Letter from Francis Crick to John T. Edsall, Fogarty International Center
In his letter Crick endorsed Edsall's call for a program of positive eugenics, meaning a social and population policy
that would encourage reproduction by people with desirable genetic traits. Both also worried about global population growth,
a concern shared with many other scientists at the time. See, for example, Joshua Lederberg's contemporary editorials
on this issue in the Washington Post.
NOTE: Crick's signature is cut off on the bottom of the page in the original document.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (67,515 Bytes)
1971-06-10 (June 10, 1971)
Edsall, John T.
Fogarty International Center
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
I have just come back from my holiday to find your letter of April 30.
I entirely agree with you that the problem of human numbers is at the moment overriding. There has been a very radical change
within the last ten years with the exception of a few bodies like the Roman Catholic Church. This point of view is now widely
accepted. Moreover, increased funds are already being put into such research. I don't think the small amount of money
which is needed to start eugenics research will in any way compete with this. The main difficulty is that people have to
start thinking out eugenics in a different way. The Nazis gave it a bad name and I think it is time something was done to
make it respectable again.
As far as I can see, we are in agreement on all this, except perhaps for a slight difference of emphasis.