The CFIA A Defense
IN RESPONSE to the CRIMSON request for an article, I want to make three points in the space allotted:
First: The campaign against the Center has been based on falsehoods and half-truths about the Center's activities. The facts are readily available. From its formation on, an Annual Report of the Center has described in detail all research, the DAS activities, sources of financing, and all individuals associated with the Center. Briefly the facts are these:
1. The Center is an integral part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Those who run it are faculty members of various academic departments and schools of Harvard, including the Government, Economics, and Social Relations departments and the Business School.
2. Center research has been financed as follows since its formation:
University and endowment $1,013,386 12.6 per cent
Foundation and private 5,142,268 64.3
Government 1,839,675 23.0
(AID-12,5 per cent; NSF and NIMH-45 per cent: Defense Dept-3,9 per cent: Arms Control Agency-0,9 per cent; Misc.-1.1 per cent)
The Center has never received any CIA support; and under 4 per cent of its income has come from the Defense Department.
3. The Center has never carried on or supported classified research. All results are published. It has not concentrated on Southeast Asia, the Vietnam War, or counterinsurgency. Of its 99 publications only two relate at all to those subjects.
4. The Center has no policy line or doctrine. The political views of its members and associates cover the spectrum from conservative to radical with most somewhere in the middle.
5. The Program for Fellows is similar in character and purpose to those of the Nieman Foundation and the Kennedy School.
6. The advisory services of the DAS are wholly independent of the U.S. government. The DAS provides its services only on invitation from a host country, and serves the interests of each client country as defined by its own political process. Advisory services have been financed mainly by the Ford Foundation, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the host countries. About half of the advisors are non-Americans. A University wide committee, which reviewed the DAS in 1968, concluded that the DAS was a "proper function for a university," and for Harvard in particular, and that the professional reputation of the DAS was "uniquely high."
The Center has made strenuous efforts to correct the distorted and biased reporting and criticism of its activities-by articles and pamphlets, by the Annual Reports, by trying last year to convert disruptions into debates, by a student open house this fall, and by a pamphlet of Questions and Answers about the Center, which is available through the House offices and at 6 Divinity Ave.
SECOND: The campaign against the Center is at bottom an attack on social science research and on academic freedom itself. The research at the Center is only a microcosm of social science research in American universities, as the full list of CFIA publications make apparent. In practical terms the Center is an adjunct of the various departments of Government, Economics, Social Relations and related disciplines. It facilitates comparative studies and exchanges of data, ideas and criticism across disciplines and between various approaches in the international field.
In essence the Center cannot be distinguished from the general academic context of which it is a part. The demand to suppress it is in fact a demand to suppress freedom of academic research. Serious radicals ought to be the first to defend that freedom. Any effective effort to adapt and reform our society and the international order will depend heavily on the quality of thinking and knowledge on which it rests. The universities are one of the few places where such independent analysis can be carried on in a systematic way. If the extremists should succeed in disrupting the universities (which I do not think they will), the only beneficiary would be those who oppose all change.
Third: The recent bombing of the Center was in part encouraged by an attitude toward violence fostered by various individuals and groups in the community. The Weathermen, SDS, and NAC may differ on tactics, but each asserts its intent to destroy the Center and has committed violence or condoned its use for that purpose as each considered expedient. The H-R NAC letter in the CRIMSON last Saturday is only the latest expression of such views. It endorses once more the use of terrorism and stresses the "legitimacy and necessity of violence," while uncertain about the tactical value of this bombing. The CRIMSON has contributed to this atmosphere in various ways. For instance, an article by a CRIMSON editor last year explicitly justified bombing the Center. And last week the CRIMSON did not condemn the recent Center bombing.
Such attitudes are callous, to say the least. The explosion could easily have killed or maimed one or more people as other such terrorism has. Fortunately, the watchman was out of the building, the firemen and police who were alerted were on the first floor, and no students or faculty were working late that night in the library or adjacent offices. But it might have been otherwise.
( The author is director of the CFIA. )