I enclose a copy of a letter that I have written to Maurice Wilkins about Jim Watson's book. Since the matter concerns
you so intimately, and since you asked Jim in one of your letters to consult me, I am sending this on to you. You and Maurice
have raised some very difficult questions. It would require the wisdom of Solomon to answer them adequately. Since I lack
any such wisdom I can only set down what I think.
I was shown one of your letters to Mr. Pusey in which you raised an issue of scientific ethics. As I remember it, you said
that it is generally a rule of conduct among scientists that one participant in a joint research does not publish his results
without the agreement of those who have taken part in the work with him. As far as research is concerned you are of course
absolutely right about this. However, I think that the issue here is of a different sort. Jim is not writing a research
report but an account of past events in which he was a major participant. Publication of personal recollections of this sort,
it seems to me, does not require the approval of those who took part in the earlier events, although there is certainly every
reason to check the account carefully for accuracy and fairness to the others who were involved. If politicians and generals
had to get the approval of their former associates before publishing their memoirs the world would certainly have lost a great
many books -- some bad ones to be sure, but also some excellent ones. I do not think that the rules relating to memoirs of
scientists should be much more restrictive than those governing other people.
At any rate, that is the way I look upon it now. Do let me know whether it seems reasonable to you. Best wishes.