NASA Headquarters Oral
Edited Oral History Transcript
Interviewed by Sandra Johnson
Washington, DC – 14 September 2000
is September 14, 2000. This oral history is being conducted with Eilene
Galloway in her home in Washington, D.C., for the NASA Headquarters
History Office. The interviewer is Sandra Johnson, assisted by Rebecca
I want to thank you allowing us in your home again to continue our
discussion. I’d like to begin today by asking you to please
tell us a little bit about your background.
Well, I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 4, 1906, and I was
an only child. My mother was born in Texas, and my father in Louisiana.
They [the families] had been in this country for a long time. My father’s
family originated in Leiden, Holland [Netherlands], and they came
to New York when it was called New Amsterdam in the early 1600s. All
of them fought in the Revolutionary War, and they were mostly lawyers
and educators and people like that.
My mother’s family came from Scotland and Ireland, and they
were mostly farmers. My mother’s father was a farmer. He had
had a merchant store in … McAlester, Oklahoma, and then he had
a farm in Ashland.
I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where they had wonderful public
schools. I'm really very happy about the education that I had there.
All the teachers seemed to be anxious that I should do everything
perfectly. They were insistent on that. It was especially wonderful
in Westport High School, where I got some of the training that was
of benefit to me throughout my life. I always knew from the very earliest
days that I had to be able to make a living. I had to have some sort
First, I decided to be a dressmaker, which I was by fourteen. Then
when I got to Westport, I took shorthand and typing so that I could
become a secretary. In the last two years, I was on the debate team,
and I was captain of our team for … two years, and we won our
debates. I had marvelous training in public speaking and in taking
a subject and doing research and learning how to do pro and con so
that I could be on either the negative and positive of the debate,
and that was of great value to me later on in the kind of work that
I took up.
So when I graduated from Westport, I was awarded a four-year scholarship
to Washington University in St. Louis [Missouri]. I went there—let’s
see. It was in the fall of 1923. The first week I was there, having
been at a lot of parties, sorority parties, at one of the dances I
met the man I was to marry. I was in the Political Science Department,
and he was taking an M.A. [Master of Arts] in the Political Science
Department under Dr. Shepard, and I was working doing shorthand and
typing for Dr. Shepard in the afternoons. So George Galloway and I
fell in love, so we got married at the end of my sophomore year.
Then we came to Washington, D.C., because he had to finish his doctor’s
degree at the Brookings [Graduate] School of Economics and Government,
and then got a job in the Bureau of Municipal Research in Philadelphia
[Pennsylvania]. So I was then in a position to apply for the rest
of my college career at Swarthmore College, which is right outside
There I was very fortunate, because they were just starting the honors
program. This was a program in the social sciences whereby you did
really intensive research and you had to write papers. For two years
I took that. I had the baby during the spring vacation of my junior
year, which surprised the people at the college. In fact, I almost
didn’t get into the college because the dean said they had 250
boys and 250 girls, and I would make 251. This upset him no end, but
I was voted in by the faculty of this new honors program. That was
how I happened to get in.
Well, anyway, I graduated with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa, and
they asked me to teach, and I taught for two years in the Political
Science Department. I taught the introduction to the course and also
a course on American municipal government.
Then my husband got a job in Washington [D.C.], so we moved to Washington,
and that is about all the background I have on that.
[In 1930 my husband was offered a position with the Editorial Research
Reports in Washington so we left Swarthmore. The depression worsened
and then Governor [Gifford] Pinchot of Pennsylvania appointed my husband
to the Greater Pennsylvania Council and we moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, not long after [that] the depression affected the state
government and the Council was abolished. Not long after that Franklin
[D.] Roosevelt was elected President and the New Deal began. My husband
became a staff member of the National Recovery Administration (NRA)
in Washington, and I worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration
(FERA). I was in the Adult Education Division and in charge of free
and inexpensive materials [for adults], a nationwide program. I wrote
a report about that. I became intensely interested in adult education
and also did volunteer work for the District of Columbia. I compiled
a directory of “Educational and Recreational Opportunities in
the District of Columbia” and The Washington Post distributed
two editions, altogether 200,000 copies. Then my husband became Field
Representative of the National Economic and Social Planning Association
and we spent a year touring the United States, doing research for
reports my husband wrote. It was after that I began my work at the
Legislative Reference Service in the Library of Congress.]
Swarthmore College and the honors programs there really prepared you
for your later life.
Yes, it was the research in the factual material. It was relating
the social sciences to each other. It was interdisciplinary research
and it was writing. We had to write lots of papers. It was a very
intensive course. So all these things combined to give me some preparation
for the work I was to undertake later.
really good background. What caused you to apply for a position with
the Library of Congress?
Well, in August of 1941, the Legislative Reference Service had a position
open for an editor of post-war abstracts. We were not in the war yet,
but the State Department anticipated that we would get in the war,
which we did very shortly, because Pearl Harbor came on in December.
They wanted to have a lot of work done in what happens and what do
you do after a war was over, because they were assuming that if we
were in the war, we were going to win and we would have problems.
I was to do research on the post-war problems.
So I became editor of the post-war abstracts, and there I learned
how to do research in the library, [where] the Legislative Reference
is the research arm of the Congress, and it is set up in order to
do factual reports that are not political, but help the members to
identify issues and the reasons for and against [issues], so they
can make up their mind. So this was a very valuable experience, because
as soon as the post-war abstracts were over, I became editor of the
[Public Affairs Abstracts which furnished information on problems
can come back to it if you’d like.
Yes, I didn’t know whether I was getting into your next question.
it’s close, but go ahead. I was going to ask you about some
of the special characteristics.
Well, in doing these abstracts, I had to make assignments to people
of different subjects on the different issues. This was a very small
organization, so we didn’t have a lot of competition between
people. We would have one person in Social Security, one in education,
and one in agriculture, and so forth. So I would assign these, and
I assigned myself all the abstracts to be done on international relations
and national security. So I became very interested in national defense.
When a position became open for a national defense analyst, I applied
We did not have anyone there at that time who worked on national defense,
and no one had developed the subject in terms of the library giving
information. So I studied the agendas of the military services committees
and the foreign affairs committees, and I read everything I could
on military affairs. I worked on assignments that had to do with military
manpower, any kind of military legislation, appropriations. I had
wonderful assignments on the organization [of] the Department of Defense.
After the war, we had to have a special department for the Air Force,
because during the war they had been connected with the Army. So that
was a political science problem, with organizing the government and
figuring out the administration and the management.
I read a lot of biographies that had been written by generals and
admirals. I was especially interested in doing research in the work
of generals who had been very conspicuous in predicting consequences.
That is, when you make a decision, it always produces consequences.
I did a lot of work with the books of Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, a British
general who had predicted that the Maginot Line that the French were
building to protect themselves against Germany was useless and it
was waste of money and so on. He proved to be right, because when
the Germans broke out there, their panzer divisions just went around
the end of the Maginot line. They didn’t … make a frontal
attack on it, so it had been useless. Also, he has a book on future
wars, and I read two pages in there that I think if all our generals
had read it, we wouldn’t [have] got involved in the Vietnam
War the way we did, because he explains exactly why you cannot win
a small war. It’s a whole chapter on small wars.
So I was really deep into all of this. Well, that’s the long
answer to your question.
just developed your own career by choosing that yourself.
Yes, and no one had defined it before. I mean, we were set up to do
anything that Congress did, but no one had ever said, “Well,
this is a section that has [not] been developed, and how do you develop
it?” I developed it mostly by studying agendas, and whatever
the subject was about, then I would write about it. I wrote “The
History of Reserve Forces from the Time of George Washington up to
the Korean War,” [“History of United States Military Policy
on Reserve Forces 1771-1957,”] and I wrote “Guided Missiles
in Foreign Countries” . Those things were published by
the House and the Senate. So I was working very closely with the armed
was your role in the legislative process concerning atomic energy?
Well, when the atomic bomb went off, of course no one had ever worked
on that. I asked Dr. Griffith, who was our director, if I could write
a public affairs bulletin. I didn’t know anything about atomic
energy at the time, but he was delighted that I was willing to take
this on. So I started studying all the science and everything that
I could get on the scientific aspects so I could understand it, and
I wrote a public affairs bulletin that was published, and it was “Atomic
Energy: Issues Before Congress” . So I identified the
issues and provided the material for the people who were having hearings
to set up the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. [I was co-author with
Bernard Brodie of “The Atomic Bomb and the Armed Services,”
This had some relevance to what happened later in outer space because,
again, it was a legislative problem of organizing the executive branch
and organizing the Congress to be able to cope with problems of atomic
energy. The subjects were somewhat similar in a few ways. That is,
they were both connected with war and peace. There were many peaceful
uses of atomic energy, and also it could be used for war. So it was
kind of a natural thing to connect with all of the national defense
work I was doing.
you brought out not just the war issues, but the peaceful uses.
The beneficial uses.
would you regard as the highlights of your career on Capitol Hill?
Well, one of them was my appointment as a Special Consultant to the
Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. One was my work
with Lyndon [B.] Johnson on the hearings, on the missile satellites
situation. My work with [Congressman] McCormack in the House on the
same subject, that is, the legislation that set up NASA, that was
very important. Then a highlight was being sent by the Senate to the
United Nations and to some foreign conferences. [This experience led
to opportunities for keeping abreast of international space activities.
In 1995 when the United Nations was celebrating its 59th Anniversary
I was invited to speak on “Space Law: Role of the United Nations:
Organization and Management.” In 1997 I was invited by the United
Nations and the Government of Austria to participate in a seminar
at Alpbach, Austria where I gave a paper on “Space Futures and
Then by this time I was promoted from the lowest—I had gone
in there at the lowest paying job for a researcher—and I was
promoted to the top level. That is, at first I was just what they
call P-1, a Professional 1, and I wound up as a Senior Specialist
in International Relations/National Security. So that was a highlight.
time period? How long between those two positions?
Well, I went in 1941, and I guess I became a senior specialist at
the time I was working for Lyndon Johnson.
in the late fifties?
Yes [or early sixties].
quite a rise then in prestige and pay and everything else.
Yes. Sometimes oral history people ask how I handled the problem of
being discriminated against because I was a woman. And I was never
discriminated against, and the question always surprised me.
you never felt like there was a different treatment or that you were
treated any differently at all?
And this is true in all the space things. There are outstanding positions
that women hold in the space [field], not only in the United States,
but in other countries.
the research that we’ve done, it seems to be the case with most
of the women that we’ve talked to, that they feel that way.
When you’re in a meeting and there are a lot of people from
different walks and people who have specialties or they’re from
different nations, nobody cares anything about any of that, because
we’re studying a subject and trying to do something with it.
more interested in the subject at hand than who’s actually speaking.
Do you have any recollections of Congress in action when working on
outer space legislation?
Let me see what I have here. Yes, my main recollection of that is
the swiftness and the effectiveness with which Congress reacted after
the Sputnik went up [October 4, 1957]. Lyndon Johnson started his
inquiry into the missile satellite hearings on November 25. That was
not very long after October 4, when the Sputnik went up. During these
hearings, we changed the perception of the problem from one that was
originally only national defense to one that also had beneficial uses
from space and meant that we could hope for peace.
Then the Senate set up the Special Committee to look into setting
up NASA, and the House set up a Select Committee for that purpose.
Both committees had the representation on their membership of all
the other committees that were affected by space legislation. Then
they passed appropriations and they passed all kinds of legislation
to make the passage of the NASA Act as swift as possible. They set
up ARPA in the Department of Defense [DoD]; that is, the Advanced
Research Project Agency. They gave money to DoD to work on space while
they were setting up NASA. Then by July 29, 1958, NASA was created.
So that was very fast, and everybody was working on it doing whatever
they could. There were no barriers, no legal barriers and no budget
barriers. The way they're solving problems now is quite different.
But it was unusual even for that time, too, for it to move that swiftly?
Yes, they organized the executive branch, they organized the Congress,
with two new standing committees. By the fall [of 1958] was when [Dwight
D.] Eisenhower had asked Lyndon Johnson to go to the United Nations
and help set up the Ad hoc Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space, and that showed that we were looking at it from every point
of view. We were developing [outer space] from national and international
[aspects], and the leadership really came from the Congress. It was
a remarkable achievement. By October of that year, we had the first
Administrator in at NASA.
amazing. Do you feel that if the United States had not moved that
swiftly—I mean, the other countries involved, do you think they
would have tried to do the same things as far as setting up the peaceful
side of it?
I don’t think they would have had the wherewithal to do it.
I mean, you had to have somebody spearheading this. The United States
as a whole was the real leader that the scientists and the engineers
and the politicians and the economists and everybody got together.
There were those three forces, I think I mentioned before, that combined
instantly out of fear of orbiting weapons and belief in the benefits
that space activities were going to produce.
it certainly did make a difference.
that time or after that, you traveled with your husband, as you mentioned
earlier, George Galloway, to conferences [of] the Interparliamentary
Union, and you went to several different countries when you traveled.
Could you tell us about some of your experiences when you were traveling
Well, the Interparliamentary Union was set up. I have an account here
of their first statute. “The aim of the Interparliamentary Union
is to promote personal contacts between members of all parliaments,
constituted international groups, and to unite them in common action
to secure and maintain the full participation of their respective
states in the firm establishment and development of democratic institutions
and in the advancement of the work of international peace and cooperation.”
Now, my husband was the Executive Secretary of the United States delegation
to these conferences, and they were held all over the world. We went
via Ecuador and Peru to Brazil. We had conferences in London and Ireland,
Norway and Sweden, Switzerland, France, Italy, Israel, [Australia].
We had [Congressional] delegations. I have here a committee print
of the Interparliamentary Union Dublin Conference. The members were
put on committees that dealt with issues of interest to all members
of parliament. Then our senators and representatives were put on these
committees and they studied them, studied all these subjects that
would bring members of parliament together for peaceful purposes and
also in order to coordinate the work on certain subjects that they
had a common interest in.
Then my husband wrote, and got other members that he knew, to write
articles that would be helpful to our members in going to these conferences.
I always had something odd happening. My husband wrote for this one—let’s
see, hope you don’t mind my looking here—“Strengthening
the Effectiveness of Parliamentary Institutions.” Well, when
we arrived in Australia, in Canberra, Australia, and we had an official
plane—these were always very exciting meetings—at this
point we arrived and we were met by the Prime Minister and went to
the Parliament Building in Canberra, where I was sitting in the lobby.
Now, I was on my vacation and I was, you know, I was helping my husband
as I could, and I was really surprised that I was in Canberra, Australia.
It seemed like such a faraway a place.
But what happened, our Senator [Kenneth Barnard] Keating came in,
caught sight of me, and he said, “Oh, Eilene, I have this speech
that I have to give here, and I don’t like it. Could you write
me another one that is more pertinent to this occasion?”
And I said, “Oh, yes.” You know, I’m like the girl
from Oklahoma; I can’t say no. I said, yes, I would. The Australians
were very surprised by this, but they gave me an office with a typewriter.
Again, I thank my teacher at Westport High School for knowing shorthand
and typing, and I wrote him a new speech to give. So something like
that is always happening at these meetings.
[Another time when the IPU was meeting in Teheran in the early sixties,
Lyndon Johnson recalled the U.S. Delegation in the midst of the conference
because he needed votes to pass some bill. My husband had to leave
with the Delegation immediately in the big USA plane. It was not clear
to me then or now why I was left to fly in another plane which had
been previously ordered to fly the Delegation to Istanbul on the way
home. When this plan landed in Istanbul the U.S. Embassy welcoming
group was astonished that I was the only passenger to alight when
they had been expecting the whole Delegation. And I was astonished
to become the beneficiary of their welcoming plans even though I was
aware of LBJ’s decision for quick action.]
[At one IAF Congress—I don’t remember the year—but
I recall that late the day before the Congress opened we learned that
the U.S. official who was scheduled to give his speech at the opening
ceremony the next morning, would be late in arriving and all copies
of his speech were with him. I was really upset by this situation.
I discovered that the Russians had a copy of the U.S. speech, probably
obtained earlier at the United Nations office in New York but they
had translated it into Russian and had no English copy available.
I took a copy of the Russian translation to the office of the Voice
of America office and explained the situation to them. Overnight they
translated the Russian back into English and ran off enough copies
so we had them for distribution the next morning when the Congress
convened. There was a reception at the Embassy the night before and
I remember walking with the Ambassador around the swimming pool while
I explained what had happened.]
never know who you were going to meet or who was going to recognize
One time the American Bar Association invited me to a meeting, and
I was fixing my own paper, you know, and typing a round, and someone
came up and offered me a job as a typist. I was really very proud
of that. [Laughter]
you ask him how much you’d be making? [Laughter]
No, I’d been tempted to tell him I already had a job.
you were traveling with your husband, what was the time period in
there? You were still working at that time in—
Yes, I was working, but, you know, I have annual leave, and so my
annual leave I took at the time when they had the conferences.
every year whenever you had time off, you would just accumulate it
and go with him?
interesting. So you got to travel over most of the world then.
Yes, we did a great deal of traveling, and it was really interesting
because we got to meet so many people, and the members of the different
legislatures met each other and then they could get in touch with
each other later on different subjects, when they wanted to work together
on disarmament, for example, or some subject like that, or some economic
had two sons during this time, too. Did they ever travel with you?
Yes, yes. My first son [David] was born while I was at Swarthmore.
He became news editor of the Los Angeles Times in Costa Mesa, California.
A few years ago he died. But he had three children, and so I have
those three grandchildren, and from them, four great-grandchildren.
My other son [Jonathan] is a professor at Lake Forest College in Lake
Forest, Illinois. He also has three children. So I have lots of grandchildren
did your traveling on your own, too, with the International Astronautical
Federation. Can you share a little about your experience with that?
Well, the International Astronautical Federation is composed of organization
members and then [there are] two institutions that are composed of
individual members that help with all the work that is being done:
[the International Institute of Space Law, and the International Academy
My first contact with that was very interesting. I was going to a
meeting and the Senate was sending me there—they paid my expenses—to
London. I was on a Navy plane with Theodore von Karman, who is one
of the main people who invented jet airplanes. He was thinking of
setting up some organizations to take care of outer space and having
one, the International Institute of Space Law, and the other one was
the International Academy of Astronautics. So I remember sitting beside
him on this plane, and he was going over this with me and deciding
what people we should invite in order to get the thing going.
Then when finally it was organized by 1959, I became a member of the
International Institute of Space Law first. That was because I worked
on all the laws in the U.S. and then the space laws in the United
Nations. I became the vice president of that. After many years as
vice president, I became an honorary director, and that is what I
am now. That’s what my title is.
Now, on the International Academy of Astronautics, first [C.] Stark
Draper [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] was the president when
I became the member, and I was in the section on life sciences. They
had only three sections: life sciences, basic sciences, and engineering
sciences. So he decided to set up—no, I think it was the succeeding
president, George [E.] Mueller [NASA Associate Administrator for Manned
Space Flight], who was the one who did the navigation, you know, for
going to the Moon, and George Mueller decided to have a fourth section
on the social sciences.
I was elected to three terms—that is, nine years—to serve
on that. My responsibility was to relate the life, basic, and engineering
sciences to the social sciences. I was considering all the social
sciences. Now, this went back to my experience at Swarthmore, the
training that I had in doing interdisciplinary research. This was
very unusual, you know. When you look ahead, you don’t see anything
like that happening, but when you look back, you see there was some
kind of a logical connection going on.
It just went into everything. For example, in working on the conditions
of members of a crew in the Shuttle, you needed a sociologist in addition
to all the science and engineering. I got a sociologist who had studied
the way people lived in [a] confined habitat in Antarctica, and she
had also gone to Russia and interviewed their crew members, and she
had gone down in submarines and did that. So we were able to connect
that up with the Shuttle.
that really makes a difference to make sure that you knew how people
would react in confined spaces and in long duration.
I could do that with all of the social sciences, that is, identify
which ones are needed in order to solve a certain problem.
you were an expert in solving problems.
So the European Space Agency invited me to their meeting in Beatenburg,
Switzerland, also to work on this with regard to the Moon and Mars.
I gave a paper on “Space Science and Technology on the Moon-Mars
Mission” in Dresden, Germany, and that was how they happened
to invite me.
Again, I had an amusing experience. I arrived in Zurich, Switzerland,
and the plane comes in and the railroad station is on the bottom,
is on the underground. I had to go from the plane to the railroad,
so I had a wheelchair that took me there, and the man was very attentive,
but when we got to the railroad, it was two hours before I was to
leave for Beatenburg. So he didn’t know what to do with me,
and he took me to the Lost and Found, and I was the only animate person
in this. Everything else was just lost wallets and umbrellas and things
like that. But he remembered, fortunately, to get me in time to get
on the train for Beatenburg.
nobody tried to claim you at the Lost and Found?
No, I was unclaimed.
were unclaimed. When was that? What year did that trip take place?
Well, I don’t remember. I go so many places that I don’t
really—I’d have to look that up. [It was in 1994 when
the European Space Agency held an International Lunar Workshop: Towards
a World Strategy for the Exploration and Utilization of Our Natural
Satellite. My paper was on “Political, Legal and Economic Aspects
of a Return to the Moon.”]
I’m sure they value your opinion, since you’ve been doing
this for so long and they’re still calling you.
Yes, I suppose so. Anyway, the International Astronautical Federation
is very important in [bringing] together people from all over the
world. They get to know each other, and all these space conferences
keep it going in all these countries, because it’s also international.
The people know each other and they can solve problems that way and
get together more easily.
I imagine, promotes that feeling of peace that you all tried to create
at the very beginning.
I think so.
share the information. There’s quite a few significant differences
in the Senate staffing now compared to the way it was when you were
involved. What are your thoughts about that?
Well, when I was working for the Senate Armed Services Committee,
and for any of the committees, I’d worked for Foreign Relations,
whatever committee it was, there was only one unified staff and they
were not designated to be the Republican or Democratic. They were
just working the same way we were in the Congressional Research Service
[CRS]. That is, they were providing factual information on issues
that had to be solved, whether it was health or agriculture, whatever.
This worked very well, especially from my point of view of being in
[Senator Stuart] Symington, for example, was a Democrat. Margaret
Chase-Smith was Republican. [Senator Leverett] Saltonstall was a Republican,
chairman of the committee, and I worked for him when the Senate went
Republican. I worked for Russell when it went Democratic. These things
[political parties] were not counted; they were not in on anything
we were doing.
I think it was easier on my subject than it would be on some because
people are apt to get unified in wanting [unity on] national defense.
You know, they’d just argue over maybe some details. However,
there were some places where the minority members, whoever is the
minority, were not evidently getting the service from the staff that
they thought they should have, so they started a system of having
two staffs, one Democratic and one Republican. I think that was a
mistake, because this division in the structure produces a division
in many other ways. There wasn’t any more space, but you had
twice as many people. If all these young people come in and they’re
very anxious to solve problems, you’d have more problems than
you need. [Laughter]
Also, outside people who want to get in touch with them and give them
information have to get hold of two different people, you know, a
Republican and a Democrat. So it’s rather—usually on a
committee, you didn’t need that. The member could do that in
his own office. In his own office he could have either all Democrats
or all Republicans, but it wasn’t necessary on the committees.
So I think that was unfortunate.
it made the whole process more cumbersome.
I think it makes it more complicated. It takes a little longer, you
know, to get some things done, because you have more people arguing
about more things. That didn’t affect me at the time, because,
as I say, I was in the Congressional Research Service.
Now, I can give you an example. I have here some examples of the kind
of work I did internationally. Whenever the Senate sent me to the
United Nations to go to the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
or the Legal Subcommittee, I would take all this information back
to the Senate and then I would work both for the Space Committee and
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, because they were both
working on the same things. So then I would write a report like this.
This is the main space treaty on principles governing the activities
of states in the exploration and use of outer space including the
Moon and other celestial bodies.
Then this is used by the two committees, Space and Foreign Relations,
when the Congress considers whether or not it’s going to give
its consent to ratification. I set it up like this, that is, in columns,
which makes it easier for the members to see what the pros and the
Now, this was one on the space treaty proposals by the United States
and the USSR. So there, you see, I have in columns what the United
States' position is, the Soviet position, and over here I have my
analysis. So that way they can decide what they want to do about it.
I made a big report, I mean it was about a yard wide and about a foot
high, for the conference committee on the NASA Act that way, where
I put in the House provisions, the Senate provisions, anything that
was different, what they had to decide, and some comments.
This one was on the agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return
of Astronauts, and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
Then the Senate can use this. There I have a lot of space materials
about what is launched and not launched. Again, this I had to explain
in more detail, so these are longer, about the astronauts and rescuing
them. Now, this is background for a very interesting problem because
we never could decide how high is up, where air space ends and outer
space begins. This was discussed at the beginning of the Space Age,
and it is still on the agenda of the Committee of Peaceful Uses of
Outer Space, in Vienna now.
The legal situation of pilots operating in air space where there’s
sovereignty, they must have the approval of the nation in order to
fly through. They have a flight path and they have an approval. If
they don’t, they can be shot down, and that’s legal, and
that’s what happened to the U-2. The Soviet Union shot it down.
But the astronauts, however, we don’t treat them that way. This
is an international agreement whereby not only they are to be returned
if they fall down, also the objects and any part of the objects are
to be returned. Apparently they are to be given a parade and treated
beautifully, whereas the others can be put in jail. So you have a
different legal system for astronauts in outer space than you have
for [pilots] in [air] space.
Now, as soon as they manufacture a plane, a vehicle, that can fly
both in air space and in outer space, you have a legal problem that
is very difficult, and that is why they’re taking so long to
I was invited to a conference in Thailand one time—don’t
ask me when it was but it was. Anyway, I wrote a paper. My paper was
on this subject, and I thought I had solved the problem. Then I lost
the paper, so I don’t remember exactly how I solved it at that
time. [Laughter] [The paper was on “Delimitation of Airspace
from Outer Space” at the World Peace Through Law Conference,
September 7-12, 1969.]
sure somebody had a copy of it somewhere.
I have so many papers lying around.
can see where that would be a definite division, but where do you
draw the line because of those peaceful uses?
Well, you’re talking about writing there. Could you share with
us the process of research and writing outer space history and the
I’m very interested in that subject because I have seen so many
articles and books that are based on secondary material, where the
people are very lacking. First, they don’t study the facts,
the science and technology, which you have really got to know in order
to work on it at all. Then they are using secondary materials instead
of official sources. I thought that we should have rules for doing
historical space research. So I thought that first a person needs
to have a basic factual [knowledge] of space science and technology
in determining what can be done and what cannot be done in order to
achieve any kind of successful space operations. But all the political
and economic decisions have to conform to these facts. You can’t
make a decision if you can’t carry it out.
Second, the manuscripts ought to be up to date as [of] the time when
they are published, so attention ought to be given to how fast this
field is moving, and you get hold of the latest material. The manuscripts
ought to be based on official documents. Now, this is the worst thing
that happens. There’s a great deal of difference between the
people who come into the space program at the time of Apollo or afterward
than the people who came in at the beginning. The people who came
in at Apollo, when they saw that we were not going to go ahead and
do anything with it after that, came to the conclusion that NASA was
of no use and there was no use trying to [do] anything. Everything
was negative and coming to an end, and the space program was not worth
anything and so on.
They overlooked the fact that in 1962, which was seven years earlier,
the Communications Satellite Act had established a worldwide space
communication system that was highly profitable and was one of the
things that helps keep the peace because no one wants to interfere
with that technology, and that we had made outstanding strides in
meteorology, saving lives and property and in disaster relief, and
in all kinds of medical research. We had made tremendous strides.
So they were basing their conclusion on one incident, and they were
not up to date, and they hadn’t used any official sources.
Now, these official documents are national and international laws.
They are hearings and reports in the Congress, and there are all kinds
of international agreements, and they especially should look at testimony
that’s given by the heads of all of our space agencies at a
hearing, because that’s really up to date and very official.
Sometimes you’ll see an article and it doesn’t have a
single footnote to an official reference. They just got on the Internet
or something and used a lot of secondary stuff. They ought to have
a knowledge of the national and international legal conditions and
the regulations that we have. They should recognize that all the disciplines
that you need in order to work in space are interdisciplinary, so
they can’t just be specialists without a regard to the total
context in which they’re working.
So, briefly, the way I summarized this was attention to space science
and technology, up-to-date information, use of official sources, awareness
of the total multidisciplinary setting, and then produce their [result];
otherwise, we are not getting historical material that is of value
in making future decisions. They say that we should learn from the
lessons of the past, but you can’t learn from the lessons of
the past if they leave out a part.
One paper that was given, for example, had very negative remarks about
NASA because of the unfortunate experience with the Hubble Telescope
when it was first up, and gave his paper at a time when that had been
fixed and we were getting marvelous information from Hubble.
they weren’t up to date at all.
Yes. And this moves so fast that it’s hard to keep up, but you
need to have that in mind when you’re coming to a conclusion.
it is definitely hard to write space history while it happens, and
I know the timeliness of it is important. So if you keep all of those
things in mind, maybe we won’t have as many problems.
When you were fourteen and deciding you were going to learn to be
a dressmaker and then later on thinking about being a secretary or
learning those skills so that they would, and they did, come in handy
in your life—
Oh, I tell you, they were very handy yesterday. If I hadn’t
been able to type, I couldn’t have got that fax off to NASA
right. Well, when you were learning all those skills and then when
you were later at Washington University and Swarthmore College, did
you have any idea of the path your life would take?
No, I didn’t.
just happened that way?
Yes, and I didn’t see all these connections until later, you
know, when I had time to look back and when I began to be so grateful
to some of my teachers and wished that I had been able to tell them
that while they were still living, especially my shorthand and typing
teacher, Miss Borland. She was a martinet. You know, you couldn’t
come to school unless you had done your homework, and you had to do
each little Gregg shorthand wiggle exactly the same size as in the
book, and you had to do it nine times every night for each one. If
you typed a page and you made an overstrike or made any mistake at
all—and you had nothing on your keys, you know, you were just
looking at a chart—you had to do the whole page over.
Well, this came in very handy. We had a meeting in Stockholm,…
Sweden . This was a meeting of the International Astronautical
Federation. I took all my notes in shorthand, and the machinery for
recording broke down. I didn’t know this at the time because
I just had a shorthand book. No one had any record of this, and this
was when the Russian was giving his speech and the U.S. was anxious
to know what it was that he said, and we didn’t have that simultaneous
translation. I had it all in shorthand in my book, and they were so
surprised that I had this. [Laughter] I couldn’t believe it.
Meanwhile, I was the one that was surprised because all these other
people could speak two languages or three, which I thought was more
skill, though, at that time was very important since this was the
Yes, it was very handy.
did your parents, when you went to college and they—I’m
sure they supported your choices and your career choices.
[My parents were divorced when I was nine years old.] My mother died
when I was—she died very young.
you were still a child?
[No, but yes before] my father died. However, I don’t know whether
they should be a part of this [because I chose my major in Political
Science when I entered college]. When I got married, my main ambition
was to graduate from college. So giving up two years of my scholarship
to go to Washington with George was quite a wrench, you know. But
we were so much in love, you know, we had to get married.
we first [arrived], you were talking about how “they”
won’t let you retire. They’re still calling on you. Maybe
you can explain a little bit about what you’re doing now.
Well, I’m a member of this Space Flight Advisory Committee of
NASA, and we’re dealing with the International Space Station
launching facilities, the Shuttle, in cooperation with our international
partners and communications. This particular week NASA asked me to
review the fiscal 2002 budget for space exploration and for the operation
of the Space Station and the Shuttle. This came in two parts. There
was a deadline on it. I got one part yesterday morning, so I stayed
up most of the day and evening and typed it up and faxed it to NASA
On Tuesday I met with the [AIAA] committee at the Canadian Space Agency.
This is a planning committee for a workshop that’s to be held
in Seville, Spain, next March. It’s under the aegis of the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the European Space Agency
and the International Academy of Astronautics. The International Institute
of Space Law is also invited to that. It’s co-sponsored by the
Office of Outer Space Affairs of the United Nations that’s located
So we decided on the topics, all of which are concerned with problems
that are at present and in the future. One of them is on the global
positioning system, navigation. One is on air traffic control and
satellite control in orbits. We have one on educating the public with
regard to space activities. So there will be a small group meeting
there, and then they will get out a report. The report will be printed
by the American Institute of Aeronautics [and Astronautics]. Then
the people who attend will be from many countries. We try to get as
many different countries represented as possible.
you're still just very busy in the space business.
Yes, and I just finished an article for—what was that? I have
just had published an article on the future of space law. That was
in the Space Law Journal, which is published in Oxford, Mississippi,
at the university there [University of Mississippi].
you’re just keeping pretty much as busy as you were before you
Yes. There’s a lot of interest in the future, in the future
problems. I had written a piece before on this problem of sovereignty
over air space. We don’t have any sovereignty in outer space,
and that makes quite a problem. So that was given at a conference
in—where was that? I don’t know. I went to so many conferences.
can’t keep them all straight.
It was in Bermuda last year.
could you forget Bermuda? [Laughter]
I forgot that I’d been to Bermuda.
traveled so much you can’t remember where you’ve been.
Yes, that’s right.
wonderful. It’d be hard to [remember] the countries you haven’t
before we end, I was going to ask Rebecca if there was anything else
that she had, any other questions.
think you’ve just shared so much invaluable information with
us, and we certainly thank you for giving us all your time.
Well, I hope it makes some sense.
does, and we really appreciate you letting us come back and do this
I thought that calling attention to these [government publications]
would be helpful to someone doing research. See, a committee print
is not like a document, see? I mean, it’s a document, but it
doesn’t have a number like a hearing or report on the hearing
which goes to all the depository libraries. So you really have to
find out if you’re interested in some subject, what they have
in the way of committee prints, because some of them are very valuable
Like one time when I was working on military affairs, I came across
a real gem on the legal relation of the Marine Corps to the Navy,
and that was really interesting to me. Then there was one that one
friend of mine did on the role of the Senate in treaty-making. I,
of course, was interested in that.
I did a lot of work for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when
they were considering the ’67 treaty. It’s interesting
that Senator [Albert] Gore [Sr.], that is, the father of the Vice
President, brought up some of these really important questions when
that committee was considering this treaty, the extent to which the
United States was committing itself.
your office always in the Library of Congress?
you get the same office all the time that you were working or did
[they] move you over in the office—
No, I started out in the Main Building, and as it grew and we got
more and more employees, we were finally moved to the second floor,
which is a perfectly beautiful room with windows from the floor to
the ceiling, which is now used for exhibits. Then I was moved to the
Annex Building, and the Annex Building [had] offices at the top for
the [senior] staff. I finally got an office with a double window,
which I enjoyed. I could see the dome of the Library and the dome
of the Capitol.
you were finished with your report and you met with the Senators or
even during the time that you were meeting with them, were you going
over to their offices or were you having group meetings in the Library
of Congress? Where were those discussions taking place?
Well, it was either in their office or in the committee offices. Mostly
it was in the committee rooms. See, each committee would have an office
with a staff director and would have a room for meeting, like the
hearing room. It’s usually connected with a hearing room, at
least the ones I worked with. The Senate Armed Services and the Space
Committee both had hearing rooms. Then some of them had offices in
the Capitol, but all of the meetings were held over there, not in
The Library, the Congressional Research Services, has what you might
call seminars for new members of Congress. The new members who come
in January will be able to visit and see what all the services are
that are offered and will be given briefings on their subjects, whatever
the subjects are. This time it would probably [be] education, Social
Security, and subjects like that.
mentioned earlier about gathering information to write and do research
on space, or space law, and space materials. So many people now will
go quickly to the Internet to gather information. But, of course,
when you started and as you worked through your career, you didn’t
have that quick accessibility. Could you share with us some of the
sources and how you got your information? How were you able to get
the publications that you needed and had all those reference materials?
Well, we had bibliographers who made three-by-five cards on all the
subjects that you ordered, and we had information on all the books
that were received in our field. Then we could buy books that we needed
for our work. Some of them are just documentary sources, so you find
them in the regular library. So we didn’t have difficulty getting
For example, when I did the study on guided missiles in foreign countries,
that material, some of it, was in foreign languages. Did I tell you
Yes, I think I covered that. Yes, I had the people who knew the languages
just sit there while I took [their oral translations] in shorthand.
They read it in English so that I could get that. I got some very
valuable material that had been published in Australia in …
Woomera. I had to use all public sources because we couldn’t
publish anything that was restricted, you know, or secret. We had
to get a handle on this problem so it could be discussed in hearings,
in open hearings, without classified material. So that was the way
that I did it. You know, I read the Congressional Record every day,
and I kept clippings.
When I first started out in the project that was financed by the Office
of Strategic Services on the post-war abstracts, I had clippings every
day from all the newspapers. You know, I would tell them that I needed
clippings, what I need it for. One of the things that I had that I
thought I didn’t need at all—well, a lot of clippings
of Japan closing its legations in various cities in the U.S., this
was before Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor happened, I went back
and looked at those clippings, and I thought, oh, if I had been able
to interpret that, that would have been a warning to me of something
happening. That was a really good education, because after that I
could be a little more sharp in looking at things, you know, deriving
some information from them. Then you could have interviews with people,
other people in the government that you wanted to ask questions for
you think the process is very much different now because of the Internet?
I think it’s different for the quick questions that you need
to answer, you know. Members might call in and have a constituent—they
have a lot of constituent mail—and somebody writes a letter
and asks his member how long it takes a robin to hatch its egg or
something like that. I don’t know if you can find that on the
can find anything on the Internet. I’m sure you can find that.
So if you were in a congressman’s office, you could look that
up on the Internet and not call the Congressional Research Service.
I don’t know to what extent that would develop.
mentioned earlier about making sure it’s not second-hand information
and that sort of thing, I think with the Internet it’s a little
harder to make sure you have real information, instead of somebody
And would you always know whether it was up to date? That bothers
me, people coming to conclusions. Then it always bothers me when people
do research on problems and offer solutions and make no attempt to
estimate the probable consequences. I mean, in any walk of life, whatever
you’re [doing], if you make a decision, it has consequences,
some of which can be undesirable. So you should, it seems to me, look—that’s
one way of looking ahead.
And be aware of the consequences that every action has.
also mentioned the swiftness of the legislative branch during the
time of Sputnik. Were you also expected to be very swift at turning
papers and publications back around for whatever topic that they gave
you to research?
Yes, you usually had deadlines. I was set up to meet deadlines. That’s
how I was able to do this work yesterday and get it in to NASA this
do something like these committee reports, how long would something
like that take?
Oh, I don’t know. I couldn’t estimate how long it was
because it’s just been so long since I did these. But I could
get them out quicker than some of the other people because I could
type, and we never had enough typists.
you didn’t have to depend on someone else—
I didn’t have to depend on the typist if I had something I had
to get out right away. I just had to be sure that they didn’t
send out my typing and not have a copy…
you have to use carbon paper back then as well?
Yes, I used carbon. When the first post-war abstracts were on a mimeograph
machine that had a round cylinder with ink. And it went around and
was a mess.
Yes, that was a real mess. Then I always wanted to have my big, main
reports indexed, the ones that are printed by the Senate. I have one
on “International Organization and Cooperation in Outer Space,”
and it has an index that is really suited for research. Very fine,
everything is worked out really fine. So if you look under United
Nations, you see everything in the page and everything, you can tell
exactly when Eisenhower wrote [Nikolai A.] Bulganin [Soviet Premier]
in Russia and so forth. So I had to teach someone how to do this,
because usually they printed them without any index. So this girl
I taught how to do it, and she was really excellent. I was just delighted
with the whole thing, and I said, “This is absolutely wonderful.
We have a subject under every letter of the alphabet except Q,”
and she thought that I was criticizing her and she started to cry.
She didn’t know that I was, you know—
—was humorous, you know, and then I was upset because she was
crying and I said, “Oh, I know how we can fix that.” We
had the International Year of the Quiet Sun. We do research on that.
I said, “We’ll put 'Q, Quiet [Sun], International [Year]
of.'” Oh, she brightened up and smiled, and everything was solved.
The crisis, we no longer had a crisis.
if all those problems could be solved that easily.
there anything else that you have?
don’t think so.
I really appreciate you letting us come into your home.
Well, I enjoyed it. I really did.