Samuel L. Popkin, assistant professor of Government, has filed a limited agreement to answer questions before a Boston grand jury investigating the production and distribution of the Pentagon Papers.
The agreement, which is called a stipulation, was mailed yesterday evening and should be received by the First Circuit Court of Appeals today.
It is intended to fulfill that court's order of October 13, which requires Popkin to agree in writing before November 19 to answer three questions before the grand jury.
The stipulation takes advantage of statements in a brief filed by the government in opposition to Popkin's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of the appeals denied the stay last Friday.
The brief stated that the government's questions ask only for the "disclosure of personal contact with fellow scholars concerning the mechanics of the production and disermination of the 'Pentagon Papers' study."
The brief also states that "the witness is questioned not about his sources but merely about conversations with other scholars."
Popkin's stipulation cites both of these statements, and says that "in light of these representation, I hereby stipulate that upon demand I will answer these questions."
It adds, however, that "my refusals have always been directed toward questions requiring disclosure of confidential sources of a sensitive nature, not these relating merely to other scholars."
The government had said in its brief to the Supreme Court that Popkin had not previously claimed his answers would compromise confidential sources.
Popkin was in Pennsylvania for a speaking engagement yesterday and could not be reached for comment, Daniel Kluback, his attorney, said yesterday that he believed the stipulation to "entirely consistent with the representations made by the Solicitor General (Erwin N. Griswold) to the U.S. Supreme Court."
The stipulation, if accepted by the court, leaves Popkin open to recall by the grand jury. It remains unclear, however, whether he will be lbligated to answer the three specific questions previously put forward by the government.
The future of the grand jury also is in doubt. The New York Times quoted an unnamed Justice Department spokesman last Saturday as saying that there were no plans to recall the grand jury in the immediate future.
U.S. Attorney Warren P. Reese, reached in his office in San Diego on Wednesday, took the issue with the Time's statement and told The Crimson that "we definitely intend to pursue the investigation.
He declined to comment, however, on any specific nation the government plans to take in Popkin's case