Safran To Leave Top Center Post After Inquiry Into CIA Funding

Full text of report, Page Three

Nadav Safran, director of Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, will resign his post at the end of the academic year, following a three-month investigation into his handling of two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) grants totalling more than $150,000.

The investigation, which was conducted by Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences A. Michael Spence and which culminated in a six-page report released last week, found that the University had erred in the handling of one of the grants. The report reiterates an earlier statement faulting Safran for mishandling the other grant.

Spence said in an interview that Safran was told he could stay on as director but that he had chosen to step down. When asked whether he had recommended that Safran resign, Spence declined comment.


The report says that Safran "would prefer" to step down "under circumstances of continuing controversy associated with the Center, and out of a commitment to the interests of the Center and his colleagues."

Safran, director of the center since 1983 and a tenured faculty member since 1964, will retain his lifetime post as Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the Government Department. Spence says in the report that Safran's "erudition and objectivity as a scholar have not been questioned and are not in question despite the recent controversy."


Major Points

In addition to revealing Safran's impending resignation--which Spence says he accepted "with sadness and deep reservation"--the report details the results of official inquiry into the two CIA grants in question.

Spence concludes that:

* Safran had failed to disclose properly a CIA of grant of $45,700 for a conference on Islam and Muslim Politics held three months ago. Spence reached the same conclusion after a brief investigation prior to the conference, but allowed it to go forward after Safran agreed to reveal the CIA funding to all participants. More than half the scheduled participants boycotted the October meetings after learning of the CIA grant.

* Harvard was at fault regarding a $107,430 CIA grant for Safran's recently published book, "Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security." Spence states that in 1982, Safran properly reported the funding to then Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky, calling his attention to controversial contract stipulations giving the CIA pre-publication censorship rights and requiring Safran not to reveal the CIA funding in the book. But, Spence reports, Rosovsky--who is identified in the report not by name but by title--made "administrative errors" in neither reviewing the terms of the contract nor responding to Safran's disclosure of them.

* The center's six-member faculty Executive Committee will be disbanded, with control passing to a new director--yet to be named--and the previously less-involved faculty Standing Committee on Middle Eastern Studies. In his report, Spence calls the Executive Committee a "divided body" and says that "as currently constituted" it "cannot serve a useful function." Three members of the body called publicly for Safran's resignation after the October conference, an action that Spence says "deeply offended" at least one other committee member.


Safran, who has refused to comment to The Crimson since the newspaper first reported his acceptance of the grants in October, last week said in an interview with The New York Times that the report exonerates him of charges that he had tried to cover up the two grants. But, Safran said Harvard had been "cold-hearted at best" in not acting sooner to avoid damaging his reputation.

Spence said in an interview that his investigation uncovered no evidence of other contracts or grants with problems similar to the two documented in the report. He said he has taken steps to ensure that such policy violations and faculty oversight do not occur again.

Reports of Safran's acceptance of the two grants has drawn criticism from scholars at Harvard and around the world. Spence's report and news of Safran's resignation as director of the center has drawn international media attention, making headlines in England, Kuwait and Israel, among other nations.