Over 20 Harvard Faculty members in a letter published in The New York Times yesterday urged President Nixon and Congress to aid in the reconstruction of North and South Vietnam. The 23 Faculty members--in the letter, dated April 19--called the war in Vietnam "one of the most morally reprehensible disasters inflicted by one people upon another."
James C. Thomson Jr., lecturer on History and one of three sponsors of the letter, said yesterday that Nixon's proposals for aid to Vietnam have been inadequate.
"The President has been playing politics with Congress and Hanoi over this issue," Thomson said. "God knows where he'll end up on it. We wrote the letter to acknowledge our crime in the past and our debt for the time to come."
Signatories of the letter included James S. Ackerman, professor of Fine Arts, William E. Alfred, professor of English, Elliot Forbes '40, Peabody Professor of Music; William Paul, McKay Professor of Applied Physics; Roger R.D. Revelle, Saltonstall Professor of Population Policy; and David Riesman '31, Ford Professor of Social Sciences.
John K. Fairbank '29, Higginson Professor of History and co-sponsor of the letter, said yesterday that it was written in response to a resolution calling for a halt in U.S. bombing which had been presented to the Faculty last December by John Womack Jr. '61, professor of History.
"We were opposed to having the Faculty sounding off officially on something in which it really doesn't have any expertise," Fairbank said. "We wrote the letter in order to show how we felt Faculty opinion should be expressed."
Current U.S. operations in Cambodia were not mentioned in the letter, Thomson said, because it was written before the renewal of bombing there.
"All of us abhor the bombing," Thomson added, "and wish good luck to the Congress in opposing the President on this issue."
Fairbank said that he had not sent the letter to the President because he did not think Nixon would read it.
H. Stuart Hughes, Gurney Professor of History and Political Science, was the third sponsor of the letter.