- July,1969 House Of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee
- Department of Defense requests for 1970 in HB 15090,
from page 129:
- Dr. MacArthur is from the Pentagon, Rep L.F. Sikes of
- There are two things about the biological agent field
I would like to mention. One is the possibility of technological surprise.
Molecular biology is a field that is advancing very rapidly and eminent
biologists believe that within a period of 5 to 10 years it would be possible
to produce a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally
exist and for which no natural immunity could have been acquired.
- Mr. Sikes. "Are we doing any work in that field?"
- Dr. MacArthur. "We are not."
- Mr. Sikes... "Why not? Lack of money or lack of
- Dr. MacArthur. "Certainly not a lack of interest."
- Mr. Sikes. "Would you provide for our records information
on what would be required, what the advantages of such a program would
be. the time and the cost involved?"
- Dr. MacArthur. "We will be very happy to."
- And here is more testimony from the same hearing from
the Congressional Record -
- The dramatic progress being made in the field of molecular
biology led us to investigate the relevance of this field of science to
biological warfare. A small group of experts considered this matter and
provided the following observations:
- All biological agents up to the present time are representatives
of naturally occurring disease. and are thus known by scientists throughout
the world. They are easily available to qualified scientists for research.
either for offensive or defensive purposes.
- Within the next 5 to 10 years. it would probably be possible
to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important
aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these
is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes
upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.
- A research program to explore the feasibility of this
could be completed in approximately 5 years at the total cost of $10 million.
- It would be very difficult to establish such a program.
Molecular biology is a relatively new science. There are not many highly
competent scientists in the field. Almost all are in university laboratories.
And they are generally adequately supported from sources other than DOD.
However, it was considered possible to initiate an adequate program through
the National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council (NAS-NRC).
- The matter was discussed with the NAS-NRC. and tentative
plans were made to initiate the program. However. decreasing funds in CB
[chemical-biowarfare]. growing criticism of the CB. program, and our reluctance
to involve the NAS NRC in such a controversial endeavor have led us to
postpone it for the past 2 years.
- It is a highly controversial issue and there are many
who believe such research should not be undertaken lest it lead to yet
another method of massive killing of large populations. On the other hand,
without the sure scientific knowledge that such a weapon is possible. and
an understanding of the ways it could be done, there is little that can
be done to devise defensive measures. Should an enemy develop it there
is little doubt that this is an important area of potential military technological
inferiority in which there is no adequate . . .
- The Military got its $10 Million...and the rest is history.
- Here is the link to the actual House DoD Appropriations