May 8, 1969 CONGRESSIONi :. RECORD- SENATE
appear the better part of wisdom. in~:/ .
my opinion, to postpone a final decision
THE ABM SYSTEM
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I
note that on May 7 our distinguished
Vice President, the Presiding Officer of
the Senate, said in an uldresa before the
Commonwealth Club of California in San
Francisco that "a responsible majority
in the scientific community" believes in
the ABM system as recommended by·
President Nixon. He further predicted
that the "weakness" of arguments presented
by those who have questions about
Safeguard "will be exposed." He stated
as h1s personal conviction that "the system
I have had the Impression that the
scientific community is at considerable
odds as to whether Safeguard can be
developed at this time into a workable
system. It is interesting to learn from
the Vice President, therefore, that a, "responsible"
majority now believes in lt .
. J ust lately, we have had reports issued
by a group centered in the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology which states that
the ABM "even 1f upgraded and expanded"
cannot perform effectively the
missions suggested for it. Is that group by
any chance to be considered an "irresponsible
majority.'' On the other hand,
a study has been ma('e by the American
Security Council, headed by the chief
o! the Institute of Geophysics and Interplanetary
Physics o! the University
of California, at Los Angeles, which
states, "Safeguard will work In the sense
it 1s intended to work." Is that the "responsible
majorlty" to which the Vice
President referred? Some clarification of
the term "responsible major ity" as used
by the Vice President would be helpful
to the understanding of 1e Senate.
In any event, these ~wo reports seem
to come from sources which are to the
best of my knowledge both "responsible."
They indicate to me that there is a considerable
split within the scientific community.
In short, there are those with
impressive credentials In the scientific
community who believe In the workability
of Safeguard. There are those with
equally impressive credentials who do
When informed opinion. is sharply divided
merely on the question of the scientific
practicality of the concept, not to
speak ot other considerations, it would
until further research and development
produces additional scientific evidence.
In that fashion, scientists, Q<>th pro and
con, will be in a better position to adjust
their differences within the area of their
specialization. And when there is a
greater degree o! agreement among them,
perhaps there will be a greater degree
of agreement among us. After all, popularity
polls among the scientists are
scarcely the way to arrive at a sound
decision in a question as fundamental
to the Nation as that of the ABM.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 44, Folder 73, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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