TAPE 1, SIDE 1
MR. COLLINS: I'd like to start out getting a sense of how it is you became Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I thought as a first step it might be useful to sort of sketch your connections with the Washington administration before you came on as Administrator, your contacts through the National Science Board, and through the Institute of Defense Analysis, and whether this had any relevance to your knowldge of people in the administration at that time.
DR. GLENNAN: When I left the Atomic Energy Commission in 1952, I did not leave as a person having Potomac Fever. The next association I had in Washington, a strange one, perhaps, I was asked to be a member of the General Advisory Committee, which was made up of very high-powered scientists, of which I was not one.
COLLINS: This is the General Advisory Committee to the--
GLENNAN: AEC. I think I served a three-year term, meeting four times a year for two or three days each time, sometimes getting agenda items from the Commission, sometimes deciding for ourselves what we wanted to do, wanted to look into. We had our own staff so we weren't reliant on the staff of the Commission.
DR. NEEDELL: That would have been until about 1954?
GLENNAN: No, I really don't recall the dates on which I served. I did serve during the time that (Edward) Teller was on it. He was initiating his Project Ploughshare, which I strongly opposed, finally accusing him in an open meeting of simply wanting another excuse to make tests of atomic weapons. I found myself throughout my life on the opposite side of the table from Teller. I understand his concerns about the operations of the Soviet Union, pressures to expand their weapons program and their control over the rest of the world, but I thought he went overboard on that. I think most of the other members of the Committee at that time felt the same way. I don't recall much else about that.
NEEDELL: Do you recall any activities that would be related to NASA later? Were the beginnings of the aircraft nuclear propulsion program going on, anything that became Project Rover?
GLENNAN: Project Rover was started quite some years later. The aircraft nuclear propulsion was another activity which I opposed, but we didn't kill it until we'd spent a billion dollars on it. I think the aircraft nuclear propulsion project may have been killed near the end of my services with the AEC--certainly soon after I left.
COLLINS: In part, my initial question was simply the degree of contact you had with people who were active here in Washington. Certainly the AEC was one mechanism.
GLENNAN: Oh, I had minimum contacts. I didn't go back to Washington frequently. When I left the AEC, as when I left NASA, I took a quiet vow that I was not going to build on associations or jobs I'd had here to get things for my institution. I thought that would be unseemly. I don't recall I ever thought about the revolving door principle. I don't know whether they had one then. But I was always going back to Case Institute of Technology, from which I was given leave to fill those two positions. I did not go back to Washington for dinners or luncheons or any special events.
COLLINS: For example, for your service on the National Science Board, did that require visits to Washington?
GLENNAN: Now that is a different matter. I was about to come to that. I was appointed to the National Science Board. I guess I have the commission in my other room. I don't recall when, but it was in the mid-fifties, because I resigned from the National Science Board to take on the NASA job. I think I served two or three years. I not sure whether those were open-ended terms or three year terms. There again, I was thrown in with a lot of professional educators, which I was not. I learned a little bit about the pressures that could be brought by people from Podunk or the big cities in trying to get money for their own institutions in their own areas. Pressure tactics. Alan Waterman was the director at that time. He was quiet, not very dynamic, but a very honest person. We had a good group of people, by and large, two or three distinguished ladies. We were struggling then to try and put together programs that would be helpful throughout the nation in advancing the cause of education in science and engineering.
NEEDELL: You were saying that you were under efforts to expand facilities.
GLENNAN: Expand support for an enlargement and an improvement of the science and mathematics secondary schools throughout the country. We didn't have much money. I've forgotten, maybe 150 million dollars. It's a short period in the history of the agency. I don't remember very many of the people. Joe Morris, who was from Tulane, I recall. They were scattered from across the country, because of the need for geographical distribution. They were good people.
COLLINS: Is there anything relevant you might want to mention about your service on the Institute of Defense Analysis in this period?
GLENNAN: Two or three of us. I don't recall who. I guess Bright Wilson was one of them, these were sort of ships passing in the night. Jim Killian was another.
COLLINS: So you did know Jim Killian before.
GLENNAN: I got to know Jim when he was inaugurated in 1949 or 1950, the Mid-Century Convocation up there. I being a small farmer boy. But to get to know him intimately? I don't know whether anybody does know Jim intimately. At least I didn't all through my life. But I had a very high respect for him. I've forgotten how that all got started. The Defense Department wanted a follow-on to what had been put together in the war as the l0th Fleet, a systems analysis group--systems analysis was about to become the buzzword. The Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, WSEG, located I suppose in the offices of SecDef, Secretary of Defense, was a little bit too much in the sight of many people, a creature of the military. Finally, after much machinationing here which I don't recall, a few of us, Case, MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], I think Princeton--I don't recall the others--agreed as a small group. I think there were five or six of us to establish an entity which we called IDA, Institute for Defense Analysis. I don't recall whether we went to Princeton first or whether we came here first, to Washington.
COLLINS: But it was essentially an advisory body to the Department of Defense.
GLENNAN: It was an analysis and advisory body, doing much the same sort of analyses that the Rand Corporation had been doing for the Air Force, but doing it across the board in SecDef. I have to guess, when was McNamara? McNamara came in '61, didn't he?
GLENNAN: I don't recall. I think we were in business before that. For a time, Jim, I think, agreed to serve as chairman. I followed him for a couple of years. I don't recall very much about that really.
NEEDELL: Which of the offices in the DOD, Defense Department, did the IDA deal with?
GLENNAN: All of them. As far as I know.
NEEDELL: For instance, Don Quarles was a major character in your appointment later on. When you talked to him, did you deal with him?
GLENNAN: Sure. I'd known Don Quarles, although not intimately, for a good many years. I was earlier on employed in a part of the Bell system, when I was in talking motion pictures. It was then, I think, that I first came to know Don.
COLLINS: I'd like to move on to your reaction to Sputnik, the feelings you had, as someone who understood science and science policy in this country, and perhaps from your view as an educator, what the impact of Sputnik was; how you reacted to it.
GLENNAN: You overstate my knowledge of science and my knowledge as an educator. I was on the NSF [National Science Foundation] Board, when we were funding at a relatively low level "Vanguard." I think we gave 15 million dollars or something like that. The board became very much concerned, as the bills came in and the costs began to rise. I didn't know what the damned thing was all about. This was part of the IGY [International Geophysical Year], which I didn't understand, except that it was a world-wide geophysical year.
When Sputnik flew, it was on a Friday, as I recall it. I got on the horn to Alan Waterman as early as I could. I don't recall that it was that night but it was certainly on Saturday morning. I said, "Alan, for once, why don't we send a strong congratulatory telegram to the Soviets? They have beaten us in this. How would you like to run second in everything all your life? Let's be generous." I don't know whatever came of it, but that's the way I felt. I didn't have any sense of what that meant. I used to go up to our little observatory in East Cleveland and see the damned thing fly across the sky.
COLLINS: What was your reaction to the subsequent press accounts and the Congressional reactions and that sort of thing?
GLENNAN: I've never been an ardent supporter of the press, so I wasn't shaken by them. I happen to have a strong belief in our own country and in doing what we think ought to be done. I saw nothing there except that they did it first.
COLLINS: I meant not so much the press's critical reaction, but your analysis, your deeper understanding perhaps of the issues that were involved in Sputnik.
GLENNAN: Marty, I didn't have any deep understanding.
NEEDELL: What about the reaction to the very rapid way that theDemocrats in Congress seized upon this?
GLENNAN: I didn't worry about it. What did interest me was that after the second shot, a couple of weeks later, I guess, Ike appointed Jim Killian as his science advisor. I think at the same time, there was set up, or very shortly thereafter, PSAC [President's Scientific Advisory Committee]. I recall sending a telegram to Killian, saying that my faith in some aspects of the government had been restored. I was delighted that he had accepted this job. If there was ever anything that I could do to be helpful to him, just pick up the phone. That was the end of it.
COLLINS: But you didn't stop to reflect perhaps on the policy issues involved with Sputnik?
COLLINS: Didn't interest you. Did you see it have any bearing on what you were trying to do at Case at that time?
GLENNAN: No. We had a full plate, trying to build or rebuild a new institution. Again, I'm not an academician. I never taught a class a day in my life. I was relying on people, trying to get good people, trying to raise the money to rebuild an institution. I'd never thought about any of the things that you're talking about. I'm not a thoughtful person that way. I don't analyze those things.
Well, we skipped from there to some time either in very late July or early August. Early August, I think, because the President signed that bill 29 July. I had a call from Jim. He said, "Keith, I'd like you to come down to Washington as soon as you can get here. I want to talk with you about the possibility of your becoming involved here. It's possible that the President would like to see you." So I said, "All right, Jim." I got down there that night. I went to his apartment, Westchester Apartments, as I recall it. He handed me the bill creating NASA. I'd never seen it. I scanned it quickly and said, "Well, it's fraught with difficulties. You've got the same damned problem with the Defense Department on one side and us on the other side. But I guess it could be made to work. What is it you want of me?" He said, "I want you to be the first Administrator." I didn't inquire at that time who else he had asked, but he had, I now know. [Jimmy] Doolittle had been asked to be first Administrator. I don't have any idea why my name was put in nomination, except that Jim knew me, not well, but we had been moving Case pretty well.
COLLINS: So clearly the Case experience was relevant in Killian's mind.
GLENNAN: Only in the sense that I got things done, I would guess.
COLLINS: I don't know whether you read Killian's autobiography.
COLLINS: In his recollection of your choice to become administrator--they asked Doolittle, as you already said. There were two other names, yours and he doesn't indicate who the other one is. Clearly he thought extremely highly of your capabilities in this regard.
GLENNAN: I appreciate that very much. Poor devil, he broke his hip a few weeks or months ago and is pretty well laid up now. In any event, I took the bill and went home and read it. The next morning, went in to see Jim. I don't think Jim went in with me, but he introduced me to Mr. Eisenhower. I'd done one other thing for Mr. Eisenhower before, which I'm not sure he might have remembered, but he didn't remember me. He sat me down, told me about the task that was ahead of us, asked me a few questions. I told him I didn't know a damned thing about which end of the rocket you lit! I hadn't been that much interested. I'd been very busy putting my institution together, and he said: "I think I want you to become the Administrator. We want to move fast, so I hope you won't keep me waiting, if indeed I do ask you." I said I would act as fast as was appropriate, in the light of my other obligations. I guess it was on the 19th of August. I was sworn in.
I'd talked with Jim, of course. I think I'd talked with Don Quarles. Quarles was a little bit miffed because he hadn't been asked about having my name in nomination, saying that he had a post he wanted me to fill over there, the head of the Research and Development Board, I said, "Don, that's something I couldn't have accepted. I don't have the background for it. But I appreciate knowing that you had that much interest."
I went back to Cleveland, talked to my wife, talked to the executive committee of the board. They were very pleased that I'd been asked and made it possible for me to accept it. I guess they paid me out, gave me a lump sum payment for the rest of the year. I was going to be paid the princely sum of $22,500.
COLLINS: As the new Administrator you mean?
GLENNAN: Yes, that's what I was paid for the 30 months I was there. So we came down. I was sworn in. Mrs. Glennan and one of my daughters, a couple of my wife's cousins living in Washington, came in. It was quite a scene. After the swearing in, it was very pleasant. Ike is a person for whom I had always had admiration, but it grew as I went along. I left my wife to try and find an apartment on that same day.
NEEDELL: Having read the bill and recognized right away that the division of responsibility between DOD and this new organization was going to be an administrative task, did you talk to Quarles about whether, if you took the job, you'd be able to work together on this?
GLENNAN: No. I never ask somebody could I work with you? We worked together.
NEEDELL: So preparatory to accepting, there was no feeling people out to see whether this was going to work from their point of view?
GLENNAN: No. I didn't accept that they could do anything to hurt me.
COLLINS: Do you recall, during this first several weeks, whether Killian laid out a particular set of ideas about what the organization might do?
GLENNAN: He did not.
COLLINS: What about the President, in the sense that there have been in the things written recently, even in your diaries, accounts that he was very, very consistent and concerned with keeping the budget under control, principles about limited government, the government shouldn't get involved in things except under special circumstances? Were these laid out to you?
GLENNAN: No. I'm a conservative, always have been. So was he. We fit together pretty well. He never gave me a single order in the 30 months I was here.
NEEDELL: Do you think he knew that Killian would have done his homework and brought to him a nominee that would be--
GLENNAN: He had the greatest faith in Killian of any of his associates.
NEEDELL: He figured if Killian recommended this person--
GLENNAN: I think that must have been the case. I don't know. In any event, I went on over to the Dolly Madison House, which was where NASA was then headquartered.
COLLINS: You were discussing the situation with Killian and Eisenhower, and what your next steps were going to be once you were sworn in.
GLENNAN: I may expand just a little bit on that. When I'dearlier come back from Eisenhower's office, and went in to see Jim, I said, "There's only one way I will do this, Jim. You know that I am not a scientist, or even an engineer, even though I hold a degree. I'm an administrator. I run things. I get things done, I hope. I'll undertake this only if Hugh Dryden will be my deputy." Hugh had been too frank with the people on the Hill, and they lost interest in having him run the new organization. Jim said, "He's just down the hall, why don't you go talk to him?" So I went down and talked to Hugh.
NEEDELL: Had you known him?
GLENNAN: I was about to say, I had known him casually, not at all intimately. I didn't know of the eminence of the man, the way in which he was held in esteem by people all over the world, his own contributions in laminar airflow and that sort of thing. He was a lay preacher, as you may know, gentle, quiet, wise, very wise, an astute politician without being a politician. He agreed.
NEEDELL: You said that you found out all of these things about him gradually by working with him.
NEEDELL: Coming into a new position, if you didn't know him that well, it was a pretty big commitment.
GLENNAN: To take him on? He had been running NACA [National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics] for ten years. They were going to be 95 percent of our people, or 100 percent of them, to start with.
NEEDELL: So your decision that you needed him to stay on was based on, at least, partially, on the fact that you wanted the existing organization to feel comfortable and not shaken up?
GLENNAN: Exactly. If we had not held on to Hugh, I don't think we would have had as rich a cooperation from the NACA people as we did have. They idolized Hugh Dryden. So we worked that out. I went back home and did my homework, and came back and was sworn in with Hugh.
My wife and her cousins--niece once removed or whatever they are--went out and looked for an apartment. Sure enough, they found one that day, up on Connecticut Avenue, and we went back home to Cleveland. I said I would report on September 9th. I wanted to finish the month of August at Case. Although I soon learned when you're sworn in, you're on the payroll, I had to finish up my annual report for the year. I'd been going pretty hard, so Ruth and I went up to Martha's Vineyard, first time we'd ever been there, went through a small hurricane there. But I spent most of my time on the telephone, trying to recruit people. Many of these people I had known of. You get so you know of, and they know of you, because you're a president or they're head of a department or something like that. Guy Stever was the person that I wanted to come in and become the developer of the long-range planning force. I did rent a car and go up to MIT and talk with him. He would have no part of it. So I came back, and I think I reported on September 9th.
COLLINS: Could we just follow up this concern at this early stage for a long-range plan? What was it you were thinking about in terms of trying to pull together this long-range plan?
GLENNAN: Whatever the staff had in mind. I didn't have any idea what astronomy or geodesy or any of those things would mean in this strange world. I literally knew nothing about the God damned thing. I was startled when very soon after I got there, I found that with all of the excitement of being able to put up a 150-pound weight into orbit, low-earth orbit in this instance, we didn't have any launch vehicles, called boosters then, that could do that. It was all on a wing and a prayer. But there had been, as you may recall, during the period from Sputnik until NASA came into being, the establishment of ARPA. They undertook two, three or four, maybe more, programs. The Air Force was in the business of trying to build the Atlas, the Thor, and later the Agena. The Army under Medaris--I hope he gets into heaven, now that he's a priest--had the Redstone. They were enlarging that to Jupiter and the Juno II or some damned thing like that, I don't remember. As soon as I realized that we really had no boosters that were even equipment-rated, let alone man-rated, I called a meeting on December 19--no, that was in 1958.
In many of these early decisions, Hugh was less than wholly enthusiastic about them, but he always had his say. If I said, "Well, I'm going," he got right in line and worked very hard with me and never opposed me, although he would counsel with me. As we brought in the third man, Dick Horner and then Bob Seamans, without saying it, it became the Office of the Administrator. I don't think I made any decisions, I don't recall a decision, where they didn't have their full say. Then I would make the decision. I don't suppose there were very many times when I didn't take their advice, but when I didn't take their advice, they moved over and got in behind what I wanted to do.
COLLINS: If we could back up for a minute to that December meeting. After you were sworn in, in the first several months, how did you go about educating yourself about the capabilities of the organization you inherited, and what needed to be done?
GLENNAN: I'm a person who relies to a considerable extent on outside counsel. The NACA had a task force that had put together an organization of structure that wasn't bad. I still wanted to have someone come in and study us and what we thought we were going to do, or what the staff thought we were going to do, the top people, the Silversteins, the Abbots, people of that sort, and suggest changes if necessary in the NACA-proposed structure. That was where I insisted that I was going to be Mr. Outside, the person dealing with the Congress, with a great deal of help from Hugh. Hugh was going to assure himself and me of the quality of the science, the technology we were dealing with, particularly in the international field, where he was highly respected. I needed someone to run the show, a general manager.
TAPE 1, SIDE 2
GLENNAN: John Corson of McKinsey Company was the one that I hired. I guess from the very beginning he had John Young who became a member of the NASA staff some two or three years later. Strangely enough, they did not recommend a general manager, but I insisted upon it, and gave in to the extent that we called it an Associate Administrator rather than a general manager. I didn't care what they called him. John Corson several years later had the grace to come in and say, "You were right, I was wrong, you needed that man." Of course they've now got more Associate Administrators than they know what to do with.
COLLINS: Why were you so personally convinced that was what was required?
GLENNAN: This was a carryover from AEC. At AEC we had five commissioners. Nobody was in charge except the chairman. He wasn't really in charge. He got $500 a year more than the rest of us did but he had only one vote. Carrow Wilson and then Marion Boyer, were called general manager. They actually ran the operating show. They carried out policy.
NEEDELL: And your feeling was, without them the AEC would have fallen apart.
GLENNAN: Sure. And so would we. There's a limit to how many hours a day an individual can spend.
NEEDELL: Dryden and Silverstein and others of the NACA top people all felt that they could do it, they could handle the day-to-day management?
GLENNAN: I didn't ask them. I told them.
NEEDELL: But you indicated that they weren't in favor of--
GLENNAN: Horner wasn't there then. It was just Dryden and myself. When I got the McKinsey Report and approved it, I went searching for an Associate Administrator. It took me six months to find one. That's when I finally got Dick Horner.
COLLINS: What was the nature of Dryden's objections to having this position?
GLENNAN: I don't know. I don't remember. NACA didn't have one before. But that was a collegial operation. We were in a business, not a collegial operation.
NEEDELL: What about the procedure of going out and getting an outside consultant to look at the structure of the operation, or to help an organization make that decision? I suppose that was outside of the experience of NACA and Dryden as well.
GLENNAN: I presume so. I just called John Corson in. I'd known him. I'd been a member of McKinney's panel, in 1955, and we used Corson then, trying to look at what the future of nuclear power was going to be back in '55. Any one of these consulting firms keeps in touch with the people that they work for. I liked John, thought he'd done a good job for us on that study, so I asked him to do it here. He did two or three other studies for me.
COLLINS: Why did you feel that under your guidance the NACA staff couldn't conduct a similar kind of evaluation?
GLENNAN: I didn't have time. Look what we were faced with carrying out, completing a number of projects initiated by ARPA, transferred to us on October 1, 1958 when we became operative, together with men and money. We had to develop our own program. The only thing that we knew was that Mercury had somehow or other been approved, I don't know how. Five days after, on October 5th, I set that program in motion. It had been in motion for a long time. There had been wind tunnel experiments on configurations for a capsule and all the rest of that. At the same time, we had to build up an organization, which they didn't have, a business organization.
The NACA was a quiet little "backwater" operation that was very, very effective because they were backwater. You didn't hear much about them in the press. They were protected from the Congress, from the press, and everybody else by the National Committee on Aeronautics. Dryden ran a collegial operation, and did it in an amazingly successful way. But the Jerry Hunsackers, the Jimmy Doolittles, the Fred Crawfords, people of that sort, fronted for NACA. They didn't even have to spend much time on the Hill. Although one thing that came with Hugh was a sense of integrity, a belief on the part of the people on the Hill that here was a man they could trust. He didn't kid them. He didn't pad his budget because he knew they were going to cut it. He fought for what he wanted, and he got what he wanted. We just operated exactly the same way.
COLLINS: I'm curious. I think in your diary you relate an important document that you drew up when you were at Martha's Vineyard in this interim period, of these broad objectives for the organization. It seems that those broad outlines served you in good stead for a fairly long period.
COLLINS: I'm wondering on what basis you were able to draw up such a very useful list of objectives.
GLENNAN: They didn't have anything to do with the technical aspects of this. This was a management approach. I could get the diary; this is in number l?
COLLINS: In volume 1 if you want to take a moment to look at it.
GLENNAN: I think I remember enough of it. I didn't come into the government to add to the government payroll. I'm a conservative guy. In the 30 months I was there, we went from about 8000, 8,500 to 18,000 people, and only 1600 of them were new hires. The rest were transfers from ABMA [Army Ballistic Missile Agency], JPL [Jet Propulsion Laboratory], NRL [Naval Research Laboratory], Army Signal Corps and the rest.
COLLINS: I'm wondering, was this simply a happy marriage between your philosophy and the general philosophy of the administration, or through Eisenhower and Killian, had this philosophy been imparted to you?
GLENNAN: I did this before I ever talked to them. I don't know how government operates. It doesn't operate effectively today. I never had an argument with the President. When I asked him for something, I had to support it, but usually I got what I asked for. I don't recall him telling me to do anything, except one time, when I was leaving the office some time in the latter part of the summer of '59. We'd been talking budget, I guess. I must have related this to you before. As I started to walk out the door, Ike called to me, "Keith, there's just one thing that I'm very anxious that we get done. I want to see a booster rocket that will loft a house into orbit." We had just taken over ABMA and we had Saturn V on the boards, in development. I walked right back in and I said, "Mr. President, these things take time. Throwing money at them doesn't usually get them done any faster, or any better. In this instance, if you will give me another 100 million, I think we can cut off one year, test flights of the Saturn V, which we're going to need for the Apollo flights to the moon." He said, "Keith, go on back to your shop and get the figures put together. Let me see them." About two months later, he approved it.
COLLINS: I'm just wondering how this fits in with this sense of fiscal conservatism. The sense that as things were going in early NASA and even in the early Defense Department, we were moving ahead with the missile programs and the launch programs with as much speed as we could possibly do effectively. Was it just a sense that at this particular time, an infusion of money would be beneficial?
GLENNAN: We had just taken over ABMA. Von Braun's team from ABMA didn't want to do anything except Saturn. We gave them the Centaur rocket, and they botched it up. We had to take it back and give it to Lewis finally. They were a single-minded group of very able people, and always wanted more men than we were willing to give them. They had 5500 down there. As we got into it, we found quite a number on the outside as contracted employees, which meant they were not shown on the federal payroll. I just resisted all of that sort of thing. I wanted a clean shop. But in this instance, there had been enough discussion and pleading by Wernher for more money and how much he could improve the schedule that I just blurted that out and then I took it back to him. I said, "Now, I want to know what the facts are."
NEEDELL: When the President said he wanted a booster that could lift a house into space, was he talking just in general terms about the heavy lift capability?
NEEDELL: Or was he talking about Apollo?
GLENNAN: No. It was heavy lift capability, because each time the Soviets put them up, they consistently used their military rockets.
NEEDELL: Was it a general desire or do you think he had something specific in mind?
GLENNAN: No, I think it had finally gotten to him that until we had the capability of lofting a heavy load, we were going to be behind the eight ball. You have to remember that NASA was still less than two years old.
COLLINS: Let me just interject. I think one thing Allan and I do want to keep in mind is this sense that this is an incredibly tumultuous period, a period of formation and difficulty. We're not trying to imply that things could be done in a strictly linear rational fashion. So I think it's useful for you to continue to remind us.
NEEDELL: Back to that paper that you wrote in August.
NEEDELL: The objectives. What surprises me is that you talk about the importance of not solely reacting to the Soviets or to what someone else did. Now, what surprises me is that that fits so well with what we know of President Eisenhower and how he felt.
GLENNAN: It fits also Hugh Dryden's philosophy. We got stuck once. We broke away from that just once. That was in trying to hit a window for a probe to Venus. We had JPL working on a launch vehicle system called Vega. We spent I think 17 million bucks on that, and then cut the Gordian knot and said "no". That still further reinforced my conviction and Hugh's conviction that we would undertake nothing for public relations purposes alone.
COLLINS: Had Dr. Dryden conveyed to you some of the policy discussions that had gone on in PSAC over this?
GLENNAN: I don't recall that he did, as a matter of fact. Hugh was not a loquacious person. When I asked him, he told me what I wanted to know. But it's dawned on me. I think I reflected that in the diary, that obviously a good many decisions had been taken before I ever was sworn in on what was going to be transferred from the DOD to NASA and matters of that kind.
I never did have any trouble with the Defense Department, except from the ABMA thing. But I became concerned at the Air Force's PR campaign on what they were doing, that they were turning over to NASA. I didn't know a damned thing that they turned over to NASA. So I called Bennie Schriever one day and said, "Bennie, I read this stuff, but I don't see the results. I don't know from my people what you have told us that adds to our knowledge and our ability to get on with our program. I'd like to know what the hell this Discoverer program's all about." He said, "Fine. I'll set it up." We went out, he set up a 707 and we left early in the morning from Andrews. I took along my budget crew, and we worked both ways. Got out there about 9 in the morning. Went over to STL [Space Technology Laboratories]. Worked all day. Got a lot of briefing. Didn't get a hell of a lot of information. But we got the snow job, and learned something about the snagging of film packs in the air off Hawaii.
NEEDELL: Did you learn about the Agena at that time?
GLENNAN: I don't recall. The Agena sort of appeared. We traded Vega for Agena. We bought Agena as a more finished development which Lockheed had.
NEEDELL: But wasn't the Agena developed in order to launch the Discoverers?
GLENNAN: I havn't any idea. I didn't spend my time wondering what they were going to do over there. I had enough to do at home.
COLLINS: Did this briefing convey to you the weight-thrustingcapability of their systems?
GLENNAN: We knew what they were doing with Atlas and Thor. The upper stages were not yet complete. Agena was just being completed, and that added to the ability to get into a synchronous orbit. I don't want to belittle it at all. I just don't recall.
NEEDELL: Dr. McDougall, in his book, talks about the National Security Council discussions about space policy, and comes out with these National Security directives that were written. Were these things given to you during the summer, so that you could know what national policy was?
GLENNAN: I didn't know that we had a national policy. I never received anything from the NSC. I recall learning something about the NSC for the first time when we had the first meeting of the National Space Council, I guess it was called. Jim Killian had handled those. I put together with Jim an agenda, and I said, "You will handle the meeting and I'll learn from that." "All right, that's fine." We went in to see the boss and go over this with him so that he wouldn'be caught short on it. We went in, and he listened, commented, said what he was going to say. Then Jim said, "Mr. President, I assume you want me to handle this meeting." Ike said, "No, let's let Keith have it." So I went home and stayed up most of the night revising what Jim was going to say, and then I did handle it the next day and learned a lot from it. You may or may not know that there was, beyond the NSC, an Operations Coordinating Board, which Gordon Gray chaired, which had the task of the follow-up on the decisions taken at the NSC. This screwball operation we have now doesn't resemble what we were doing. I don't recall NSC putting out any "nisms" or whatever they call them.
NEEDELL: I had this impression, just from reading Walter McDougall's book.1
GLENNAN: Maybe he knows more than I do about it, but he wasn't there.
NEEDELL: At that time, did you feel that there was an organizational level of government that you didn't have privy to that was making decisions that affected your life or the life of the agency?
GLENNAN: Allan, I told you that I got no orders from anybody. I got support from the boss. That's all. I may be proven wrong. I don't recall it. I did what I thought was right and what Hugh and Dick and Abe Silverstein and others of the top echelon there, BobGilruth. We all sat down from time to time and talked over what we were going to do next, and that's what we did.
COLLINS: To sort of circle back to the beginning briefly again, you indicated that Hugh Dryden, when you asked, provided you with briefings on certain topics. Did you seek out other members of the NACA organization to brief you on various aspects of their activity?
GLENNAN: Yes. I didn't know anything about aircraft structures, wind sheer, propulsion, any of those sorts of things. So I asked Hugh to set up--I think they were Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon briefings. We invited in all of the top staff, lawyers, accountants, people of that sort, and sat there and listened to them. A couple of hour lectures on aircraft structures. Wind tunnels.
COLLINS: We were talking about the briefings that you received.
GLENNAN: I didn't know, and lots of people in the top echelon didn't know anything about what NACA had done; what the aircraft business was all about, and what the space business was all about. We tried to get a common base of understanding, so we'd know a little bit about what we were talking about.
COLLINS: This was something that was instituted fairly early on.
GLENNAN: Yes. And ran I guess four or five months, once a week.
NEEDELL: Maybe we should talk about procurement, especially the big procurement decisions that had to be made.
GLENNAN: Yes, Ed Brackett was there. Where did I get Ed Brackett? I don't remember. I should say that to a considerable extent, Hugh's breadth of knowledge and understanding of the rest of the government--he had run into Al Siepert at the National Institutes of Health, who had been I think concerned with their research programs, and so we got Al to come over with us. I searched for a general counsel, went to my friends in the corporate world and one or two that I'd known in Washington, and we got Johnnie Johnson that way. John brought with him two of his associate counsels, Walter Sohier and Bob Nunn. It was catch-as-catch can. You get a guy, bring him in, look at him. They were all anxious to come. This is one thing that was very fortunate for all of us. This was a new business, an exciting business, and they were pleased to have a chance to be part of it.
NEEDELL: I got the impression, I think from Rosholt, tell me if I'm wrong, that there was some option that you had, as to what kind of procurement system you would use.
GLENNAN: I suppose we talked about that for a fair time. But since most of the contractors that we would have to use for space vehicles, as well as launch vehicles, were aircraft and military suppliers, we finally went to the uniform military procurement regulations. It wasn't a big fight. We just looked at all the options and decided that that would be easiest to deal with a contractor on. He understood it.
COLLINS: In your diary you indicate, in this very early period, you were getting courtesy calls from a lot of defense contractors.
GLENNAN: Of course.
COLLINS: Can you sort of describe the mood of the aerospace industry as NASA was formed?
GLENNAN: They wanted to be part of it. That's it.
COLLINS: How did you handle these early contacts?
GLENNAN: I listened to them. We, early on, organized a "bidders' conference," I guess you'd call it.
NEEDELL: This is for the F-1 contract or the Mercury contract?
GLENNAN: No, they were, I guess two or three of those. But there was one very large one where we sort of went over all of the things that we knew we were going to do, and how we would choose the lucky contractor. Sometimes I got calls. Jim Kimball used to be Secretary of the Navy, went to Aerojet. He came in and threatened a lot of things, but he never got any place with it. He didn't win a contract. I was just stubborn enough to do what I thought was right, not what I was being pressured to do.
NEEDELL: Before we get into any specifics of individual contracts or anything, it seems to me that you've commented a number of times throughout the diaries about the very difficult problem of enticing qualified people, especially out of industry.
GLENNAN: To come to us. I was being paid $22,500 . Hugh I think was paid $20,000. I think Dick Horner was paid $18,000 or $18,500. We had 257 or some such thing as that, I guess 400 accepted positions. I came from an educational institution where salaries weren't that high, and I was leery of just taking a broad pen and sweeping all of the top echelon up to the top of each of these grades. I insisted upon an analysis and making of proposals. Hugh and I looked at them together, and we decided what to do with them. But I was searching for an associate administrator. One person that I tried to get went to General Dynamics, a man who was running the Atlas line, Jim Dempsey. He was getting $75,000. He wouldn't come. The differential was pretty great for most of them.
NEEDELL: As a solution to that, often you went to people who worked as managers in the military.
GLENNAN: Had to. Yes, and while I didn't worry about it, I suspect there was a quiet plan to infiltrate.
NEEDELL: Some of these people would be on one or two year loans to NASA?
GLENNAN: Major General Don Ostrander came over. There was where Dick Horner guided us very well. We chose the people we wanted. They'd propose people.
NEEDELL: They had the same pay scale, right?.
GLENNAN: They were close to it, at least. Brigadier generals and that sort of thing.
NEEDELL: Any problems that came up later on, with the people willing to come over from industry but because of the disclosure requirements could not?
GLENNAN: I don't recall that we ever had to turn down anybody because of the disclosure requirements. We had one that John McCormack laid on us. We resisted, but finally put him on. He wanted his man to be head of procurement instead of Brackett. We gave him a job, and we finally came very close to cashiering him because he was not honest. I went up and told John McCormack that he was putting his money on a bad person. That's the only one I had.
NEEDELL: But you were concerned, I assume, later on especially, about just the general philosophical problem of how is the government going to get the competent managers when they can't pay.
GLENNAN: Still am now.
GLENNAN: Today it's more, what happens to a man's reputation. You may not hurt him financially, but rather you may smear him. We didn't have any of that. I fired only one person while I was at NASA, a person that I'd hired. Six months later I fired him. Incompetent.
COLLINS: So your method primarily, in seeking out people, was to get in touch with people that you knew, or the judgment of people that you trusted.
GLENNAN: Exactly. I had associations with the Assistant Secretaries of the services for R and D. I soon got to knowpeople like Arleigh Burke and Tommy White and never paid much attention to the Army. You go to Johns Hopkins over here in Baltimore. Merle Tuve had been there during the war, and I'd come to know some of those people. We had a network that we called upon.
COLLINS: Just to go back to your question about a concern that the military was perhaps attempting to infiltrate, still there was political value in bringing in military people.
GLENNAN: Oh yes, no question about it. I didn't worry about it. I don't know that I recognized it at the time. I don't know that it's fair to say that they had some nefarious purpose in making people available. We were a clean operation. We didn't kowtow to anybody.
I'll give you an example. Fred Friendly and Ed Murrow were going to produce a television show, the biography of--it finally got to be called, "The Missile"--which I thought was very wrong, coming to us, because we weren't dealing with missiles. They came in on a Sunday. I came down, and Walter Bonney came with me. For three hours they tried to beat me into letting them have their own camera crew and their own people in the blockhouse down at Cape Canaveral for a launch. I said, "I will not do it." Just kept on repeating it to them. "We will have our own people there, and all that they get will be given to the pool." Finally Friendly said, "We have a very large audience, and we can really screw you up." I said, "Go ahead and screw." They didn't get what they wanted. Now we ran Wallops Island as an open launch site. I had a little book in which I said, "We do first and talk afterwards." That was written in the book.
COLLINS: The booklet regarding what, public affairs?
GLENNAN: It listed all the launches, what they were for, and whether they had succeeded or failed, and a hell of a lot of it wasn't a very pleasant thing to do, month after month, in our first two years. But I insisted that we do it first and then talk about it.
COLLINS: Let's go back to the procurement thing and look at that in a little bit more detail. Initially you had contractors coming in unsolicited, just to touch base with you.
COLLINS: You established that you had this general kind of conference to highlight upcoming NASA programs.
COLLINS: In terms of thinking about actually procuring specificthings like the F-1 engine, what mechanisms were you--
GLENNAN: We sent out Requests for Proposals.
NEEDELL: The F-1 idea had already begun under the Air Force.
GLENNAN: I don't know. I doubt it. We started out with Requests for Proposals, and established, as I recall it, three committees, one on management, one on task performance experience, and one on technical capabilities. To the best of our ability, the people on one team did not know who the other teams were. They brought in finally to a coordinating committee--I call it that, I don't know what we called it--the results of their decisions, grading the companies. Then Hugh and I and, when we got Dick Horner, Dick Horner and Johnny Johnson, sat and listened to this.
NEEDELL: Was this a procedure that you got from talking to people in the Defense Department? Is this how they did it?
GLENNAN: I don't remember. No, I didn't talk to the Defense Department about any of our procedures, that I recall. Don't let me give you the idea that I made all the decisions. It could well have been that Brackett, who had been in the business, had the same kind of ideas. I don't think that NACA ever did much in the way of outside contracting. They were an in-house operation.
COLLINS: How did Dryden make this transition?
GLENNAN: Easily. No arguments. Recognized the need for it. When finally this coordinating committee came in and reported to us, and we asked them questions, might take half a day to go through a report. Then Hugh Dryden and myself, Bob Seamans or Dick Horner and Johnny Johnson would sit down and come to our own conclusions.
TAPE 2, SIDE 1
GLENNAN: We had problems up on the Hill from time to time. I would not give to the Congress the reports that were given me by my immediate advisors. I exerted, with the support of Mr. Eisenhower and Bill Rogers, the "executive privilege," once. We spent a whole day up there with twenty-five guys asking the same question, one after another. I, by that time, had understood that you don't argue with these people, so I just smiled at them and said, "I thought I answered that, Mr. Congressman, but let me try again." So I'd go through it again.
NEEDELL: In Rosholt's book, he characterizes the executive privilege debate as one which had come up before, was the standard thing that Congress always argued about executive privilege when it ever came up. It was fairly friendly, they didn't really hold you, it wasn't all that personal--but the business about the Source Evaluation Board reports, or whatever they were called, was much, much more--
GLENNAN: We gave them a good bit of that copy, except for the intimate coordinating committee reports to me. What they had divined from the three committees that were looking at management, technology, and performance. We got those up the Hill, if you care about those.
NEEDELL: Is your opinion, you couldn't get the kind of frank advice you'd want if people would think that they'd be called up to Congress later on.
GLENNAN: I told them that. You can read it in the Congressional report.
NEEDELL: Did the White House back you up on this?
GLENNAN: Of course. I don't want to leave the impression that I won that battle. Joe Campbell, whom I'd known during World War II, when Columbia was then the comptroller general, I went over to see. He couldn't stand up against Johnny Johnson and my presentation, but he couldn't bear to say Glennan's right. We worked out some kind of a compromise, that gave them a little portion of what they wanted, but not the names, that they could call up my advisors and try to undercut what they'd said to me.
COLLINS: Why did Congress feel they needed that information?
GLENNAN: They always do. They think that somebody's trying to cheat them all the time. That's what's happening up there now. Have you listened to any of this crap?
COLLINS: Were the assessment boards that you had established, and the coordinating board, were these all composed of NASA staff?
COLLINS: So as a typical example, perhaps, the F-1 procurement decision went through this process.
GLENNAN: Yes. The F-1 was of course one of our early ones. There were only two or three bidders on that, and I think Rocketdyne got it. They had built the other engines we had.
NEEDELL: Some of the competitors were probably pressuring or complaining afterwards.
GLENNAN: Sure. I don't recall any of the others, other than Kimball and the chap who, when we had to build a few more Jupiters, Juno 2's, we didn't give it to Chrysler. Chrysler had bid on all of them before. I was called up on the Hill and got hell from the Michigan delegates. I explained to them carefully why we did what we did, and then finally it hit me that they didn't understand the picture. I said, "Do you realize, gentlemen, that if this had gone to Chrysler, ninety-five percent of the work would have been done in Florida, and five percent in Michigan?" They collapsed like that. Never heard from them again.
COLLINS: In terms of monitoring, of these contracts, what was your thinking about how best to insure quality control?
GLENNAN: We established quality control fairly early in the game, simply because statistical quality control was just beginning to be understood. When you're talking about Mercury and man-rated flights, I didn't think we could be too careful. We found a man by the name of Nick Golovin, as I recall. I don't remember who did. Probably Dick Horner found him. He was a statistical quality control person, an unsavory sort of person, but he knew his business. I gave him free rein. He could look at anything and require anything done to improve reliability, safety, etc. If there were shortcomings in the manufacturing process, assembly process, whatever it might be. We were not all that sophisticated at that time. I remember Bob Gilruth came storming up from Langley saying, "What are you doing to us? We don't need this guy. Our life has been made of being careful, being sure. Quality control is a way of life." I said, "Bob, I'm sorry, you're going to have to do it. I insist that there be an external quality control review on everything that we do. That man is not going to report to you, he's going to report to the associate administrator." That fell by the wayside.
When I heard Jim Fletcher was taking on this Challenger again, I called him and said, "Jim, I don't know what the hell is going on. I think it's so wonderful that you subject yourself to this again. But if I could suggest one thing, establish a tough quality control operation." I hadn't realized that they'd dropped it. That's one of the things he did do. Now, Jim Webb went beyond that, I think, in getting the BellComm and I think General Electric. You can't have everything in one organization.
NEEDELL: That raises a very, very important issue. I read about it when you talked about the role of Rand Corporation, you hired them to do a couple of studies for you. Essentially you had mixed feelings about not having staff, insiders, to do this kind of thing.
GLENNAN: That's quite right. We all have prejudices. We all think we're pretty nearly right. If you can find an objective analyst, and that's not easy, you're well to do it. And I had by that time? No. But my son was working for RAND, and I'd learned a little bit about them. I later became a trustee there. They had, unbeknownst to me, of course, done one of the early studies on spaceflight, communications. I think what I asked them to do was to look at the communications business.
COLLINS: Back to the quality control issue. Why did you feel that you needed this independent judgment, this independent input and information?
GLENNAN: Marty, it's very hard to answer a question like that. I felt it viscerally. It wasn't a matter of not trusting our own guys, but it's better to have somebody looking over their shoulders, if that person knows what he's looking for.
NEEDELL: I take it he was most busy with the Mercury contract, the capsule contract with McDonnell.
GLENNAN: Yes. We had a lot of trouble with McDonnell. They didn't want to have him come out there and look over their shoulders.
NEEDELL: Was it resistance from McDonnell or from the field center that was managing the contract?
GLENNAN: We went to the manager. We went to McDonnell. We went to wherever it was necessary to see something being done, and see that it was done right.
NEEDELL: But you said that Langley itself had some problems with this independent quality control office, over and above that.
GLENNAN: Gilruth. Gilruth shouted about it. I don't know anything about what Langley felt. I assume he was reflecting Langley, but I didn't ask him.
I was going to say, let's get on with this damned thing.
COLLINS: If we could pause for just a moment. I just want to make one general observation, from reading the diary and listening to some of your comments today. The extent to which you valued, as an administrator, your independence, your ability to take independent action, perhaps in some way is the quality control issue related to that, having independent information, having political independence from Congress.
COLLINS: I wonder whether you could comment on how you thought about that as a manager, the value of that.
GLENNAN: You've asked me how I think about things. I don't think about them. I've lived my life that way. I manage the things that I undertake to manage. I don't sit back and look in the mirror. The only time I look in a mirror is when I look there for tenminutes and say nothing and say, "You're part of the problem, not part of the solution." I don't think I had ambitions. I just wanted to do the best I could.
COLLINS: I mean, "think about," not perhaps in an overly reflective sense, but say in the sense that you imposed that September list of objectives. You sort of thought about what was required to carry out the job, and it seems that this--
GLENNAN: I must have felt strongly that I couldn't go down to Washington without thinking through somewhat what I was facing. I certainly felt our government was a gargantuan thing. It didn't need to get any bigger. I didn't concern myself with what the Defense Department was doing very much. Of all of the administrators, I knew less about what the Defense Department was doing than anybody else. I didn't give a damn. I had my own job to do.
NEEDELL: The Space Act did have this part in it about international cooperation.
GLENNAN: Yes, sir, and that's why I started early on in getting a chap from Cleveland, named Henry Billingsley. Arnold Frutkin came six months later, came from IGY. Bigfurtes, something like that, and he didn't turn out to be at all good. I had difficulty firing him. He just fought about it. I said, "Well, I'm sorry, you're through," and got a hold of, I think through Hugh Odishaw, Frutkin, to work for me. I don't recall who recommended him. It might have been Hugh, because Hugh was involved in the IGY, of course. But Frutkin went right to work, and he did a hell of a job over many years. I did one thing for him. I went over to the State Department, which at that time did not have a science advisors operation. They had Phil Farley, who had been a member of the secretariat at the AEC while I was Commissioner. I talked with him and said, "Phil, from what I understand, if we get behind the eight ball with you or the State Department doing all the negotiating for where we can put a ship or a dish or something like that, we'll never get it done. We'll keep you fully advised, but we're going to have to do this ourselves. Got any comments?" He said, "I think that's fine."
NEEDELL: Now, how did you get defined, in your own mind, the international role that NASA was going to play? I know you were familiar with the Atoms for Peace business earlier. Where, in a sense, this was not public relations but international relations which ran into some difficulties. My sense is that you didn't want NASA to just simply be doing public relations kind of things.
GLENNAN: Well, we were the seat of the operation. Nobody else had much, except the Soviets. The British came along principally with the use of their big dish over there to track satellites. We brought Doctor Lovell over and made a little model of the satellite which played "God Save the King," gave it to him, had him meet the President. The law said, do this internationally if you can. It didn't say it was a mandate to do. But I took that literally, and went to work at it.
NEEDELL: But am I wrong to assume that there's a real difference in your approach to this international cooperation than, for instance, the Atoms for Peace program?
GLENNAN: Oh yes. Sure. Atoms for Peace program was the AEC initially doing bilateral agreements with thirty or thirty-five nations, providing them with money and small research reactors, and finally, leading to the establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which now has 113 members. That's quite different than the U.S. visibly a leader in this field, even though the Soviets had kicked it off first. I kept saying, "We're not in a race with the Russians. I don't believe in that. We're big enough boys to make our own minds up as to what we think we can do and want to do, and as long as it's pushing the technology at the very greatest pace, that's it." You know, what did I have? I had first full year, 6l5 million dollars. When I left there, I had a budget of a billion, 100 million. You don't do that much with that. And at the same time, I think we did go as fast as we could to spend money. We did not throw money away.
NEEDELL: If State Department has some need for being cooperative with other governments, they never went to NASA?
GLENNAN: No, sir, not that I recall. It could have been that Frutkin might have had some kind of a relationship with State, but I tend to delegate and require a closing of the loop to know what they've done. Not looking over their shoulder or anything like that, but Frutkin was pretty much on his own.
Same thing was true of the Bio Sciences Program which Clark Randt ran. He was a very good man, came in under a cloud because all of the work on Mercury had been done by the naval doctors. But he did pretty well. He stayed two years, and I was satisfied. He ran his own show. I did put together a committee under Seymour Kety of the NIH, I guess, to look at how we could manage our program. Should we need to manage our own, or should we rely on the Air Force and the Navy for flight research and medicine? We decided we'd have our own, but we used a lot of theirs. Throughout the Mercury program, the lead doctor was a naval doctor.
COLLINS: Were there discussions?
GLENNAN: I took this out of the law, and did what the law said. I didn't ask anybody. There's one thing that I think should be said. You ought to read George Kistiakowsky's book, as against Killian's diary, because Kistiakowsky asserts that he had a lot to do with our program. I don't remember it. I wrote to Jim Killian and I said, "I've read both of them now and I think yours is great. I think George is a person who never admits he made a mistake."
NEEDELL: I recall one time in the diary, when talking about the lack of information you had on what the Air Force was doing with Discoverer, you said that you did go to Dr. Kistiakowsky and he was forthcoming.
GLENNAN: I got along well with Kisty. He was so different from Jim. Jim's very withdrawn, quiet, not bombastic at all. I'd say there's one other aspect of this that I should tell you about. It will come back to me.
COLLINS: In developing an international program of cooperation, did you have input from PSAC, from Killian or Kistiakowsky, the Space Council?
GLENNAN: That's what I was going to say. The National Academy put together the Space Science Board. They included themselves into our thinking and our programs, particularly in space science. We paid half the cost of that, and NSF paid half. Again, lots of people wanted to fly some little gadget on a satellite. Homer Newell I think was pretty much in charge of that all the way through, and Hugh Dryden was very helpful as well. I guess that between the people that Homer Newell had on board, and his interaction with the scientific community--for a time we had Bob Jastrow here. He was a very articulate and aggressive sort of person. We finally came to the point where we established him in New York at New York University or Columbia University--and I had a hell of a fight with Abe Silverstein. Abe Silverstein was a very aggressive person throughout. I had to blow him down from time to time in a quiet way. He didn't want Jastrow going up there, and I thought Jastrow had his mind set appropriately on being an ambiance for the people that he wanted to work with, would want to have graduate students, and that's the way that got set up there. I'm a little surprised at Jastrow's excitement about SDI now.
NEEDELL: He has become a rather articulate spokesman for defense.
GLENNAN: Oh yes. I know.
NEEDELL: He wasn't that way earlier?
GLENNAN: No. That's all years after I left. I left twenty-six years ago.
COLLINS: Did the Space Council or PSAC make suggestions about international cooperation programs?
GLENNAN: Not that I remember. Maybe I had my ears closed. I don't know.
NEEDELL: It seems that stating quite earlier there was this undertone of dissatisfaction by scientists.
GLENNAN: They're dissatisfied if they don't get 100 million dollars a minute. Look at what you've got now with the superconductors and with the supercollider. Who's to say that that's worth four billion dollars? It ought to be done some day, but does it need to be done when it's out of whack with our budget?
NEEDELL: There was a point, I guess, when the Space Science Board started going around, going directly to PSAC.
GLENNAN: I don't remember PSAC's leaning on us at all. I remember discussing things with them once in a great while. But that may be because that's a blind spot in me. I don't kow.
NEEDELL: What about the Kempton Committee? Was that largely in response to this notion of disaffected scientists?
GLENNAN: Hell no! I set that up. I wanted to know what kind of an organization we'd put together. I wanted to have it reviewed. I do that frequently in whatever I do. I've always done that. It was motivated by me. I wanted it. I was getting ready to leave, and I wanted to leave a clean house if I could. If there were things that were wrong, I wanted to correct them. And that's how the committee got set up. Don't look for corner pieces.
NEEDELL: We can always look, but as long as we don't find them, they're not there, I guess.
GLENNAN: If you can find somebody who says PSAC ordered that, they're lying. I don't think they even knew what I was doing.
COLLINS: I think what Allan is trying to get at was the extent of the connections, the assistance, etc.
GLENNAN: Have you read Kisty's book?
NEEDELL: I haven't, no.
GLENNAN: Well, you ought to. He has a lot in there that I don't recall at all. "He went over and settled something for Glennan," that sort of thing, and I don't recall it. I told Jim Killian that I didn't recall it. I've heard of this sideshow up on the Hill, a lot of "I don't recalls." I may have been shielded from some of the space science people by Hugh and Homer, because I relied on them to know what we should do.
I recall one meeting, I think I told you about it. We were getting a lot of complaints from the scientists, and I called a session or asked Hugh to call a session, and Lloyd Berkner was chairing it, and Bruno Rossi, he was an astrophysicist, I think and Schwarzschild from Princeton. I suppose another half-dozen of them were there, and Homer and Hugh and myself, and I presume either Dick or Bob Seamans, I don't recall. We went on for two hours and got nothing but nasty remarks from these people. I said, "Look, I've got the answer to this and I propose to do it. You're unhappy about the way we schedule things and the way we accommodate the needs of all of you, recognizing or not recognizing that we've got limited facilities, limited spacecraft and the rest of it. I want you all to withdraw every God damned proposal you've got with us, and then we'll start afresh." You could have thought I'd put a bomb in the place. That stopped the meeting, anyway. Lloyd Berkner was a very aggressive person. Did you happen to know him?
NEEDELL: I didn't know him, but I have looked at his papers.
COLLINS: Is that what happened, then? Did you start from scratch after that point?
GLENNAN: No. I just threatened to and they stopped griping. I said, "Homer Newell and Hugh Dryden are managing this program. They're trying to take care of everybody that they possibly can. Those that don't get on the next flight will get on one later on. You can't push your way through this." I think what I was trying to say was, we are in control. And we were.
NEEDELL: Whether they liked it or not.
GLENNAN: Sure. It wasn't their program. They weren't spending any money on this. We were funding most of what they were doing. I'd had enough experience in academia to know what the scientists were like. Never satisfied. They shouldn't be. But at some point in time they need to be rational about what they're doing and thinking. Go ahead.
COLLINS: Part of the ambiguity of what the space program was supposed to be doing, what the role of NASA was, what its mission was--the scientists had a different point of view. There is this question about how the scientific element was going to relate to the other capabilities and purposes of the space program.
GLENNAN: I think I've told you that I was not a space cadet. I was much more interested in that portion of the law that said do something for the benefit of all mankind. That to me meant weather, communications, position determination. But I soon recognized that you couldn't run this program without having a man in the loop. That's what excited people. That's what excited the Congress. They wanted their pictures taken with them all the time. And that is exactly what the situation is today. Even with the great performance of the Ranger and Mariner and other series, beautiful pictures. I don't think you can keep a program of that sort going year after year at six or seven or eight billion dollars, even in today's dollars.
COLLINS: True, that was something that was appreciated by some people very early on. You approved Mercury within a matter of days after NASA became--
GLENNAN: Yes. I don't know who started that, the military or NACA. They had developed models of blunt bodies, recovery, and kept working on the ablative shields. A lot of work had been done before I ever got here. Before the law had ever been passed.
COLLINS: I'd like to suggest that we stop here for the day, if it's all right with you.
GLENNAN: All right.
1 Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth. (New York: Basic Books, Inc. 1985).