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The Fred L. Soper Papers

Letter from Fred L. Soper to Dudley A. Reekie pdf (311,949 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Fred L. Soper to Dudley A. Reekie
Number of Image Pages:
2 (311,949 Bytes)
1943-09-16 (September 16, 1943)
Soper, Fred L.
Reekie, Dudley A.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Typhus, Epidemic Louse-Borne
Cooperative Behavior
Lice Infestations
Exhibit Category:
World War II: Typhus Fever and Malaria in the Mediterranean
Box Number:
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Typhus Research, 1942-1947
Folder: Typhus--Algeria 1943
Algiers, Sept. 10th, 1943
Dear Dr. Reekie:
With further reference to the subject discussed in your letter of August 30th and my reply of September 4th, I submit the following for your consideration. On September 10th, Major D.J. Davis and I had an interview with Mr. Gordon covering the contents of the two letters referred to. Mr. Gordon said that he was not sure that he had the authority to sign such a memorandum of understanding as had been proposed and I assured him that I know that I had no such authority from the Foundation.
Mr. Gordon said that he was satisfied to consider the two letters as a basis of collaboration to begin immediately. This proposition was satisfactory to me and plans were immediately begun for integrating our operations with those of your group and intimately as possible pending the receipt of the instructions from Mr. Fosdick, referred to in your letter of August 30th.
On the following day, I moved in with a secretary to an office at the headquarters of your service and began work immediately on a memorandum which might serve as a basis for the discussion of our future program with the NAEB, the Army and the local government authorities.
This memorandum called attention especially to the necessity of determining what quantities of insecticide can be released for civilian operations in this area and how essential motor transportation can be procured. In the final analysis, it is the Army which controls the supply of insecticide and the means of operating motor transportation.
Fortunately, the Army here has a keen interest in the problem of mass delousing with louse powders which can only be solved by the organization of programs such as that proposed for this area.
The memorandum was shows to Major Davis on Sept 11th and the suggestion was made that we should discuss it informally with the Medical Section of NATOUSA before drawing up official requisitions so that these requisitions might be in accord what could be made available by the Army. Major David insisted what such an informal discussion should occur only after the memorandum had been submitted to Mr. Fryer.
During the discussion with Mr. Fryer which followed, Mr. Fryer said that he and you had discussed the typhus problem with the Director of the United States of American Typhus Commission some days ago and had agreed to undertake activities in the field of typhus control only after these had received the approval of the Director of the USA Typhus Commission. It had been further agreed that such activities would be subject to the inspection and supervision of the Director of the USA Typhus Commission.
When I demurred to the requirement that program here must be submitted for approval by the Director of the USA Typhus Commission, Mr. Fryer stated definitely and finally that he, as a government authority, would not make any recommendations for the purchase of materials nor for the reservation of necessary shipping space for any program of Typhus control which had not been dignified by the stamp of approval of the official government Typhus Commission.
Arrangements were made several months ago to supply the Director of the USA Typhus Commission with reports of all significant developments in the Typhus program of the Rockefeller Foundation, as a witness which stands the report you yourself recently carried to the Director for me. But the suggestion has not previously been radio that the Director of the USA Typhus Commission should have the right to approve or disapprove proposed operations in Typhus control by the Foundation in collaboration with local government.
The necessity for securing the previous approval of the Director of the USA Typhus Commission would often delay negotiations even in those cases where the proposed program meets with the full approval of the Director since communications are often delayed and the Director himself is not stationary but is travelling widely. Also a program approved by the Director of the USA Typhus Commission might not later be accepted by the local government nor found to be feasible under conditions which later develop, in which case further costly delays would occur.
On the other hand there is always the possibility of a real difference between the orientation of the Typhus Commission and that of the Representative of the Rockefeller Foundation, as to the methods to be used in Typhus control in a given area and as to the areas in which control should be carried out. In such cases the right of approval or disapproval amounts to a scientific and technical control of Foundation activities which is contrary to the interchange of letters between us referred to above.
I believe the matter to be out of sufficient important to be referred to my superiors in the Foundation in New York. In the light of Mr. Fryer's refusal to consider recommending the purchase and shipment of materials under present conditions, plans for the immediate future will be limited to what can be done with materials which may be available in North Africa.
I, personally do not feel justified in assuming, under the conditions established by Mr. Fryer, and in the absence of definite instructions from the Foundation, the responsibility of "organizing and supervising anti-louse services where needed" for the regions which may come under the supervision of the Medical Division of the C.F.R. as proposed in the memorandum of understanding submitted with my letter of September 4th, 1943.
Sincerely yours,
Fred L. Soper
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