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Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Robert H. Finch has ordered his department to destroy any blacklists barring scientists for political reasons from positions as HEW consultants.
The New York Times reported Monday that 45 scientists-including five from Harvard, nine from Yale, and M.I.T. Nobel Laureate Salvatore E. Luria-have been placed recently on a blacklist for the National Institute of Health (NIH). In addition, 48 scientists have been blacklisted by HEW for several years, the article said.
HEW Under Secretary John G. Veneman said in Boston yesterday that Finch has sent a memo to HEW departments ordering immediate destruction of any such lists. At the same time, Veneman denied that HEW has any official blacklist policy.
"Maintaining any list of disapproved individuals is in violation of department policy," the memo states.
The Yale Daily News reported Tuesday that Yale Biology professor Clement L. Markert was blacklisted by NIH for several years because of his working against Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
Markert told the News that a friend in the NIH had nominated him for a panel and that he had been rejected as a security risk. Normally, scientists do not know when they are nominated for NIH or HEW positions and therefore cannot know if they have been blackballed.
Luria, who only last week received congratulations from Finch for receiving the Nobel Prize in medicine, said that Finch's decision "is very good news. If my being involved helped to abolish the blacklists, I am pleased."
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