Five Harvard professors and Hans Morgenthau, professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, yesterday criticized the use of nausea gas in south Vietnam.
Stanley H. Hoffmann, professor of Government called it "a mistake, even though the gas might be more humane than other weapons."
Paul M. Doty, professor of Chemistry, partially disagreed. "If we are faced with a choice between the gas and other more lethal weapons, I would say that we should use the gas," he said.
But he added, "Even though the gas is not lethal, its use might cause small non-nuclear countries countries to feel justified in developing their own deadly biological weapons."
Hoffmann joined John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics, in condemning the government's handling of the controversy over the use of gas.
"The government's explanation of why we allowed the gas to be used has been a model of confusion," said Hoffmann. "Saying that 'it is not very effective, so why should anybody complain?" makes me wonder," he continued, "why we should use it at all.
"Saying that the gas has already been used in the United States for riot control doesn't help our image much, either, he added.
Galbraith said that "the use of gas certainly won't do us much good. I'm in favor of firing the public relations genius who thought this all up."
Speaking at International Relations Council's China Conference last night, Morgenthau called the use of non-lethal gases against the Vietcong "a stupid policy" that has succeeded only "in making millions of people morally sick."
"The political liabilities of the policy far outweigh the military advantages," he said. "I am once again convinced of the political obtuseness of the people like McNamara who are guiding our foreign policy."
Benjamin I. Schwartz '22, professor of History and Government, said that American use of gas would "give a strong impetus to the Chinese effort to destroy the American image." He challenged the American "policy of despair which says, 'Let world opinion go hang.'"
The gas, he said, is "another indication on the part of the Administration that they are not worrying much about the psychological effects of U.S. actions."
Milton Katz '27, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, felt that the "utilization of the gas is warranted if we accept the statements of Secretary Rusk that it is a riot control gas used only when the Vietcong hide behind civilians to avoid detection." But he agreed with Doty that "it becomes psychologically easier to use different types of gases once one type has been used."
"We must take into account who used the weapon," he continued. "If there are other kinds of gas present in the theatre of war and if the chain of command is too long, then there would certainly seem too many chances of things going hay-wire."
Speaking to 500 people at the Harvard Law School Forum last night, NBC television news commentator David Brinkley also condemned the use of gas in Vietnam. "It is a bad and indefensible decision," he said. "I am ashamed."