Cooperating with the Soviets in Space

These twin discussions of intelligence information available to Kennedy on the Soviet space program and of Soviet attempts to persuade the United States that there was no moon race help set the stage for this chapter's final topic: US-Soviet space cooperation and Kennedy's September 1963 offer of a joint lunar program. Hopeful rhetoric concerning cooperation was present in Kennedy's speeches from his first day in office. In his inaugural address he said, "Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together, let us explore the stars."164 One perceptive scholar explains that Kennedy made these, and subsequent, offers of US-USSR space cooperation "knowing full well that there was little likelihood that Khrushchev would accept his offer" because if Khrushchev did, "It would tacitly be recognizing the equality of the United States in space activities."165

A footnote to the Vienna summit of June 1961 was an informal Kennedy-Khrushchev exchange on a joint lunar-landing program. Apparently during lunch on the first day, Kennedy suggested combining the lunar-landing efforts (less than two weeks after his famous 25 May speech announcing his decision). The DOS memo recorded, "With regard to the possibility of launching a man to the moon, Mr. Khrushchev said that he was cautious because of the military aspect of such flights. In response to the President's inquiry whether the United States or the USSR should go to the moon together, Mr. Khrushchev first said no, then said 'all right, why not?' "166 Khrushchev's final remark was probably in jest because the next day he reversed himself.

Mr. Khrushchev said he was placing certain restraints on projects for a flight to the moon. Such an operation is very expensive and this may weaken Soviet defenses. Of course, Soviet scientists want to go to the moon, but the U.S. should go first because it is rich and then the Soviet Union will follow. In response to the President's inquiry whether perhaps a cooperative effort could be made in that direction, Mr. Khrushchev said that cooperation in outer space would be impossible as long as there was no disarmament. The reason for this is that rockets are used for both military and scientific purposes. The President said that perhaps coordination in timing of such efforts could be achieved in order to save money. . . . Mr. Khrushchev replied that might be possible but noted that so far there had been few practical uses of outer space launchings. The race was costly and was primarily for prestige purposes.167

Once again, the historian of these events is hard pressed to avoid the conclusion that as much as Kennedy may have hoped differently, he had to be aware of the fact that Khrushchev was not going to be receptive to American offers of large-scale cooperation throughout Kennedy's administration. One can argue that Khrushchev's reluctance was due to financial reasons, disarmament concerns, and worries about military-technology transfer. Also he felt that by competing with the United States he would grant legitimacy to the American program. Whatever the case, the fundamental point remains: Kennedy almost certainly knew there was little chance Khrushchev could or would seriously respond to American offers of cooperative or joint space projects.

There was no reason, then, why Kennedy could not deliver pleas, such as at the UN in September 1961 that "the new horizons of outer space must not be riven by the old bitter concepts of imperialism and sovereign claims. The cold reaches of the universe must not become the new arena of an even colder war." Kennedy also declared the United States would support any UN effort toward "reserving outer space for peaceful use, [and] prohibiting weapons of mass destruction in space or on celestial bodies, and opening the mysteries and benefits of space to every nation."168 One concrete result of Kennedy's speech was that the USSR did agree to expand the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to 23 members, and so the COPUOS had its first official meeting with a full contingent of countries in March 1962; it began work on a resolution that would ban the deployment of weapons in space.169 This effort would culminate in one of the two concrete results of the international space cooperation efforts during Kennedy's term. On 17 October 1963, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 1884, "Stationing Weapons of Mass Destruction in Outer Space." This resolution did exactly what its title implied; it prohibited the orbiting of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological, chemical weapons) around the earth or on other celestial bodies such as the moon.170

The second identifiable product from the international cooperation initiatives of the Kennedy era began with America's first orbital flight of a human. On 20 February 1962, John Glenn in his Mercury capsule Friendship 7 made three orbits of the earth and flew in space for four hours and 55 minutes. Besides making him an instant hero, it generated a congratulatory message from Khrushchev that read, "If our countries pooled their efforts . . . to master the universe, this would be very beneficial for the advance of science and would be joyfully acclaimed by all peoples who would like to see scientific achievements benefit man and not be used for 'cold war' purposes and the arms race."171 Kennedy immediately responded, "I welcome your statement that our countries should cooperate in the exploration of space. . . . I am instructing the appropriate officers of this Government to prepare new and concrete proposals for immediate projects of common action."172 Kennedy issued NSAM 129 instructing that NASA, the NASC, and Wiesner cooperate with the DOS in developing these proposals because "the President does require that there be a prompt and energetic follow-up of his message to Chairman Khrushchev."173 More important were Kennedy's private in structions to Webb, delivered through National Security Advisor Bundy. Bundy wrote Webb that Kennedy "knows that there are lots of problems in this kind of cooperation, and he knows also that you have a great head of steam in projects which we do not want to see interrupted or slowed down. At the same time, there is real political advantage for us if we can make it clear that we are forthcoming and energetic in plans for peaceful cooperation with the Soviets in this sphere." Therefore, Kennedy hoped NASA's staff could "go a little out of their way to find good projects."174 The overall tone of Kennedy's instructions gives the distinct impression that he was not overly concerned with any possible cooperative projects in and of themselves (he didn't mention any specific initiatives) but rather the "real political advantage" that could be extracted from the image of a peaceful, cooperative America.

What followed was another exchange of Kennedy-Khrushchev letters and then further talks by their designated representatives, NASA deputy administrator Dryden and Soviet academician and scientist Anatoly Blagonravov. Dryden and Blagonravov met nine times between March 1962 and May 1965.175 The concrete cooperative actions resulting from these negotiations have best been collectively referred to as "only token re-sults."176 Various levels of cooperation eventually took place in four areas: meteorological satellite systems and the exchange of their data, using the passive American communications satellite Echo II for cooperative experiments, satellites for studying and mapping the earth's magnetic field, and a joint review of information gathered in the areas of space biology and medicine. As Khrushchev freely admitted in his memoirs, the USSR simply was not interested in genuinely extensive space cooperation because this would have given America access to Soviet space and missile technology and by doing so "we would have been both giving away our strength [space technology] and revealing our weakness [lagging ICBM development]."177 Congress correctly concluded, "Khrushchev seemed to be concerned less with cooperating in space than with making a concrete political reality of the abstract Soviet claim that a shift in the balance of world power against the

West had occurred, and that this was attributed, among other factors, to Communist superiority."178

NASA's director of International Programs emphasized that the assorted projects and data exchanges resulting from the Dryden-Blagonravov talks in the early and mid-1960s provided for coordination and not integration, "a kind of arm's length cooperation in which each side carries out independently its portion of an arrangement without entering into the other's planning, design, production, operations, or analysis. No classified or sensitive data is exchanged. No equipment is to be provided by either side to the other. No funds are to be provided by either side to the other."179 Kennedy himself wrote Rep. Albert Thomas in September 1963 and explained, "Our repeated offers of cooperation with the Soviet Union have so far produced only limited responses and results."180 Given this limited progress by 1963 in developing concrete US-Soviet space cooperation, it seems unlikely Kennedy concluded that he had much to lose by rhetorically offering Khrushchev a joint lunar-landing effort because Khrushchev would almost certainly either reject or ignore the proposal.

In the summer of 1963, simply making such a grand pro-posal—during an address to the UN General Assembly—had distinct appeal to Kennedy. After the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, there had been at least some thawing in US-Soviet relations. Some even spoke of a nascent détente. The clearest piece of evidence was that after US-USSR talks for a complete banning of nuclear tests had failed, the countries did work out a Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) in July 1963 that banned the testing of nuclear weapons in space, the atmosphere, and under water.181 As movement within the UN framework toward a resolution banning the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in outer space gained momentum, Kennedy may very well have seen the offer of a joint lunar landing as one which would provide America with an even brighter image as a peaceful nation enthusiastically embracing all types of disarmament and weapons control. As Sorensen recalled, Kennedy "did not think it possible to achieve in his administration a sweeping settlement of East-West divisions. But he did hope that small breakthroughs could lead to larger ones, and that brick by brick a détente could be built, a breathing space, a 'truce to terror' in which both sides could recognize that mutual accommodation was preferable to mutual annihilation."182

Accordingly, when Kennedy spoke to the UN on 20 September 1963, he indirectly referred to the Cuban missile crisis when he said, "The clouds have lifted a little so that new rays of hope can break through." Kennedy pointed to the LTBT, the easing of tensions over Berlin, and resolution of the Congo and Laos crises as evidence of the fact that "we meet today in an atmosphere of rising hope." Kennedy offered several proposals for maintaining and augmenting the momentum towards peace and said,

I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty. . . . Why, therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries . . . cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending some day in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.183

Taken at face value, Kennedy's speech would certainly appear to have been a legitimate, good-faith offer for a joint lunar-landing program. But making a legitimate, good-faith offer is not mutually exclusive with holding out little realistic hope that a positive response to that offer will be forthcoming. The evidence in the case of Kennedy's joint lunar-landing offer appears to support the interpretation that while Kennedy may very well have not been acting or speaking disingenuously, he also may not have been at all optimistic, based upon past Soviet/Khrushchev behavior, that his offer would be taken seriously, much less elicit a favorable response. Analysts should remember Kennedy's statement earlier that summer in the midst of the Lovell episode: "The kind of cooperative effort which would be required for the Soviet Union and the United States together to go to the moon would require a breaking down of many barriers of suspicion and distrust and hostility which exist between the Communist world and ourselves. There is no evidence as yet that those barriers will come down. . . . I would welcome it, but I don't see it as yet, un-fortunately."184

Nevertheless, the historian must also avoid dismissing entirely Kennedy's sincerity in making his September 1963 offer. Only 10 days before his assassination, he signed NSAM 271, Cooperation with the USSR on Outer Space Matters. In it Kennedy addressed Webb,

I would like you to assume personally the initiative and central responsibility within the government for the development of a program of substantive cooperation with the Soviet Union in the field of outer space, including the development of specific technical proposals. . . . These proposals should be developed with a view to their possible discussion with the Soviet Union as a direct outcome of my September 20 proposal for broader cooperation between the United States and the USSR in outer space.185

A formal presidential NSAM is more than a continuing wish. Kennedy clearly wanted his administration to press forward with the exploration of potential US-Soviet Union cooperative space projects. Quite possibly the only sure statement the analyst can make is that the tensions that had been present within Kennedy's space policy from the beginning of his presidency between racing competitively for prestige in space and cooperating internationally in space continued until his death.186

It is possible that Kennedy found himself almost whipsawed between conflicting advisors within his administration. On the one hand, Johnson and Webb seemed inclined to support as low a level of cooperation with the USSR as possible. On the other hand, elements within the DOS and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, represented by individuals such as national security advisor Bundy, wanted to achieve as much space cooperation with the Soviets as quickly as possible. NSAM 271 may represent the continuing ambivalence within Kennedy's mind as to which pursuit was paramount: competition or cooperation. Perhaps near the end of his presidency, the proponents of cooperation had the upper hand, given the tenor of NSAM 271. Whatever the case, and absent additional evidence, one can safely state that no firm resolution or conclusion is possible; the ambivalence in Kennedy's space policy continued throughout his tenure. Janus continued to gaze in both directions.

This bidirectional space-policy orientation in one sense reflected the continued ambivalence one finds in Kennedy's overall Cold War policy. For instance, one must balance the indications of détente and Kennedy's inspiring American University speech of June 1963 with other Cold War statements he made after that address. In Berlin, Kennedy declared,

Ich bin ein Berliner . . . There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't. What is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. . . . Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in. . . . The wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system [and] an offense not against history but an offense against humanity.187

One returns again to the image of Janus looking in both directions. Kennedy's Cold War policy and his space policy considered as a subset of it were clearly an amalgam of "accommodative and confrontational policies" because "Kennedy was, above all, a pragmatist who viewed the Cold War . . . as a conflict of interests rather than of ideologies."188 For him there was not necessarily any conflict in signing an atmospheric and space nuclear-test ban and continuing to test underground, or in being willing to sell the Soviets surplus wheat while refusing to sell them strategic, defense-oriented items, or even in exploring the possibilities of disarmament while maintaining a stockpile of arms. Kennedy's Cold War policy, with the space program clearly a part of it, "was marked by heterogeneous features: on the one hand, an obsession not to appear soft on the Soviets and a distinct preoccupation with conveying a tough and virile image; and, on the other hand, a penchant for stressing the common interests brought about by the 'dark forces of destruction' unleashed by science."189 Kennedy himself said, "Let us always make clear our willingness to talk, if talk will help, and our readiness to fight, if fight we must. . . . When we think of peace in this country, let us think of both our capacity to deter aggression and our goal of true disarma-ment."190

A final point concerning Kennedy's joint lunar-landing proposal of September 1963 bears mentioning. Whether or not Kennedy believed the suggestion was likely to elicit an affir mative response from the USSR, the very fact that he made the offer seems to have cost Apollo a measure of congressional support. At the same time Kennedy was making the offer he was asking that NASA's FY 64 budget be approved at the level of $5.7 billion. However, on 10 October 1963, the House voted 125:110 to forbid spending any federal funds for "participating in a manned lunar landing to be carried out jointly by the United States and any Communist-controlled, or Communist-dominated country." The House language would force the president to seek special approval for any part of the space program used in a joint-lunar-exploration program. In addition, Congress was beginning the appropriations process that would result, as described earlier in this chapter, in the reduction of Kennedy's NASA budget request by $600 million to $5.1 billion.191 A Republican congressman explained the cut as resulting from the fact that the Russians were focusing on earth orbital space in their space program, not the lunar environment and because of "the President's suggestion made recently before the world that lunar programs in technology, operation and objective be shared with the Soviet Union. . . . The mere fact that the President has suggested such a possibility infects the entire Apollo program with fiscal uncertainty."192 At a minimum from this point forward in the realm of forging space policy, "Congress could no longer be taken for granted."193 Given this adverse congressional reaction, it was unlikely Lyndon Johnson would, during his presidency, risk any of his political capital (which he wanted to use to jumpstart his Great Society initiatives but which ended up being rapidly depleted by the Vietnam war) on bold propositions for US-Soviet space cooperation. In fact, he did not. US-Soviet space cooperation during the Johnson administration was simply the continuation of the Kennedy-era initiatives, specifically the decreasingly fruitful Dryden-Blagonravov talks and transforming the UN Resolution banning weapons in space into the Outer Space Treaty in 1967.

Logsdon provides the most important conclusion for this chapter. He summarizes, "In terms of its political underpinnings, it is more appropriate to place the Apollo decision in the 1950's than in the 1960's. Apollo was one of the last major po litical acts of the Cold War; the moon project was chosen as a symbol of the head-to-head global competition with the Soviet Union." As a symbolic undertaking Apollo was "intended to demonstrate to the world that the United States remained the leading nation in technical and social vitality. Almost equally important, though not as clearly articulated, Kennedy saw Apollo as a means of restoring American pride and self-confidence, which appeared to have been badly damaged by the Soviet Union's surprising demonstration of technological and strategic strength through its series of space firsts." The foundation for Kennedy's space policy was the simple fact that as a political leader Kennedy "found unacceptable the notion of the United States taking second place to the Soviet Union in a critical area of human activity." The contrast with the Eisenhower administration could not be starker. Overall, "Kennedy himself was much more interested in the political payoff of Apollo than he was in the across-the-board acceleration of the space program, but he had little choice but to approve the whole package."194 Harvey Brooks points out another aspect of the Apollo decision that Kennedy found appealing: Apollo provided a highly visible and easily understandable demonstration of American technological prowess "without directly threatening the USSR or raising public fears of a military confrontation. It was like a challenge between the champions of two medieval armies, the race for the moon serving as a partial surrogate for more threatening forms of competition."195

Another analyst makes the telling point that, "In a very real sense, the final U.S. response to the Sputnik challenge was not complete until Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked upon the Sea of Tranquillity on 20 July 1969. . . . The moon race completely overshadowed all other U.S. space activities such as the continuing attempts of the Air Force to build a manned military space mission."196

The next chapter will detail the institutional climate that developed between the DOD and NASA during the Kennedy administration. It will include the crucial factor of tension within the DOD between the OSD and the corps of Air Force space enthusiasts that hamstrung the latter's aspirations for military human spaceflight.


1. For a fuller explanation, see Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 198.

2. Firestone, The Quest for Nuclear Stability, 81.

3. Logsdon, "The Evolution of U.S. Space Policy and Plans," 382. Logsdon also explains that the NASC did draft such a space policy document, but "it never received presidential sanction" (ibid.).

4. They were NSC 5520, Draft Statement of Policy on U.S. Scientific Satellite Program, 20 May 1955; PSAC, Introduction to Outer Space, 26 March 1958; National Aeronautics and Space Act of1958; NSC 5814/1, Preliminary U.S. Policy on Outer Space, 8 August 1958; NSC 5918, U.S. Policy on Outer Space, 26 January 1960.

5. Hayes, Struggling Towards Space Doctrine, 161.

6. Reeves, President Kennedy, 88.

7. The staffs of the Kennedy and Johnson Libraries have informed this author there are very few such equivalent extensive records corresponding to those presidents. A related point concerning primary sources relates simply to the passage of time. More time has elapsed since the end of the Eisenhower administration, and therefore many more documents have been declassified. Declassification is indispensable to the space historian because the space arena, particularly the military space field, tends to be one of the most heavily classified research topics. More raw data is available from the Eisenhower administration simply because the staffs of various archives have had a few more years to sift through, consider, and declassify Eisenhower-era documents when compared to the Kennedy and Johnson material from the 1960s (which, as mentioned above, is much less in quantity to begin with). The author has reached this conclusion after discussions with the de-classification officials at not only the three presidential libraries in question but also other facilities such as the AFHRA (Air Force Historical Research Agency), AFHSO (Air Force History Support Office), LOC (Library of Congress), and NARA (National Archives and Records Administration).

8. It appears that only the passage of time and additional declassification authority, such as researchers' extensive use of the 17 April 1995 presidential EO 12958, as amended by EO 13292, 25 March 2003, will help rectify this situation. EO 13292 states that by 31 December 2006 all classified records more than 25 years old and with "permanent historical value" shall be automatically declassified whether or not the records have been reviewed. However, the EO also lists nine reasons why agency heads may exempt their records from automatic declassification, and, as with any governmental decree, agencies can apply for special waivers from the EO's requirements. EO 12958, Classified National Security Information, 17 April 1995. As amended by EO 13292, Further Amendment to Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information, 25 March 2003, Washington, D.C.: GPO.

9. LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-1966, 229.

10. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 1, 20 January 1961, 1-3.

11. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 153, 27 April 1961, 334-38.

12. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 70.

13. DOS, memcon, 3 June 1961, 2-5. The two men continued at loggerheads over the Berlin situation, the nuclear-test ban question, the crises in Congo and Laos, nuclear disarmament, and the two countries' general relationship during the remainder of the summit, which was their only face-to-face meeting. Their exchanges concluded with Khrushchev exclaiming, "The U.S. wants to humiliate the USSR and this cannot be accepted. He said that he would not shirk his responsibility and would take any action that he is duty bound to take." Khrushchev continued by stating that if the United States did not sign a peace treaty with East Germany ceding control of West Berlin to East Germany, then "the USSR will have no choice other than to accept the challenge; it must respond and it will respond. The calamities of a war will be shared equally. War will take place only if the U.S. imposes it on the USSR." DOS, memcon, 4 June 1961, 1-3.

15. Kunz, "Introduction: The Crucial Decade," 3.

16. This would augment US counterguerrilla warfare special forces such as the Green Berets; increase Polaris ballistic-missile submarines from 19 to 29; double the production of Minuteman ICBMs; and increase air and ground alert of bombers. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 99, 28 March 1961, 230-35.

17. This increment increased the Army from 875,000 to a million, increased the Navy by 29,000, and the Air Force by 63,000, and doubled draft calls and call-ups of reservists. During his first six months in office, Kennedy increased Eisenhower's defense budget by $6 billion total, to $47.5 billion. Reeves, President Kennedy, 201. Kennedy boasted at an 11 October 1961 news conference that this $6-billion (14%) growth over Eisenhower's defense budget had increased: the number of Polaris submarines by 50 percent; the number of bombers on 15-minute strategic alert by 50 percent; the production capacity for Minuteman missiles by 100 percent; airlift capacity by 75 percent; antiguerrilla forces by 150 percent; and production of M-14 infantry rifles from 9,000 to 14,000 per month. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 415, 11 October 1961, 658. Kennedy, Johnson, and McNamara, in various settings and throughout the course of Kennedy's administration, would frequently use these figures and others for similar increases in tactical aircraft procurement, active duty Army divisions, aircraft carriers, civil defense, and many other measurements of the vast increases in spending for nuclear and conventional forces. An interesting footnote, however, is that due to the rapid economic growth during Kennedy's administration, defense spending as a percentage of GNP actually declined from 9.1 percent to 8.5 percent. Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 226. As of 2005, America's defense expenditures stood at less than 3 percent of GDP.

18. Booda, "Kennedy Asks $51.6 Billion for Defense," 26.

19. Sorensen, Kennedy, 608-9.

20. Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, vol. 2, 23.

21. DOS, memcon, 5 September 1961, 163.

22. By late 1960, American reconnaissance satellites were regularly returning imagery from the Soviet Union. Early in Kennedy's administration, high officials from the president down were convinced by this imagery that the so-called missile gap, an important issue in the just-completed election campaign, did not, in fact, imperil America. The only missile gap that did exist was actually in reverse: America's strategic superiority was so vast that the USSR was actually the victim of a missile gap when comparing its strategic capabilities to America's. The best one-volume treatment of the complex history of the missile gap is Bottome, The Missile Gap, 1971. At the time of the Cuban missile crisis, two years after the presidential campaign, the United States had over 5,000 deliverable nuclear weapons while the Soviets had approximately 300. Reeves, President Kennedy, 375.

23. Reeves, President Kennedy, 246.

24. Gilpatric, oral history interview, 30 June 1970, reel 5, 71.

25. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 330.

27. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no.11, 30 January 1961, 23.

29. Gaddis, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States, 242.

30. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 515, 20 November 1962, 831.

31. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 12, 14 January 1963, 17-18.

32. Reeves, President Kennedy, 507, 514.

33. Kennedy emphasized: "Let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved" (ibid.).

35. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, 900.

36. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 232, 10 June 1963, 460-63.

37. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 600.

38. Miller, Statements of John F. Kennedy on Space Exploration, 1957 section.

39. Kesaris, Presidential Campaigns, pt. 2, 1986, reel 11.

40. In a Senate speech on American defense policy, 29 February 1960, Kennedy blamed the Eisenhower administration for this turn of events because the missile and space gap was "but another symptom of our national complacency, our willingness to confuse the facts as they were with what we hoped they would be, . . . our willingness to place fiscal security ahead of national security." Branyan and Larsen, The Eisenhower Administration, vol. 2, 1228, 1231. The editors include representative samples of Kennedy's nu merous missile-gap speeches in their Eisenhower volumes as examples of Eisenhower's opponents' use of the missile gap as a political issue.

41. Kesaris, Presidential Campaigns, pt. 1, 1986, reel 4, 7-8.

43. Miller, Statements of John F. Kennedy on Space Exploration, 1960 section. In other iterations of this speech Kennedy added that the first country to place its national emblem on the moon was Russia, not America. Sorensen recalls that while Kennedy's opponent, Vice Pres. Richard Nixon, would often highlight how he shook his finger in Khrushchev's face during their "kitchen debate" and proclaimed, "You may be ahead of us in rocket thrust but we are ahead of you in color television," Kennedy responded, "I will take my television in black and white. I want to be ahead in rocket thrust." Sorensen, Kennedy, 182-83.

44. Kesaris, Presidential Campaigns, pt. 2, 1986, reel 8, 2. In a speech in Elmhurst, IL, 25 October 1960, he espoused a standard theme of most of his campaign speeches, "American prestige, essential to our influence and security, has declined these last eight years even more sharply than we realized. . . . I do not say that the balance of power is determined by a popularity contest. But I do say that our prestige affects our ability to influence these nations, to strengthen the forces of freedom within them, to convince them of which way lies peace and security. . . . If we are to save the peace and rebuild our security, we must remold the symbol of Uncle Sam as the forceful spokesman of a great and generous nation." Kesaris, Presidential Campaigns, pt. 2, reel 10, 1, 3. This particular speech lamenting America's loss of prestige was released by the Democratic Party as News Release B-2783. A report from Johnson's staff (in late October 1960, after Kennedy and Johnson were on the same ticket and were therefore no longer overt rivals) concluded, "It is hardly an overestimate to say that space has become for many people the primary symbol of world leadership in all areas of science and technology. . . . Our space program may be considered as a measure of our vitality and ability to compete with a formidable rival, and as a criterion of our ability to maintain technological eminence worthy of emulation by other peoples." Lehrer to Johnson, memorandum, 31 October 1960, 6.

45. Actually, Edward C. Welsh, who would soon be named Kennedy's executive secretary for the National Aeronautics and Space Council, explained, "I was asked and did prepare some materials for speeches and articles on both defense and space for nominee Kennedy." He said he wrote the 10 October 1960 Missiles and Rockets piece. Welsh, oral history interview, 20 February 1969, 2, 25. This practice is, of course, not unusual for politicians in general.

46. Kennedy, "If the Soviets Control Space, They Can Control Earth," 12-13.

47. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 65. "Clash and clamor" is Logsdon citing Diamond, The Rise and Fall of the Space Age, 31.

48. Depoe, "Space and the 1960 Presidential Campaign," 227.

49. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 25-27.

50. Dulles to the President, memorandum, 3 August 1960, 1.

51. NASA, Selected Statements of President Kennedy on Defense Topics, 201. The latter portion is another example of the kind of Kennedy statements that may have given the Air Force the idea he was amenable to a larger military role in space.

52. Draper, oral history interview, 2 June 1974, 1.

53. Murray and Cox, Apollo, 60-61.

54. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 64.

55. Rostow to Kennedy, memorandum, 7 November 1960.

56. Kistiakowsky, A Scientist at the White House, 409.

57. Kistiakowsky, oral history interview, 22 May 1974, 38.

58. Neustadt to Senator Kennedy, memorandum, 20 December 1960, 1. It should be noted that one of the few space-related actions Kennedy did take early on was to have Welsh draft and sign an amendment to the Space Act on 25 April 1961 that made the vice president, instead of the president, chairman of the NASC. Johnson then assumed an important role in the long and difficult task of finding someone willing to serve as NASA administrator in an environment of uncertainty and ambiguity. In April and May, Johnson would spearhead the effort that recommended a lunar landing and return as the best way to beat the Soviets in space.

59. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era, 17.

60. Wiesner et al., "Report to the President-Elect of the Ad Hoc Committee on Space," 10 January 1961, 1-4.

63. Dryden, oral history interview, 26 March 1964, 1.

64. Johnson claimed he had to interview "about 20" candidates before he found one. Webb was willing to take the job in the face of uncertainty over NASA's future and the perceived threat of a possible DOD takeover of the space program. Johnson, The Vantage Point, 278. Another source maintains Johnson stated he interviewed 28 individuals. Emme, "Presidents and Space," 39. Whatever the specific number, after perfunctory Senate confirmation hearings, Webb was sworn in on 14 February 1961 and is the key figure in NASA throughout the rest of the period this book covers until his resignation became effective in October 1968.

65. Glennan, The Birth of NASA, 93. In further diary entries until he departed Washington on 19 January, Glennan makes clear NASA was still completely in the dark as to Kennedy's plans for NASA specifically or the space program in general.

66. Murray and Cox, Apollo, 69.

67. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 8, 25 January 1961, 15.

68. Murray and Cox, Apollo, 70.

69. Ibid., 71. For a full biography of Webb, see Lambright, Powering Apollo, 1995.

70. Kennedy, Public Papers of the President,, 1961, no. 25, 8 February 1961, 70.

71. Logsdon, Decison to Go to the Moon, 93.

72. Webb, memorandum for record, 24 February 1961, 1.

73. Webb to David Bell, letter, 17 March 1961, 1.

74. Logsdon, oral history interview of Seamans, 5 December 1967, 4.

75. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 91.

77. Lambright, Powering Apollo, 91.

78. Emme, "Historical Perspectives on Apollo," 378. One team of scholars says Gagarin's flight was a "crushing disappointment to many Americans," that Congress was "stampeded" by the flight, and that the flight "provided a tremendous impetus to the desires ofAmericans . . . to become first once again." Swen-son et al., This New Ocean, 334-35.

79. Lambright, Powering Apollo, 93. Khrushchev further gloated about Gagarin, "This victory is another triumph of Lenin's idea, confirmation of the correctness of the Marxist-Leninist teaching. . . . This exploit marks a new upsurge of our nation in its onward movement towards communism." Holmes, America on the Moon, 84.

80. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 119, 12 April 1961, 262-63.

81. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 114.

82. Representative Anfuso remarked, "I want to see our country mobilized to a wartime basis. . . . I want to see what NASA says it is going to do in 10 years done in 5. I want to see some first coming out of NASA, such as the landing on the moon." Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 103, 105.

84. Sidey, John F. Kennedy, President, 122-23. See also Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 105.

85. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 107. The Bay of Pigs fiasco began the next day, 15 April. It remains undetermined exactly what influence this event may or may not have had on Kennedy's lunar-landing decision. Scholars differ in their assessments. While no explicit evidence exists linking it directly to Kennedy's thinking on his response to Gagarin, Lambright's conclusion seems reasonable in that the Bay of Pigs "created an atmosphere at the White House in which the president felt he had to assert leadership right away." Lambright, Powering Apollo, 94-95. Logsdon concurs, stating, "The fiasco of the Bay of Pigs reinforced Kennedy's determination, already strong, to approve a program aimed at placing the United States ahead of the Soviet Union in the competition for firsts in space. It was one of the many pressures that converged on the president at that time, and thus its exact influence cannot be isolated." Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 112.

86. Kennedy to Vice President Johnson, memorandum, 20 April 1961, 424.

87. McNamara to Johnson, memorandum, 21 April 1961, 424-25.

88. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 139, 21 April 1961, 310-11. The second portion of the citation is the first and only time the author has been able to discover in which Kennedy stated very explicitly the concept of beating the Russians to the moon. When Kennedy signed the amendment to the Space Act on 25 April making the vice president the head of the NASC, Kennedy said it was a "key step toward moving the United States into its proper place in the space race. . . . I intend that America's space effort shall provide the leadership, resources, and determination necessary to step up our efforts and prevail on the newest of man's physical frontiers." Kennedy, Statement upon signing HR 6169, 25 April 1961 (ibid., 321-22.).

89. Johnson to Kennedy, memorandum, 28 April 1961, 427-29. Johnson said manned exploration of the moon would be an achievement of not only great propaganda value but may be the one space spectacular that America could accomplish before the USSR. He recommended that if more resources and efforts were quickly put into the American space program, America could conceivably be first in 1966 or 1967 to circumnavigate the moon and perhaps even accomplish a lunar landing. However, at the present time, "We are neither making maximum effort nor achieving results necessary if this country is to reach a position of leadership" (ibid.).

90. Johnson, Opening Statement for the Vice President's Ad Hoc Meeting on Space, 3 May 1961, SPI document 1121, 1; and transcript of the meeting itself, 12. Exploring the Unknown, vol. I, reprints the transcript of the meeting, 433-39, but not Johnson's opening statement.

91. Murray and Cox, Apollo, 83.

92. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 121, 123.

93. Logsdon makes an important point concerning the overall process leading to the lunar-landing decision and how the decision was being justified in nonscientific terms: "At no time during the consultations was PSAC as a body asked for its opinion on the choice of a lunar landing as a central feature of an accelerated space program." Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 118. The PSAC's influence, and that of Wiesner as head of the Office of Science and Technology within the White House, did not disappear during the Kennedy administration, but the scientists' input into the space program's direction and overall space policy definitely waned when compared to Killian, Kistiakowsky, and the PSAC under Eisenhower.

94. General Schriever to Johnson, memorandum, 30 April 1961, 1-4.

95. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 114-115, based on Logsdon's oral history interview of Schriever, 3 November 1967.

96. Oral history interview of NASA associate administrator Robert C. Seamans Jr., by the author, 5 July 1996. See also Logsdon, oral history interview of Seamans, 5 December 1967, 11. See numerous other sources verifying the McNamara general disposition and interplanetary suggestion, most of which are based on participants' interviews. For example, see Mandelbau, "Apollo: How the United States Decided to Go to the Moon," 651; Seamans summarizes his involvement in this decision and other key NASA events in his biography, Seamans, Aiming at Targets, chap. 2.

97. Oral history interview of NASA associate administrator Robert C. Seamans Jr., by the author, 5 July 1996. It should be noted that the author repeatedly contacted Mr. McNamara with requests for an oral history inter view to explore not only his role in the lunar-landing decision but in all the major issues of this study's remaining chapters. McNamara finally responded by saying, "I would like to help but I do not wish to rely on my memory to discuss events of 30 plus years ago and I do not have time to do the necessary research work." McNamara, note to the author, 15 October 1996.

98. Seamans, Aiming at Targets, 89. See also Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 125.

99. Logsdon, oral history interview of Seamans, 5 December 1967, 12.

100. Webb and McNamara to Vice President Johnson, memorandum, 8 May 1961, 16.

101. Ibid. In addition to the lunar-landing proposal, the package also recommended that the United States develop a worldwide operational satellite communications capability; a worldwide satellite weather prediction system; and the large-scale boosters, both solid- (by the DOD) and liquid-fueled (by NASA) because of their potential military use and their obvious necessity in the lunar-landing effort. These large rockets were the DOD's only real nonprestige-related interest in the accelerated program: "It is certain . . . that without the capacity to place large payloads reliably into orbit, our nation will not be able to exploit whatever military potential unfolds in space" (ibid., 16). However, even in the context of this document devoted to laying out a plan for increasing America's prestige via space projects, the authors felt necessary to highlight the crucial role of reconnaissance. They further stated, "The existence of the Iron Curtain creates an asymmetry in military needs between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which compels us to undertake a number of military missions utilizing space technology that would appear to be unneeded by the USSR. We have in the past and are likely in the future to continue to feel the need for reconnaissance. The SAMOS project is intended to fill this need." McNamara and Webb stated that Samos, the Midas program for the "earliest possible warning of ballistic missile attack," and the Discoverer program made for a three-way American investment in reconnaissance satellites exceeding a billion dollars (ibid., 24).

102. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 126.

103. Kennedy, Public Papers of the Presidents, no. 205, 25 May 1961, 396-403.

104. Ibid. Kennedy made it perfectly clear that this would be "a course which will last for many years and carry heavy costs. . . . If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all. . . . I believe we should go to the moon. But I think every citizen of this country as well as the members of Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment . . . because it is a heavy burden" (ibid.).

105. NASA, News Release no. 61-115, 25 May 1961, 5-6.

106. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 134, 162.

107. McDougall, "Technocracy and Statecraft in the Space Age," 1025.

108. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 164.

109. Webb to Johnson, letter, 4 May 1961, 1.

110. Logsdon, Decision to Go to the Moon, 126, 129.

112. Hall, "Instrumented Exploration and Utilization of Space," 190.

113. Hall, "Thirty Years into the Mission," 135.

114. NASA, Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, A-30. NASA's budget would peak at $5.25 billion in FY 65 and decline steadily thereafter. The NASA historian explains that this FY 65 figure was 5.3 percent of the federal budget, which would have equaled $65 billion in FY 92's budget, a year in which NASA's actual budget stood at less than $15 billion. Launius, NASA, 68.

115. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA, 245.

116. Hirsch and Trento, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, table, p. 57.

118. Alex Roland, "The Lonely Race to Mars," 37. Others citing similar figures are Lambright, Powering Apollo, 2; and Hall, "Project Apollo in Retrospect," 155.

119. Hirsch and Trento, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 115.

120. Kraemer, "NASA and the Challenge of Organizing for Exploration,"

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