to be ill-advised. In that case, please just forget it and don't take the time to comment on it.
The bill is now being redrafted by our legislative counsel along the lines which we discussed. We would hope that he will
have it ready for the Senators to review not later than midweek next.
I am attaching hereto the list of members of the Armed Services Committees, which you requested.
Again our most sincere thanks, both for your help and for the sense of enthusiasm concerning this bill which you have managed
to inspire in all of us.