S. Hrg. 104-40
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
Y4.R 86/2: S. HRG. 104-40
The Snithsonian Institution Hanagen
RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
MAY 11 AND 18, 1995 ' ^" "
Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules and Administration
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
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S. Hrg. 104-40
\ \ THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
Y 4. R 86/2: S. HRG. 104-40 =— ^— —
The Snithsonian Institution nanaqen
RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
MAY n AND 18, 1995
Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules and Administration
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
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COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
TED STEVENS, Alaska, Chairman
MARK O. HATFIELD, Oregon
JESSE HELMS, North Carolina
JOHN WARNER, Virginia
ROBERT DOLE, Kansas
MITCH McCONNELL, Kentucky
THAD COCHRAN, Mississippi
RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
DON NICKLES, Oklahoma
WENDELL H. FORD, Kentucky
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island
ROBERT C. BYRD, West Virginia
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California
Albert L. McDermott, Staff Director
Mark C. Mackie, Chief Counsel
Virginia C. Sandahl, Chief Clerk
James O. King, Democratic Staff Director
Lana R. Slack, Professional Staff Member
May 11, 1995
Opening statement of:
Hon. Ted Stevens, chairman. Committee on Rules and Ad-
Hon. Wendell H. Ford, ranking member. Committee on Rules
and Administration 3
Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, USAF (Ret.) 4
Col. Charles D. Cooper, The Retired Officers Association ... 13
Mr. Herman G. Harrington, The American Legion 17
Mr. R. E. Smith, Air Force Association 28
Mr. Bob Manhan, Veterans of Foreign Wars 31
Prepared statement of:
Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, USAF (Ret.) 8
Mr. Herman G. Harrington, The American Legion 20
Mr. Bob Manhan, Veterans of Foreign Wars 32
May 18, 1995
Opening statement of:
Hon. Ted Stevens, chairman. Committee on Rules and Ad-
Hon. Wendell H. Ford, ranking member. Committee on Rules
and Administration 43
Statement of Hon. John Warner, member. Committee on Rules
and Administration 51
Hon. Sam Johnson, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Texas 44
Prof. Edward T. Linenthal, the University of Wisconsin-Osh-
Hon. I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, the Smithsonian Institu-
Dr. Thomas D. Crouch, chairman. Aeronautics Department,
National Air and Space Museum 72
Dr. Maxine F. Singer, chairman. Commission on the Future of
the Smithsonian Institution 102
Prepared statement of:
Dr. I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, the Smithsonian Institu-
Dr. Thomas D. Crouch, chairman. Aeronautics Department,
National Air and Space Museum 76
Dr. I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, the Smithsonian Institu-
Appendix I. Statement of Dr. Martin Harwit, former director.
National Air and Space Museum Ill
Appendix II. Additional statements submitted for the record:
Evan S. Baker, president. Navy League of the United States . 116
Louis R. Coatney, Macomb, Illinois 120
Victor Fie, Tokyo correspondent, Asian Defense Journal .... 124
Historians' Committee for Open Debate on Hiroshima 132
Gen. Jack N. Merritt, USA (Ret.), president. Association of the
United States Army 154
Appendix III. Enula Gay Chronology 1993-1995, submitted by R.
E. Smith, Air Force Association 157
Appendix IV. Letter from Dr. I. Michael Heyman, Secretary,
Smithsonian Institution, to Hon. Sam Johnson, U.S. House of
Appendix V. Responses of I. Michael Heyman, Secretary,
Smithsonian Institution, to questions submitted by Hon. Jesse
Helms, member. Committee on Rules and Administration .... 182
Appendix VI. Letter from Dr. Maxine F. Singer, Chairman, Com-
mission on the Future of the Smithsonian Institution, to Chair-
man Stevens, transmitting the report of the Commission 187
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION:
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1995
Committee on Rules and Administration,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in Room
106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Ted Stevens,
Present: Senators Stevens, Ford, and Pell.
Staff Present: Christine Ciccone, Deputy Chief Counsel;
Mark C. Mackie, Chief Counsel; Virginia C. Sandahl, Chief Clerk;
and Kennie L. Gill, Special Counsel for the Minority.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. TED STEVENS, CHAIR-
MAN, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
The Chairman. I want to welcome our distinguished panel of
witnesses. General Charles Sweeney, the only pilot who flew on
both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions and was the
commander of the Nagasaki mission; Colonel Charles Cooper,
the director of publications for The Retired Officers Association;
Mr. Herman Harrington, the chairman of the National Internal
Affairs Commission of The American Legion; Mr. R. E. Smith,
national president of the Air Force Association; and Mr. Bob
Manhan, assistant director of legislation for the Veterans of
The hearing today and the one next Thursday on the
Smithsonian's future management practices are held as a result
of the controversy over the Smithsonian's Enola Gay exhibit
originally scheduled to open this month. Museums play a crucial
role in our society. The processes of our democracy enable
succeeding generations to judge actions taken by those who
exercised sovereign power before they arrived. Museums are
essential to this process and we must preserve the artifacts of our
past. Those artifacts, together with facts proven at the time of the
decisions, permit judgments of history to be fair and unbiased.
We are here today because the Smithsonian decided to
present an interpretation of the history of the Enola Gay's historic
flight. The veterans in this country reacted strongly, for good
reason, to the scripts that emerged from the Smithsonian. In the
50 years since World War II ended, and recently, there has been
a constant erosion of the truth of what really happened during
that war. This type of erosion is one of the reasons that the
Holocaust Museum, which was built with private funds, is so
important. It is there to ensure that history is not rewritten and
that the atrocities committed against Jews and others in the Nazi
death camps will never be forgotten.
On March 24 last year I initiated, along with Senator Ford,
who was chairman then. Senator Dole, Senator Helms, Senator
Cochran, and Senator McConnell, a letter to Dr. Harwit, the
director of the Air and Space Museum at that time, expressing
our concern that the Smithsonian's Enola Gay exhibit not lead to
a revisionist view of history. It is not clear whether our concerns
were taken seriously by the museum. It was only a couple of
months after our letter that the proposed script attracted
national attention due to the efforts of veterans groups.
This week we remember one of the most devastating periods
in world history. We are here today to review what went wrong
with the Smithsonian's process, particularly what led the
Smithsonian to propose a view of the events that took place at
the end of World War II that is contrary to the memory of those
who lived through the war.
There are two people who have worked diligently over the
last year to provide this committee, veterans, and the public with
information on the exhibit. I want to express our thanks to Mr.
Frank Rabbitt, a volunteer guide of 9 years at the Smithsonian's
Paul Garber Restoration Facility. Mr. Rabbitt, who is here in the
audience, is partially responsible for uncovering the museum's
bias in the original scripts and bringing that bias to the attention
of this committee.
In addition, we are indebted to Colonel Robert Schuh who
provided the committee with other information and guidance.
Unfortunately, the colonel met a tragic death last week. His
family should know our thoughts are with them and we thank
them for their efforts to continue the colonel's work.
A number of veterans groups have been involved with this
issue. Due to time constraints they cannot all testify today.
However, we have asked those organizations to submit written
statements which will be included in the official hearing record.
lAdditional statements are included in the Appendix.]
The Chairman. Next Thursday we will receive testimony
from the Smithsonian, and an individual who is both a scholar
and a historian. The purpose of these hearings is not to tear down
the Smithsonian but to ensure continuing public support of that
great institution. This committee has oversight jurisdiction of
the Smithsonian. I believe it is our duty to preserve the
Smithsonian as the central depository of the artifacts of our
Nation's history. I think the public should know that we waited
until now to hold these hearings at the specific request of the
Smithsonian. We delayed them at the Smithsonian's request.
Our first witness is General Charles Sweeney. We are going
to hear the testimony of all of the witnesses first and then we will
ask questions from the panel. Gentlemen, would you take the
seats at the table and let me call on my good friend, Senator Ford.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. WENDELL H. FORD,
RANKING MEMBER, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE
Senator Ford. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be brief. Since
its founding more than a century ago the Smithsonian Institution
has created exhibits about a great number of subjects and events
in its effort to carry out the provisions of James Smithson's will
"for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." As might be
expected of an institution with such a broad mission, some of its
exhibits may be controversial and raise concerns or objections by
Last year I heard from people who were concerned about the
proposed Enola Gay exhibit. Many of those who expressed
concerns were veterans of the Second World War whose lives
were especially affected by the events to be covered by that
exhibit. I was impressed by the sincerity and depth of the feeling
of those who conveyed their concerns to me. I felt that their
concerns should be brought to the attention of and addressed by
Consequently, last year I joined with you, Mr. Chairman, as
you already stated, and other members of this committee in a
letter to the former director of the National Air and Space
Museum regarding this exhibit. We requested that the
Smithsonian be sensitive to the memory of those who gave their
lives for our continued freedom. Although the Smithsonian has
substantially revised the proposed exhibit some questions
These hearings will serve the useful purpose of providing a
public forum for the presentation and consideration of the issues
and concerns that were raised regarding the planning of the
exhibit. Mr. Chairman, the issues raised in these hearings touch
on broader issues of Smithsonian management. It is important
that these concerns be aired so that this matter can be put behind
us and the Smithsonian can continue to move forward. I hope
that these hearings will be beneficial to all parties and serve as
a basis for moving on with our relationship with the Smithsonian
in a positive and constructive manner.
I thank you for the opportunity to make this statement.
The Chairman. Thank you very much. As I am sure most
people realize, every member of this committee is either a
chairman or ranking member of some committee. I know that
Senator Hatfield has other committee meetings. Senator Cochran
expresses his regrets that he cannot be here. He is chairing a
conference committee. I am not certain how many people will
show up here this morning, gentlemen. It is a bucy period for the
Senate, but we do appreciate your coming to appear before us.
Let me state that we have asked witnesses to limit their oral
presentations to 10 minutes. We will print your full written
statements in the record. We are going to waive the time limit,
however, for General Sweeney. We feel that his role is so historic
in this matter, and both Senator Ford and I have read the
statement he has given the committee. So with your indulgence,
we are going to give the general complete leeway to present his
statement in the way he wishes to do so, and put the 10-minute
limitation on the rest of you if that is all right. Thank you.
Senator FORD. That is called discrimination.
The Chairman. That is discrimination, but in view of the
historic role that General Sweeney played in this controversy, I
would wish that the public at large could hear every word of
what he has written, but it is even longer than 15 minutes.
General, we turn the time over to you, please, sir.
TESTIMONY OF MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES W.
SWEENEY, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, RETIRED
General Sweeney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of
the committee. I am Major General Charles W. Sweeney, United
States Air Force, retired. I am the only pilot to have flown on
both atomic missions. I flew the instrument plane on the
Hiroshima mission, and 3 days later on August 9, 1945
commanded the second atomic mission over Nagasaki. Six days
after Nagasaki the Japanese military surrendered and the Second
World War came to an end.
Fifty years ago millions of my fellow citizens served our
country in a time of national crisis — a crisis which engulfed our
panel; a crisis in which the forces of fascism were poised to
extinguish the democracies of the world. It was a crisis in which
the forces of evil were clearly defined, or at least I thought so
until last fall when I read the first accounts from the Air Force
Association of the proposed script for the exhibit of the Enola Gay
at the Smithsonian Institution.
It was obvious to me that the Enola Gay was being used to
advance a theory about atomic missions and the United States'
role in World War II that transformed the Japanese into victims
and cast the United States as a vengeful aggressor engaged in a
war to destroy an ancient culture. My first reaction was, as you
can imagine, personal disbelief. I just could not believe that the
Smithsonian, an institution whose very name signifies honesty
and integrity in the preservation of American artifacts, could be
Like the overwhelming majority of my generation I did not
want a war. We are not a Nation of warriors. There is no warrior
class, no master race, no Samurai. Yet during the years when my
generation and our parents were struggling through the Great
Depression, the Japanese were engaged in the conquest of their
neighbors. That is an unfortunate fact of history. Without the
slightest remorse or hesitation the Japanese military slaughtered
innocent men, women, and children. In the end, they would kill
over 20 million of their Asian neighbors.
The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, timed for Sunday morning
to inflict the maximum loss of ships and human life, thrust the
United States into a war in the Pacific whose outcome then was
far from certain. Seventeen hundred sailors are still entombed in
the hull of the U.S.S. Arizona that sits on the bottom of Pearl
Harbor. Many, if not all, died without ever knowing why.
The fall of Corregidor and the resulting treatment of Allied
prisoners of war dispelled any remaining doubt about the
inhumaneness of the Japanese army even in the context of war.
The Japanese military considered surrender a dishonor to one's
self, one's family, one's country, and one's God, and thus they
showed no mercy.
This was the true nature of the enemy we faced. This was the
reality which President Harry Truman confronted as he
considered sending yet even more American soldiers, sailors,
and airmen into the horror of the war in the Pacific. Declassified
transcripts of the secret codes which we had broken during the
war and were available to President Truman and his military
advisors underscore the Japanese attitude 50 years ago. The
transcripts show the Japanese had no intention of surrendering
unconditionally. They were stalling for time and fully prepared
to continue to sacrifice their own citizens. And as time passed
more Americans died.
The Japanese military was fully prepared to fight on, even
after the Hiroshima mission. In fact, even after the Nagasaki
mission, some Japanese military leaders were still advocating
We know that in a pre-invasion meeting at the White House
on June 18, 1945 Admiral William Leahy predicted to President
Truman, based on the experience of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, 30
to 35 percent of the 770,000-man invasion force would be killed
or wounded in the first 30 days of an invasion of the Japanese
mainland. That calculates out to about a quarter of a million
American men. President Truman remarked that the invasion
would create another Okinawa from one end of Japan to the
other; one of the most horrendous battles we ever fought. Now
it would be expanded the whole length of Kyushu, the southern
island of the four main islands of Japan.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed. General MacArthur's chief
surgeon. Brigadier General Guy Dennett, estimated that in the
120-day campaign to invade and occupy only the island of
Kyushu, 395,000 casualties would be sustained. For President
Truman, for me and for my crew, the probability of so many
casualties was not an abstraction but a sobering reality.
The world is a better place because German and Japanese
fascism failed to conquer. Japan and Germany are better places
because we were benevolent in our victory. The youth of Japan
and the United States, spared from further needless slaughter,
went on to live and have families and grow old. Today millions
of people in America and Japan are alive because we ended the
war when we did. This is not to celebrate the use of atomic
weapons. Quite the contrary. It is my fervent hope that my
mission is the last such mission ever flown. But that does not
mean that back in 1945, given the events of the war and the
recalcitrance of our enemy. President Truman was not obliged to
use all the weapons at his disposal to end the war.
Now, 50 years later after their defeat, some Japanese officials
claim they were the victims, ignoring the clear evidence of their
own brutality and mind set. Incredibly, how can any American
academic support such a proposition, thus aiding and giving
support to a 50-year attempt by the Japanese to rewrite their own
history and ours in the process. Such an effort to rewrite history
does a disservice to both countries. There is an entire generation
of Japanese who do not know the full extent of their country's
conduct during World War II.
By forgetting our own history we contribute to Japanese
amnesia, to the detriment of both nations. Unlike the Germans
who acknowledge their guilt, the Japanese persist in the fiction
that they did nothing wrong. That they were the victims of
circumstances. This only forecloses any genuine prospect that
the deep wounds suffered by both nations can be healed. We
must know and remember history.
I have always had the utmost respect for the Smithsonian
Institution and its mission. I do not understand how it could
have planned to so unfairly mistreat the United States' role in
World War II, to denigrate the bravery of our American soldiers,
sailors, and airmen and the courage of President Truman. By
canceling the proposed exhibit and simply displaying the Enola
Gay, has the truth won out? Maybe not. Maybe this exhibit
reveals a deeper problem.
Imagine taking your children or grandchildren to the original
proposed exhibit. Would they learn of the sacrifices their fathers
and grandfathers endured in that war in the Pacific so that all of
us could be free in 1995, free to visit the Smithsonian or
anywhere else we choose? Would they understand the important
historical context which led the President of the United States to
make the decision to end that brutal conflict using all the
weapons at his disposal? I think not.
In the end, what would our children and grandchildren think
that their country stood for? In trying to understand the reason
why the Smithsonian did this I certainly do not get any clue from
the stated reason the director gave for canceling the proposed
exhibit. As I recall, he said the Smithsonian realized that it had
been too ambitious by combining a highly emotional
commemorative event for veterans with an historical analysis.
This reason is at best condescending to the veterans. I suggest
that the forces behind the revisionism of our history at the
Smithsonian were flat out wrong in their analysis, and they
should have said so.
The soul of a nation, its essence, is its history. It is that
collective memory which defines what each generation thinks
and believes about itself and its country. For this reason the facts
must always be preserved. This does not mean debate should be
stifled. It does mean that any debate must be founded upon a
recognition of all the facts. At the Smithsonian there was an
absence of some rather basic facts and a conclusion which was
unsupported by those basic facts.
My fellow veterans and I were impelled to ask how could the
Smithsonian have been so terribly wrong about the true nature
and meaning of the war in the Pacific and the atomic missions?
Fortunately, this threat to our national identity was aired out in
the open because the proposed exhibit of the Enola Gay was so
devoid of factual support. Other historic events may be too
subtle to be seen as clearly. Certainly the country was fortunate
that millions of veterans of the war, and citizens of the United
States who are not necessarily veterans, were still alive to report
on what really happened. I might point to one specific class of
Americans, and they are the ones whose husbands, sons, loved
ones were poised to conduct, to participate in that invasion.
So I come before this committee to ask you as Members of
Congress to do all in your power to protect and preserve the
integrity of the process by which our national identity is formed
and debated. Our history is a precious asset. In a free society
such as ours there must always be an ongoing debate about who
we are and what we stand for.
The key question, however, is what role is appropriate for the
Smithsonian in this ongoing debate and what process is to be
employed in making decisions about historic interpretation at
the Smithsonian? Of course, this assumes that the Smithsonian
should expand its role beyond the preservation and exhibition
of significant American artifacts — American artifacts.
The fact that you are holding these hearings is an encouraging
sign for many Americans that such an inquiry will prevent future
attempts to revise, rewrite, or slant our historical record in any
way by any Government-supported agency. I would like to ask
this committee to help the American people understand how the
decisions as to what history the Smithsonian will display are
made. Are these decisions based on ideology or some agenda, or
are they the product of careful review and presentation of
The issue is not that a group of pesky, aging veterans raised
questions about a proposed exhibit. The issue is one of trust. Can
the American people trust the Smithsonian ever again to be
objective and unencumbered by ideology? This is an important
debate and I thank this committee for holding these hearings.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of General Sweeney follows:]
Statement OF Major General Charles W. Sweeney, USAF (Ret.)
I am Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, United States Air Force, Retired. I am the
only pilot to have flown on both atomic missions. I flew the instrument plane on
the right wing of General Paul Tibbets on the Hiroshima mission and 3 days later,
on August 9, 1945, commanded the second atomic mission over Nagasaki. Six
days after Nagasaki the Japanese military surrendered and the Second World War
came to an end.
The soul of a nation, its essence, is its history. It is that collective memory which
defines what each generation thinks and believes about itself and its country.
In a free society, such as ours, there is always an ongoing debate about who we
are and what we stand for. This open debate is in fact essential to our freedom.
But to have such a debate we as a society must have the courage to consider all
of the facts available to us. We must have the courage to stand up and demand
that before any conclusions are reached, those facts which are beyond question
are accepted as part of the debate.
As the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions approaches,
now is an appropriate time to consider the reasons for Harry Truman's order that
these missions be flown. We may disagree on the conclusion, but let us at least
be honest enough to agree on basic facts of the time, the facts that President
Truman had to consider in making a difficult and momentous decision.
As the only pilot to have flown both missions, and having commanded the
Nagasaki mission, I bring to this debate my own eyewitness account of the times.
I underscore what I believe are irrefutable facts, with full knowledge that some
opinion makers may cavalierly dismiss them because they are so obvious — be-
cause they interfere with their preconceived version of the truth, and the meaning
which they strive to impose on the missions.
This evening, I want to offer my thoughts, observations, and conclusions as
someone who lived this history, and who believes that President Truman's
decision was not only justified by the circumstances of his time, but was a moral
imperative that precluded any other option.
Like the overwhelming majority of my generation the last thing I wanted was
a war. We as a nation are not warriors. We are not hell-bent on glory. There is no
warrior class — no Samurai — no master race.
This is true today, and it was true 50 years ago.
While our country was struggling through the great depression, the Japanese
were embarking on the conquest of its neighbors — the Greater East Asia Co-Pros-
perity Sphere. It seems fascism always seeks some innocuous slogan to cover the
most hideous plans.
This Co-Prosperity was achieved by waging total and merciless war against
China and Manchuria. The Japanese, as a nation, saw itself as destined to rule
Asia and thereby possess its natural resources and open lands. Without the
slightest remorse or hesitation, the Japanese Army slaughtered innocent men,
women and children. In the infamous Rape of Nanking up to 300,000 unarmed
civilians were butchered. These were criminal acts.
THESE ARE FACTS.
In order to fulfill its divine destiny in Asia, Japan determined that the only real
impediment to this goal was the United States. It launched a carefully conceived
sneak attack on our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Timed for a Sunday morning it
was intended to deal a death blow to the fleet by inflicting the maximum loss of
ships and human life.
1,700 sailors are still entombed in the hull of the U.S.S. Arizona that sits on the
bottom of Pearl Harbor. Many if not all, died without ever knowing why. Thus
was the war thrust upon us.
The fall of Corregidor and the resulting treatment of Allied prisoners of war
dispelled any remaining doubt about the inhumaneness of the Japanese Army,
even in the context of war. The Bataan Death March was horror in its fullest
dimension. The Japanese considered surrender to be dishonorable to oneself,
one's family, one's country and one's god. They showed no mercy. Seven thou-
sand American and Filipino POW's were beaten, shot, bayonetted or left to die
of disease or exhaustion.
THESE ARE FACTS.
As the United States made its slow, arduous, and costly march across the vast
expanse of the Pacific, the Japanese proved to be a ruthless and intractable killing
machine. No matter how futile, no matter how hopeless the odds, no matter how
certain the outcome, the Japanese fought to the death. And to achieve a greater
glory, they strove to kill as many Americans as possible.
The closer the United States came to the Japanese mainland, the more fanatical
their actions became.
Saipan — 3,100 Americans killed, 1,500 in the first few hours of the invasion
Iwo Jima — 6,700 Americans killed, 25,000 wounded
Okinawa — 12,500 Americans killed, total casualties, 35,000
These are facts reported by simple white grave markers.
Kamikazes. The literal translation is DIVINE WIND. To willingly dive a plane
loaded with bombs into an American ship was a glorious transformation to
godliness — there was no higher honor on heaven or earth. The suicidal assaults
of the Kamikazes took 5,000 American Navy men to their deaths.
The Japanese vowed that, with the first American to step foot on the mainland,
they would execute every Allied prisoner. In preparation they forced the POW's
to dig their own graves in the event of mass executions. Even after their surren-
der, they executed some American POW's.
THESE ARE FACTS.
The Potsdam Declaration had called for unconditional surrender of the Japan-
ese Armed Forces. The Japanese termed it ridiculous and not worthy of consid-
eration. We know from our intercepts of their coded messages, that they wanted
to stall for time to force a ne gotiated surrender on terms acceptable to them.
For months prior to August 6, American aircraft began dropping fire bombs
upon the Japanese mainland. The wind created by the firestorm from the bombs
incinerated whole cities. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese died. Still the Jap-
anese military vowed never to surrender. They were prepared to sacrifice their
own people to achieve their visions of glory and honor — no matter how many
more people died.
They refused to evacuate civilians even though our pilots dropped leaflets
warning of the possible bombings. In one 3-day period, 34 square miles of Tokyo,
Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka were reduced to rubble.
THESE ARE FACTS.
And even after the bombing of Hiroshima, Tojo, his successor Suzuki, and the
military clique in control believed the United States had but one bomb, and that
Japan could go on. They had 3 days to surrender after August 6, but they did not
surrender. The debate in their cabinet at times became violent.
Only after the Nagasaki drop did the Emperor finally demand surrender.
And even then, the military argued they could and should fight on. A group of
Army officers staged a coup and tried to seize and destroy the Emperor's re-
corded message to his people announcing the surrender.
THESE ARE FACTS.
These facts help illuminate the nature of the enemy we faced. They help put
into context the process by which Truman considered the options available to
him. And they help to add meaning to why the missions were necessary.
President Truman understood these facts as did every service man and woman.
Casualties were not some abstraction, but a sobering reality.
Did the atomic missions end the war? Yes . . . they . . . did.
Were they necessary? Well that's where the rub comes.
With the fog of 50 years drifting over the memory of our country, to some, the
Japanese are now the victims. America was the insatiable, vindictive aggressor
seeking revenge and conquest. Our use of these weapons was the unjustified and
immoral starting point for the nuclear age with all of its horrors. Of course, to
support such distortion, one must conveniently ignore the real facts or fabricate
new realities to fit the theories. It is no less egregious than those who today deny
the Holocaust occurred.
How could this have happened?
The answer may lie in examining some recent events.
The current debate about why President Truman ordered these missions, in
some cases, has devolved to a numbers game. The Smithsonian in its proposed
exhibit of the Enola Gay revealed the creeping revisionism which seems the rage
in certain historical circles.
That exhibit wanted to memorialize the fiction that the Japanese were the
victims — we the evil aggressor. Imagine taking your children and grandchildren
to this exhibit.
What message would they have left with?
What truth would they retain?
What would they think their country stood for?
And all of this would have occurred in an American institution whose very
name and charter are supposed to stand for the impartial preservation of signif-
icant American artifacts.
By cancelling the proposed exhibit and simply displaying the Enola Gay, has
truth won out?
In one nationally televised discussion, I heard a so-called prominent historian
argue that the bombs were not necessary. That President Truman was intent on
intimidating the Russians. That the Japanese were ready to surrender.
The Japanese were ready to surrender? Based on what?
Some point to statements by General Eisenhower years after the war that Japan
was about to fall. Well, based on that same outlook Eisenhower seriously under-
estimated Germany's will to fight on and concluded in December, 1944 that
Germany no longer had the capability to wage offensive war.
That was a tragic miscalculation. The result was the Battle of the Bulge, which
resulted in tens of thousands of needless Allied casualties and potentially al-
lowed Germany to prolong the war and force negotiations.
Thus the assessment that Japan was vanquished may have the benefit of hind-
sight rather than foresight.
It is certainly fair to conclude that the Japanese could have been reasonably
expected to be even more fanatical than the Germans based on the history of the
war in the Pacific.
And, finally, a present-day theory making the rounds espouses that even if an
invasion had taken place, our casualties would not have been a million, as many
believed, but realistically only 46,000 dead.
Can you imagine the callousness of this line of argument? ONLY 46,000 — as if
this were some insignificant number of American lives.
Perhaps these so-called historians want to sell books.
Perhaps they really believe it. Or perhaps it reflects some self-loathing occa-
sioned by the fact that we won the war.
Whatever the reason, the argument is flawed. It dissects and recalculates events
ideologically, grasping at selective straws.
Let me admit right here, today, that I don't know how many more Americans
would have died in an invasion— AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE!
What I do know is that based on the Japanese conduct during the war, it is fair
and reasonable to assume that an invasion of the mainland would have been a
prolonged and bloody affair. Based on what we know — not what someone sur-
mises — the Japanese were not about to unconditionally surrender.
In taking Iwo Jima, a tiny 8 square mile lump of rock in the ocean, 6,700 marines
died — total casualties over 30,000.
But even assuming that those who now KNOW our casualties would have been
ONLY 46.000 I ask
Which 46,000 were to die?
And, yes, I am focusing on American lives.
The Japanese had their fate in their own hands, we did not . Hundreds of
thousands of American troops anxiously waited at staging areas in the Pacific
dreading the coming invasion, their fate resting on what the Japanese would do
next. The Japanese could have ended it at any time. They chose to wait.
And while the Japanese stalled, an average of 900 more Americans were killed
or wounded each day the war continued.
I've heard another line of argument that we should have accepted a negotiated
peace with the Japanese on terms they would have found acceptable. I have never
heard anyone suggest that we should have negotiated a peace with Nazi Ger-
many. Such an idea is so outrageous, that no rational human being would utter
the words. To negotiate with such evil fascism was to allow it even in defeat a
measure of legitimacy. This is not just some empty philosophical principal of the
time — it was essential that these forces of evil be clearly and irrevocably de-
feated — their demise unequivocal. Their leadership had forfeited any expectation
of diplomatic niceties. How is it, then, that the history of the war in the Pacific
can be so soon forgotten?
The reason may lie in the advancing erosion of our history, of our collective
Fifty years after their defeat, Japanese officials have the temerity to claim they
were the victims. That Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the equivalent of the
And, believe it or not, there are actually some American academics who sup-
port this analogy, thus aiding and giving comfort to a 50-year attempt by the
Japanese to rewrite their own history, and ours in the process.
There is an entire generation of Japanese who do not know the full extent of
their country's conduct during World war II.
This explains why they do not comprehend why they must apologize —
• for the Korean comfort women,
• for the Medical experimentation on POW's which match the horror
of those conducted by the Nazi's,
• for the plans to use biological weapons against the United States by
infecting civilian populations on the West Coast,
• for the methodical slaughter of civilians,
• and for much more.
In a perverse inversion, by forgetting our own history, we contribute to the
Japanese amnesia, to the detriment of both our nations.
Unlike the Germans who acknowledged their guilt, the Japanese persist in the
fiction that they did nothing wrong, that they were trapped by circumstances.
This only forecloses any genuine prospect that the deep wounds suffered by both
nations can be closed and healed.
One can only forgive by remembering. And to forget, is to risk repeating
The Japanese in a well orchestrated political and public relations campaign
have now proposed that the use of the term "V-J Day" be replaced by the more
benign "Victory in the Pacific Day". How convenient.
This they claim will make the commemoration of the end of the war in the
Pacific less "Japan specific."
An op-ed piece written by Dorothy Rabinowitz appearing in the April 5 Wall
Street Journal accurately sums up this outrage:
The reason it appears, is that some Japanese find the reference disturbing — and
one can see why. The term, especially the "J" part, does serve to remind the world
of the identity of the nation whose defeat millions celebrated in August 1945. In
further deference to Japanese sensitivities, a U.S. official (who wisely chose to
remain unidentified) also announced, with reference to the planned ceremonies.
that "our whole effort in this thing is to commemorate an event, not celebrate a
Some might argue so what's in a word — Victory over Japan, Victory in the
Pacific — Let's celebrate an event, not a victory.
I say everything is in a word. Celebrate an EVENT!
Kind of like celebrating the opening of a shopping mall rather than the end of
a war that engulfed the entire Earth — which left countless millions dead and
countless millions more physically or mentally wounded and countless more
This assault on the use of language is Orwellian and is the tool by which history
and memory are blurred. Words can be just as destructive as any weapon.
Up is Down.
Slavery is Freedom.
Aggression is Peace.
In some ways this assault on our language and history by the elimination of
accurate and descriptive words is far more insidious than the actual aggression
carried out by the Japanese 50 years ago. At least then the threat was clear, the
enemy well defined.
Today the Japanese justify their conduct by artfully playing the race card. They
were not engaged in a criminal enterprise of aggression. No, Japan was simply
liberating the oppressed masses of Asia from WHITE Imperialism.
Liberation!!! Yes, they liberated over 20 million innocent Asians by killing
them. I'm sure those 20 million, their families and the generations never to be,
appreciate the noble effort of the Japanese.
I am often asked was the bomb dropped for vengeance, as was suggested by
one draft of the Smithsonian exhibit. That we sought to destroy an ancient and
Here are some more inconvenient facts.
One, on the original target list for the atomic missions Kyoto was included.
Although this would have been a legitimate target, one that had not been bombed
previously. Secretary of State Henry Stimson removed it from the list because it
was the ancient capital of Japan and was also the religious center of Japanese
Two, we were under strict orders during the war that under no circumstances
were we to ever bomb the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, even though we could have
easily leveled it and possibly killed the Emperor. So much for vengeance.
I often wonder if Japan would have shown such restraint if they had the
opportunity to bomb the White House. I think not.
At this point let me dispel one of many longstanding myths that our targets
were intended to be civilian populations. Each target for the missions had signif-
icant military importance — Hiroshima was the headquarters for the southern
command responsible for the defense of Honshu in the event of an invasion and
it garrisoned seasoned troops who would mount the initial defense.
Nagasaki was an industrial center with the two large Mitsubishi armaments
factories. In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese had integrated these
industries and troops right in the heart of each city.
As in any war our goal was, as it should be, to win. The stakes were too high
I am often asked if I ever think of the Japanese who died at Hiroshima and
I do not revel in the idea that so many on both sides died, not only at those two
places but around the world in that horrible conflict. I take no pride or pleasure
in the brutality of war whether suffered by my people or those of another nation.
Every life is precious.
But it does seem to me such a question is more appropriately directed to the
Japanese war lords who so willingly offered up their people to achieve their
visions of greatness. They who started the war and then stubbornly refused to
stop it must be called to account. Don't they have the ultimate responsibility for
all the deaths of their countrymen?
Perhaps if the Japanese came to grips with their past and their true part in the
war they would hold those Japanese military leaders accountable. The Japanese
people deserve an answer from those that brought such misery to the nations of
the Far East and ultimately to their own people. Of course this can never happen
if we collaborate with the Japanese in wiping away the truth.
How can Japan ever reconcile with itself and the United States if they do not
demand and accept the truth?
My crew and I flew these missions with the belief that they would bring the
war to an end. There was no sense of joy. There was a sense of duty and
commitment that we wanted to get back to our families and loved ones.
Today millions of people in America and in southeast Asia are alive because
the war ended when it did.
I do not stand here celebrating the use of nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary.
I hope that my mission is the last such mission ever flown.
We as a nation can abhor the existence of nuclear weapons.
I certainly do.
But that does not then mean that, back in August of 1945, given the events of
the war and the recalcitrance of our enemy. President Truman was not obliged
to use all the weapons at his disposal to end the war.
I agreed with Harry Truman then, and I still do today.
Years after the war Truman was asked if he had any second thoughts. He said
emphatically, "No." He then asked the questioner to remember the men who died
at Pearl Harbor who did not have the benefit of second thoughts.
In war the stakes are high. As Robert E. Lee said, "it is good that war is so
horrible, or we might grow to like it."
I thank God that it was we who had this weapon and not the Japanese or the
Germans. The science was there. Eventually someone would have developed this
weapon. Science can never be denied. It finds a way to self-fulfillment.
The question of whether it was wise to develop such a weapon would have
eventually been overcome by the fact that it could be done. The Soviets would
have certainly proceeded to develop their own bomb. Let us not forget that
Joseph Stalin was no less evil than Tojo or his former ally Adolf Hitler. At last
count, Stalin committed genocide on at least 20 million of his own citizens.
The world is a better place because German and Japanese fascism failed to
conquer the world.
Japan and Germany are better places because we were benevolent in our
The youth of Japan and the United States, spared from further needless slaugh-
ter, went on to live and have families and grow old.
As the father of ten children and the grandfather of 21, I can state that I am
certainly grateful that the war ended when it did.
I do not speak for all veterans of that war. But I believe that my sense of pride
in having served my country in that great conflict is shared by all veterans. This
is why the truth about that war must be preserved. We veterans are not shrinking
violets. Our sensibilities will not be shattered in intelligent and controversial
debate. We can handle ourselves.
But we will not, we cannot allow armchair second guessers to frame the debate
by hiding facts from the American public and the world.
I have great faith in the good sense and fairness of the American people to
consider all of the facts and make an informed judgment about the war's end.
This is an important debate. The soul of our nation, its essence, its history, is
The Chairman. Thank you very much, General.
TESTIMONY OF COLONEL CHARLES D. COOPER, DIREC-
TOR OF PUBLICATIONS, THE RETIRED OFFICERS ASSO-
Colonel Cooper. Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members,
this statement is submitted on behalf of The Retired Officers
Association (TROA) which has its national headquarters at 201
North Washington Street in Alexandria, Virginia. TROA has a
membership of more than 400,000 active duty, retired, and
reserve officers of the seven uniformed services, including
approximately 65,000 auxiliary members who are survivors of
former members of that association.
On behalf of all the TROA members we would like to thank
the chairman and the other distinguished members of the Senate
Committee on Rules and Administration for holding these
important hearings and inviting us to share our concerns with
The Retired Officers Association became involved in the
Enola Gay issue in the spring of 1994 after many of its members,
especially the World War II veterans, including Colonel Schuh,
became aware of the direction that was being taken by the
curators at the National Air and Space Museum. In April of 1994,
Admiral Tom Kilcline, president of The Retired Officers
Association, contacted Dr. Martin Harwit, director of the
National Air and Space Museum, to discuss the issue. Dr. Harwit
suggested a luncheon meeting at the Smithsonian with some of
the curators to talk about what they were planning to do.
Admiral Kilcline requested that representatives of the other
veterans associations be included in that discussion. That
meeting came to pass on July 13, 1994. In attendance at that
meeting were representatives of the Air Force Association, the
American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, the Military
Order of the World Wars, The Retired Officers Association, and
the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as staff members of the Air
and Space Museum, the Department of Defense 50th
Anniversary Commemorative Committee, and the House
Veterans Affairs Committee.
Following a briefing by the curatorial staff, a lively
discussion of the then-existing show script ensued, but since the
Air Force Association and The Retired Officers Association were
the only two outside organizations that were privileged to have
copies of the script in hand, the discussion was rather limited
and very non-productive. Scripts were later provided to the
other associations with a request to get back to NASM with
The Retired Officers Association responded on July 19
providing Dr. Harwit with extensive, in-depth written
recommendations that dealt with historical accuracy, context,
and objectivity. Specifically, we were concerned with the lack of
historical background to define the events that led up to the
decision to use the A-bomb. We were disturbed by the lack of
balance in imagery portraying the casualties of the Hiroshima
bombing as compared to the brutal deaths from Japanese
aggression that preceded America's entry into the war as well as
the escalating battle deaths as the war proceeded. Finally, we
were appalled by the extensive section expounding upon the
post-war heritage of the nuclear age that was totally unrelated
to the advertised theme of the display, "The Final Act."
On September 8 the curators provided a third script. While it
offered some minor tweaks it still failed to address the basic
philosophical disagreements that had been raised in our earlier
communications with the museum. On September 23 Admiral
Kilcline met with the Undersecretary of the Smithsonian,
Constance Newman, who explained that she was assuming the
role of oversight for the Enola Gay exhibit "to get the
Smithsonian off the front page of the news." Newman also
advised Kilcline of her separate and ongoing negotiations with
the American Legion.
In a September 27 letter to Dr. Harwit, Admiral Kilcline
provided an extensive list of ongoing concerns raised by the
third script that were still being ignored. He further expressed
the Association's concern that the reputation of the Air and
Space Museum was being placed in jeopardy by the recalcitrance
of the museum staff.
Version four of the script came out on October 3, 1994 and
again there was some progress. But things that had been fixed in
earlier versions were put back in. At the invitation of the
Undersecretary, representatives of the Air Force Association and
The Retired Officers Association met at the Smithsonian and
additional fine-tuning was applied to address specific
philosophical and factual problem areas.
On October 26 Undersecretary Newman provided script
revision five. While we could still not fully endorse it, significant
progress was being made. During these many months, and
especially since Newman had assumed the active role in the
discussions, the earlier offensive script had been bowdlerized.
Gone were the references to the U.S. "war of vengeance against
a nation attempting to preserve its unique culture." Gone were
the controversial political arguments of the post-war nuclear
age. Finally we thought we saw a glimmer of hope that an
excellent exhibit was close at hand.
In early December, at the insistence of several associations
negotiating with the Smithsonian, scripting for a new
4,000-square-foot introductory display was produced. This new
section defined the course of events from the early 1930's to just
before the Hiroshima bombing. Those changes provided the
essential historical background of Japan's brutal aggression,
clarification of the driving forces behind the nuclear decisions,
and a modicum of balance to the planned visual materials.
An added video finale to the exhibit incorporated the
remembrances of the actual crew members, bringing a poignant
personal perspective to the story of this fateful mission. With
these modifications there was a growing consensus, at least
among the reviewers of the Air Force Association, The Retired
Officers Association, and the VFW, that the exhibit would have
been found acceptable by most veterans. This sense was
conveyed to Undersecretary Newman and Dr. Harwit at a joint
meeting at the Smithsonian on December 15, 1994.
Sadly, any sense of mutual agreement and understanding was
shattered in early January when Dr. Harwit fired yet another
shot across the bow of our Nation's veterans. In a letter sent only
to the American Legion, excluding the other military-related
associations that had been striving to work to bring this exhibit
to fruition, Harwit without a "by-your-leave" or "let's talk about
this", reinserted into the show script new and radically
minimized casualty numbers for the planned invasion of the
Japanese home islands. This clear breach of faith cast grave
doubt upon his perspective and leadership ability and provided
further evidence of his lack of sensitivity to the Smithsonian's
reputation for integrity.
At this point the discussions between Harwit and the Legion
went to critical mass. Upon receipt of the letter the Legion
abruptly and publicly called for the outright cancellation of the
exhibit and raised the ante calling for these congressional
hearings. We share the Legion's frustration in trying to deal with
Dr. Harwit's recurring recalcitrance. Nonetheless, we believe
that with the continued patience of Job that some of the
associations had shown we were at the point where a satisfactory
solution could have been reached. But regrettably, that door was
slammed shut. There would be no further opportunity for
discussion to rebut the so-called newly found information.
On January 30, Secretary Heyman called an end to the
rancorous debate over the planned Enola Gay exhibit. Rather
than continue the controversial effort to conduct a
wallboard-and-artifact academic extravaganza during this
significant World War II commemorative year, he announced his
intention to take personal charge of the exhibition. His plan
called for the simpler, scaled-back display limited to only the
already restored fuselage, appropriate signage, and possibly a
video treatment reflecting some of the crew comments.
While we understand the secretary's rationale. The Retired
Officers Association sincerely regrets the need for that decision.
As a result of the severe gutting of the display, future
generations of Americans and the world have lost a golden
opportunity to learn anything more except the barebones history
of the Enola Gay and its role in bringing to an end a brutal and
emotional war, one of the defining events in world history.
Further, because of this dragged out brouhaha, the high
stature of our Nation's most respected institution and its
funding has been unnecessarily put to a test. While the
eviscerated Enola Gay exhibit has put the role of America's
national museum squarely in a spotlight of distrust and distaste.
The Retired Officers Association stands ready to work with the
Smithsonian to restore to its prestigious pedestal this gem of
America's historical tiara.
That concludes my presentation, Mr. Chairman, and I am
prepared to answer questions from you and the distinguished
members of the committee.
The Chairman. Thank you very much. Colonel Cooper.
We have been joined by Senator Pell. Senator, did you have
an opening statement?
Senator Pell. No opening statement.
The Chairman. Mr. Harrington?
TESTIMONY OF HERMAN G. HARRINGTON, CHAIRMAN,
NATIONAL INTERNAL AFFAIRS COMMISSION, THE
Mr. Harrington. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee, my name is Herman Harrington. It was my privilege
to serve as National Commander William Detweiler's designated
representative during the line by line review and discussions of
the Air and Space Museum exhibit. I would be remiss if I did not
extend to you the commander's sincere regrets that he is unable
to be here today. As you may know, he is in Moscow as a member
of the President's official party participating in the
commemoration of V-E Day.
We appreciate this opportunity to present our views on the
controversy, its causes and possible remedies for the future. We
have submitted our written testimony for your consideration
and for the next few minutes I would only draw attention to our
more prominent concerns and recommendations.
It is altogether apparent from the events surrounding the
planned display of the historic aircraft, the Enola Gay, that the
institution has sustained serious blows to its reputation, the
causes of which unless discovered and corrected will only be
repeated to the detriment of the Smithsonian, the Nation, and
our society. We were accused of censorship, but it was not we
who wanted only one view included. And we were accused of
political arm-twisting, but we did little more than seek from our
Government a redress of grievance. Our involvement is proof
that our system works. It should be an inspiration and not a
threat to those who value constitutional government and the
Our first involvement canne when we agreed to listen to the
museum's point of view and were not convinced. We later agreed
to suspend our opposition to the exhibit pending a line by line
review of the script. We spent nearly 40 hours on three separate
occasions clarifying language, questioning artifacts and
narratives, arguing historical fact and exchanging research.
We ended our discussions only when it became apparent that
the curators, and most especially the director, could not be relied
upon to honor their commitments to us and that any script that
we agreed upon could be, and most likely would be, changed
without our knowledge right up to the opening of the exhibit.
Our approach was open, honest, and scholarly. We have
included in our written testimony some of the sources we relied
on. Yet despite our efforts the answer to one question eluded us:
Why? Why did this Nation's most revered, most respected, most
visited museum undertake such an exhibit? Why was an exhibit
devoted to international concerns over the proliferations of
nuclear arms spawned in a museum dedicated to America's
achievements in flight and space exploration? Even if the answer
is never given. Congress nevertheless can ensure that the
institution uses its position and the funds Congress provides in
a manner consistent with the institution's congressional
What is most disconcerting to the American Legion and
perhaps most telling to the mind set of those at the institution is
that when challenged for failing to present the service and
sacrifice of American servicemen and women as described in
Title 20, Section 80a of the U.S. Code, officials claimed that their
museum is not required to comply with that language.
The American Legion was also condemned for questioning
the museum's employment of a non-citizen in a key curatorial
position. We have done so only because we see it as further
evidence of the Air and Space Museum's disdain for, and
defiance of congressional oversight. Title 20, which we have
cited in our written testimony, clearly requires U.S. citizens to
have preference in hiring for key positions unless no U.S. citizen
is qualified. We still wonder why the Nation's historians have
not complained about that, given its implications.
The American Legion recommends that Congress take steps
immediately to either conform its mandate to the realities of the
Smithsonian Institution or to enforce its intent and mandates as
contained in Title 20 as they pertain to personnel practices. At a
minimum, the American Legion recommends that Congress,
among other measures: One, clarify the personal and
professional goals of future museum directors; two, receive
regular information on the use to which museum resources are
put; three, ensure that docents and volunteers are treated with
dignity and respect; and four, be aware of the relationship of the
National Air and Space historians to a particular school of
historic and political thought when such relationships become
exclusive of knowledge rather than inclusive.
We also strongly recommend that this committee ask why the
archives concerning Stimson, Marshall, Truman, and MacArthur
were not contacted, and why the acknowledged experts and
biographers of such men were not consulted. The American
Legion successfully contacted many such institutions and
individuals in the course of its research and found them to be
accessible and readily cooperative.
At the center of this controversy rests the history of B-29
Enola Gay. Much has been said and written about casualties.
President Truman's motives, the military and diplomatic
intentions of the Imperial Japanese Government and whether or
not lives were indeed spared by the mission of Enola Gay. But
little has been said about the cynical use of this aircraft to justify
the presence of an exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum
that fails to conform to the museum's broad mandate.
Is it the intent of Congress that after 46 years this aircraft be
shelved for another 10 years until those alive when she flew are
gone? The American Legion recommends that Congress direct
the loan or the transfer of the Enola Gay to another Federal
facility where it can be displayed properly without commentary
or controversy. We respectfully suggest that Enola Gay join her
sister ship, Bock's Car, at the Air Force Museum at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Or failing
that, at any of the other facilities that have expressed an interest
in displaying the aircraft.
The American Legion is not in the business of tearing down
American institutions nor do we concern ourselves with the
persons or personalities of those involved in vital national
enterprises. But we are in the business of protecting and
preserving our American heritage. As the battle over the Enola
Gay has demonstrated, we are willing to invest our time, our
money, and if need be, our reputation, to fight for the principles
We believe in honesty, in integrity, in fair play. We believe in
honoring the service and sacrifice of those who took up arms in
defense of the Nation. We believe in passing a sense of America's
unique role in world history and a sense of its greatness on to
future generations. And we believe the National Air and Space
Museum consciously and intentionally violated every one of
those principles by setting out to alter our citizens' view of
themselves. We believe that those responsible for the exhibit did
so in a most cynical and insensitive way by using the very
aircraft that thousands of World War II veterans credited with
saving them from death on the beaches of japan, to suggest that
their lives were purchased at the price of vengeance of racism.
In summary, the American Legion's recommendations for the
future of the Smithsonian Institution and for the management
guidelines are simple, common sense safeguards. We
recommend: One, congressional oversight and review of the
museum's plans and practices; two, periodic review by
independent professionals and knowledgeable laypersons;
three, tighter review and control over the use of appropriated
funds; four, improved management controls and establishment
of reporting disciplines; and five, redefinition and clarification
of the roles of the Smithsonian museums in American society and
the establishment of measures to guarantee compliance.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes the testimony of the American
Legion and I would at this time be happy to answer any
questions you may have. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Harrington follows:!
Statement OF Herman G. Harrington, Chairman, National
Internal Affairs Commission, The American Legion
The American Legion considers the future management and oversight of the
Smithsonian Institution and its subordinate museums, most particularly the
National Air and Space Museum, to be a matter of singular significance to the
people of the United States. For that reason, we welcome the opportunity to bring
the views of our organization before the committee. It is our hope and intent that
the net effect of these hearings will be to restore the Smithsonian Institution to a
position of respect and reverence among all our citizens, and to preserve the
bonds of our common history which bind us as a nation. It is altogether apparent,
from the events surrounding the planned display of the historic aircraft, Enola
Gay, that the institution has sustained serious blows to its reputation, the causes
of which, unless discovered and corrected, will only be repeated to the detriment
of the Smithsonian, the Nation, and our society.
This testimony of The American Legion has been prepared at the direction of
and under the review of our National Commander, William M. Detweiler, who
currently is among the President's official entourage in Moscow where he will
participate in commemorations of the 50th anniversary of V-E Day. Commander
Detweiler participated in all face-to-face discussions between the National Air
and Space Museum and The American Legion. He communicated and corre-
sponded directly with both the Secretary and the Under Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution, and presented the position of The American Legion time
and again to the media, professional historians, the general public and members
of The American Legion. His experience on this issue is real, and this testimony
has his full support and approval — and thus, represents the position of the more
than 3.1 million men and women who comprise Legion membership.
The American Legion comes to these hearings in precisely the same spirit with
which it participated in the discussions and review process with officials of the
National Air and Space Museum. It was then our stated goal to work with NASM
officials to protect the legacy of those who fought and died during World War II;
to assure future generations of Americans access to historically accurate informa-
tion and artifacts; and to assist in the restoration of public confidence in the
institution. Today, in the wake of the controversy, the admission by the Secretary
that the original exhibit was "flawed from the beginning," and the cancellation
of the original exhibit, it also is among the goals of The American Legion to do
what it can to help identify and establish safeguards which can reasonably be
expected to prevent such future catastrophes.
That, in our opinion, can best be accomplished by identifying what went wrong
and what factors contributed to it. The American Legion will present to you
applicable information gained from our participation in the review process, but
further, will recommend lines of inquiry in instances where our efforts to gather
information were unsuccessful.
The qualifications of The American Legion and those who participated in the
discussions — the very idea of the participation of The American Legion in this
controversy — has been questioned and soundly criticized in many circles. Most,
if not all, criticism contains implications which are both offensive and repugnant
to those who truly respect our Jorm of government. The American Legion was
qualified by rights guaranteed to all Americans, and credentialed by dint of
diligent effort and sound reliance on divinely granted talents and abilities.
We have been accused of censorship, but most certainly we do not have the
power to censor.
What is curious is that those who most loudly accuse us of censorship are the
very ones most opposed to including our views in the discussion and the display.
It remains a fact that the original exhibit proposed one interpretation of history
at the exclusion of all others. We asked only that all views be included, ours as
well as theirs. Who sought to censor whom?
We have been accused of historical naivete, at best; ignorance at worst.
But what is curious is that the very historians whose task it is to record and
pass on our history, the very men and women whose books we read and whose
research we poured over, seem to have little confidence in how well they are
doing their job. Where is the freedom of thought and inquiry and to whom would
they have it reserved?
We have been accused of grandstanding the news media.
Again, what is curious is that those who so vociferously oppose our public
statements are those who so totally depend on the freedom of expression by
which their books are published, their speeches made and their academic courses
free from restraint. Where would they have truth and falsehood grapple?
We have been accused of political arm-twisting.
Even again, what is curious is that only the successful effort to enlist Congres-
sional support is seen as arm-twisting. It was not only our side seeking the
support of the peoples' elected representatives. We were aggrieved by the action
of an arm of our government, and we petitioned the government for redress of
that grievance. Our critics were aggrieved by us, yet they sought redress not from
us, but from government — a blatant and repugnant effort to silence dissent.
What right did we have to do what we did, question who we questioned and
say what we said? We claim the rights of every citizen, successfully and aggres-
sively exercised. Our success, painful as it may have been to those whose real
intent was to prevent the expression of any view but their own, is proof that our
system works. It should be an inspiration, not a threat, to those whose very
livelihoods depend on our fundamental freedoms.
Our involvement came at the request of the Under Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution who, when the exhibit began to encounter rising opposition from the
Air Force Association and other groups of veterans, wisely sought to establish
communication and consensus among the exhibit's critics and supporters. The
effort came too late. Many groups were increasingly suspicious of NASM offi-
cials, and increasingly frustrated by the lack of response and progress. The
American Legion was on record in opposition to the exhibit, but standing apart
from the fray. Once the controversy erupted into public disgust with the mu-
seum, we became deeply concerned that not only was the reputation of World
War II veterans at risk, but also that the entire institution was losing ground
among the general public.
We first agreed to listen to the museum's point of view, and were not con-
vinced. We later agreed to suspend our opposition to the exhibit pending a
line-by-line and face-to face review of the script with the curators and the
museum director. We spend a total of 36 hours in three separate sessions, clari-
fying language, questioning artifacts and narratives, arguing historical fact, and
We did not at any time object to the portrayal in the exhibit of the effects of
nuclear detonation. We asked only for balance and the elimination of needlessly
repetitious images. We did not object to objects or narratives unless their validity
could not be established, and where such was the case, objects were removed. We
presented facts born of original and other research which raised legitimate
questions of interpretation and conclusion, and requested their addition to the
script. We successfully argued for a longer view of history than the original script
presented, including the history of Japanese aggression and expansionism which
planted the seeds of the Pacific war. That portion of the exhibit was being
prepared when our discussions broke down.
We ended our discussions with NASM officials only when it became apparent
that they would not conform to the directions of their superiors and only after
we learned, in correspondence from the former director, that he intended to
include unilateral changes to the script that violated agreements and understand-
ings we had reached with him. By the end of the discussions. The American
Legion fully understood that the curators and director could not be relied upon
to honor their commitments to us and that any script that we agreed upon could
be — and most likely would be — changed without our knowledge right up to the
opening of the exhibit.
We could not let our support or lack of opposition be so cynically manipulated
and remain true to our responsibilities to our members and to the thousands of
veterans who were relying on us.
Our approach was open, honest and scholarly. Our research included, but was
not limited to, the sources listed below:
The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Rhoades, Richard; Simon and Schuster, New York; 1986
The Last Battle
Ryan, Cornelius; Simon and Schuster, New York; 1966
Groueff, Stephane; Little, Brown and Company, Boston & Toronto; 1967
The Great Decision
Amrine, Michael; G P. Putnam's Sons, New York; 1959
James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age
Hershberg, James; Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New "^ork; 1993
The Invasion of Japan
Skates, John Rav; University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, S.C.; 1994
The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in German and Japan
Baruma, Ian: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New \ork; 1994
Fighting to a Finish: The Politics of War Termination in the United States
Sigal, Leon \'.; Cornell Lniversitv Press, Ithaca and London; 1988
MacArthur's Ultra: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945
Drea, Edward J.; Lniversitv Press of Kansas; 1992
Brassey's Encyclopedia of Military History and Biography
Margiotta, Franklin D. Ed.; Brassevs, Washington and London; (annual)
Codename Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan — and Why Truman
Dropped the Bomb
Allen, Thomas B. and Polmar, Norman; Simon & Schuster, New York; 1995
Marching Orders: The Untold Story of World War II
Lee, Bruce; Crown Publishers, Inc., New York; 1995
In addition. The American Legion researched a number of original sources,
some uncovered in original research and others provided bv historians, muse-
ums, biographical libraries and archives, and the NASM curators themselves.
— Copies of documents and minutes from official meetings of government
— Copies of military orders, communiques, and intelligence reports
— Accounts of diplomatic and tactical code-breaking operations
— Direct conversations with the Army and Air Force Historians
— Conversations with and written reports from other historians
— Conversation and correspondence with veterans of the 509th Composite
— Professional Journals
— Scholarly Papers
It is singularly significant that very little among our research documents is of
Japanese origin. The explanation is simple: The Japanese government continues
to restrict release and access to its archives of the time, not onlv to us, but to most
of the world's historians. We repeatedly pointed out to NASM curators that, as
a result of Japanese recalcitrance, only half the history can be known. NASM
officials, like paleontologists building a dinosaur from a jawbone, had no choice
but to fill in the gaps from best guesses, speculation and incomplete understand-
ing of Japanese intentions in the summer of 1945. Those gaps now are being filled
by new research, and the picture being painted of Japanese actions and intentions
points to significantly different conclusions than those drawn by NASM for this
Yet, during our own research, we gained the answers to many questions about
the exhibit and the history it sought to portray. We learned something about the
curators and others who informed the exhibit. But one question remains unan-
Why did this Nation's most revered, most respected, most-visited museum
undertake such an exhibit? Why was the museum permitted to proceed so far into
the realm of conjecture and condemnation? Why was an exhibit devoted to
international concerns over the proliferation of nuclear arms spawned in a mu-
seum dedicated to America's achievements in flight and space exploration? And
why were Americans, through their tax dollars, expected to underwrite such
propaganda parading as history?
The people of the United States deserve answers to these questions. As their
representatives, you deserve answers. And as lawmakers entrusted with the
stewardship of our wealth, you have a responsibility to ensure that the Smithson-
ian Institution's museums use the funds Congress provides for the purposes and
in a manner consistent with the Institution's Congressional mandate.
That mandate is contained in 20 U.S.C, Chapter 3. The Smithsonian as a whole
is charged with an approach to its collections, displays and educational activities
that not only informs, but enriches and uplifts. What is most disconcerting to The
American Legion — and perhaps most telling of the mindset of some at the Insti-
tution — is that, when challenged for failing to present the service and sacrifice of
American service men and women as described in 20 U.S.C. 80a, NASM officials
claimed that they are not required to comply with that language since, they say,
it applies to an as yet unbuilt museum.
Nevertheless, the language is clear and specific, applying itself not to some
obscure museum of the future, but to the entire Institution:
The Smithsonian Institution shall commemorate and display the contributions
made by the military forces of the Nation toward creating, developing and
maintaining a free, peaceful, and independent society and culture in the United
States of America. The valor and sacrificial service of the men and women of the
Armed forces shall be portrayed as an inspiration to the present and future
generations of America . . . The extensive peacetime contributions the Armed
Forces have made to the advance of human knowledge in science, nuclear energy,
polar and space exploration, electronics, engineering aeronautics, and medicine
shall be graphically described. (Emphasis added.)
NASM's argument that it is not subject to that language is an astounding
defense and a tacit admission that it does not so complv. NASM's position is not
that it does so portrav the service positive contributions of American veterans,
but that it is not required to. Nevertheless, it is the position of The American
Legion that the language in 20 U.S.C. 80a, Subsec. (a), is quite clear in applying
that standard to "the Smithsonian Institution" and not to just one of its museums.
Perhaps the best question is what compels NASM to want to do otherwise?
The American Legion recommends that the Congress closely review the lan-
guage of the applicable codes, clarify its intent and direct all museums of the
Institution to comply with it.
The American Legion has been condemned for inquiring as to the propriety of
the National Air and Space Museum's employment of a non-citizen in a key
curatorial position. Is this latent xenophobia? Evidence of jingoism? Not at all. It
is simply a question of why the National Air and Space Museum did not comply
with another of the strict intents of Congress, as stated in 20 U.S.C. 46a:
The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, subject to adequate secu-
rity and other investigations as he may determine to be appropriate, and
subject further to a prior determination by him that no qualified United
States citizen is available for the particular position involved, is authorized
to employ and compensate aliens in a scientific or technical capacity . . .
Clearly, in light of that language only three explanations exist:
1. Management was ignorant of its duties and responsibilities;
2. The museum disdains and defies the intent of Congress;
3. No U.S. citizen is as well educated, trained, and experienced as
the Canadian historian who was one of two primary curators on
the exhibit — an explanation that reasonably could be expected to
raise the concern of American historians, but so far doesn't seem
to have done so.
Not one of those explanations is sufficient for The American Legion, nor do we
believe any should be sufficient to the American people or to Congress.
The American Legion once again simply recommends that Congress take steps
immediately to either conform its mandate to realities at the Smithsonian Insti-
tution or to enforce its clear intent and mandate.
During the course of our discussions with NASM we became aware that,
although NASM curators have repeatedly declared the original script was never
meant for public consumption, the museum itself sent the script to the Japanese
peace museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for review and comment pending
loan of artifacts to NASM. Officials described it as nothing more than a courtesy,
but it was, in fact, more than that. It was deceit, either of the Japanese or of the
If the script was not to be taken as the basis for the exhibit, then the Japanese
were being asked to make decisions about the loan of artifacts on an incomplete
understanding of what they were being asked to do. On the other hand, if the
script was a legitimate basis on which the Japanese were to reach a lending
decision, then subsequent statements downplaying the first script were disingen-
uous. NASM cannot have it both ways.
Moreover, NASM denies the existence of a prior agreement or understanding
between the Nagasaki and Hiroshima museums regarding the original exhibit.
However, it is generally understood by informed members of the public — and
most certainly by professional historians and museum curators with interna-
tional connections and experience — that those museums are, in effect, Japanese
"Holocaust" museums, and that no artifacts would be loaned to museums or
exhibits that did not conform to their philosophy and message. NASM curators
and officials surely knew what was expected of any exhibit that benefited from
loans of artifacts from those museums, and it can be concluded that if they did
not intend to conform to the Japanese perspective, they would never have sought
the artifacts in the first place.
It is known that the former director and one, if not both, primary curators
visited Japan and the peace museums many times in preparation for this exhibit.
What is not known is the frequency, cost and purpose of those visits, and the
extent to which that purpose conforms to the intent of Congress.
The American Legion strongly recommends that this Committee open that line
of inquiry and based on what is discovered, set guidelines requiring the disclo-
sure of the purpose and outcome of such travel.
More disturbing, however, and a line of inquiry which The American Legion
was wholly unsuccessful in following, is whether or not the conditions of the
cooperative agreement between the Nagasaki and Hiroshima museums were put
into writing. This Committee should be given every opportunity to review any
such document, should it be proven to exist.
The American Legion recommends that this committee seek information to
either confirm or put to rest this recurring speculation among a number of
veterans organizations and news reporters.
It is not and never has been The American Legion's practice to pursue individ-
uals in the course of policy or issue disagreements. Throughout this controversy,
we have refrained from asking for resignations or suggesting motives for one
course of action or another. Still, it seems to us that a prudent course of action
for Congress to take is to review the personnel policies and practices at the
Smithsonian Institution to insure that employees and volunteers there not only
meet their responsibilities but also retain and enjoy their rights as citizens.
At a minimum. The American Legion recommends that:
1. The personal and professional goals of future museum directors
be clarified and determined to conform to the intent of Congress
before their visions are permitted to affect the direction of a
museum. It is clear that, in the case of the former NASM director,
his goals, plans and intentions to reform the museum were rea-
sonably well known inside the museum and to readers of The
Washington Post at the time of his appointment, and may well
have led to the controversy over the Enola Gay.
2. Congress oversee and seek regular information on the use to
which museum personnel, physical resources and funds are put.
with an eye to containing the lines of inquiry to those included in
the museums' charge.
3. Congress insure that docents and volunteers retain their rights
and dignity as essential resources for the efficient operation of
museums, and not sanctioned for their opinions.
4. Congress be aware of the relationship of NASM historians to a
particular school of historic and political thought, when such
relationships become exclusive of knowledge, rather than inclu-
5. Congress review periodically the role of experienced military
professionals in informing the displays and exhibits mounted by
NASM, and take appropriate measures to assure a balance be-
tween practical knowledge of history and academic understand-
ing, both in hiring and in the utilization of human resources.
6. Congress implement review procedures by which only those cu-
rators with professional and academic credentials applicable to
the subject of an exhibit be assigned to curate a display.
7. Congress solicit from among the employees and volunteers at
NASM comments and experiences relating to the way in which
the museum has been administered, heed their concerns and take
immediate steps to assure that the museum operates in confor-
mity with sound management and personnel practices.
Additionally, The American Legion notes with some concern that much of the
outside information and analysis brought to bear on the Enola Gay exhibit came
from a limited number of historians and specialists whose expertise have little or
nothing to do with air and space, but more to do with diplomacy, ethics, and
philosophies of government and intergovernmental relationships. It is notewor-
thy that historians exclusively from the revisionist school were consulted on the
Enola Gay exhibit — historians such as Alperovitz, Bird, Bernstein and others —
and that the curators made little or no contact with historians and institutions
which might have provided information and analysis contrary to the exhibit they
The American Legion strongly recommends that this Committee inquire as to
why no contact for the exhibit was made with the archives concerning Stimson,
Marshall, Truman or MacArthur, and why few, if any, of the acknowledged
experts and biographers of such men were contacted. The American Legion
successfully contacted many such institutions and individuals in the course of its
research and found them to be accessible and readily cooperative.
Finally, The American Legion is deeply concerned about future use of the
canceled exhibit's artifacts and script, and the future of the historic aircraft itself.
It is the view of our organization that the exhibit, declared "flawed from the
beginning" by Secretary Heyman himself and admitted by former NASM Direc-
tor Harwit to contain many errors, should not be resurrected and presented by
any other institution, unless and only after it is subjected to rigorous review by
a broad cross-section of acknowledged historians. This is not an effort to restrain
freedom of expression, but rather an effort to quash propaganda presented in the
guise of history — propaganda researched and prepared at the expense of the
At a minimum. The American Legion recommends that Congress satisfy itself
as to the status of the script and artifacts, and determine if plans to loan the
exhibit to institutions such as The American University for public display, con-
form to Congress' view of the best interest of our country.
At the center of this controversy, and often overlooked as the central cause by
many commentators, rests the historic B-29, Enola Cay. Much has been said and
written about casualties. President Truman's motives, the military and diplo-
matic intentions of the Imperial Japanese Government, and whether or not lives
were indeed spared by the mission of Enola Gay. Those are legitimate lines of
academic inquiry which may never be settled to the agreement of all historians.
But little has been said about the cynical use of this aircraft to, in our view,
justify the presence of an exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum that
otherwise fails to conform to the museum's broad mandate. And little has been
said about the Smithsonian's thinly-veiled efforts to hold the aircraft as ransom
for future appropriations and, in the process, withholding it from the view of the
public and a generation of veterans which has waited for half a century to see it
First, the Smithsonian Secretary's insinuation that failing to approve the FY
1996 appropriations request would further jeopardize the planned NASM exten-
sion at Dulles International Airport is disturbing. That certainly was the message
he brought to hearings in the House concerning future Congressional funding.
Perhaps it is true. But there is no need whatsoever for the Enola Gay to repose
unreassembled and undisplayed until some distant date in the future when the
now twice-delayed Dulles facility is complete. The Enola Gay has undergone a
complete restoration, at a cost far in excess of what would have been necessary
if the aircraft had been properly cared for when it was delivered, fully opera-
tional, by then-Col. Paul Tibbets in 1949.
The extensive restoration is described in a NASM video production and the
original exhibit script contains a description of the restoration in which the
aircraft was characterized as completely restored, but not re-assembled. The
exhibit of Enola Gay now planned for the Air and Space Museum will include only
56 feet of the forward fuselage, perhaps an engine or two, and some other
However, is it the intent of Congress that after 46 years, this aircraft repose
another 10 or more years — until all those alive when she flew are gone — in either
pieces or obscurity? Does the Congress feel the same sense of shame about this
historic aircraft that the Smithsonian Institution seems to have felt for nearly half
The American Legion recommends that Congress direct, and provide funding
specifically for, the loan or transfer of Enola Gay to another federal facility with
the will and the means to display it properly without commentary and contro-
versy. We respectfully suggest that Enola Gay join her sister ship Bock's Car at the
Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, or
failing that, at any of the other facilities that have expressed an interest in doing
We are aware that Smithsonian officials have rejected this option, but we also
believe that NASM's misuse of the aircraft and the Smithsonian's historic disdain
for it disqualify officials there from having the final say. Just as those officials
have argued that loan and exchange of artifacts between museums is a common
practice — so held in defense of their efforts to surround Enola Gay with artifacts
from Hiroshima and Nagasaki — we would argue that loan of this particular
artifact to another American museum poses no threat to the aircraft.
Thousands of World War II veterans believe, with solid justification, that they
owe their lives to Enola Gay and her historic mission. They have asked repeatedly
that they be given an opportunity to see her and to reflect on the meaning of her
mission in their lives. The American Legion strongly urges the Congress to fund
and direct such a loan of the aircraft. There is an entire generation soon to pass
from the scene which has waited long enough.
In this, the 50th anniversary of their victory over the enemies of freedom, it
would be a fitting and inexpensive tribute. It would protect this artifact from the
Smithsonian's feared deterioration due to underfunding. And more important, it
would be a gesture of good faith by the Institution. For the Smithsonian to
unselfishly make this aircraft available for our people to visit, immediately,
would go a long way to restoring the American people's faith in an institution
described by Secretary Heyman in his testimony before the Appropriations Sub-
committees on the Interior as, "a unique and revered institution which represents
the best of America and its people. The Smithsonian is the mirror in which we,
as Americans, see our history and culture from the past, in the present, and
towards the future."
The American Legion is not here to address any aspect of funding for the
Smithsonian Institution other than that specifically concerning the display of
Enola Gay. We do not ask for or support the idea of withholding legitimate
funding for the Smithsonian. The American Legion is not in the business of
tearing down American institutions, nor do we concern ourselves with the per-
sons or personalities of those involved in vital national enterprises. But we are
in the business of protecting and preserving our American heritage. As the battle
over Enola Gay has demonstrated, we are willing to invest our time, our money
and, if need be, our reputation to fight for the principles we espouse. We believe
in honesty, in integrity, in fair play. We believe in honoring the service and
sacrifice of those who took up arms in defense of the Nation. We believe in
passing a sense of America's unique role in world history, and a sense of its
greatness, on to future generations.
And we believe the National Air and Space Museum consciously and intention-
ally violated every one of those principles, by setting out to alter our citizens'
view of themselves. We believe that those responsible for the exhibit did so in a
most cynical and insensitive way: by using the very aircraft that thousands of
World War II veterans credit with sparing them from death on the beaches of
Japan, to suggest that their lives were purchased at the price of vengeance and
If such as we believe is proven to be the case, then it is our view that the
National Air and Space Museum has forfeited, for the time being, any legitimate
claim on the generosity of the American people. The museum ceases to be an
American museum and becomes something else entirely — and as such should
depend for its funding on those who share its views. It should not enjoy the
support of our citizens, and indeed, evidence is mounting that this exhibit, along
with several others in recent history, has resulted in a drastic reduction in
Smithsonian memberships, individual and corporate contributions, and even the
willingness of major contributors to be publicly associated with their donations.
Nevertheless, we encourage Congress to be skeptical of Smithsonian claims
that prudent cuts in the institution's funding levels would adversely affect its
ability to care for its collections. Recent revelations of the disappearance of World
War I artifacts would indicate that even with full funding, the museums are doing
a poor job of protecting their collections. Certainly, the nearly $300,000 spent on
the Enola Gay exhibit, and now gone for nearly no good purpose, would indicate
room for improvement under tighter funding controls. And the cancellation of
many of the Institution's near-term plans and exhibits suggests more funds
expended for nothing. It is our opinion that tighter funding should not adversely
affect the collections, but should instead impose some discipline on free-spend-
ing curators and administrators.
We see no reason to fund the Smithsonian Institution according to its whims
under the thinly veiled threat that failure to do so would result in deterioration
of collections or decline in the physical plant or plans, until such time that the
Institution has demonstrated the will and the ability to manage its finances more
In summary. The American Legion's recommendations for the future of the
Smithsonian Institution and for management guidelines are few in number and
relatively simple, common sense safeguards common to prudent management of
any public institution. They are:
1. Congressional oversight and review of museum plans and prac-
2. Periodic review by independent professionals and knowledgeable
3. Tighter review and control over the use of appropriated funds
4. Improved management controls and establishment of reporting
5. Redefinition and clarification of the role of Smithsonian museums
in American society, and establishment of measures to guarantee
This concludes the testimony of The American Legion, presented on behalf of
its more than 3 million members and, we trust, of countless other Americans.
The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Harrington.
Next we will hear from R. E. Smith, president of the Air Force
Association. Mr. Smith?
TESTIMONY OF R. E. SMITH, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, AIR
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee, ladies and gentlemen. I am Gene Smith, national
president of the Air Force Association and I appreciate the
opportunity to give you the Air Force Association's view on the
controversy at the National Air and Space Museum.
AFA was the first major group to challenge the museum and
its parent organization, the Smithsonian Institution, on their
plans for the exhibition of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped
the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. AFA has also been the
source for much of the data that has been cited in the course of
this debate. We would like to submit for inclusion in the record
of this hearing a compendium that we have assembled of
relevant reports, memos, letters, statements, and other
documents. I believe this material will help you determine the
facts of what happened.
[The materials are maintained in the committee's files.]
AFA's involvement dates back to August 1993 when our staff
began checking up on reports from a small group of B-29
veterans who told us the Air and Space Museum was going
wrong with its plans for exhibition of the Enola Gay. We
discovered that the B-29 veterans were right. The museum was
working up an exhibit that was blatantly biased and severely
lacking in balance and historical context.
For the next several months we tried talking and reasoning
with the museum director and the curators. But like others
before us, we found that our comments did not count for much.
We decided that the only way to get change was to take our case
to the public, which we did beginning in March of 1994. We did
this first in a report and then in a condensed version in our
monthly journal. Air Force Magazine.
You will hear it said that we jumped prematurely on a raw
first draft of the exhibition plan and that the curators would have
fixed it themselves if we had let them alone. In fact, the script we
exposed was the fourth planning document, not the first. It
flowed directly from, and picked up the worst features of, the
three concept plans that went before. Museum officials showed
no inclination to change. To the contrary. They fought change
until the pressure from public opinion and Congress became too
great to bear.
In April 1994, at the request of a congressional subcommittee
we did our first detailed content analysis of the Enola Gay script.
We have done similar analyses of every script the museum has
produced. These analyses have supplied many of the statistics
that have been cited in the news. I will mention two examples for
the benefit of those who have not been through the documents
We reported, for example, that an earlier script had 49 photos
of Japanese casualties but only 3 photos of American casualties,
demonstrating the emphasis the curators put on Japanese
suffering. Analyzing a revised script found that the curators had
given less than 1 text page out of a total of 295 text pages to
Japanese military activity prior to 1945. That was the extent of
the context in their plan on Japan's 15-year war of atrocity and
aggression. Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, the torture
and killing of POW's, and all the rest.
Our position, which we began stating early in the debate, was
that the exhibition would not be acceptable if it continued to
emphasize any of the following themes that were apparent in the
first script: one, that the Japanese were victims in World War II,
defending their nation and culture against western aggression;
two, that the Americans were ruthless invaders, driven by
racism, revenge, and blood lust; three, that the death, suffering
and horrors of war were borne unilaterally or unfairly by a
passive Japan; and four, that the roles of Japan and the United
States in World War II were morally equivalent.
At no time did AFA seek to dictate the exact details of the
script, and we consistently declined to be part of line-by-line
negotiating on the script. Our standards were balance, context,
The issue caught fire in August 1994 when about 30 members
of Congress issued statements saying that the exhibit planned
was biased. The Smithsonian took a more direct hand in the
matter after I. Michael Heyman became secretary in September.
The salvage effort broke down in January. Mr. Heyman cancelled
the exhibition that was planned. He said that the museum would
show the forward fuselage of the Enola Gay in a simpler,
straightforward display that he would oversee personally. We
have not seen the details of that exhibit but we are hoping for the
Despite that, we are concerned. The question does not end
with the Enola Gay exhibit. What about the next exhibit and the
one after that? We would like to see the museum putting its main
effort on its primary mission which is to collect, preserve, and
display historic aircraft, spacecraft, and aeronautical artifacts.
There are most certainly indications of change; the main one
being the resignation of the director of the Air and Space
Museum. It was unfortunate that matters came to that, but it was
probably inevitable. We welcome new leadership at the museum
and the chance the museum now has to learn from the lessons of
the past and rebuild for the future. It is important, though, to be
sure that the Smithsonian and the museum learn the right lessons
from this experience.
When Secretary Heyman cancelled the problem exhibit he
said, "I have taken this action for one overriding reason: I have
concluded that we made a basic error in attempting to couple a
historic treatment of the use of atomic weapons with the 50th
anniversary commemoration of the end of the war." In our
opinion, Secretary Heyman made the right decision for the
wrong reason. The problem was not the coupHng of history with
commemoration. It was that history had been given a
counter-cultural spin. The problem was not that the exhibit was
analytical. The problem was that the analysis was distorted.
The theme of "history versus nostalgia" has been picked up
and elevated to extreme levels by activists in the academic
community. They use language like "historical cleansing" and
"censorship." They would have you believe that the issue is a
contest between honest scholarship and blind patriotism. That is
simply not true. Our concerns from the start have always
centered around balance and context.
It is rare that we find ourselves on the same side of the issue
as The Washington Post, so it is worth noting that the editorial
for January 20, 1995 reaches the same conclusion we do in this
regard. The Post said that the earlier drafts of the Enola Gay script
were "incredibly propagandistic and intellectually shabby." It
also said that the curators had repeatedly made the controversy
worse by their "misplaced condescension and refusal to see their
criticisms as anything but the carping of the insufficiently
sophisticated." The problem with the Enola Gay exhibit in many
ways was the result of refusal by the curators to accept
constructive criticism from a wide range of experts, including
but not limited to military historians and scholars, who put forth
a mainstream view of the circumstances surrounding President
Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. Instead they put great reliance and undue weight on
the radical scholarships and assessments that are, to put it
mildly, not universally shared by those who are well informed
on the subject.
As we pointed out in our very first report on the Enola Gay,
this is not the first flawed exhibit at the Air and Space Museum
or within the Smithsonian complex. We believe that actions
should be taken to ensure that curators in our national museums
have the benefit of review and comment by a full range of
recognized experts and that mechanisms be put into place to
ensure that this happens. Only then will the American public be
assured that our national museums reflect the broad scholarship
that might reasonably be expected.
We applaud the efforts taken to date by Secretary Heyman.
He has initiated a management review of the Air and Space
Museum and has shown himself willing to hear advice. As we
see it, a consensus is developing that says curators need to pay
particular attention to their audiences.
Finally, let me say that we, like most Americans, regard the
Smithsonian as a national treasure. As you might imagine, our
highest regard has traditionally been for the National Air and
Space Museum. For those of us in the aerospace community this
museum is special beyond compare. Our natural position is to be
in strong support of the Air and Space Museum, not fighting
with it. We sincerely hope that a new era is about to begin at Air
and Space, and with it a rededication to the principles and
purposes that will allow us to once again become an advocate for
the museum, not its adversary.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
Our next witness is Mr. Bob Manhan, who is the assistant
director of the National Legislative Service for the Veterans of
Foreign Wars. Mr. Manhan?
TESTIMONY OF BOB MANHAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE, VETERANS OF FOR-
Mr. Manhan. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for
inviting Veterans of Foreign Wars to appear here this morning.
Of our 2.1 million members, approximately half of them are
veterans of World War II. While all of them did not necessarily
see service in the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operation, our entire
membership unanimously agrees that President Truman on the
14th of June 1945 made the correct political, strategic decision to
drop atomic bombs on Japan. The facts that were available to
President Truman then are still well-documented today. In
essence it boils down to the fact that Imperial Japan was not
ready to unconditionally surrender and that a physical land
invasion of Japan would cause horrifying American casualties.
My own qualification for being here this morning is the fact
that I participated in reviewing four of the Smithsonian's scripts,
I participated in a working luncheon one-on-one with Dr. Martin
Harwit, and I attended three working sessions at the
Smithsonian headquarters. In addition, about 2 months after Dr.
Heyman cancelled the exhibit I did attend the jointly sponsored
symposium at the Ann Arbor campus of the University of
Michigan wherein Dr. Heyman conducted a post-mortem study
on what went wrong with this exhibit.
Having said that, and having the opportunity now to be the
last one up at the plate, I want you to know that the VFW agrees
with everything that my predecessors have said up until this
point. This allows me to touch on our own very brief seven-page
written testimony that we submitted. It is structured, as you
have already seen, to provide you with four basic managerial
questions that you may consider asking next week when the
Smithsonian tells their side of the story.
Our first question is: How could scholars and technicians at
the Smithsonian have offered their flawed initial broad-based
concept without receiving any peer group pressure or review?
And once it was obvious that they were controversial, why
weren't managerial corrections made sooner?
The second question: Why was Dr. Martin Harwit chosen in
the first place for this particular exhibit?
The third question: What roles were played by Dr. Michael
Neufeld and Chairman Tom Crouch throughout this exhibit?
Both are Air and Space Museum employees and were involved
to some degree in the first script. The first script was not made
available at any time to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The fourth and last question is: Why didn't Dr. Heyman, the
Secretary of the Smithsonian, take action sooner to correct the
exhibit rather than to simply cancel the show?
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. This concludes the
[The prepared statement of Mr. Manhan follows:]
Statement of Bob Manhan, Assistant Director of Legislative
Services, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Thank you for inviting the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)
to participate in this very important hearing. Because of the thrust of this hearing
the VFW offers four basic managerial questions that impact directly on the Enola
Gay Exhibit. We believe the answers, which can only be provided by the
Smithsonian, will help establish guidelines to preclude that institution from
again getting bogged down in a similar incident; i.e., one that confuses feelings
with facts and lacks leadership. The questions are:
1. How could scholars and technicians at the Smithsonian have of-
fered their flawed initial broad-based concept without receiving
any peer group review and, once in trouble, why weren't manage-
ment corrections made?
2. Why was Dr. Martin Harwit chosen in the first place for this
3. What roles were played by Dr. Michael Neufeld and Chairman
Tom Crouch throughout this exhibit? Both are Air and Space
Museum employees and were involved to some degree with the
4. Why didn't Dr. Heyman, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, take
action sooner to correct the exhibit rather than to simply cancel
The remainder of our testimony is structured to provide background informa-
tion on each of these questions.
About half of our 2.1 million members are veterans of World War II. While all
did not necessarily fight in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre of operations, all members
firmly believe that President Truman on June 14, 1945, made the correct decision
to authorize the dropping of Atomic bombs on Japan. The facts that were known
fifty years ago are still well documented today. In essence, we knew that the
Japanese would never surrender unconditionally and that a military invasion
would inflict horrifying casualties on American troops.
The VFW qualifications to participate at this hearing are based on the fact that
we worked with all the principles on the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space
Museum's planned exhibit titled. The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of
World War II, from May 1994 to January 30, 1995, and a representative attended
the post-mortem symposium sponsored jointly by the Smithsonian Institution
and The University of Michigan in mid-April of 1995. During this eleven month
period of time the VFW provided corrections and commentaries to exhibit scripts
two and three. We then reviewed script number four which was primarily an
American Legion effort that proved unsatisfactory to all concerned, including the
Legion. The VFW again worked with The Air Force Association (AFA) and The
Retired Officers Association (TROA) on the Smithsonian's script number five and
a follow-on new sixth introductory section of the military situation in the Asian-
Pacific area from the 1930's to December 1944. This last script was issued on
December 15, 1994, and Secretary Heyman cancelled the entire effort about a
month later on January 29, 1995. During this same period of time the VFW
attended three meetings at "The Castle" or Headquarters of the Smithsonian
Institution. Under Secretary Constance Newman was at every meeting. Secretary
Heyman was at one meeting, and Dr. Martin Harwit also attended one of these
sessions. The veterans organizations attending all three meetings were the VFW,
the AFA, and TROA. As an aside, in mid-October Dr. Martin Harwit invited just
myself and Bob Currieo, the Executive Director of the VFW, to a working lun-
cheon at the Air and Space Museum. Also present was the Smithsonian's Director
of Government Relations, Mr. Mark Rodgers. In summary, the VFW's position
was to tell Dr. Harwit that after going through three scripts we believed that the
media was becoming involved on the side of historical accuracy rather than
accepting the revisionist approach the Smithsonian was taking at that point in
time. The VFW also added that there was a real possibility the Republican Party
would be the majority in the new 104th Congress and that Republicans generally
would support a strong national defense and would be less likely to accept a
revisionist concept for the Enola Gay exhibit. Dr. Harwit agreed with both com-
Secretary Heyman cancelled this exhibit on January 30, 1995. This was an-
nounced at the third and last meeting at "The Castle." The rationale of doing this
boiled down to this one overriding reason; "I have concluded that we [the
Smithsonian Institution] made a basic error in attempting to couple an historic
treatment of the use of atomic weapons with the 50th anniversary commemora-
tion of the end of the war. Exhibitions have many purposes, equally worthwhile.
But we need to know which of many goals is paramount, and not to confuse
There was general agreement between the VFW, AFA, and TROA that the fifth
script was a fairly decent package but not yet to the point where any of us would
endorse it. However, after all the time, effort, and money that had been expended
up to this point on presenting a balanced exhibit. Dr. Heyman's decision was a
surprise, at least to the VFW.
The symposium held about two and a half months later on the campus of the
University of Michigan was titled "Presenting History: Museums In A Demo-
cratic Society." This all day affair was divided into the following three sessions:
Exhibiting Controversial Subjects;
The Enola Gay Exhibit: A Case Study in Controversy; and.
Museums in a Democratic Society.
It is interesting to note that Thomas D. Crouch, the Chairman of the Department
of Aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum, was the "Smithsonian's"
person during the Enola Gay case study session. Please recall that Dr. Harwit had
not yet resigned. A total of some 26 eminently qualified scholars, researchers,
and historians participated in the symposium. It was the collective judgment of
this group that whenever and wherever it is possible to deal with persons who
participated in an historical event they should be interviewed and their posi-
tion(s) clearly stated. In focusing on the Enola Gay Exhibit the group felt the effort
was handled poorly throughout. Oddly enough, Tom Crouch did not concur. In
the judgment of the VFW his position was simply that one can't make the
American veterans "feel good" and, at the same time, present a meaningful
exhibit on the use of atomic bombs in 1945.
First, how could scholars and technicians at the Smithsonian have offered their
initial broad-based concept without any peer group review? Please recall the title
was "The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II." Ostensibly,
this was to have been scheduled for a late May 1995 opening date to commemo-
rate, well, the end of World War II. However, the VFW concluded that the portion
titled The Atomic Bomb was to be the vehicle the Smithsonian would use to make
the case that nuclear weapons should never be used and that America was
absolutely wrong in doing so. They were to make their case by presenting the
results of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the victim's viewpoint.
Second, just what real role did Dr. Martin Harwit play as a revisionist historian
or as an opponent of atomic weapons? It is a fact that he was formerly a professor
of Astronomy at Cornell University and had been Director of the National Air
and Space Museum since 1987. It is also true that while serving in the U.S. Army
from 1955 to 1957, Dr. Harwit was assigned to work on nuclear weapons testing
at Eniwetok and Bikini. Dr. Harwit had said that this experience inevitably
influenced his thoughts about the Enola Gay exhibit. Knowing this, was Dr.
Harwit in charge or was he being used as a front-man for someone else's agenda?
Also, knowing Dr. Harwit's views, why was he given this exhibit mission in the
first place and subsequently allowed to struggle with four or five revised scripts?
Third, what roles were played by Dr. Michael Neufeld and Tom Crouch? Both
were associated with the National Air and Space Museum and the first Enola Gay
script which was never shown to any veterans service organization but was
reviewed by unknown parties in Japan. Another facet to this question is, what
was the managerial role of the Chairman Tom Crouch to the Director, Martin
Fourth and last, why didn't Dr. Heyman, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, take
a more immediate and decisive position earlier in this controversy? In all fair-
ness, we know that Dr. Heyman joined the Smithsonian in September of 1994;
however, he certainly should have been aware of the on-going Enola Gay contro-
versy if only by reading newspaper editorials and surely by receiving informa-
tion from his Under Secretary, Ms. Constance Newman, who was present for most
of the Enola Gay campaign. While it is a fact that Dr. Heyman was previously a
law professor and chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, he is no
stranger to power and politics of Washington, DC. He was once counselor to
Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
in the Department of the Interior. It is also a fact that Secretary Heyman received
congressional criticism beginning in mid-December 1994 from members of the
House of Representatives, to include Sam Johnson, Peter Blute, Duncan Hunter,
and Bob Dornan among others. Then, on January 19, 1995, Congressman Sam
Johnson and Peter Blute issued a press release that was extremely critical of the
National Air and Space Museum's attempt to revise previously agreed upon
American casualty estimates for a land invasion of Japan. The following day,
January 20, 1995, the Air Force Association issued their own press release that
also eloquently summarized the VFW's position by stating:
We (the Air Force Association] have continued our discussions with
senior Smithsonian officials in the hope that the Enola Gay exhibit could
be salvaged. We had been assured that no unilateral actions would be
taken by curators and official s of the National Air and space Museum,
in whom we lost faith long ago. It now appears that, on the side and
behind the scenes, the curators are still working their political agenda.
This is unacceptable. Museum officials have failed in their stewardship
Apparently, Dr. Heyman took this statement and the congressional criticism to
heart and 10 days later cancelled the exhibit. This action, in the VFW's opinion,
was not justified when we recall the expended time and effort and the fact the
Air and Space Museum received about $13 million in 1994 from Congress. Cer-
tainly all this money didn't go into the Enola Gay fiasco, but for $13 million we
do expect first-class management that as a minimum has an objective in mind and
a timetable to meet deadlines and make decisions. This brings us full circle for
the requirement to have Congress conduct an inquiry into how and why this
debacle was ever allowed to happen in the first place.
This concludes the VFW's formal statement, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to
respond to any questions you or the committee members may have. Thank you.
The Chairman. Thank you very much. Mr. Manhan, I shall
ask those questions next week. We will get their answers on the
Mr. Manhan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Let me just make a few comments and turn
the questioning over to my colleague, the former chairman. We
have lived through this process together. I appreciate the
restraint that you gentlemen have used with regard to the
problems we have had on this exhibit with the Smithsonian.
First let me ask you. General Sweeney, were you contacted by
any of the historians at the Smithsonian with regard to your
participation in these historic flights before it became a
General Sweeney. No, sir, I was not.
The Chairman. You said that you learned about it first
through a publication, the Air Force Association's publication?
General Sweeney. Yes, when I first learned —
The Chairman. We need your microphone. General.
Senator FORD. We are frugal. We do not have one for
General SWEENEY. Your question was, I first learned about it
through a publication, the Air Force Association publication, the
Air Force Magazine, which is true. Mr. Correll wrote an article
in there and just sent signals to my eyes when the Smithsonian
is purported — and I am sure it did say that the script
said — implied — I think said that we were trying to destroy
another nation's culture and that we were an imperialistic
Now to the latter I say, I do not think we wanted any of their
territory or any other territory in Asia. I do not think we were
setting up satellites in other parts of the world or that we were
fighting for that reason.
Then as to the culture, we certainly were not trying to do
anything with their culture. We were trying to preserve it and
not destroy it. We were just trying to get our men home; get the
war over with and get our men home. I must suggest to you and
remind perhaps everybody that on the original list of targets for
the nuclear weapons, Kyoto somehow or other appeared on
there. Secretary Stimson struck that immediately because that is
considered to be the seat of Japanese culture, religious culture,
or whatever you want to call it. So Secretary Stimson struck that
from the list immediately.
Also, every bomber pilot in the 20th Air Force in the theater
in the Pacific had orders not to ever bomb the Imperial Palace,
even as a target of opportunity. Certainly we could have wiped
out the Imperial Palace — I do not mean our group, but some
group could very easily have wiped out the Imperial Palace if we
were trying to destroy their culture. Secretary Stimson said no,
never; no pilot will ever, no crew will ever go near that Imperial
Thank you, sir.
The Chairman. You raise a very interesting point for me. I
was on the Burma Road between Chongqing and Xian taking a
convoy of gas trucks up to Chengdu which was a new base to fly
B-29's out of. We were preparing to have an assault on Japan
flying in from the west. I know full well the impact of the word.
the feelings we had, when we learned that you had dropped the
bomb. General. You are right, it was just 8 days later that we
were turned around and told to go to another destination, the
war was over.
Someone asked me the other day, how can you remember all
that? You just do not forget that.
General SWEENEY. Yes, how can you forget?
The Chairman. Colonel Cooper, I note that you also are
distinguished with your record of over 9,000 hours of flying in
the Air Force. I do appreciate your attendance. I do not have any
questions for you. I want to thank you for coming.
Mr. Harrington, I think the role of the Legion in this from the
very first was constructive in trying to bring about a
presentation that did comply with the law. I am alarmed that the
Smithsonian Institution indicated it does not feel bound by the
provisions of Section 80 of Title 20 of the U.S. Code. I just want
to read it into this record and we will put the complete history
of this section in the hearing.
We intend to have these hearings printed, because I think that
we should preserve a record of this attempt to change the history
of the Enola Gay.
The law provides that the Smithsonian Institution is a study
center of historical collections.
The Smithsonian Institution shall commemorate and
display contributions made by the military forces of
the Nation towards creating, developing, and main-
taining a free, peaceful, and independent society and
culture in the United States of America. The valor and
sacrificial service of the men and women of the Armed
Forces shall be portrayed as an inspiration to the pres-
ent and future generations of America. The demands
placed upon the full energies of our people, the hard-
ships endured, and the sacrifice demanded in our con-
stant search for world peace shall be clearly
demonstrated. The extensive peacetime contributions
the Armed Forces have made to the advance of human
knowledge in science, nuclear energy, polar and space
exploration, electronics, engineering, aeronautics, and
medicine shall be graphically described. The Smithson-
ian Institution shall interpret through dramatic dis-
play significant current problems affecting the
Nation's security. It shall be equipped with a study
center for scholarly research into the meaning of war,
its effect on civilization, and the role of the Armed
Forces in maintaining a just and lasting peace by pro-
viding a powerful deterrent to war. In fulfilling its
purposes, the Smithsonian Institution shall collect,
preserve, and exhibit military objects of historical in-
terest and significance. [20 U.S.C. 80a]
Now, that was passed originally on August 30, 1961.
As I understand it, those of you who had negotiations with
the Smithsonian have indicated that you called the attention of
the Smithsonian to that law and they said they were not bound
Mr. Harrington. It was our understanding, sir, that they
insinuated that that section of the law applied to a museum that
was being contemplated and had been put on the back burner for
the time being and did not apply to the institution in general.
That is my understanding, sir.
The Chairman. Next week we shall get the background of
who gave them the opinion that they are not bound by that 1961
law. Mr. Harrington, on behalf of the committee I want to thank
you for your persistence in pursuing this matter. We have taken
note of your recommendations. I am not sure that this committee
has the jurisdiction to pursue all of the recommendations, but we
shall review them.
Mr. Harrington. Thank you.
The Chairman. Mr. Smith, many of us were involved behind
the scenes in trying to straighten this out, but it was your
association that really brought it to the forefront. I must say, I
join in the regret that the Smithsonian's exhibit will not be as
robust as it should have been. It has now been scaled down. The
result of the controversy is that it appears they just want this
subject to go away. So I hope that you will continue to maintain
your concern about the exhibit and help us eventually bring
about an exhibit that is meaningful with regard to this event.
Lastly, Mr. Manhan, as I indicated to you, we will ask those
questions next week and we will see to it that you get answers
to them. They are very good questions. I really do not have any
questions because I was in agreement with you from the very
Senator FORD. We both signed the letter so I guess we were in
agreement also. Let me tell you what bothers me some right now.
I have five great, wonderful grandchildren and before me is
history, personal, real, you can put your hand on it. I think our
responsibility is to be sure that this real reflection on what
actually happened — and I underscore real and personal — is
projected into the future and not sanitized.
And I could bring up a little something that if we had term
limits, Senator Stevens would not be here. He would not be
chairman if we had term limits. Here is a man who participated
in World War II, General, and got his mission changed because
you were successful. He was going to back you up and come from
the other way. We were getting ready to flank them; the strategy
was laid out. I was there. I am a veteran of World War II, not as
active as some, more active than others maybe.
So somehow or another I want the institutional memory to
stay as long as we can till we get it right. That is my problem
today, and that is what I am going to try to work on with my
good friend — and he is my good friend — the chairman of the
I would like to ensure that the Smithsonian does not repeat
the errors that it has made in developing the Enola Gay exhibit.
Based upon the experience of this group here, do other panel
members — I believe the American Legion and the VFW have set
out specifics — have suggestions or questions that we might use
next week as it relates to the Smithsonian? Mr. Smith?
Mr. Smith. The Air Force Association feels just exactly like
they did. We have discussed those
Senator FORD. I think that was kind of a mutual agreement,
but I wanted to be sure
Mr. Smith. Yes, it was. Let me build on what you said. Senator
Ford, too. I think we missed a wonderful opportunity to display
appropriately one of the significant events in the last 100 years
for our grandchildren to learn from, and we did it wrong. That
is what this is all about. That is why John Correll, who is the
editor of the Air Force Association, who I would like to make
sure that this committee knows was the one that actually
discovered the script the first time and started the work that we
Senator FORD. I think everybody understands that we are all
on the same wavelength. We are together, and prevention is
going to be important in the future. I do not mind somebody
disagreeing with me. We all have interpretations, and that is
what I have been doing up here for a few years now. We do not
agree all the time. But we still try to work things out. And where
we do agree, we go gung-ho.
I do not mind having different opinions and different
interpretations. But it is awfully hard to refute General Sweeney.
It is awfully hard because he was there, and he seems to be of
sound mind and all that here today. I feel comfortable with his
testimony. I believe if he signed his will today it would be a good
one. So under those circumstances, I believe what you tell me,
and I want that in the record and I want that unsanitized.
Colonel Cooper. Senator Ford, if I may?
Senator FORD. You sure may. Get me started and it is hard to
stop me sometimes.
Colonel Cooper. It has been brought to my attention by an
associate who was deeply involved with the National Air and
Space Museum directly that at the present time there are three
major galleries in the downtown museum that have no actual air
or space artifacts in them. Yet just this week we opened a Barbie
doll display at the National Air and Space Museum, which I have
a little bit of a problem figuring out just what the important
aviation artifact is
Senator Ford. Was Barbie a female pilot?
Colonel Cooper. I really cannot answer that question, sir.
The Chairman. The general has given us a copy of his new
video, which is one of the 50th Anniversary commemorative
videos on the war's end. We thank you for that. General. I hope
to see that we get one of these for each member of the Congress.
We will talk to you about that.
Mr. Harrington. Mr. Chairman, if I may please, before you
conclude. There was mention made of the Smithsonian's
deviation and dereliction from Title 20 of the United States Code.
We do have a letter from Secretary Heyman citing that particular
exemption that he claims is applicable to the institution and we
would be glad to provide that to you, sir.
The Chairman. Yes, we would like to have that. The scope of
this hearing, as I said at the beginning, is to look into the
decision-making processes of the Smithsonian to see if we can
find a way to be assured that the intent of Congress in helping
to create the Smithsonian is met. It is on the Smithsonian's future
This is not the first time that this committee has had difficulty
with the Smithsonian. We had difficulty over one exhibit that
was called "The Underclass", which in order to enter it, one had
to lie down on a slab like it was a morgue and go through a wall.
It was a very traumatic experience really for children that were
going through that exhibit.
Secondly, we had difficulty with the Smithsonian over its
insistence on assisting Professor Luis Fuentes in getting national
recognition of his theory that our Government stole California,
Arizona, and Texas from the Mexican people and ought to look
into finding some way to redress the wrongs. With the increasing
Mexican population in those areas, you can understand our
concern about anyone who might be fomenting great
dissatisfaction in that area of our country.
We have had a series of these revisionist concepts with the
Smithsonian, and it is a management concern. Two members of
our committee are on the board of directors, but it is such an
enormous institution now and there seems to be such great
leeway in determining how the space is to be used for exhibits,
and in the content of the exhibits, that it raises serious
management questions. I think this is a management problem;
the problem of determining whether the research that was
conducted prior to planning the exhibit was adequate. We hope
that we are understood here.
I am pleased, as I said, that you gentlemen have joined in the
concept of trying to demonstrate our concern about the future of
support for the Smithsonian. Had this exhibit gone on as it was
originally brought to my attention, I swear that no veteran of the
United States would have ever contributed to the Smithsonian
again. Now that is what the board must understand. It was not
true history. It was a distorted reflection of the endeavors of
General Sweeney pursuant to the Commander-in-Chief's orders.
You have contributed to our process of trying to bring about
some change in the management practices of the Smithsonian
and I want to thank each of you for attending here today. Thank
you very much.
Whereupon, at 10:43 a.m., the committee was adjourned.
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION:
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE
THURSDAY, MAY 18, 1995
Committee on Rules and Administration,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:35 a.m., in Room
301, Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Ted Stevens, chairman,
Present: Senators Stevens, Warner, Cochran, Ford, Pell, and
Staff Present: Christine Ciccone, Deputy Chief Counsel;
Mark C. Mackie, Chief Counsel; Virginia C. Sandahl, Chief Clerk;
and Kennie L. Gill, Special Counsel for the Minority.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. TED STEVENS, CHAIR-
MAN, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
The Chairman. Let me make a preliminary statement here, if
I may. Part of it is procedural. We have had a decision now from
the Supreme Court that indicates that unsworn statements
before the Congress cannot be the subject of further action. I
intend to send a letter to all of the chairmen and ranking
members of Senate committees to put them on notice that, in my
judgment, that means that if there is any question that might be
raised concerning testimony, that my advice to them — and I
think my good friend, the Vice Chairman and Senator from
Kentucky, will join in this — that the advice is that witnesses
appearing before the committees who have not been sworn in as
we have, should be. Members of Congress and Federal
employees are under oath when they appear before our
committee. We will start the practice of asking witnesses who
appear before this committee to take an oath.
Again, I want to say, I believe that members of the Federal
Government have taken an oath, as we have taken an oath, and
are subject to prosecution if we do not testify truthfully here. I
hope that those who appear before us will understand. It is my
intention to ask witnesses who have not taken an oath, as
employees or otherwise, to take an oath. I remind those who
appear before us that they are under oath when they testify if
they are members of the Federal Government.
Our first witness this morning is the Honorable Sam Johnson,
who is a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents. Professor
Edward Linenthal, Professor of Religion and American Culture
at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will follow
Congressman Johnson. Mr. Linenthal served on the advisory
board of the Enola Gay exhibit.
We shall also hear testimony from the Secretary of the
Smithsonian, Michael Heyman; Dr. Tom Crouch, the curator on
the Enola Gay exhibit; and Dr. Maxine Singer, chairman of the
Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian.
Now this is the second hearing which we have called
regarding the Smithsonian's future management practices. Last
week we heard from several veteran's groups. I want to reiterate
what I said at that hearing last week. These hearings are not
being held to tear down the Smithsonian. We believe, I believe,
it is our duty to help preserve the Smithsonian as the central
depository of the artifacts of our Nation's history.
Those artifacts, together with the facts proven at the time of
the decisions, permit judgments of history to be fair and
unbiased. They allow succeeding generations to learn from
history and to question it.
What happened with the Enola Gay, in my judgment, is that
the Smithsonian produced an exhibit that was not fair or
unbiased. It was a revisionist view of the events that took place
at the end of World War II. Some of those individuals who took
part in those events, and I am one of them, are still around to
challenge the Smithsonian's account.
The exhibit resulted in an intense public controversy and has
created a chasm, again in my opinion, between a major segment
of the public, particularly the veterans of this country, which
account for 26.5 million people. That is approximately 10 percent
of the population and when you add their families and friends
that number adds up very quickly.
In addition, the whole controversy has now resulted in the
resignation of one of the Smithsonian's top officials. Dr. Martin
Harwit, the director of the Air and Space Museum.
Sadly, the Enola Gay exhibit is not the first exhibit at the
Smithsonian that has raised public concern. There were also the
"West as America" exhibit, the "Etiquette of the Underclass"
exhibit, and the "Buried Mirror" video that featured Carlos
Fuentes. Each time that an exhibit shocks the sensibilities of the
general public, support for the Smithsonian is diminished.
Approximately 85 percent of the Smithsonian's budget comes
from the Federal treasury. The balance is from non-appropriated
funds, such as private gifts and donations. Since the 1950's, the
percentage of the Smithsonian's budget that comes from private
sources has diminished from 31 percent to 15 percent. Each year
the Smithsonian projects its budget request and the request is
consistently for increased Federal funding.
In 1992, the projection that was presented to this committee
was that the Smithsonian would need $1.1 billion in Federal
money between 1992 and the year 2001 to fund their projects.
Since that time, they have lowered their projections, but at the
same time the portion of the Smithsonian's budget that comes
from private sources continues to drop. In a time when we face
in this country, and particularly here in the Federal Government,
severe budget cuts, the Smithsonian will be in greater need of
increased private donations to sustain its operations.
Eroding public support threatens the ability of the
Smithsonian to continue to be the central depository of our
nation's artifacts. It is my hope that these hearings will set the
record straight, and quiet down this controversy concerning this
exhibit and the events of the past.
We want to provide the Smithsonian with a public forum to
explain what went wrong with their management practices, and
to reassure us that steps have been taken to correct what I would
call the revisionist and politically correct bias that was contained
in some of these exhibits of the past, particularly the original
script for the Enola Gay exhibit.
I hope that will be done, and if it is done, we will put this
Senator Ford, do you have an opening statement, sir?
Senator FORD. Just briefly, Mr. Chairman.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. WENDELL H. FORD,
RANKING MEMBER, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE
First, let me say I support your opening statement as it relates
to swearing in of witnesses. Several of the committees on which
I serve do that automatically, and I do not think it would be an
extension too much of what is now the practice. So I will support
that effort, and witnesses should be alerted to the Supreme Court
Mr. Chairman, last week this committee heard testimony
from a number of individuals and groups representing both
active and retired military who had been involved, in various
ways, with the development of the Enola Gay exhibit. That
testimony raised some very disturbing issues about how the
Smithsonian management went about soliciting input on this
important exhibit and determining the scope of the exhibit.
I recognize that Secretary Heyman came to the Smithsonian
at the end of this process. Testimony by some of the witnesses
last week indicated that he made a valiant, though ultimately
unsuccessful, effort to resolve this controversy and get the
exhibit back on track.
I commend the Secretary for his efforts. However, I am afraid
that the experience with the Enola Gay exhibit is not an isolated
example and indicates a general misunderstanding of the
relationship between the Smithsonian and the American public.
Experiences such as that with the Enola Gay undermine the broad
support for the Smithsonian and jeopardize its unique role, and
I underscore unique role, as America's museum.
It is vital to the continued congressional support of the
Smithsonian that the management flaws that led to this situation
not be repeated. The Smithsonian must understand that, as an
institution supported with Federal funds, it is ultimately
accountable to the American public, whose lives and history its
I look forward to hearing the response of the Smithsonian to
the issues raised last week, and the Secretary's proposals to
prevent a recurrence of such a controversy in the future. It will
also be helpful to our consideration of this matter to hear from
the other witnesses who bring different perspectives to this
discussion. The Smithsonian will not be able to move forward
until we have fully aired these issues and management has taken
steps to ensure that this situation will not be repeated.
I thank the Chairman.
The Chairman. Senator Feinstein, do you have an opening
Senator FEINSTEIN. I do not, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
The Chairman. Congressman Johnson, as I stated, I believe
that we who serve in the Congress are all under oath. We will be
happy to have your statement.
TESTIMONY OF HON. SAM JOHNSON, A REPRESEN-
TATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Johnson. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it, and I thank you
for giving me the opportunity to participate in this very
From what has been said already, I just want to emphasize
that you represent those who fought for us in World War II and
were able to respond to the Enola Gay episode, I think, more
emotionally than some of the Americans who were not involved
in that conflict. Being a military man, I appreciate the posture
that you have taken and I thank you for your patriotic approach.
I think that the Smithsonian does reflect, and will reflect in the
future, the values that America so greatly loves.
Last summer, amid great controversy, I became involved in
the development of the Enola Gay exhibit. I became involved
because I was, like you, disturbed by the biased and unbalanced
text of the script, and by the assumptions that were made by a
few individuals questioning America's actions in ending World
Through the tenacity and perseverance of Members of
Congress, staff, veterans, and outside groups, a series of
constructive negotiations were held and I felt that some progress
was being made to rewrite the script. I was wrong.
The problems continued and were exacerbated by the
uncooperative spirit of the museum's director and curators, and
their inability to understand the reasons for the opposition
toward the exhibit. It seemed that they were willing to disregard
history in order to promote their own ideological agenda.
While the revised scripts did move closer to a balance, the
museum director and curators persisted with their questioning
of American intentions, while maintaining the innocence of the
Japanese. When these differences could not be reconciled.
Secretary Heyman, who became Secretary as you know only in
September, responded quickly and responsibly. He cancelled the
exhibit as planned and put himself personally in charge of
revising the Enola Gay exhibit.
At that same time, I was honored when the Speaker appointed
me to sit on the Smithsonian's Board of Regents. Unfortunately,
over the past few years, I believe that the Board of Regents was
not as diligent as it should have been in its oversight and
guidance of the various museum directors, curators, and other
Smithsonian personnel. We must remember that it is the Board
of Regents in whose hands the Institution and all its museums
have been entrusted, with the help of the Secretary.
Today, however, I am pleased to tell you that it is a very
different Smithsonian than the one that existed just a few months
ago. There is a renewed interest and energy on behalf of the
Secretary and the Board of Regents that I am proud to be a part
Although we found that the Enola Gay was not the only
exhibit that had been overcome by political correctness and
revisionism, which you stated, I do want to stress that the
majority of the exhibits at the Smithsonian are very impressive
and historically accurate. I am confident that under the
leadership of Secretary Heyman, the entire Smithsonian
Institution will get back on track.
I would like to outline a few of the Secretary's reforms. First,
he has initiated a full management review of the entire
Smithsonian Institution. Second, he has taken a hands-on role by
placing himself in the position to oversee and ensure that every
exhibit is of the highest caliber. Finally, he has renewed and
stressed that the Board of Regents take an active role in the
operations of the Smithsonian. That is what has been the
problem — there has been no involvement. I feel secure about the
direction of the Smithsonian's future with Dr. Heyman at the
I think we must be extremely mindful in our oversight and
management of the Smithsonian Institution and its exhibits,
because we are talking about our national museum. It is vitally
important, in my view, that all of the exhibits are factually
correct and properly reflect the values that this great country is
based upon. Most importantly, museums have an incredible
responsibility to our nation's children. Our national museums
must, at the very least, surround and teach them, I believe, what
is good about America.
I am proud to say that after working with Secretary Heyman
and the other regents, I am confident and excited about the
prospects for this great institution in the future. We recognize
the financing problems and we are out, along with the Secretary,
to find some private funding to help us get over the hump. We
are on the path to restoring the Smithsonian to its once
prominent state and we, as regents, have a solemn trust to the
nation to do that, and I am very honored to be a part of it.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for having these hearings,
and allowing me to participate. I would be happy to answer some
of your questions.
The Chairman. Thank you. We are proud, too, that you are
there. I am delighted to have your statement. We have found the
same relationship with the Secretary, and I hope that we can put
this issue behind us.
Do you have any questions?
Senator FORD. I have no questions for the Congressman. We
do thank you for being here and thank you for your fine efforts.
Mr. Johnson. Thank you for allowing me to be here.
The Chairman. Mr. Johnson, let me tell you that the legal
advisor to the Senate has just sent me word, through my staff,
that I am incorrect. Members of Congress take an oath to support
the President of the United States, but they do not take an oath
to testify truthfully at every instance.
So, do you swear that the testimony you have just given is the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you
Mr. Johnson. I do.
The Chairman. Thank you, sir.
Our next witness is Dr. Edward Linenthal. Professor, you are
going to be the first one to do this before us officially.
Do you swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. Linenthal. I do.
The Chairman. Thank you. We are happy to have your
statement. Professor, please proceed.
TESTIMONY OF EDWARD T. LINENTHAL, PROFESSOR OF
RELIGION AND AMERICAN CULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF
WISCONSIN-OSHKOSH, OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN
Mr. Linenthal. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, members of the
Committee, I am very pleased to be here this morning.
I served on the advisory committee for the National Air and
Space Museum's proposed exhibit, "The Last Act: The Atomic
Bomb and the End of World War 11" because of my engagement
with a number of controversial historic sites and issues,
particularly the changing interpretation of the Little Big Horn
Battlefield National Monument, my experience working at the
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor during the 50th
anniversary events, and a recently published book on the
creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The Little Big Horn is one of the great success stories of
American public history, as visitors learn that different, often
clashing, stories can be told at a historic site and that these
clashing voices deepen rather than impoverish our
understanding of the events of 1876. At Pearl Harbor and at the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I felt the power of
the commemorative voice which speaks with the authority of the
witness, "I was there. I know what happened because I saw it
and felt it." As a historian, part of my obligation is to attend to
this voice, to listen carefully in this instance to Pearl Harbor
veterans and Holocaust survivors.
Scholars, including museum professionals, are obliged to
provide a comprehensive and balanced rendering of the human
experience. Frequently, there is a tension between the
commemorative voice and the historical voice, which seeks to
discern motives, understand actions, and discuss consequences
that were impossible to analyze during the event itself. It is a
voice that to some can feel condescending, even when no
condescension is intended. It can feel detached, even when those
who speak out of this voice view their work as a way to deepen
our understanding of an event.
The National Air and Space Museum tried, unsuccessfully, to
represent both these perspectives in one exhibit. In hindsight,
there were too many complicating factors — the presence of what
many considered a sacred relic, the Enola Gay itself; the
expectations of many that 50th anniversary events should
privilege the commemorative perspective; the strongly held and
sometimes irreconcilable belief about the use of atomic weapons;
and fundamental disagreements about the function of the
National Air and Space Museum. Should it be a place for
uncritical celebration of technological prowess, or should it
inform the public about the economic, social, and political
context of the museum's artifacts? In my opinion, it is certainly
not "gratuitous social commentary," as some have charged, that
the museum, for example, reminds visitors that the V-2 rocket is
more than a "milestone in the progress of rocket technology,"
what an old label read. Rather, that thousands of concentration
camp prisoners died building it, and that it "killed 7,000 people
and terrorized millions."
The museum tried to balance what historian John Dower has
called the heroic and tragic narrative of the Bomb. Veterans and
many others envisioned and expected an exhibit that portrayed
the use of the Bomb as the culmination of the Pacific war, saving
many lives. The appropriate historical context was the pre-Bomb
horror of the Pacific war. The commemorative message was,
"remember what we did and what it cost." The tragic narrative,
clearly dominant in the museum's exhibition, sought to freeze a
moment widely considered a turning point in history, in much
the way the Holocaust Museum froze an event for examination.
While acknowledging the Bomb's role in ending the war, one
appropriate historical context in this tragic narrative was the
post-war legacy of the nuclear arms race, and a host of
controversial issues that had occupied historians for 50 years.
The commemorative message was "never again." Historians'
perspective on the Bomb emerge out of both of these stories.
Some emphasize the fact that the Bomb ended the war and view
it as a positive act. Others see it also as the first act of the Cold
War and view it much more ambivalently.
The first script, which was just that, a draft, understood by
its creators to be subject to revision and ensuing consultations,
became a lightning rod for criticism. In the spring and summer
of 1994, there was thoughtful criticism from military historians,
including those of another review body appointed by Martin
Harwit, the "Tiger Team," which included several Air Force
veterans and was chaired by retired Air Force Brigadier General
William Constantine. There were several major concerns: one,
that its sections about historical controversies were too
speculative and, for some, tendentious; two, that a much fuller
presentation of the Pacific war was necessary in order to help
visitors appreciate the decision to drop the Bomb; and three, that
there was an imbalance in the script because of this lack of
context, evident in many more photographs of Japanese Bomb
victims than American combat casualties, an imbalance that
fostered forgetfulness of the Japanese as perpetrators of barbaric
acts in the war, and remember them only as victims of the Bomb.
Over the summer of 1994, the script underwent substantial
changes. For example, of the 42 specific recommendations of the
Tiger Team, 30 were fully implemented, 7 were partially
implemented, 5 were not. Other military historians were also
consulted, and their advice taken seriously. On July 14, 1994,
retired Brigadier General David A. Armstrong, the Director for
Joint History, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
and also a professional historian, wrote Dr. Alfred Goldberg,
historian of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, "Substantial
revisions have been made . . . Some attempt has been made to
address virtually every criticism raised at the April 13 meeting
between Joint History and Service historians and Smithsonian
curators, although in some cases the fixes have been minor."
Several months later, on September 19, 1994, Alfred Goldberg
wrote, "The first three sections of this draft should dispose of
most of the negative criticism of the first two drafts. They
present an informed and balanced picture of events. The issue of
racism, strategic bombing policy, decision to drop the bomb, and
invasion plans and casualties, are handled with acceptable
objectivity. The section on the effect of the atomic bombs will no
doubt continue to draw critical comment as being too long, too
detailed, and too sympathetic to the Japanese, but the exhibit
would be incomplete and much less meaningful without it."
Despite these changes, media criticism and the campaign
organized by the Air Force Association intensified.
Media coverage of this issue has been distressingly
irresponsible. The museum and curators were accused of
anti-American impulses, of creating a script that exhibited
disregard for veterans. Interestingly, however, the museum's
strongest critic, the Air Force Association, noted early on that the
first script treated the men of the 509th, "extensively and with
respect." Let me offer one example of the way the press poisoned
the debate. The Wall Street Journal spoke of the "oozing
romanticism with which the ... show's writers describe the
kamikaze pilots ... These were, the script elegiacally relates,
'youths, their bodies overflowing with life.'" The Journal has
taken a quote from a kamikaze pilot in the script and implied
that these are the curators' words. The curators included this
quote to provide, they commented, "insight into [the
kamikaze's] suicidal fanaticism, which many Americans would
otherwise find incomprehensible." Ken Ringle of The
Washington Post quoted the Journal's paragraphs, repeating for
his readers the false accusation.
As script after script deleted material about historical
controversies regarding the decision to drop the bomb, added
photographs of mushroom clouds and structural damage, and
removed most photographs of dead Japanese, historians and
peace activists met with museum officials to argue for what they
believed should be restored or newly incorporated. The scripts
were a kind of Rorschach test. People were concerned with
different questions, paid attention to different "facts," and
interpreted the same facts differently. In the end, everyone
believed their history had been "stolen," resulting either in a
"revisionist" exhibit or in one showing a disregard for the
complexity and irony of history.
Reaction to the exhibit remains troubling in many respects.
Some critics folded this exhibit into the culture wars, into an
anti-intellectual attack, arguing that elite historians had "stolen"
the "people's" history, and that the museum had fallen victim to
the delusions of "revisionism." This argument conveniently
ignores the fact that historians have opened up American history
to the voices of many different Americans. It also seeks to
portray "revisionism" as a morally dubious activity, akin to the
practices of Holocaust deniers (formerly called Holocaust
revisionists). And yet, is it not the job of historians to continually
reconstruct the past in great detail, to continually revise our
interpretations of the past according to new research and new
insight? Are we not pleased when Ken Burns deepens and
broadens, therefore revises, our understanding of the Civil War
or the history of baseball when he allows so many forgotten
people to speak? Do we not see this as an act of historical
enrichment, reminding us of the fact that history is never as
simple as it seems, but as complex, ironic, and therefore
It was also troubling that our advisory committee and the
museum failed to be more sensitive to the passions aroused by
this story, troubling that the museum failed to respond publicly
to the media caricature of script and curatorial motive, and
troubling that the museum was willing to enter into negotiations
with the American Legion, which had virtual veto power over
the content of the exhibit. Museums, particularly public
museums, have a responsibility to listen carefully to voices of
various groups in the shaping of public exhibitions, but the
integrity of the scholarly enterprise, be it in a book or a museum
exhibit, that seeks careful rendition of the past, is threatened
when any interest group becomes an arbiter of public history.
In recent years, many museums have succeeded in engaging
visitors in conversation about controversial issues in order to
help fill the much lamented "naked public square" in American
life. The cancellation of this exhibit sets a chilling and dangerous
precedent, if the message is that only "officially" sanctioned
history is acceptable. With all due respect to Representative
Peter Blute of Massachusetts, I am troubled by his comment
about the Enola Gay exhibit. He said, "I don't want 16-year-olds
walking out of there thinking badly of the U.S." Surely
Representative Blute would agree that the presentation of
history is not to function as therapy, used to puff up the
self-esteem of individuals or nations. Surely Representative
Blute would object to the very idea that there should be a
patriotic litmus test for a public museum in the Nation's Capital,
or that young people should not be confronted with the
complexities of history. I am sure that Representative Blute
would never mean to imply that such a test could lead to
opposition for appropriated funds for the Holocaust Museum.
There, visitors learned that Americans encountered and
liberated the camps and many Holocaust survivors found a home
in America. They also learn, however, about official
anti-Semitism that kept thousands of European Jews from legally
emigrating to this country. They learn that the S.S. Saint Louis
was turned away from American shores in 1939, resulting in the
deaths of many passengers in the Holocaust. At that museum,
visitors are judged to be mature enough to be able to confront a
complex story. Surely they had the ability to do the same at the
National Air and Space Museum.
Unlike totalitarian countries, we never want to give fuel to
the impulse to sanitize history, to turn away from engaging our
past in all of its complexity. This would be anathema to the
democratic principles we all hold sacred. Surely, we can find
ways to both honor the commemorative voice and respect the
historical voice as we continue to create public history exhibits
designed to both inspire and challenge.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
The Chairman. Thank you very much. I noticed that two of
our colleagues have arrived. Senator Cochran is also a member
of the Smithsonian Board. Do you have a statement. Senator?
Senator COCHRAN. No, 1 do not.
The Chairman. Senator Warner, do you have a statement?
Senator WARNER. I have one I would like to insert in the
[The prepared statement of Senator Warner follows:!
Statement of Hon. John Warner, a U.S. Senator from the State of
I would like to thank the chairman for holding this very important hearing.
As a member of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents during the period
in which the Enola Gay exhibit controversy developed, I worked closely with the
Institution and with various military groups as they strove to resolve their
differences. Progress was being made until mid-January of this year when dis-
cussions between the parties broke down and The American Legion called for the
cancellation of the planned exhibit.
Following that, on January 20, 1995, Senator Dole and I wrote to Chairman
Stevens requesting hearings focused on the controversy surrounding the Enola
Gay exhibit. Ten days later, on January 30, 1995, Smithsonian Secretary Heyman
announced that the planned exhibit had been cancelled and replaced with a
smaller display featuring the forward section of the Enola Gay and a limited
The cancellation of the exhibit and all of the controversy surrounding it has,
unfortunately, damaged the Smithsonian Institution's reputation. We now have
a responsibility to the American people to ensure that such an incident never
occurs again. We must then put this unfortunate chapter behind us and look to
The Smithsonian Institution is a national treasure that belongs to us all. We
must address the mistakes that were made, correct them and then immediately
focus our attention on how we can all work together to strengthen the Institution.
To do otherwise would be a disservice to all Americans.
The Chairman. Senator Pell?
Senator Pell. No opening statement, thank you.
The Chairman. I understand you are writing a history on this
controversy. Is that right?
Mr. Linenthal. That is correct.
The Chairman. A book on this whole subject we are
Mr. Linenthal. My own contribution will be a chapter of the
history of this controversy in a book of essays that will explore
other museum controversies, but will focus on the Enola Gay
The Chairman. Do you believe that when the Smithsonian
prepares an exhibit on an event in military history that military
historians and the records of the Department of Defense ought
to be consulted?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I think that in the creat'on of any public
history exhibit, a wide variety of voices, particularly of people
who are invested in the story, should be consulted. I have
wondered, this is of course a hypothetical question, and it is a
different museum so it is hard to draw precise analogies, but at
the Holocaust Museum, there was a content committee made up
of museum people, historians, and Holocaust survivors. That
content committee had something to do with evaluating the
script, making suggestions.
I have wondered, in retrospect, given the volatile nature of
this story, whether some kind of a content committee for this
exhibit might, in fact, have allayed some of the anger of veterans
and others who felt that their voices were not a part of this
originally, and that they did not own the story in the ways that
they wanted to.
The Chairman. Professor, do you believe that the committee
that met on the Holocaust should have included Nazis?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I do not.
The Chairman. Do you believe that this group, who prepared
this exhibit, should have gone to Japan to consult with Japanese
veterans before they consulted with American veterans?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I do not know that that is the case. Senator. I
know that the museum went to Japan on several occasions and,
from the materials that I have seen from the Smithsonian — and I
still have documents to go through, of course — the materials that
I have seen, the Smithsonian went there to consult with the
mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and several museums about
artifacts. I am not aware of consultation with Japanese veterans.
I do know, as well, that there were some discussions with
Japanese victims. I also know, and you perhaps have the dates
of this, that early on in this process, the men of the 509th were,
in fact, a part of this process as well.
The Chairman. The information we have is that military
historians were not consulted until the summer of 1994. In your
history, do you know how many scripts were actually prepared
on this exhibit?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I have a number of scripts in my office.
The Chairman. Can you tell me how many?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Quite a few. I have six or seven in my office.
The Chairman. We have asked for all of them to be delivered
to this committee. I hope that we have the same scripts that you
You stated that the American Legion had veto power over the
Mr. LINENTHAL. The content.
The Chairman. The content. I thought you meant content and
context of this exhibition. If that is so, why did it take so many
drafts before they got to the point that it reflected any part of
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Well, the American Legion was asked by the
Smithsonian to come in rather late in this game. I think, frankly,
that given what very distinguished military historians in
Washington said about two of the earlier scripts — particularly I
believe it was August of 1994 — that that script was one that
displayed, as Alfred Goldberg and David Armstrong said, an
acceptable balance that included many voices.
By the time the American Legion became involved, and they
were asked to become involved, so it was at that point something
they were willing to do, the public situation was, as you know,
the controversy had erupted already. I simply think that while
museums must take great care to include a variety of voices in
the creation of scripts so that various people are engaged in and
own the story in various ways, in situations of duress, when any
interest group — whether it be the American Legion or the
Fellowship of Reconciliation — are in positions to dictate what
goes in scripts, that that is a bad precedent set.
So here I am not simply picking on the American Legion. I
would feel the same way were it any group with a particular
agenda telling a public museum what should and should not be
in an exhibit.
The Chairman. One should not get too personal about these
things, but I remember when I was a high school student in
Senator Feinstein's beautiful state, that right after Pearl Harbor
we lost 40 percent of the students in our high school because they
were Japanese. They were my good friends. Those of us who
lived at that time were able to draw a distinction between how
we felt about the Japanese military and how we felt about
Do you think this exhibit demonstrated that feeling at the
time, which was not anti-Japanese, but anti-Japanese military?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. 1 am not entirely sure that that was the case
as the war went on.
The Chairman. I am talking about this exhibit. Do you think
it exhibited the feeling in the United States at the time, of just
total antipathy towards those who controlled Japan, as
compared to the Japanese people, per se?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Well there were, in the first script, certainly
statements about the activities of the Japanese in China and their
activities toward American prisoners of war. I think, speaking
personally, that the issue of context, that since so many
Americans — especially younger people, the Smithsonian found
out — did not have the proper context into which to put this story,
the idea of placing this in the wider context of the Pacific war
was, in fact, a wise one. And the Smithsonian moved, I think,
relatively quickly to do that. So I think that was very wise.
As I said, working out of the tragic narrative of the bomb, the
Smithsonian tried to show what the bomb did on the ground.
Many people thought that this helped kind of "misremember"
this — that the Japanese were being remembered only as victims.
The way I read that part of the script, with pictures of the
dead Japanese, it did not make me misremember the war. I had
no trouble remembering what the Japanese did in China, at the
rape of Nanking, or the beheading of Australian prisoners of
war, the barbaric treatment of American prisoners of war. I saw
those photographs as representing really the civilian victims of
World War II throughout the theaters, and also in some ways the
first victims of the nuclear age.
So that is very much how I read those.
The Chairman. Were you a member of the Tiger Team?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I was not a member of the Tiger Team.
The Chairman. Do you know how many times the Tiger
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I have the Tiger Team's reports. I do not
know how many times they met.
The Chairman. If I told you I was advised that the advisory
board only met once, and that six of the nine members attended,
no notes were taken, and no report was ever issued, could you
question that in terms of your history?
Mr. LINENTHAL. I could, indeed.
The Chairman. Can you tell me what your history shows?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I have a history of what the Tiger Team did.
There's a large report that the National Air and Space Museum
has, that I have in my files, that shows what the Tiger Team did,
and what the various issues were that the Tiger Team took up,
what issues were negotiated between the museum and the
members of the Tiger Team. So I do have that. Senator.
The Chairman. I do not want to monopolize this. I will just
ask you two more questions. Have you read Manchester's
Mr. LINENTHAL. I have, indeed.
The Chairman. Do you question his judgment of history, as
one who participated in it?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I do not question — Senator, I was asked at the
50th anniversary ceremonies at Pearl Harbor, there was a
conference in Honolulu on the legacy of Pearl Harbor, in which
I participated. And after I was done with my talk, which was a
history of the changing interpretation of the U.S.S. Arizona
Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the son of a survivor of the Bataan
Death March asked me a question from the audience, "What
would you tell my father about reconciling with the Japanese?"
I said to him what I hope I would be wise enough to say and
have, in fact, responded to Holocaust survivors — that there are
some things you do not comment on out of human decency. That
I had no business telling someone who had survived the Bataan
Death March anything about reconciliation with the Japanese.
I have, as a member of the advisory board, had people say
that I had forgotten who were the good guys and the bad guys
in World War II. When I was writing my history of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Museum, I walked on the ashes of my
family members at the death camp at Auschwitz and
Buchenwald. My father was a doctor during the war who helped
work on quinine, to develop medicine for malaria that saved
I have absolutely no problem remembering what was at stake
at World War II and what would have happened had the
I think that historians and people like William Manchester
and yourself, who were involved in this and bring the feel and
texture of history, both of those voices are necessary. And it is
my moral obligation as a historian to pay attention to those
voices, to listen to those voices; and also my obligation as a
historian to say that there is a sense of perspective and a sense
of insight that can be gained years after working in archives,
working with materials from a distance.
The history without either one of those voices is incomplete
The Chairman. My last question, and then I will be happy to
yield, is this. We are holding this hearing to determine how we
can be assured that these events cannot happen again. We want
to protect the Smithsonian from the loss of support, as 1 said.
We were not consulted on the other exhibits I mentioned to
you. All of them caused substantial controversy. When we got
notice of this proposed exhibit. Senator Ford and I, and several
others here, joined together and asked the Smithsonian to review
it and give us information about it. That request was literally
What would you do to this management system to assure that
the interests whom you indicate should have been consulted, are
in fact consulted. Veterans were not consulted until this thing
went off the wall. Military historians were not consulted until it
was a matter of substantial public controversy. Congress was not
consulted until we had veterans groups and a lot of other groups
banging at our door.
Now, we are responsible for oversight of this institution.
What would you do to the system to assure that, as you say, these
people are properly consulted and their viewpoints are taken
into consideration? I would add, as a footnote to this, that if this
exhibit had not been interrupted, it would have hit the public
right about the time that we were commemorating the victory of
the United States after 50 years. If it resounded throughout the
whole United States community the way it did within the small
community that did get hold of it, I think the Smithsonian would
have faced overwhelming opposition to its even continuing in
What would you do to change this management scheme?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Let me say first off, I think that there were
veterans, I think 20th Air Force and men of the 509th, were
consulted about this. I do not know the details of that
consultation. Perhaps Secretary Heyman and certainly Martin
Harwit and Tom Crouch who will testify later today can say
something about that.
I also will not be pompous enough to say what I would do
were I in charge of a museum. However, after having written the
history of the Holocaust Memorial Museum and appreciated
very much the tremendous difficulties and volatility of placing
a memory like that on American soil, and all of the issues of
location and representation that come up, and the sensitivity
with with Holocaust survivors looked at the story, there was a
balance. And often many clashes, enduring and bitter clashes,
between Holocaust survivors, museum professionals, and
historians that were often not a question of right or wrong but a
question of sensibility.
Should women's hair from Auschwitz be displayed in the
permanent exhibition? Well, for a historian like myself and for
museum people, the clear answer was yes. This showed one of
the revolutionary aspects of the Holocaust, that the Nazis mined
the bodies of their victims for insulation in submarines, socks for
the Wehrmacht. This is what hair was used for, and the Russians
found thousands of kilos of it in Auschwitz.
The museum brought some of that hair to Washington when
they were collecting artifacts, and wanted to put it in the
permanent exhibition. As a historian, it seemed clear to me that
this was important and dramatic and part of the pedagogical
importance of the museum.
Some survivors on the content committee objected bitterly on
the grounds that this simply was wrong to do. One woman said,
on the committee, a survivor, this could be my mother. You
cannot display my mother at the museum. I think wisely, Shaike
Weinberg, the director of the museum, left the hair out of the
Now when I talk about this in the book, and also when I
lecture about the museum, people say was this a right decision
or a wrong decision? It was a decision of honoring a certain kind
The Chairman. But I do not see that sensibility in this at all.
Professor. I hope you write the history, in part at least, in the way
that the veterans see it because we veterans were ignored when
we raised the question here in the Congress. And as far as I can
see, the veterans organizations were ignored until we got into it
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I think that in any museum, particularly in a
public museum, particularly in the Nation's Capital, and
particularly in a museum whose very purpose is contested, one
has to be very careful about the inclusion of many voices in the
creation of the exhibit.
The Chairman. We will have to go on some other people.
Senator FORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was enjoying the
questions and response of the professor.
Several weeks ago I had a very emotional moment. That
emotional moment was a statement made by Senator Bumpers
from Arkansas relating to the 50th anniversary of the Marines.
Senator Heflin stood; he was wounded. We had Senator Inouye,
who lost an arm. We had Senator Dole, who was injured
seriously, and others. Looking around that Senate chamber and
having a memory of World War II and what transpired there, I
knew that the ability to relate that history to this institution was
I thought to myself, my children will understand it because I
could relate it to them. My grandchildren can understand it
some, because I can relate it to them. They are more of the
Vietnam era. We are spending lots of money in my home town
to put in a museum. I thought if they would pattern it after the
Smithsonian as best they could, my home town folks would be
Then I listened to your statement here this morning.
Professor, and I just want to tell you I respectfully disagree, I
appreciate your perspective, but I respectfully disagree with
your conclusion that Congressman Blute's concerns are
misplaced. I think it is appropriate that a 16-year-old leave this
exhibit, or would have left this exhibit, or any other exhibit as a
matter of fact, understanding the full ramifications of the war,
but still somehow feeling good about the role that the United
States played in ending the war.
That is precisely the role of the Smithsonian management, I
think, to balance the perspectives but remember that this is our
history. We mix it all up, I guess, but it is our history as we see
it. When you start mixing in other countries' perspectives and so
forth, I wonder. I want our citizens to have it all, because history
is awfully important, and those who opposed war the most are
those who served.
I just wanted to add that, too, because I saw that in the next
2 years we will lose the distinguished Senator from Alabama as
a member of the United States Senate. Senator Heflin has
announced that he will not seek reelection, so there is someone
with a valuable institutional memory that we will lose.
We all have our problems, and there has to be a final decision.
So what we are trying to do here today is to be of assistance when
that final decision is made, so that it will meet the standards that
all of us would like to have as it relates to history.
But as I say, I appreciate your position. I regret that I must
disagree with it, or disagree with your conclusions, as you
agreed with something and then you said that the decision made
at the Holocaust Museum was the proper one. We all have to
make a decision, and we have been used to that around here.
Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad, and we
pray that they are all good.
So I thank you for a very interesting statement this morning.
I enjoyed it. I understand it, I think. I understand where you are
coming from. Let us hope that we can all lay these things out on
the table and that the ultimate decision is the right one. I thank
you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Senator Pell?
Senator Pell. I just find myself interested in the discussion.
Seeing the model for the Holocaust Museum I think back to the
World War 11 days. I came back myself in a hospital ship sick,
not wounded. I remember my feelings when 1 heard that the
bomb went off. I happened to be on Pennsylvania Avenue and
right opposite the White House by coincidence, and wondered if
we, too, might expect the same.
I have no strong view one way or the other. I think you are
doing the best you can, and I wish you well.
The Chairman. Senator Cochran?
Senator CoCHRAN. Professor, I am curious. Who selected you
to be on the Advisory Board of the Enola Gay exhibit?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I was asked by Martin Harwit. I had come to
know one of the curators who I had consulted with when I was
writing my book on the Holocaust Museum, because 1 was
interested in the way the museum presented the bombing of
Auschwitz and the interpretation of that in the Holocaust
Museum. So I talked with one of the curators who had, in fact,
had a panel on this at the National Air and Space Museum,
After 1 got to know him some, and also Martin Harwit a little
bit, I was asked, given my work on some of these other
controversial historic sites, to be on the advisory committee and
1 said yes.
Senator CocHRAN. Had you served on any other advisory
boards for the Smithsonian Museums before?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I have not. I have done some consulting
work with the National Park Service in training sessions for park
historians and managers on how to interpret controversial
Senator COCHRAN. I am interested in the parallel that you
seem to draw between the victims of the Holocaust in Europe
and the victims of the holocaust in Japan. To you there is a
parallel, is there not?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I do not know that I would draw a direct
parallel. I guess the parallel I was trying to draw was how the
Holocaust Museum had to struggle and deal with what I have
called these different voices, all of whom are passionately
involved in the story.
Senator CocHRAN. And all of whom were victims. You were
talking about the victims, were you not, in the Holocaust
Museum? The victims of the mass murder.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. The Holocaust Museum, in fact, one of the
interesting interpretive dilemmas they had was that many of the
survivors really did not want a Nazi presence in the permanent
exhibition at all. What that did was to leave the permanent
exhibition as if the Jews were going to the death by themselves.
There were no
Senator CocHRAN. Did you come to conclude that the
perpetrators of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were on a parallel with
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, absolutely not. Absolutely not.
Absolutely not. That thought would never enter my mind.
Senator Cochran. I have no further questions.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. The thought would never enter my mind.
The Chairman. Senator Warner?
Senator WARNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I look at this issue from two perspectives, one personal. I
enlisted in World War II just following the Battle of the Bulge
with a great many others from my high school class. Given at that
time, there was such uncertainty on both fronts of the future of
our military campaigns and there was a need to have a very
heavy influx of young people at that time.
Of course, in the course of events in 1945, the spring of 1945,
hostilities ceased both in Europe and eventually in Japan. But my
particular group of naval persons were headed into the invasion
of Japan. We were explicitly trained for that invasion. One of the
most controversial features of this regrettable chapter was the
level of casualties that were likely to be shouldered by the
American public and other allies as a consequence of a full scale
invasion of Japan.
Did you work on that issue? And were you able to reconcile
some of the differing views?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. On the Enola Gay exhibit?
Senator Warner. Yes, on the casualty levels.
Mr. LINENTHAL. Yes. I will tell you how I feel about the
casualty issue, which I think is a very regrettable controversy in
this whole thing. It seems to me that the arguments over the
number of casualties is close to obscene. That if the number of
casualties would have been very low, an American president still
would have been justified in deciding to use the bomb. It does
not matter whether it is 10,000 or 800,000 or 350,000. These
arguments became symbolic of the much larger struggle that was
going on over the exhibit and the fact that there were historical
correctives made and these numbers were seen to be very
important by certain people,
I think this is not a happy story. I am quite comfortable myself
believing that everybody knew that there would be casualties,
that the casualties would be high, and a specific number was not
terribly important. These casualty numbers, when we deal with
these volatile historical issues, become icons in themselves.
When the great Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg lowered the
figures slightly in his magisterial work in 1961, "The Destruction
of the European Jews", from 6 million to I think he said 5.1
million, he was virtually called a Holocaust denier because he
had challenged the sacred figure.
Chinese and Japanese are involved in bitter debates over the
numbers of deaths in Nanking. I think there the Chinese say
anything less than 300,000
Senator WARNER. Without going into all that detail, there is
no doubt that the potential casualties by the U.S. and our allies
w^ould have been very, very high.
Mr. LINENTHAL. [Nodding affirmatively.]
Senator WARNER. And it is no doubt that that invasion did not
take place as a direct consequence of the utilization of this
weapons system by President Truman.
Mr. LINENTHAL. Certainly one of the hot buttons in the exhibit
were the historical controversy panels in section 200, 1 believe.
And yet, even in the first script, if one looks at what the curators
said in their ultimate judgment about these things, they basically
say many historians believe that the primary judgment had to do
with ending the war and saving lives, but that there were a
number of subsidiary issues here as well.
I think that the casualty issue became one, again, in which
veterans saw that the museum was trying to take away their
story. And I do not think the museum meant to do that at all.
Senator WARNER. One other facet of this, we have in the
Rotunda of the United States Capitol today, a flag symbolizing
America's great concern for POW's. There was much written
with regard to the potential destruction of those lives in those
camps if that invasion had taken place. Did you do any research
to verify that?
Mr. LINENTHAL. I have read accounts in oral histories of
World War II about that, that a number of people in camps said
that we were told or we knew that the minute the invasion took
place we were going to die. So yes, I have read that, indeed.
Senator WARNER. I thank the witness and I thank the
The Chairman. As a footnote to history, I flew on the first
plane into Peking after World War II and was there when the
Doolittle flyers came out of their prison camp. I believe almost
every one of them said to us if that bomb had not dropped, they
would have been killed.
Mr. LINENTHAL. Senator Stevens, it has occurred to me, in
response to one of your earlier questions about the veterans'
voice in this exhibit. Everyone I have talked to who has seen the
final film, which was a very short film about the men of the 509th
talking about their own stories, that will now not be a part of the
exhibit, has said it was an absolutely stunning and powerful
Senator CocHRAN. Mr. Chairman, I think it will be a part of
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Not the old one, I understand. Perhaps I am
mistaken. So that was one way that the museum did try certainly
to include the veterans' voice.
The Chairman. Senator Feinstein?
Senator FEINSTEIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I find this a
very, very challenging discussion.
When I was the mayor of San Francisco, I had a small incident
somewhat similar. This leads to the question. It was when we
were building a convention center. A bust of my predecessor,
who had been assassinated, was selected. It was done by a very
famous contemporary sculptor by the name of Arneson. But the
bust in itself had editorial comment. It had blood on it,
"Twinkies defense," epithets, et cetera. A firestorm developed.
I grappled with that firestorm, and I elected to have the Art
Commission remove the bust from the convention center with
the view that it was appropriate for a private collection or a
private museum, but this was a taxpayer supported convention
center, and with it came some different values.
That is really what I want to talk to you about for a moment.
Professor. It seems to me that where institutions get into these
troubles is where there is opinion, interpretation, and editorial
comment. You mentioned in your last statement, and I quote,
"What the curator said, in his ultimate judgment."
My question to you is, is it really the role to interpret history,
rather than just simply to put forward historical facts based on
the validity of the fact and the historical value? It seems to me
that I would look at a curator to determine historic value and
validity of that value, but not to interpret, not for their editorial
comment. It seems to me in public facilities we have to begin to
grapple with that, because we are seeing more and more.
Whether it is NEA moneys for a Mapplethorpe, or this situation,
or my little situation back there, the public role of a museum is
a different thing than the private role.
I wonder if you would comment on that?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Certainly. It is an interesting question and
deals with a number of things, the role of history, the relation of
fact and interpretation, curatorial responsibility and freedom.
First of all. Senator, I think there are certainly things that we
could consider incontrovertible fact. That Paul Tibbets piloted
the Enola Gay is an incontrovertible fact. When you begin to put
any story into a narrative of any kind, you are already doing
interpretation. Do you select a heroic narrative of the bomb? Do
you select the tragic narrative?
At the Holocaust Museum, what narrative do you pick? Does
it focus on the victim's stories? Does it focus on the process of
extermination? There is already interpretive work going on. Any
time you ask, I think, the meaning of events, you are already into
the realm that all historians practice, and that is interpretive
The question is whether the Smithsonian is a university in
which curators have the same kind of freedom, say that I do, to
write a book? Whether there is a different kind of responsibility
in a public exhibition funded by public monies. And perhaps
there is a different kind of code. Yes, perhaps realistically that is
the case. Perhaps in controversial historical exhibits, I think the
curatorial voice is very important and there needs to be a
scholarly freedom. Perhaps as part of the exhibits that are
controversial, the history of the exhibit itself should become part
of the exhibit so that various voices are represented.
Perhaps there needs to be a curatorial code of ethics. Now I
do not think the curators did anything wrong in this exhibit. I
think all of us on the advisory committee were insensitive to the
nature of the 50th, to the passions that were held, and that is part
of this. So that is one response to that. Curators, museums have
responsibilities to the public the same way I, when I write my
books, have responsibilities to the materials. All history is, in
many ways, interpretive. It is put into a narrative, into a
framework of meaning.
When you are working in a public museum, obviously you
must be very sensitive to the inclusion of many voices in the
creation of this.
Senator FEINSTEIN. But I think, you know I have seen history
change. I was a history major. In the days when I studied history
the text, for example, on American diplomatic history by a very
famous professor by the name of T.A. Bailey, was essentially a
recitation of fact, leaving the reader to draw their own analysis.
Now what you see is a writer's interpretation of fact, which is
I think in a sense what happened with the Enola Gay was
interpretation. People really reacted to that interpretation in a
very violent way. I wonder about the wisdom in presenting any
Mr. LiNENTHAL. I understand. The example that I used in my
presentation this morning, how do you present the V-2 in the
National Air and Space Museum? You can either frame it, as the
Air and Space Museum did, in a section on civilian space
technology and talk about booster rockets and how it led to the
evolution of booster rockets. Well, that is a way of talking about
the V-2 that deals with certain kinds of facts.
The way the museum now displays it, which I think is
eminently more responsible, is to put it into the context that the
V-2 was a horrendous weapon used by Nazi's. That many more
concentration camp prisoners died building it than died at the
other end. Those are also facts about the V-2.
I also think, in response to several comments, that
controversy over volatile stories is, in many ways, inevitable. We
could easily memorialize and remember what we do not really
care about. Could you create a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
without a certain level of controversy because of the passionate
engagement? Was there a way to create an exhibit on the
dropping of the atomic bomb and the end of the war without
certain kinds of controversies? Probably not.
I suppose this is another issue, whether controversy is
altogether a negative thing. I know that, Senator Stevens, you
were a strong opponent of the "West as America" show, and I
have, in the museum world, interesting friends some of whom
detested the show, that it was preachy and tendentious and told
people what they had to think now about these works, as
opposed to how they were presented before; others who thought
it was stimulating and important.
From my perspective, what was more important than either
of those voices, was the very fruitful discussion that went on in
the public about history, about the history of the American West,
about how we are to look at it. That that, in a sense, was a kind
of unintended, positive outcome of what was a very
controversial museum exhibit.
The Chairman. Are you finished. Senator?
Senator FEINSTEIN. I am. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Senator Ford, did you have another question?
Senator Ford. I just wanted to make a comment and follow
up on my friend's question and the position she was in. It seems
the professor now is writing a chapter as it relates to this
controversy. Whoever reads it is going to have his interpretation
of who the bad guys are and who the good guys are, who wore
the black hats and who wore the white hats. 1 think I have got a
pretty good idea from listening to your comments this morning
who the white hats are going to be and who the black hats are
going to be.
Your interpretation of this incident is going to be read by a
lot of people, and they are going to believe it because it is the
only one they have read. I understand what the distinguished
Senator from California is saying. I could almost write it down
on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope and seal it and, from
your comments this morning, know what the outcome and your
interpretation is going to be.
I hope I am wrong, but I do not think so. So I just want to let
you know that is part of the problem that the distinguished
Senator has brought out. You start interpreting what happened
here from all the reading, and we have some information, you
have other information. Maybe we both do not have the same
information. So you write yours from yours, and we make our
judgment from ours.
And you will not, in your chapter, talk about the information
we have, and what our distinguished chairman relates, and his
experience. Do not forget that you have a chairman here who has
pretty good experience as it relates to this and understands it
probably better than most.
We are all caught in a Catch 22, and the politician will get the
blame. You will get a royalty, and I hope that it is controversial
enough that you make a lot of money.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Senator, 1 would never claim, as a historian,
to have the last word on anything. And 1 have always been
Senator FORD. You will have the last word in that chapter.
You might write another one. It is like Harry Truman said, he
wanted a one-armed economist.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. My job as a historian in this is certainly to
make my own judgments about this event, but also to lay out
what I see as the variety of issues that arose here, to help people
understand the texture and the complexity of this issue. There is
a difference between writing a history and an op-ed piece. I take
that responsibility very seriously.
The Chairman. Professor, let me read you one comment from
your statement today. "Museums, particularly public museums,
have a responsibility to listen carefully to voices of various
groups in the shaping of public exhibitions. But the integrity of
the scholarly enterprise, be it in a book or a museum exhibit, that
seeks a careful rendition of the past is threatened when any
interest groups become an arbiter of public history."
I have two questions for you. One is, are you saying to us that
public funds, taxpayers' money, could be used and ought to be
used without any comment, by people who seek to be
revisionists as far as the accepted view of history? And
secondly — this is personal — I have a Japanese daughter-in-law
and I have a grandson. I know that in her country they are
teaching that in the history of World War II, we were, in fact, the
aggressors. I am going to bring my grandson to this museum. I
have taken all my children, and now I am going to start taking
my grandchildren to this museum. I do not want my grandson to
walk out of that museum and ask me why I was one who was the
aggressor, and why did I try to kill Japanese babies.
Now, on what basis do you justify an interpretation of the
history of this event so different from those of us who lived
through it? On the basis of scholarly enterprise?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. The way that I read even the first script, I
never interpreted the first script in that way. It would never have
occurred to me, in reading that first script, to look at Americans
as aggressors. Of course, public museums have a responsibility
to those who pay the bills. And those who pay the bills, I would
hope, would trust those who are charged with creating public
exhibitions with a certain level of professional expertise.
The Chairman. Wait a minute now. Let us get very specific.
The statement in the script was "For most Americans it was a war
of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their
unique culture against Western imperialism."
Mr. LINENTHAL. Right.
The Chairman. Do you want my grandson to read that and
look me in the eye and say Grandpa, why did you do that?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Can I speak to that issue?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. First of all, everyone recognized that that
was a very clumsy and badly written label. It went out after the
first script. And yet, for months and months thereafter, that
phrase was used by the media to show what they called the
pro-Japanese bias of the curators.
Now what I would like to do briefly. Senator, is to address
each of those issues, because 1 think frankly, standing on their
own, each one of those statements is not anywhere near
The Chairman. I would like you to defend your own
statement, that we should allow taxpayers' funds to be used to
support a book or a museum exhibit on the basis of scholarly
enterprise, despite the fact that it goes against the commonly
accepted viewpoint as to the interpretation of the history of the
Mr. LINENTHAL. The question of
The Chairman. That is what you are telling me in that
statement, is it not?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. History is always contested.
The Chairman. But you say in that statement that I should
have stayed out of this, because scholarly judgment should rule
in the use of public money, to support the exhibition if it is
accepted by the people who have been selected to supervise this
presentation from a scholarly point of view?
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, 1 do not think you needed to stay out of
it at all. 1 think that there are ways
The Chairman. But it gets around to that point of view,
because that is what you are saying to us.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I think there are ways of being involved
that may have asked, for example, the museum or the curators
what was meant by this. Now that last statement, that this war
was a war of vengeance and that the Japanese were defending
themselves against Western imperialism and all of this, at the
end of the war almost every public opinion poll cited said that
roughly 13 percent of the American population wanted the
Japanese exterminated as a race.
Was there not good reason, during the war, for a sense of
righteous vengeance on the part of Americans for what had been
done in Nanking, for Pearl Harbor, for the Bataan Death March,
for the barbaric treatment of American prisoners of war? The
beloved war correspondent Ernie Pyle, when he went to the
Pacific Theater near the end of the war, said this is a very
different war and we look upon this enemy in a very different
way than we do in Europe. In Europe, we saw them as human
beings, here we do not.
Now that is Ernie Pyle speaking and not me. Virtually every
The Chairman. You fail to differentiate between the way we
felt about the Japanese military and the way we felt about the
Japanese people. That is an unfair interpretation of the history
of my generation. We did not hate the Japanese. We do not hate
the Japanese. We did hate the people who were conducting that
war in such a brutal way. There is a distinction, I think, that
veterans still feel today, in the way we feel about the former
Japanese military and the way we feel about the Japanese people.
And that poll reflected the way we felt about the Japanese
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Well, all I can say. Senator, every Pacific war
veteran that I have interviewed said to me that they understood
this war as fundamentally different from the war in Europe.
Edwin C. Bearss, a very respected historian, a Pacific war combat
veteran who was a member of our advisory committee and
someone I am proud to claim as a friend, for whom I worked at
the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, said to me you know, for
all of us in the Pacific war, the war was to the knife, and the knife
was to the hilt.
So what I am saying to you is that that phrase was meant to
suggest that the war in the Pacific had a particular kind of anger
and vengeance of the racist policies of the Japanese toward other
Asians and toward Americans, with American views of the
And the second part of that, that this was a war for the
Japanese to defend themselves against American imperialism
was a very clumsy way of the curators trying to say this is why
the Japanese were fighting so ferociously and almost senselessly
at the end of the war. Now put together in the way that it was,
it could in fact have been read as an indictment. And everybody
recognized that and said look, this is going to be misinterpreted,
this is going to be read wrong. You have got to take it out. The
curators understood it themselves.
That phrase went out after the first script and 6, 7, 8 months
later that phrase was still being used by people to pillory the
museum and the curators. That, I think, is unfair.
Yes, of course, you have a responsibility and an obligation to
be involved. I would have hoped that the involvement of the
public would have first have been to think perhaps about the
volatility of these issues, these different narratives that the
Smithsonian was trying to balance, the heroic and the tragic, and
not immediately jump to accusing the curators as being
anti-American. I think that was unfortunate.
The Chairman. Professor, that is what this hearing is about.
The question has to be why is the Smithsonian, the pre-eminent
depository of our history and the artifacts thereof, hiring
someone who writes that first draft? You do not see it the way
Mr. LiNENTHAL. No, I do not.
The Chairman. The first draft was not scholarly, it was
revisionist and did not belong in the Smithsonian to start with.
And that has been admitted by the changes.
We will go on to the next witness. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. LiNENTHAL. Thank you.
The Chairman. Now we are going to turn to Secretary
Heyman, Dr. Crouch, and Ms. Newman, please. Do you swear
the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. Heyman. Yes, sir.
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
Ms. Newman. Yes, sir.
TESTIMONY OF I. MICHAEL HEYMAN, SECRETARY,
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON, DC, AC-
COMPANIED BY CONSTANCE B. NEWMAN, UNDER SEC-
RETARY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, AND THOMAS
D. CROUCH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR AERONAUTICS,
NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
Mr. Heyman. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of
the committee. I am Michael Heyman, Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution, and I am accompanied by Constance
Newman, who is the Under Secretary, and Thomas Crouch, who
is the Assistant Director for Aeronautics of the National Air and
Space Museum, and was involved with the Enola Gay exhibition.
On the next panel, 1 will be joined by Dr. Maxine Singer, chair of
the Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian Institution.
Before answering questions, I would like to make a few
observations. As you know, I became Secretary of the
Smithsonian on the 19th of September of 1994, so I have been
there about 8 months. I began my tenure at a time of considerable
controversy over the exhibition of the Enola Gay. I had some
great concerns about and disagreement with the first script. In
fact, it was not any secret to anyone because I commented in my
installation address that our first script was deficient. I believed
then, and I believe now, that too much of the context of the use
of the atomic bomb was taken for granted, and that the proposed
exhibition was out of balance, hence appearing to be historically
It was my view that in late October we had turned that corner.
We benefitted by a long consultation with knowledgeable
representatives of the American Legion, observations by other
veterans organizations, and a substantial revamping by
curatorial staff of the proposed exhibit that produced a much
more balanced script. The revamped exhibit included a new
4,000 square foot section on the war in the Pacific, and extensive
revisions to the script throughout. While these organizations did
not endorse the exhibit, in part waiting for its finishing touches,
they did not oppose it. Thus in January, I believed that we could
mount that exhibit. I was wrong. Shortly thereafter, a
controversy once again erupted between the Smithsonian and
the American Legion over the changing of one of the labels
dealing with potential casualties. At that point, it became clear
to me that we could not proceed, given renewed efforts to have
the exhibition cancelled. I recognized that the problem was more
than a question of balance and our efforts to achieve balance
would not resolve the issue. The fundamental flaw, in my view,
lay in the concept of the exhibition itself. The basic error was
attempting to couple an historical dialogue centering on the use
of atomic weapons with the 50th commemoration of the end of
I have observed here today what I observed during this whole
controversy, that people, especially those who were participants
in the Second World War, remembered with vividness and with
emotion their participation and their sacrifice, what happened to
their lives in relationship to that. I think when you are dealing
with a subject matter of this sort, where those who have in fact
experienced have to be looked to, and you have to — if you are
going to have a commemoration exhibition — you have to
organize it consistently with those remembrances and those
recollections. Moreover, in terms of the exhibition itself, as has
been already testified, we could not escape the negative
characterizations of the original script, which repetitively
appeared in the media.
On January 30, I shared with the Board of Regents my
decision to replace the Enola Gay exhibition. The central feature
of the new exhibition, which is scheduled to open sometime in
June or early July, will be a display permitting the Enola Gay and
its crew to speak for themselves. In addition, it will contain
materials on the history of the B-29 aircraft, and the restoration
of the Enola Gay by the Smithsonian. It will include memorabilia
from the 509th, and it will include a video of interviews with
survivors of the 509th, which is not yet finished but ought to be
finished in the next week and a half, or at least put into rough
form so that I can take a look at it. I also announced that I would
undertake a management review of the Air and Space Museum,
paying particular attention to an examination of the museum's
mission. That review is being conducted already by the National
Academy of Public Administration, and those findings will come
to us in September for consideration of the regents and the
administration at the Smithsonian.
It is evident that I have to have, and I do have, concerns
beyond the one controversial exhibit that we are talking about.
The Institution has an obligation to be historically accurate and
balanced in all of its exhibitions. We have an obligation to
consider the opinions of the interested public in the framing of
the exhibitions. To that end the Smithsonian needs to establish
policies on exhibitions. We are doing that right now. We are
developing guidelines that will establish appropriate
parameters within which museum directors and curators will
collaborate on the choice and design of exhibitions, the processes
for review and intervention, including a role for the Secretary's
office, the extent to which historical exhibitions should speak
within the context of the time, and ways to assure that our
multiple audiences feel that their own ideas are being respected.
When I decided to replace the Enola Gay exhibition, I
indicated that the Institution had much to learn from the
experience. On April 19, the University of Michigan
co-sponsored, with the Smithsonian, a day-long symposium
entitled, "Presenting History: Museums in a Democratic
Society." Participants included representatives from the
historical community, veterans organizations, journalists and
museum professionals. The purpose of the symposium was to
examine issues surrounding controversial exhibitions.
Discussions ranged from the evolution of the role of museums,
and their responsibilities, including the differentiation
potentially of the responsibilities of public museums and private
museums, their responsibilities to various constituencies, and
how to define controversy. These discussions, which we are
summarizing right now, will help the Institution in putting
together our guidelines.
I obviously have a number of regrets about this whole
situation. One is that it has gotten in the way of the
commemoration of our nation's victory over aggression 50 years
ago. We at the Smithsonian did not want this controversy to
overshadow the recognition that our veterans so richly deserve.
In that vein, we will be opening a display at the Museum of
American History in June that focuses both on the war front and
the home front during World War II. That museum has worked
with the Center for Military History to design a unique exhibit
where primary focus is to elicit memories and personal
experiences from those who lived during the war years. In this
way, the exhibit will become part of the history itself by
capturing and preserving personal histories that otherwise
might be lost to the ages.
In addition to that, there are other exhibits in American
History and elsewhere, and other programs commemorative of
the end of the Second World War.
I also regret that the Enola Gay controversy has led some to
doubt the value of historical inquiry by museums. I believe that
important artifacts of American history ought to be exhibited in
historical context. I think that it makes them much more
understandable. I think that great care has to be taken in the
definition of that context and the reviewing process which I
indicate is the manner in which to assure that that occurs.
Finally, an important point to be made is that in singling out
a few examples of the Smithsonian's exhibitions and public
programs, it is possible to draw a conclusion that does not reflect
the fact that the Institution produces hundreds and hundreds of
exhibits and programs each year which are well received by the
general public. Taken in their entirety, they provide a balanced
and stimulating array of viewpoints on a myriad of subjects.
More importantly, the Institution has great respect for its
visitors and their abilities to appreciate the museum experience
in their own way.
Dr. Crouch has a brief statement and 1 thought it best, with
your permission, if he gave that statement and then we began to
answer questions, if that is all right with you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Heyman follows:!
Statement OF Ira Michael Heyman, Secretary, The Smithsonian
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. I am Michael
Heyman, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Today, I am accompanied by
Constance B. Newman, Under Secretary, and Thomas Crouch, Assistant Director
for Aeronautics, the National Air and Space Museum. On the next panel I will be
joined by Dr. Maxine F. Singer, Chair of the Commission on the Future of the
Before answering your questions, let me make a few observations. As you
know, I became Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on the 19th of September
of 1994. I began my tenure at a time of considerable controversy over the exhib-
iting of the Enola Gay. I had great concerns about and disagreement with the first
script. In fact, this was no secret to anyone because I commented in my installa-
tion address that our first script was deficient. I believed then and I believe now
that too much of the context for the use of the atomic bomb was taken for granted
and that the proposed exhibition was out of balance, hence appearing to be
It was my view that a month later we had turned the corner regarding the
controversy. Working throughout the summer and fall, the staff had substantially
revamped the proposed exhibit, producing a fifth script that was more balanced.
The revamped exhibit included a new 4,000-square foot section on the war in the
Pacific and extensive revisions to the script throughout. I believed that we could
mount that exhibit. I was wrong. Shortly thereafter, a controversy once again
erupted between the Smithsonian Institution and The American Legion over one
of the labels dealing with potential casualties. At that point, it became clear to
me that we could not proceed given renewed efforts to have the exhibit cancelled.
I recognized that the problem was more than a question of balance and our efforts
to achieve balance would not resolve the issue. The fundamental flaw, in my
view, lay in the concept of the exhibition itself. The basic error was attempting
to couple an historical dialogue of the use of atomic weapons with the 50th
commemoration of the end of the war. In this important anniversary year, veter-
ans and their families were expecting, and rightly so, that the nation would honor
and commemorate their valor and sacrifice. We did not give enough thought to
the intense feelings surrounding such an event.
On January 30 of this year, I shared with the Board of Regents my decision to
replace the Enola Gay exhibition. The central feature of the new exhibition, which
is scheduled to open in June, will be a display, permitting the Enola Gay and its
crew to speak for themselves. In addition, it will contain materials on the history
of the B-29 aircraft and the restoration of the Enola Gay by the Smithsonian. I also
announced that I would undertake a management review of the National Air and
Space Museum, paying particular attention to an examination of the museum's
mission. The review is being conducted by the National Academy of Public
Administration. The Academy will present its findings by the end of September
of this year.
I, however, have concerns beyond the one controversial exhibit at the National
Air and Space Museum that is now a part of the public debate. The Institution
has an obligation to be historically accurate and balanced in all of its exhibitions.
We have an obligation to consider the opinions of the interested public in the
framing of the exhibitions. To that end, the Smithsonian needs to establish
policies on Exhibitions. And we are doing just that. We are developing guidelines
that will establish appropriate parameters within which museum directors and
curators will collaborate on the choice and design of exhibitions; the processes
for review and intervention, including a role for the Secretary's office; the extend
to which historical exhibitions should speak within the context of the time; and
ways to assure that our multiple audiences feel that their own ideas are being
When I decided to replace the Enola Gay exhibition, I indicated that the Insti-
tution had much to learn from our experience. On April 19, the University of
Michigan co-sponsored with the Smithsonian, a day-long symposium entitled,
"Presenting History: Museums in a Democratic Society." Participants included
representatives from veterans organizations, historians, journalists, and museum
professionals. The purpose of the symposium was to examine issues surrounding
controversial exhibitions. Discussions ranged from the evolution of the role of
museums and their responsibilities to their various constituencies, to freedom of
speech, and defining "controversy." Those discussions will help the Institution
in its development of the guidelines.
On May 2, Dr. Martin Harwit, Director of the National Air and Space Museum,
resigned believing that the welfare and future of the museum required that
action. In his resignation announcement he noted that 3 months after the cancel-
lation of that planned exhibition, the controversy still continued. He said:
I believe that nothing less than my stepping down from the directorship
will satisfy the museum's critics and allow the museum to move forward
with important new projects, such as the extension to be built at
Washington's Dulles International Airport to provide better care for the
I want to express my gratitude to Dr. Harwit for his contributions to the
Smithsonian over the 8 years that he served as the Director of the National Air
and Space Museum. That museum is the most visited museum in the nation with
over 8 million visitors annually. During his tenure. Dr. Harwit most notably
broadened the museum's agenda, especially in deepening research and exhibi-
tions concerning scientific aspects of space and the cosmos.
I have a number of regrets about this situation. One is that it has gotten in the
way of the commemoration of our Nation's victory over aggression 50 years ago.
We at the Smithsonian do not want this controversy to overshadow the recogni-
tion that our veterans so richly deserve.
In that vein we will be opening a display at the Museum of American History
in June that focuses both on the warfront and homefront during World War II.
The NMAH has worked with the Center for Military History to design a unique
exhibit where primary focus is to elicit memories and personal experiences from
those who lived during the war years. In this way, this exhibit will become part
of the history itself by capturing and preserving personal histories that otherwise
might be lost to the ages.
I also regret that the Enola Gay controversy has led some to doubt the value of
historical inquiry by museums. I believe that important artifacts of American
history ought to be exhibited in an historical context. I believe that is what the
American public expects of this great national institution and they deserve no
Finally, an important point to be made is that in singling out just a few
examples of the Smithsonian's exhibitions and public programs, it is possible to
draw a conclusion that does not reflect the fact that the Institution produces
hundreds upon hundreds of exhibits and programs each year which are well
received by the general public. Taken in their entirety, they provide a balanced
and stimulating array of viewpoints on a myriad of subjects. More importantly,
the Institution has great respect for its visitors and their abilities to appreciate
the museum experience in their own way.
Dr. Crouch has a brief opening statement. Then we are prepared to answer your
questions on the exhibition.
Senator FORD. Mr. Chairman, if I understand, the Secretary's
statement is broken down into two phases, with a first panel and
a second panel. Now we are not going to have the testimony that
way, as I understand. We are just going to have testimony on
Enola Gay and then we are going to have— then they are going to
come back? We have kind of jockeyed back and forth. I have
some questions and 1 did not want to lose you.
Mr. Heyman. No, I will be on that second panel also. So long
as I can make a 2:50 plane to San Francisco where I have to give
a speech tonight if that is at all possible. Or would you prefer to
have questions first
The Chairman. As long as you are prepared to come back
next week. Doctor.
Mr. Heyman. No, I am prepared to stay here for a good period
of time. I just wanted you to know
The Chairman. We have other things scheduled, too. That is
all right, we will proceed with Dr. Crouch if that is your desire.
Mr. Heyman. Then I thought we would both answer
The Chairman. I intend to continue this until we get answers
to our questions and until we get some understanding of what
the management situation is at the Smithsonian. If you wish to
have Dr. Crouch testify now. Dr. Crouch, we will listen to you.
TESTIMONY OF THOMAS D. CROUCH, ASSISTANT DIREC-
TOR FOR AERONAUTICS, NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE
Mr. Crouch. Thank you. Senator. I am grateful for this
opportunity to discuss matters related to the exhibition that was
to be entitled, "The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of
World War II." Those of us who were involved with that project
hoped to tell the story of the Enola Gay and the bomb that it
carried in a full, honest, balanced fashion. We sought to explore
a moment in time, a turning point in the history of our world, an
event that ended one era and inaugurated another. At the very
least, we were guilty of having failed to understand the depth
and intensity of American attitudes toward Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. To all of those who have been hurt or angered by this
controversy, I apologize for that misjudgment.
The committee has asked me to clarify the roles and the
responsibilities of the individuals involved in developing the
content of the exhibition. As head of the department of
aeronautics, I supervised the work of the curatorial team.
Michael Neufeld, the lead curator, reported to me and
supervised the two curatorial assistants assigned to the project.
I reported to Martin Harwit, director of the National Air and
Space Museum who established the general direction of the
project and approved the various documents produced by the
I certainly acknowledge that the first draft of the script
completed in January 1994 was imperfect. It was short on
context, although not so short I think as some of the critics have
suggested. The Rape of Nanking and other Japanese atrocities
against Asian people, the Japanese reliance on slave labor, and
their brutal treatment of prisoners-of-war. Pearl Harbor,
biological experiments on human subjects were all noted in the
script. The fanaticism of Japanese troops, their preference for
death rather than surrender, the kamikaze campaign, and rising
Allied casualties in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945 were focal points
of the first unit.
Still, it is clear that we should have provided much fuller
coverage of those subjects and underscored the roots of Japanese
militarism and imperialism.
In addition, the introductory unit and some other sections of
the scripts contained a number of sentences that became genuine
hot buttons. Believe me, I wish they had never seen the light of
day. Those sentences were removed from the script at the time
of the first review.
I would ask the committee to recognize the fact that the script
was genuinely a first draft subject to a process of careful revision
that began with the appointment of an extraordinarily strong
advisory committee. That group included Pulitzer Prize winning
authors. It included an ex-president of the American Historical
Association. It included some of the leading scholars in the field;
individuals who had spent their lives studying the topic.
We also wanted to ensure that a variety of points of view
would be represented on the advisory committee. Richard
Hallion, chief historian of the Air Force and his deputy would
speak for the Air Force. Dr. Ed Bearss, a distinguished military
historian, wounded veteran of the war in the Pacific, and chief
historian of the Park Service was also represented on the panel.
Ed Linenthal, who had worked closely with the Park Service, the
Holocaust Museum, and other organizations seeking to
understand the nature of commemoration was present for the
same reason. We were honestly confident that this group could
assist us in developing an accurate script, and also help us to
understand how it might be received by a wide range of visitors.
While the group offered useful suggestions for improving the
draft script, they were also very generous in their praise of the
document. The comments of Harvard professor Akira Iriye,
ex-president of the American Historical Association are typical.
"I do think that you and your colleagues have been subject to
unfair criticism. The script as originally drafted was an excellent
one reflecting current historical scholarship. I applaud your
valiant effort to present an informative, balanced story of the
Ed Bearss, historian of the Park Service concurred with that
judgment. "As a World War II combat veteran I commend you
and your colleagues." And so on and so forth. I will not read all
of the quotes here. They are in the written testimony.
The Chairman. You are not reading your whole statement.
Do you want it to appear in the record as you presented it or as
you are reading it?
Mr. Crouch As presented. Senator. I am cutting it down
because of the length of time. I do not want to try the committee's
In spite of the work of the advisory committee, as early as
1993 leaders of the Air Force Association had registered strong
opposition to the draft proposal describing the exhibition. This
is before the script was issued. The group received a copy of the
script at the same time that it went out to the advisory committee
along with a request for comment and an invitation to discuss
concerns and participate in the process of revision. The Air Force
Association published the first of a series of critical articles in
the April 1994 issue of Air Force Magazine that in one way or
another 1 think represented the beginning of the deep
controversy at any rate.
Determined to respond to the criticism in an open and
positive way, the museum turned to the Pentagon-based World
War II Commemorative Committee which assisted us in
obtaining the advice and comment of historians employed by the
military services. In addition to those efforts. Dr. Harwit created
a Tiger Team, the six members of which were asked to identify
any signs of imbalance in the script.
The new script issued in June 1994 incorporated a very high
percentage of the changes suggested by all of the group which
had read the document to date. Some of the leading military
historians and several members of the Tiger Team expressed
satisfaction with the new version. Dr. Alfred Goldberg, the
historian of the Office of Secretary of Defense remarked, "My
overall impression of the Enola Gay script was favorable. It
shows evidence of careful research and an effort to realize a
But the new script did not satisfy the most vocal critics. In
mid-July a veterans review committee composed of
representatives of the Air Force Association and leading U.S.
veterans organizations was invited to give the script an
additional review. From mid-summer to the end of the year
continued discussions with all of these organizations led to a
steady stream of additional script changes.
The Smithsonian now attempted to regain control of the
situation. A large introductory unit very much expanded our
coverage of the Pacific war, which had been growing at any rate
through the earlier script modifications. The videotape
recollections of atomic mission crew members, originally
intended to appear inside the gallery, was moved to a theater at
the exit where it would draw more attention.
Finally, the under secretary of the Institution and the director
of the museum invited leaders of the American Legion to sit
down with those of us on the exhibition team and work our way
through the script. That effort produced the final version, as you
know, which some critics regarded as acceptable. But it did not
resolve the controversy. As a result. Secretary Heyman cancelled
the original project in January.
Most of our critics, obviously, blame the failure of the project
on the deficiencies of the original script. As I have
acknowledged, the first draft was imperfect and I am sorry for
that. I would remind you, however, that that document had the
support of the members of the distinguished advisory committee
and a substantial number of other authorities in the field. The
revised script issued in June attracted even broader support. I
believe that the very positive comments of leading scholars
refutes the charge that early versions were bad history.
Criticism of the script has centered on the question of
balance. Those of us who developed the exhibit certainly believe
that the experience of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is
an essential element in the whole telling of the story. I think most
of our critics agree with that point of view. Moreover, all of us
can certainly agree that the atomic bombing of Japan has to be
understood within the context of the justice of the Allied cause
and the incredible heroism of those who fought and died to push
the forces of Japanese tyranny back across the Pacific.
Professor John Dower of MIT expressed the hopes and the
intentions of the curatorial team when he commented that, "The
original script had a great potential to convey a larger dimension
of tragic ambiguity without denying the bravery of individual
American fighting men or the worthiness of the fight against
Japan. It would have been an immense challenge to pull this off,
but I thought the first script gave every promise of doing so."
Our critics took issue with the ambiguity to which Professor
Dower refers. While the exhibit was never intended to attack the
justification for the use of the bomb, for example, it did suggest
that the decision had been the subject of considerable study and
analysis over the past half-century. Most of all, I think, we failed
to appreciate the deep and powerful links that bind memory of
the bomb to the incredible sense of joy and relief at the end of
the war. As individuals and as an institution, those of us at the
museum have paid a high price for that misjudgment.
In closing, I simply want to assure you that I remain
committed to the mission of the National Air and Space Museum
and to the mandate of the Smithsonian to increase and diffuse
knowledge. I appreciate the opportunity to appear today and
will do my best to answer any questions the committee may
[The prepared statement of Mr. Crouch follows:l
Statement of Tom D. Crouch, Chairman, Department of
Aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum
I am grateful for this opportur\ity to discuss matters related to the exhibition
that was to be entitled, "The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of WW II."
We hoped to tell the story of the Enola Gay and the bomb that it carried in a full,
honest, and balanced fashion. We sought to explore a moment in time; a turning
point in the history of our world; an event that ended one era and inaugurated
another. At the very least, we were guilty of having failed to understand the
depth and intensity of American attitudes toward Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To
all of those who have been hurt or angered by this controversy, I apologize for
The Committee has asked me to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the
individuals involved in developing the content of the exhibition. As head of the
Department of Aeronautics, I supervised the work of the curatorial team. Michael
Neufeld, the lead curator, reported to me, and supervised the two curatorial
assistants assigned to the project. I reported to Martin Harwit, Director of the
National Air and Space Museum, who established the general direction of the
project, and approved the various documents produced by the curators.
The first draft of the exhibition script, completed in January 1994, was produced
by the four members of the curatorial team. I was the primary author of one of
the five units of the document. Dr. Neufeld prepared two of the units. The other
two units of the script were the product of joint effort. As curator of the exhibi-
tion. Dr. Neufeld edited all of this material into a coherent document.
I certainly acknowledge that the first draft, completed in January 1995, was
imperfect. It was short on context, although not as short as some of our critics
have suggested. The Rape of Nanking and other Japanese atrocities committed
against Asian peoples, the Japanese reliance on slave labor and their brutal
treatment of prisoners of war. Pearl Harbor and biological experiments on human
subjects were all noted in the script. The fanaticism of Japanese troops, their
preference for death rather than surrender, the Kamikaze campaign, and rising
Allied casualties in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945 were focal points of the first unit.
Still, I acknowledge that we should have underscored and provided fuller cover-
age of the roots and earlier phases of the struggle to defeat Japanese militarism.
In addition, the introductory unit contained two "hot button" sentences that I
wish had never seen the light of day. "For most Americans, this war was funda-
mentally different than the one waged against Germany and Italy — it was a war
of vengeance. For most Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture...
While both nations had other goals, surely Americans were justifiably deter-
mined to avenge Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March, and the Japanese,
facing defeat in 1945, were determined to protect what they regarded as their
unique culture. Moreover, those two sentences appeared in a label calling atten-
tion to the "naked aggression and extreme brutality of Japanese expansionism."
Still, they were very clumsy and did not express the thought intended. We
removed them from the script immediately after the first review.
The script was a first draft, subject to a process of careful revision that began
with the appointment of an extraordinarily strong advisory committee. That
group included Akira Iriye, Richard Rhodes, Martin Sherwin, Stan Goldberg,
Barton Bernstein and other leading scholars in the field.
We also wanted to insure that a variety of points of view would be represented.
Richard Hallion, Chief Historian of the USAF, and his deputy, Herman Wolk,
would speak for the Air Force; Ed Bearss, a distinguished military historian and
a wounded veteran of the War in the Pacific, had, as chief historian of the
National Park Service, handled veterans complaints regarding programs at Pearl
Harbor; Ed Linenthal has worked closely with the Park Service, the Holocaust
Museum and other organizations seeking to understand the nature of commem-
oration. We were confident that this group could assist us in developing an
accurate script, and also help us to understand how it might be received by a
wide range of visitors.
While the group offered useful suggestions for improving the draft script, they
were also very generous in their praise of the document. The comments of
Harvard Professor Akira Iriye, an ex-president of the American Historical Asso-
ciation, one of our most distinguished students of the Pacific War, and a leading
member of the advisory committee, are typical.
I do think that you and your colleagues have been subject to unfair
criticism. The script as originally drafted was an excellent one reflecting
the current historical scholarship. I . . . applaud your valiant effort to
present an informative, balanced story of the atomic bombing.
Ed Bearss, Chief Historian of the National Park Service, concurred with that
As a World War II combat veteran, I commend you and your colleagues
who have dared to go that extra mile to address an . . . internationally
significant event in an exhibit that, besides being enlightening, will
challenge its viewers .... The superior quality of the label texts and of
the objects and illustrations. . . sets a pattern that all aspire to but few
Professor Barton Bernstein of Stanford University regarded the script as: ". . .
fair, balanced, and historically informed," noting that it "reflected current schol-
arship on the war, the bombing and the use of the atomic bombs. . . ." Stanley
Goldberg has called attention to "the unanimous agreement at the advisory board
meeting that the initial approach of the curators was sound," and congratulated
members of the team on "a careful and professional job." A great many other
scholars who were not initially involved in the project have also expressed their
support for the early drafts.
As early as November 1993, however, leaders of the Air Force Association (the
AFA) had registered strong opposition to a draft proposal describing the exhibi-
tion. The group received a copy of the script at the same time that it went out to
the advisory committee, along with a request for comment and an invitation to
discuss their concerns and participate in the process of revision. The AFA replied
in April 1994 with the first of several critical articles in Air Force magazine.
Determined to respond to the criticism in an open and positive way, the
museum turned to the Pentagon-based World War II Commemorative Commit-
tee, which assisted us in obtaining advice and comment from historians em-
ployed by the military services. In addition to these efforts. Dr. Harwit created
a "Tiger Team," the six members of which were asked to identify "any signs of
imbalance" in the script.
A new script issued in June 1994 incorporated a very high percentage of the
changes suggested by all of the groups which had read the document to date.
Some of the leading military historians and several members of the "Tiger Team"
expressed satisfaction with the new version. Dr. Alfred Goldberg, the historian
of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, remarked: "My overall impression of
the Enola Gay script is favorable. It shows evidence of careful research and an
effort to realize a balanced presentation . . ."
But the new script did not placate the most vocal critics. In mid-July a Veterans
Review Committee, composed of representatives of the AFA and leading U.S.
veterans organizations, was invited to give the script an additional review. From
mid-summer to the end of the year, continued discussions with all of these
organizations led to a steady stream of additional script changes.
The Smithsonian now attempted to regain control of the situation. A large
introductory unit expanded our coverage of the Pacific War. The video-taped
recollections of atomic mission crew members, originally intended to appear
inside the gallery, was moved to a theater at the exit where it would draw more
attention. Finally, the Undersecretary of the Smithsonian and the Director of
museum invited leaders of the American Legion to sit down with members of the
exhibition team and work their way through the script. That effort produced a
final version of the script which some critics regarded as acceptable, but it did
not resolve the controversy. As a result. Secretary Heyman cancelled the original
project in January 1995.
Most of our critics blame the failure of the project on the deficiencies of the
original draft script. As I have acknowledged, the first draft was imperfect. I
would remind you, however, that the document had the support of most of the
members of a distinguished advisory committee and a substantial number of
other authorities in the field. The revised script issued in June attracted even
broader support. I believe that the very positive comments of leading scholars
refutes the charge that the early versions of the script were "bad history."
Criticism of the script has centered on the question of balance. Those of us who
developed the exhibition believe that the experience of the people of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki is an essential element of any full telling of this story. 1 think most
of our critics agree with that point of view. Moreover, all of us agree that the
atomic bombing of Japan must be understood within the context of the justice of
the Allied cause, and the incredible heroism of those who fought, and died, to
push the forces of Japanese tyranny back across the Pacific.
Professor John Dower of MIT expressed the hopes and intentions of the cura-
torial team when he commented that: "the original script had a great potential to
convey . . . [aj larger dimension of tragic ambiguity . . . without denying the
bravery of individual American fighting men, or the worthiness of the fight
against Japan. It would have been an immense challenge to pull this off, but I
thought the first script gave every promise of doing so."
Our critics took issue with the ambiguity to which Professor Dower refers.
While the exhibition was never intended to attack the justification for the use of
the atomic bomb, it did suggest that the decision has been the subject of consid-
erable study and analysis over the past half-century. Moreover, we failed to
appreciate the deep and powerful links that bind memory of the bomb to the
incredible sense of joy and relief at the end of the war. As individuals and as an
institution, those of us at the museum have paid a high price for that misjudge-
In closing, I want to assure you that I remain committed to the mission of the
National Air and Space Museum, and to the mandate of the Smithsonian Institu-
tion to increase and diffuse knowledge. I appreciate the opportunity to appear
today, and will do my best to answer any questions that the Committee may have.
The Chairman. Thank you.
Secretary Heyman, I want you to know we recognize that you
came into this matter after it started and if you want to defer to
others to answer questions, we would be happy to have you do
that. I will try to limit mine on the first round here, but I do have
a series of questions I want to get answers to, if we can.
Does the Smithsonian intend now to display the Enola Gay on
a permanent basis anywhere after the scaled-down exhibit is
Mr. Heyman. We certainly intend to exhibit it, sir, when we
have a place to exhibit it. We cannot put it in the Air and Space
Museum because it is too big. So the intention has been to exhibit
it at Dulles as the extension begins to be built out.
The Chairman. There are members of the groups that have
criticized the Smithsonian who have urged that you place it on
display at another prominent area. There are several prominent
areas for display of artifacts of the air war of World War II. Have
you considered doing that?
Mr. Heyman. My view about that is that when we take this
exhibit down, if there is an opportunity to lend the Enola Gay to
another place and we can work out the expenditures for getting
it there and getting it back and its maintenance, we would
certainly take quite seriously a request for it to be lent and
The Chairman. Then you would be receptive to a request
from these organizations that it be displayed just as an artifact
somewhere in the country?
Mr. Heyman. Yes, sir. But we would like to retain ownership
of it for its eventual display as part of our collection.
The Chairman. Do you envision someday the museum would
be large enough to hold that as a permanent exhibit?
Mr. Heyman. I think if we build out what we intend to build
out at Dulles, the extension of the Air and Space Museum, we
will have the requisite room. That is the plan.
The Chairman. I do not really view the Dulles site and
facility as being very accessible to many people. But that is
another question; we will deal with that later.
In your letter to Congressman Johnson you stated that you
were conducting an examination of how the exhibits are framed
philosophically at the outset. Could you tell us the status of that
Mr. Heyman. What I am trying to put together is a procedure
so that prospective exhibitions are quite well reviewed. The first
step in that, in my view, is for those within a museum to deal
with, to be consulted on, to discuss fully the plan of any curator
or curators for an exhibition, to look at what the purpose is, to
get a full explication of how it is supposed to work, and to start
to make judgments with regard to whether or not it is framed
properly in order to be accurate and full and balanced.
Let me give you an example. My biggest problem with the
first script of the Enola Gay is how it was framed. It was an
inquiry into the use of atomic weapons with a sidebar, a
secondary look at the Enola Gay and the use of the atomic
weapons in ending the Second World War. I think that, at least
now that I have become more sophisticated about this, if I had
been involved at all at the outset, and if I had thought about it
very hard, I think I could begin to predict some of the problems
that would arise if that is the way an exhibit was to be framed to
be held at the time that it was.
I want the museums in the first instance to really take that
seriously. I want to be put on notice whenever an exhibit is
begun to be discussed which could be a controversial exhibition
in the terms that we are talking about or perhaps other ones.
Then secondly, I want those procedures to state quite clearly
that — and we are talking about historical exhibitions here
basically — that not only should we be putting together an
historian's committee to assure accuracy, but that if there are
special groups that are specially affected by an exhibition, that
they are consulted meaningfully too, and early enough so that
that consultation affects the design of the exhibition.
I want to put those in writing. We are getting close to being
able to do that. I want an elaboration of them from each of the
museums. I want accountability with regard to whether or not
they are being followed. And I want to be informed personally.
and certainly persons other than me who are on staff in the
Secretary's office, with regard to whether there are exhibitions
contemplated that raise special problems of this sort. I want to
know about that early in the game.
The Chairman. What is the status of this examination to find
out how the exhibits are framed philosophically at the outset?
Mr. Heyman. I do not know if philosophically is the right
word, but I really mean
The Chairman. It is not my word; it is yours.
Mr. Heyman. What I mean by that is, how — I gave the
example for the Enola Gay. I would like to know what the
purpose and the story line of the exhibition is, and I would like
explicit conversation about that at the outset.
The Chairman. You also said that you are satisfied there has
been no fundamental effort at the Air and Space Museum, or any
Smithsonian museum, to do exhibitions only of the newer sort.
What is the "newer sort"?
Mr. Heyman. I think that was the discussion Senator
Feinstein was having. Let me just give this as a little bit of
The Chairman. Is it what we would call revisionist
Mr. Heyman. No.
The Chairman. or politically correct? What is "newer
Mr. Heyman. "Newer sort" is — let me start this way.
Historically, at least in my view, what our museums and
museums in general have done is to show objects. And they have
shown objects with not a lot of signage. It has essentially been,
you look at the object. You get a little bit of an idea what it is.
You bring to that object and you understand that object in
relationship to seeing it.
The newer sort is what is occurring now in a lot of museums
around the country where in historical exhibitions we are
beginning to write books on the wall. We are beginning to have
so much signage that it overwhelms, at least in my view — and
this is a lively argument — but it overwhelms the objects that are
the centerpieces of the exhibition. That is the tendency. That is
I have some problems, all aside of what the messages are,
whether or not exhibitions that are primarily made up of an
awful lot of text that is put up on the wall are very effective
exhibitions with respect to visitors.
The Chairman. Have you looked into the question of
copyright? Does the Smithsonian have the copyright to scripts
that are prepared by people you hire with Federal money?
Mr. Heyman. I believe we do.
The Chairman. That it not my understanding. It is my
understanding that the work of Federal employees under your
control is not copyrightable; that under the authority of the
Smithsonian there is no copyright protection for scripts that are
written for the Government.
Ms. Newman. I will have to get the general counsel's ruling
on that, but my understanding is
The Chairman. Respectfully, Ms. Newman, I do not want
your legal opinion. I want to know what you have been doing.
Are these scripts copyrighted?
Ms. Newman. Yes, some of them are.
The Chairman. When?
Ms. Newman. At what point in time?
The Chairman. At what point in time do they become Federal
property with copyright protection?
Ms. Newman. At the point that the script is final and the
exhibit is going on the wall.
The Chairman. They are copyrighted then?
Ms. Newman. But it varies. I know, Mr. Chairman, that you
do not want me to talk to the general counsel about this, but the
The Chairman. No, 1 just do not want another opinion. I want
to see what has been done. 1 am told it has not been done.
Ms. Newman. What I have to do is — frankly, there are some
issues before the courts now that affect this question of yours
and I do not want to put us in an awkward position with regard
to our issues before the court. So I would like, respectfully
The Chairman. I respect that. But we have been told that you
have copyrighted these, and there is a serious question here as
to protection of public property.
Ms. Newman. May I explain? What has happened is a number
have gone into texts that are published by the press. Some of the
scripts have gone into texts published by the press in catalogs,
and that is copyrighted.
The Chairman. I believe that you should get an opinion of
your counsel. I think your law is not adequate to give us the
protection we should have for scripts prepared at public expense
under your jurisdiction. Because of the unique status of the
Smithsonian, I am told that you have not sought copyright
protection in some instances, and that is one of the things we
should look into while we are looking into the management
concepts of the Smithsonian.
Mr. Secretary, you appointed Mr. Hoffman, the acting
provost, as the temporary director of the Air and Space Museum.
Did you discuss this exhibit with Mr. Hoffman in connection
with that appointment?
Mr. Heyman. The Enola Gay exhibit, sir?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Heyman. We have been so close for the 8 months that I
have been here, we have discussed the Enola Gay exhibit a lot of
times. So I did not have a special conversation with him at the
time I appointed him as the temporary director.
The Chairman. What role did the Air and Space Museum
advisory board have in the preparation or review of these
scripts? I am told there are 10 members of that; 3 appointed by
Mr. Heyman. I do not think much of a role, cir. I met with the
advisory committee this past week. As a matter of fact, I asked
them and they will take a preliminary look at the exhibition that
I am in charge of, the new Enola Gay exhibition. But I know they
discussed the Enola Gay exhibition at their last meeting. They
only have historically met once a year. But I do not think they
went through the script in any detail.
The Chairman. What is the role of this advisory group? Were
they consulted. Dr. Crouch, at the beginning of this exhibit?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, Senator. There were repeated discussions
of the exhibition at advisory committee meetings over a period
of at least 2 years.
The Chairman. Is there any record of their expression of
Mr. Crouch. Yes, Senator. In the minutes of the advisory
Mr. Heyman. Are you speaking of the statutory advisory
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. On that group was Lieutenant General
William Forester, who is military deputy assistant to the
Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the
deputy chief of staff for aviation. Rear Admiral William C.
Donnell, Rear Admiral Brent Binnett, General John Daly. Were
they consulted at the beginning of this exhibit?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir. The plans for the exhibition were
discussed at meetings of the mandatory advisory committee.
The Chairman. They saw the script in the beginning?
Mr. Crouch. I do not believe so. Senator.
The Chairman. That is what we are getting at in terms of
management. At what point do the advisors who are appointed
to try and protect you against this kind of controversy come into
this process. Doctor?
Mr. Heyman. If you had been at the meeting that I had with
the advisory committee this week, which obviously you would
not, I told them that I really looked forward to a rather deep,
consultative relationship between that advisory committee and
NASM, and we are going to do that.
The Chairman. You have a series of directives, regulations,
et cetera. Is there any sort of directive to those who are managing
the Air and Space Museum that they shall consult with these
advisors before they undertake matters of public controversy?
Mr. Heyman. I do not know, but the under secretary says that
we do not have stated policies that directly give that directive.
The Chairman. I think that it is unfortunate, when you have
high-caliber public members such as Mr. Thomas Hall, Susan
Woo, and several others, who are there in order to give advice to
the museum to prevent the kind of controversy that developed.
and they are not involved. I urge you to discuss it and give us
some response on how the advisory committee is going to be
used. If it is not going to be used, maybe we should abolish it.
But the real problem is that they were not used.
Now tell me this. I am sure you heard the comments that were
made last week by the veterans organizations. What percent of
the Air and Space budget has been spent on actual restoration of
aircraft or aerospace vehicles over the past 3 years? Do you have
Ms. Newman. I would have to submit that for the record.
There was $1 million spent on the restoration of the Enola Gay.
But if you are asking for all of the dollars spent on restoration, I
would have to submit that for one other reason. Some of the
restoration is done by third parties. We get the aircraft to them
and they expend their resources. So I would have to split it out
for you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Tell me this, any one of you who wants to
answer — In a period when we are trying to celebrate the history
and the contributions to the preservation of our democracy made
by those who lost their lives in World War II — those of us who
served do not feel we require any recognition. We survived. We
are trying to remember those who gave their lives — Why do we
have a Barbie doll exhibit in the Air and Space Museum instead
of exhibits commemorating those who gave their lives? What is
the Barbie doll doing there in the first place?
Mr. Crouch. The curator would have to answer that question
directly. Senator. When it comes to exhibitions of this sort at the
museum, a curator proposes an idea for a project. That proposal
is discussed at an exhibition committee meeting which includes
the leading managers of the museum. Decisions are made and
passed on as advice to the director.
The Barbie doll exhibit is a very small case exhibit. I would
call your attention too to the fact that 1 week ago tonight we had
a marvelous Charles Lindbergh memorial lecture
commemorating victory in Europe, particularly those who
participated in the air war in Europe. We filled the Langley
Theater in the museum, in fact to overflowing. We had to move
in extra seats.
I think if you look at the record of our museum over the past
years in terms of exhibitions
The Chairman. Doctor, if you do not see the difference
between having a Lindbergh lecture in a theater and a permanent
exhibit proposed on the Enola Gay which would portray us as the
aggressors, I do not think we are going to get very far in this
Mr. Crouch. Our next exhibition, I would point out. Senator,
is the F6F Hellcat, a World War II Navy fighter.
Mr. Heyman. Senator, on the Barbie dolls. I do remember a
little bit about it. It is two small cases. It is temporary. It is about
$6,000 that was paid by outside sources, or most of it was. The
notion was to have something there that got young people's
attention. Largely what it is, by looking at the dolls — I am told,
although I have not seen it — you can see an evolution of the role
of women in aviation and aeronautics simply by the way that
Barbie dolls were clothed over a 20-year period. It is not a very
central exhibition, but it seems to — but that is its intention.
The Chairman. I am going to have to yield in a minute. But
let me ask. Doctor, what is the exhibit, "Beyond the Limits"?
What is that exhibit?
Mr. Crouch. It is an exhibition that has to do with computers,
electronics, avionics. Senator, in modern aviation; the way in
which they have revolutionized flight technology.
The Chairman. You sought and obtained four contributions
from Japanese interests and Japanese nationals to put that in our
national museum. Why?
Mr. Crouch. It was not my exhibition. Senator. I could not
respond to that question.
The Chairman. I would like to know. I will have some other
questions later. I will yield to my colleagues. I do want you to
know. Dr. Crouch, that those of us who lived through World War
II have great admiration for Lindbergh's accomplishment in
flying across the Atlantic; but we have no regard whatsoever for
his position as a collaborator with our enemies during World
Senator FORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Doctor, I want to
bridge over here just a little bit. I want you to look at me as a
friendly enemy because I do not want to do anything to
downgrade the Smithsonian because it is too valuable. The only
thing I want to do here is to help you improve it. So not being a
professional, I come as a member of the jury. It appears that you,
sir, recognize the direction of the Enola Gay exhibit was
inappropriate from the start, and perhaps in hindsight you agree
that the exhibit did not reflect the experience of those who lived
in this history.
I understand. Doctor, that the Museum of American History
will display an exhibit this summer to commemorate the end of
the war. What assurance can you give this committee and the
public that the American History Museum exhibit has been
developed differently so as to avoid the problems we faced in
this one? And have you applied your new procedures to this
Mr. Heyman. I have read the script. Senator Ford, and I am
satisfied with it.
Senator FoRD. How did you apply your new procedures to it?
Mr. Heyman. These procedures are being formulated
presently. Certainly in the interim I am asking if we are going to
have an exhibit in an area that might be controversial that the
script of it be shared with me. This was and I have — it is a
relatively short script. I have read it and I think it is quite good.
Senator FORD. This could be another sensitive thing and I
want to be sure that we are going in the right direction.
Mr. Heyman. I do not think you will find it is. It is one that
really has paintings and objects that really evoke memories. It
does not tell stories. It really is very object-based and not one in
which there are a lot of wallboard labels.
Senator Ford. Doctor, let me step into your next panel if I may
for minute. I apologize for having to do that but I am an hour
late to where I was supposed to go. You mentioned trends a
while ago as it related to history and that sort of thing — trends.
I did not know we had any "trends" in history, unless it was the
improvement of knowledge or additional facts that would be
added on, not interpretation. But you mentioned the word
"trends" and that bothered me a little bit, whether it is politically
correct or not or whatever.
Now the study of NAPA that you referred to in your
statement, was that in process before you came on board?
Mr. Heyman. No, sir, that was instituted after I came aboard.
Senator Ford. That is just the Aeronautics and Space Museum
and not anything else?
Mr. Heyman. That is correct.
Senator FORD. I read in here that during the tenure of Dr.
Harwit he most notably broadened the museum's agenda,
especially in deepening research and exhibitions concerning
scientific aspects of the space and the cosmos. Now also you say
in here, that the Smithsonian's usefulness to our citizens should
not be about that one class visit in the 10th grade. Without taking
on the impossible, we must be about carrying our mission across
the country. We must find ways to deliver to the American
people, wherever they live, the wonders of the institution they
have supported for over one and a half centuries.
Now I am troubled. I am troubled because of the Barbie doll
exhibit. I do not know if they are all dressed up in aviation
uniforms and all that, but the Barbie doll, we have to get that
straightened out. Communication is probably the hardest thing
we have to do. You have an art section and you have a batik cloth
exhibit with abstract paint; is that correct. Dr. Crouch? I saw you
inhale real quick. Is that correct?
Mr. Crouch. We did. Senator, have an exhibition batiks
created by artist Mary Edna Frazier. They are based on aerial
photography. The artist is a pilot who makes use of those
Senator FORD. You tell me that it looks like, and I am not a
professional. If you have a stream and some trees behind it, I
understand it. You may understand abstract art. But it was on
batik cloth, right?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
Senator FORD. And it was abstract; is that correct?
Mr. Crouch. Well, they are based on aerial photographs.
Senator. What the artist sees from the sky as she flies.
Senator FORD. All right. You are going to have to draw me
another picture because I did not understand it that way. Doctor.
I do not think many people who come through there understand
it either. You may understand it and sit up there in that
six-by-six with a 60-watt bulb and green shade on and say, the
world is great out there. But there are a lot of people who come
through that Aeronautics and Space Museum, one of the most
visited museums in the world, and it has to be the best. No
question about that, it has to be the best. And the best you can
do is when people leave there they understand it. They do not
understand batik cloth and abstract paint, most of them.
Now we get back to the education. Doctor, spreading it out.
I understand that in the educational realm of Aeronautics and
Space you are being community selective. You are going into
communities, maybe where they are unfortunate or I do not
know what the level is that you picked, and you are
concentrating on that. Now you say here you want to spread it
out all over to the country, but you are selecting the communities
and it is not a national effort. That bothers me some.
Mr. Heyman. First of all
Senator FORD. I have talked to the people that do it. Doctor,
so do not try to
Mr. Heyman. No, I am trying to tell you what I was saying in
the document from which you read. What I am saying is that we
are seeking to take the Smithsonian into the electronic world and
have our exhibitions and a lot of information that is contained in
the Smithsonian available in electronic form. We just went on the
Internet with about 20 or 25 — more than that — a huge amount of
information that is being built up in the various museums, also
including a very good exhibition called, "Ocean Planet." In the
first 3 or 4 days that we were on the Internet we recorded over 2
million visits. In other words, 2 million people tuned in.
I see that — it is still a limited audience. There are about 30
million who are on the Internet around. But I see that, probably
as it combines with the television medium, as being a very
extraordinary way to reach an awful lot of people so that they
can, in a way, partake of what we have at the Smithsonian and
not have to be there.
The other is that we are taking what I think is going to be an
absolutely wonderful exhibition as part of our 150th anniversary
called, "America's Smithsonian." We are going to travel that
around the country and that is going to contain a lot of our really
fine objects. I think that people who have not been able to come
to Washington are going to be able to get a very good sense of
the Smithsonian by visiting that. That is what I meant in those
references from which you were reading.
Senator Ford. Do you have any knowledge, or do your
colleagues there have any knowledge, of the selected
Ms. Newman. I know. Senator, throughout the institution
there is an effort to work with school systems around the
country. We have a math and science program. Each of the
museums has a program. What has happened is that some of the
museums, and Air and Space in particular, have programs for the
Washington area, just because it is physically easier to get the
students in the Washington area into the museums. But if you
are suggesting that it is selective in that they are not interested
in all of the schools in the area, that is not true.
Senator FoRD. I am talking about the country. This is a
national museum, not an area.
Ms. Newman. Within the country, the programs that I talked
to you about on the science and math are throughout the country.
We have curriculum materials that go throughout the country. I
can show you by each State which of the schools are benefiting
from these various programs, and I would like very much to do
Senator FORD. Fine, I will be glad to accept it. But when you
select the communities and the criteria you have by which you
select the communities disturbs me because the programs ought
to be universal and not selective. And the criteria that you have
down there for your people who make these decisions, the
criteria they go by limit the where and how much of the exhibits
and the education and the communication. So I hope that maybe
my questions today will give you an opportunity to revisit some
of those things and perhaps redirect it.
Now, Doctor, you have got a raft of assistants at Air and
Space Museum. Do you think you need all of them or are you
going to wait until the NAPA comes? You have got half a dozen
there or more.
Mr. Heyman. I am clearly going to wait until I get a really — I
will keep you posted. Senator.
Senator FORD. It is like the football coaches in my hometown.
They never fired them, they became assistant superintendents.
We had a lot of football coaches that retired from coaching and
became assistant superintendents. They do that all over the state.
Somehow or another, we just like to take care of our sports
figures. I do not want you to get loaded up with a lot of
assistants, and then you get five different points of view. That
may be good, but somehow, at some point you have got to say,
we can be more efficient. You have a director, and he has an
assistant and they have certain things to do. Then you can put
that big shadow over their shoulder.
Mr. Heyman. Right. Senator, I think we are beginning now to
try to look at these issues since obviously we are going to start
to — I have to live on leaner budgets. Clearly, 85 percent or so of
our budget is in personnel. Clearly, if we are going to have to
tighten our belts it is going to have to be that we are going to
have to thin out numbers of people.
Senator FORD. So it may come automatically.
Mr. HeymaN. Yes. One of the things though I do want to — this
is just really by way of information. I am sitting on 17 museums
and galleries and 4 or 5 very large research institutes. So I just
want you to know that these efforts are going to have to be
Senator FORD. I understand that. As I said earlier, if I am
viewed as an enemy, I would like to be a friendly enemy because
I think what you are doing is so important. If I am critical, I hope
it is constructive. What I have done is talked personally to
people. I have not just taken a piece of paper and read it and this
is the report. I have talked to people at the Air and Space
Museum who participate every day in what you do down there.
So I have not just come here with a piece of paper staff shoved
under my nose and said, you ask him these questions. I have got
them personally because I thought it was so important.
Mr. Heyman. I understand that.
Senator FORD. At some point we will grade you. When I first
came here your board was never brought before the Congress.
They would just send the names up and we would approve them.
Senator Mathias decided we ought to see who is going on the
board, and get their background, have a little financial statement
like all the rest of the appointments around here, because you do
handle a lot of money and you are important to the country. Now
we are beginning to give you some oversight, and you are going
through some of the problems other agencies are going through.
Mr. Heyman. I realize that, sir. But do not forget my Board of
Regents because they are —
Senator Ford. I understand your Board of Regents. I hear
from your Board of Regents almost daily. I want to tell you, they
are on your side. And I happen to be on their side because we are
trying to do the same thing. They defend you strongly. When
that defense goes away you had better
Mr. Heyman. I will be in trouble.
Senator Ford. You will.
The Chairman. Senator Pell, do you have any questions?
Senator PELL. Yes, thank you. Speaking of the regents, I think
one of the stupidest things I have ever done was when I thought
I had a conflict of interest and resigned from the board. I have
regretted it ever since, sought to get on it and have not
succeeded. I think that the exhibition you are talking about is
great. As one who was in the North Atlantic convoy duty in the
North Atlantic, I would hope that you might honor the
anti-submarine warfare there as well, have an exhibition.
I also note your statement that the Smithsonian has "an
obligation to consider the opinions of the interested public" in
framing your exhibitions. My question is, are there limits to the
extent to which the Smithsonian should be responsive to public
opinion? And does the Smithsonian reserve for itself an area of
judgment that will honor opinions that might not necessarily be
popular? I realize I am coming at it from a slightly different angle
than you have received so far.
Mr. Heyman. Senator Pell, 1 think any institution of our sort
has to reserve the final decision. But I think we have to be
sensitized to viewpoints that otherwise we might not get if we
did not make the kinds of consultations and seek the sort of
advice that I am speaking about there. But no, we have got to
make the final decision.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much.
The Chairman. Senator Cochran?
Senator Cochran. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Crouch, you may have heard Mr. Linenthal say when he
was talking about an exhibit of the V-2 rocket that in order to
really show what the V-2 rocket was all about, what it did
needed to be shown and was shown to fully explain the context
of that artifact. I suppose that the same kind of thinking went
into the development of the Enola Gay exhibit, that to show the
context of the airplane that dropped the bomb, you had to show
Is this something that has been followed over time at the Air
and Space Museum? And do you see it as something that will
continue to be a part of every exhibit? For example, you
mentioned the Hellcats. I just wondered, are you going to show
the damage and the results of the weapons system that the
Hellcat was in order for people to understand why it was made,
and what it was for, and how it was used? Is that going to be an
important part of that exhibit, or any part at all?
Mr. Crouch. I think exhibitions perform a great many
functions. Senator. When people ask me what I think the
National Air and Space Museum does best, I usually say that we
inspire wonder and awe and an appreciation for the past. But the
museum also teaches, I think, something about the context in
which those objects that people see in the museum were used.
The Hellcat exhibit is commemorative, for the most part. It is
the airplane, labels, and images of the airplane in use, and the
men who flew it.
Senator Cochran. No dead people lying around in
Mr. Crouch. No, sir, not that I
Senator CocHRAN. None at all?
Mr. Crouch. Not that come to mind.
Senator CocHRAN. Why not? Why would you consider it to
be a complete exhibit if you do not show the people it killed or
the damage that was done by the use of the Hellcat? Why is that
Mr. Crouch. I think the exhibition of the Hellcat does show
the complete story of that airplane. It is a fighter airplane.
Senator. That exhibition was not designed to deal with a turning
point in history.
Senator Cochran. I do not remember when I have gone
through the museums that it is commonplace to show the victims
of weapons systems in ways that would be repulsive or alarm or
disgust or enrage, all the other emotions that we get when we see
someone who has been killed, particularly in a pretty graphic
scene. The Vietnam War is a very good example of what happens,
I think, to all of us when we see that kind of thing on television
or in photographs or pictures. It has quite an impact.
Is the Air and Space Museum going to consider, for example,
in the future showing some of the airplanes that were used in
Vietnam and what was done in the use of those planes, the
napalm? Are these things that we can look forward to in the
Mr. Crouch. No, Senator. An exhibition on the air war in
Vietnam has been under discussion. It is on hold at this point.
We still have to reach a decision with regard to that one, as the
Secretary has commented in the past.
I really thought and think of the exhibition on the Enola Gay
as a genuine departure from what had come before at the
museum, and did see it as an attempt to tell a story, perhaps in
a different way than the museum had before.
Senator CoCHRAN. I am disturbed about the possibility of a
trend setting in where this is the kind of thing that we can expect
at the Air and Space Museum. I certainly disapprove of that mind
set and that attitude. We all regret war. We regret we have to
defend ourselves and spend all the money we do for national
defense. But the security of our country is important, and our
citizens security is uppermost in the minds of this Congress. It
is probably the number one obligation that we have as a
To see it ridiculed, or those who have been involved in
protecting the security of our country demeaned in some indirect
way — even though there certainly may not be a conscious effort
to do that — by our own national museum is very disturbing. I
think that is what comes from this experience.
I hope that those who are involved in thinking about what the
role of the museum is, and what the goals are, and the mission,
use good common sense and good judgment for a change. I think
that is what we are asking you to do. All the regulations and
guidelines and everything are going to be helpful maybe. But I
think just good common sense and good judgment will be
Mr. Crouch. Senator, I have been at that museum for 21 years
and it is today, as it was on the day we opened, the most popular
museum in the world. Certainly no one wants to endanger that
or to alter the fundamental course of that museum. There is
nothing related to this controversy that I regret more than the
suggestion that that Institution which I love, which I helped to
build, has somehow devalued the heroism and sacrifice of
American veterans. That was certainly, and I hope obviously.
never the intention. My own father is a veteran of the Pacific war
and I would never, and neither would anyone else involved in
this project, wish to do anything other than to honor the soldiers,
sailors, and airmen who defeated Japanese tyranny.
Mr. Heyman. Do not forget the Marines.
Mr. Crouch. I am sorry, Mr. Secretary. I apologize for that.
The Chairman. Mr. Secretary, I have to get back to the
statutory authorization for the National Air and Space Museum.
I want to call your attention to that. It says, in Section 11 , Title
20 of the U.S. Code, "There is hereby established under the
Smithsonian Institution a bureau to be known as the National Air
and Space Museum, which shall be administered by the
Smithsonian Institution with the advice of a board to be
composed of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, or his designee,
the Chief of Naval Operations, or his designee, the Chief of Staff
of the Army, or his designee, the Commandant of the Marine
Corps, or his designee, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, or
his designee, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, or his designee, the Administrator of the
Federal Aviation Administration, or his designee, the Secretary
of the Smithsonian Institution, and three citizens of the United
States appointed by the President from civilian life . . ."
Now, as I understand it, before this exhibit started there was
no reference to that board for advice. Is that correct?
Mr. Heyman. I cannot really tell you. I can only tell you that
at the meeting that we had this week it was told to me by
members of that advisory committee that at the meeting they had
had the last year, which I guess was in April or May of last year,
there was discussion at that meeting about the Enola Gay
exhibition. I do not know what the nature of that discussion was.
I do not know the extent to which what that exhibit was to be or
looked like in the first draft was discussed. I just do not know
the nature of it. I just can tell you that is what they told me when
I saw them this week.
The Chairman. I think you miss my point. My point is, the
statute says you run this with the advice of this board. It is a
specifically designated advisory board, composed primarily of
the military advisors to the President of the United States. They
are the chairmen of the individual services, the chiefs of staff.
But I do not see anything in your procedure which follows this
law. You do not get their advice except once a year.
Mr. Heyman. I do not know whether our procedures state it.
They probably do not. We will rectify that. But I want you to
know that my own intention, which I discussed with them this
week, was of a much closer advisory relation between that board
and the museum. So you and I are on the same wavelength.
The Chairman. I hope we are. You and I are not going to be
here forever, and I do not want the Smithsonian to be destroyed
by revisionists or people who are seeking some way to express
their own point of view to the world despite the official policy
of the United States when using taxpayer money. Now the
problem with this is that the law also says this is the function of
the museum. This is the law that gave you the authority to build
this museum and spend taxpayers' money to support it:
The National Air and Space Museum shall memorial-
ize the national development of aviation and space
flight; collect, preserve and display aeronautical and
space flight equipment of historical interest and signif-
icance; serve as a repository for scientific equipment
and data pertaining to the development of aviation and
space flight; and provide educational material for the
historical study of aviation and space flight.
Now, Dr. Crouch, how do you go about planning an exhibit
which primarily is to raise the question of the use by the United
States of atomic weapons under that statute? You were involved
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. I do not think he was there at that time, but
you were there when it started. I do not think you have any
authority under this law to proceed with the exhibit that you
planned, which basically was to raise the issue of the correctness
of our use of atomic weapons at the close of World War II. That
has nothing to do with the Enola Gay.
But I do not think you get our point. Suppose we gave you
the F117 today, which was the classic weapon used in the Persian
Gulf. Are you going to show pictures of the people who were in
the way of those weapons they used so effectively and
efficiently? Are you going to show those people who
unfortunately suffered death because of the policy of their
government in Iraq? Or are you going to show it to be a scientific
instrument, really one of the best weapons in history and one of
the key functions of our system to win the war in the Persian
Gulf? Are you going to go out on the streets of Iraq and get
pictures of babies it killed or are you going to show the pilots
who flew it?
Mr. Crouch. Senator, we did an exhibition on the air war in
the Persian Gulf.
The Chairman. I saw it. But you miss the point. As Senator
Cochran said, I do not remember seeing pictures of dead Iraqis.
Mr. Crouch. Agreed, sir. I do not think there were.
The Chairman. So your exhibit was an exhibit that tried to
raise the issue of the correctness of the decision of the President
of the United States to use atomic weapons to end World War II.
Mr. Crouch. No, Senator. We did not regard the exhibition
that way. This was an attempt to say something about the
airplane as a player in a turning point in world history. I do not
think you can understand the meaning of that airplane, which
has become such a symbol of so many things for people, without
seeing it as having an historic role.
The Chairman. It delivered the final weapon of World War
II, but there are a lot of other weapons that killed many more
people than it did; the Hellcats for example. How many people
were killed by the Hellcats strafing operations?
Mr. Crouch. I am sure a great many. Senator.
The Chairman. But you are not going to show those. What
were you doing in terms of the Enola Gay exhibit? We want to
know, how are we going to prevent the kind of judgment that
was made to use taxpayer's money beyond the authority of the
Smithsonian and beyond the authority that created the museum
that you spent 21 years in?
Mr. Crouch. I can assure you. Senator, we did not think we
were going beyond the authority of the museum or the
Smithsonian. I tried to indicate the sorts of procedures that we
passed through in the development of the project.
The Chairman. Let me read you another portion of the law,
and I am sure I will get the answer I have gotten before. In the
middle of President Kennedy's first year, I believe he actually
sent this language to Congress and asked that it be enacted:
The Smithsonian Institution shall commemorate and
display the contributions made by the military forces
of the Nation towards creating, developing, and main-
taining a free and peaceful and independent society
and culture of the United States. The valor and sacrifi-
cial service of the men and women of the armed forces
shall be portrayed as an inspiration to the present and
future generations of America. The demands placed
upon the full energies of our people and the hardships
endured, the sacrifice demanded in our constant
search for world peace shall be clearly demonstrated.
The extensive peacetime contribution that the armed
forces have made to the advance of human knowledge
in science, nuclear energy, polar and space explora-
tion, electronics, engineering, aerospace, and medicine
shall be graphically displayed. The Smithsonian shall
interpret through dramatic display significant current
problems affecting the Nation's security. It shall be
equipped with a study center for scholarly research
into the meaning of war, its effect on civilization, and
the role of the armed forces in maintaining a just and
lasting peace by providing a powerful deterrent to
war. In fulfilling its purpose, the Smithsonian shall
collect, preserve, and exhibit military objects of histor-
ical interest and significance.
Now, Mr. Secretary, I am informed that section was never
complied with. Is that right?
Mr. Heyman. It is complied with in many ways. There are a
lot of exhibitions at the Smithsonian that fulfill exactly the
purposes that are stated there.
The Chairman. I understand that. But did you ever develop
such an armed forces display?
Mr. Heyman. No, and we also never got an armed forces
museum which was the subsection under which that statute was
The Chairman. But you did get the Air and Space Museum.
Mr. Heyman. Yes, we had gotten the Air and Space Museum
before that statute was enacted.
The Chairman. You did not get it before 1961. I beg to differ.
Mr. Heyman. Then 1 am incorrect. I guess the authorization
for the Air and Space Museum had been passed before that
because there's reference in that statute, as I recall, that it does
not affect the provisions relating to the Air and Space Museum.
But putting all that aside, I believe that we will do our best
The Chairman. I think you are right. I think you got the
authorization for the Air and Space Museum in 1946. You did not
get the actual museum until substantially later.
Mr. Heyman. That is correct, sir. What I am saying is that
putting aside technical arguments about applicability of that
statute, we really do try, and I think successfully so in many
regards, to fulfill the statements that are in that section. We
could submit, sir, if you would like for the record, a history of
exhibitions that we think are related to the words in that section.
The Chairman. I think I am going to put in the record the
letter that you wrote to Congressman Sam Johnson on April 4 of
this year when he raised the same question.
[The letter is included in the Appendix.]
The Chairman. 1 understand that the position of the
Smithsonian is that the legislative language quoted pertaining to
the National Armed Forces Museum was authorized but never
funded, and you take it that this section that I just read was not
intended to apply to the National Air and Space Museum. I have
to tell you, we will correct the statute. I believe the intention of
President Kennedy was one the American public wanted to see
in that Air and Space Museum.
Now let me go back, if I may, to questions on the future. What
policies are you establishing that will change old policies with
regard to advice from advisory committees that have been
authorized by Congress or the President pertaining to new
Mr. Heyman. Sir, I know what I want to do but I have not
written them yet. We are going to write them this summer and I
will submit them to this committee for information and for
advice. But my intention is what I stated before which is,
certainly in the case of statutory advisory committees, that they
play a very real role in terms of the policies that are established
respecting the museums for which they are created. This is true
with the Hirshhorn. This is true at the Freer. This is true on a
number of the museums where we have — the Museum of the
American Indian — where there are specific statutes that create
specific advisory boards and the same is true.
It could well be, sir, and I certainly would follow the kind of
advice you are giving, that we should state the procedures by
which that becomes effective rather than just leave it to the
The Chairman. Do you have directives or regulations that
pertain to the use of Federal funds or Smithsonian funds to
travel? Who approves the travel of museum directors, curators,
and other Smithsonian employees? Who approves the hiring of
people in the separate museums? Are there regulations and
directives on that?
Ms. Newman. Mr. Chairman, there are regulations. There are
delegations from the Secretary to responsible officials. There is
a system in place that assures that the travel is in accordance
with the Federal laws. We do have a system whereby the
directors notify the provosts or me of their plans to travel. Now
with the new Secretary, those are often discussed with the
Secretary. And I have a sign-off.
The Chairman. Are you aware of the complaint of the various
veterans and aviation organizations that the employees hired at
the Air and Space Museum by Dr. Harwit had no background in
aviation, aviation history, aviation engineering, or air and space
museum management? They were in fact going towards a
revisionist concept of history. How do we protect against that if
it is true?
Ms. Newman. There is a system whereby panels review the
qualifications of people who are hired by the institution, and
there is to be a matching of their credentials with the job
requirements. You are telling me something that I had not heard:
that there are large numbers of people who are in positions for
which they are not qualified, which is different from saying that
they may not agree with their position on certain issues.
The Chairman. That is correct. They are saying that a large
number of the employees of the Air and Space Museum had no
background in either aviation, aviation history, aviation
engineering, or air and space museum management, and that
they were hired for the purpose of this exhibit. Is that true. Dr.
Mr. Crouch. May I make a comment. Senator? The last
curator I hired is a retired Air Force colonel, an SR-71 pilot, who
retired after a full career in the Air Force. We were happy to get
him. His operational experience, his knowledge of aircraft, and
his cockpit time and so on and so forth are obviously the kinds
of skills and experiences that the National Air and Space
Museum has to have to do its work. There are other kinds of
skills as well, and when you need those you advertise for a
different sort of person.
The Chairman. Were you the lead curator on the Enola Gay
Mr. Crouch. No, sir. Dr. Neufeld was. I am his supervisor.
The Chairman. Who?
Mr. Crouch. Michael Neufeld. I am his supervisor.
The Chairman. You were the supervisor of the lead curator?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. What did you believe was the basic purpose
of that exhibit?
Mr. Crouch. As I said. Senator, to tell the story of that
turning point in human history in the most honest, balanced way
The Chairman. Who created the name, "A More Perfect
Union" for the exhibit?
Mr. Crouch. I misunderstood. Senator. I thought you were
still talking about the Enola Gay. You are talking about the
exhibition, "A More Perfect Union" in American History?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Crouch. Yes, I was the lead curator for that exhibition.
The Chairman. It is my understanding that because of that
exhibit you were selected to lead the Enola Gay exhibit. Is that
Mr. Crouch. No, sir, that is not true. Let me correct, now that
I understand your question. I was
The Chairman. "A More Perfect Union" was concerned about
the Japanese who were placed in camps in our own country,
Mr. Crouch. Japanese Americans, yes, sir. I was the curator
of that exhibition, yes.
The Chairman. Who determined the scope and title of the
exhibit that caused this controversy?
Mr. Crouch. This one?
The Chairman. The Enola Gay exhibit.
Mr. Crouch. The scope and ?
The Chairman. title of the exhibit.
Mr. Crouch. The final title of the exhibition went through
various iterations. It was the result of a group decision that
everyone, including then-Secretary Adams, was willing to
accept. The scope of the exhibition developed through early
planning documents and discussions.
The Chairman. Is it true that members of your staff are now,
either in an official or unofficial capacity, assisting American
University and others in a teach-in or some program for use of
the artifacts and materials that were in the original plan of the
Enola Gay exhibit and that this exhibit will be farmed out, in
effect, to other universities in other areas in the country?
Mr. Crouch. Not to my knowledge. Senator. I am aware that
someone at American University has been reported in the
newspapers as doing that. But certainly to my knowledge, we
have not been involved.
The Chairman. That is not with any help from the
Smithsonian or the personnel who assisted in the creation of this
Mr. Crouch. Again, not to my knowledge. Senator.
Mr. Heyman. I asked specifically the curator of the exhibit,
Michael Neufeld, and he indicated to me that he is playing
absolutely no role and having no discussions with the people at
The Chairman. Do we know who was the author of the
statement in the script that said, "For most Americans it was a
war of vengeance; for most Japanese it was a war to defend their
unique culture against western imperialism"? Who authored
Mr. Crouch. I am really not sure. Senator. In terms of
authorship, I supervised the project but I also wrote one unit; not
the one in which that statement appeared. Dr. Neufeld wrote two
units. The remaining two units of the exhibition were the result
of a joint effort between Dr. Neufeld and the curatorial
assistants, and that statement was in one of those units.
The Chairman. You took the trips to Japan and you were the
one who requested the loan from the city of Nagasaki of the
artifacts to be displayed, the head of an angel, an infant's dress,
a Madonna and child, leaflets dropped from American planes,
pictures of the keloid scars of individuals rather than surgically
removed keloid scars? You are the one who made the decision to
obtain those for the exhibit, right?
Mr. Crouch. No, those decisions were group decisions. I
signed the letter.
The Chairman. Was there a group of you in Japan, Doctor?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. How many?
Mr. Crouch. Well, we did not make that decision in Japan.
The first trip Dr. Harwit led and I went with him. On the second
occasion I took the curator and the designer of the exhibition to
Japan to look at materials and to gather information about
objects that we might request for loan. But the decisions were all
made after we had returned.
The Chairman. Did you meet Mr. Takahashi on your trips to
Mr. Crouch. I believe so. Hiroshima?
The Chairman. Do you agree with what Dr. Harwit wrote to
him, "For most of us in America the Enola Gay is an
uncomfortable symbol. It represents a destructive act which
many of us feel to be incompatible with our perceived national
character"? He also states that you will be visiting with Dr.
Takahashi. Did you meet with him to discuss that letter?
Mr. Crouch. I met with him, yes, sir.
The Chairman. Did you discuss that point of view expressed
by Dr. Harwit?
Mr. Crouch. No, not in those words, sir.
The Chairman. Were you aware of it?
Mr. Crouch. Someone read that letter to me yesterday and I
did not recall having
The Chairman. When you went over there were you familiar
with the correspondence that had been sent by your superior to
Mr. Crouch. For the most part, Senator. But that was a couple
of years ago. I honestly do not remember having seen that letter.
The Chairman. Did you give the mayors of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki a promise that they could film a statement in which
they were free to say anything they chose for inclusion in the
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. You object to the statements of American
veterans, and they have been accused of trying to seek a veto, yet
you gave the mayors of two Japanese cities a free license to say
whatever they wanted to. Is that right?
Mr. Crouch. No, Senator. No, it is not correct.
The Chairman. It is not right?
Mr. Crouch. When we first went to Japan, one of the first
questions that was posed to Dr. Harwit was, will this exhibition,
in one way or another, express opposition to the use of nuclear
weapons? Dr. Harwit told the Japanese that, of course, we could
not do that. The National Air and Space Museum does not make
national policy. But he said he would consider the possibility of
filming short statements from both mayors in which they could
express their own point of view, and those statements would be
used in a videotape that would include opposition points of
view, also unedited. So that visitors to the exhibition
The Chairman. American veterans were to be able to put
their views in this exhibit unedited. Is that your statement?
Mr. Crouch. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. You made that offer to the veterans groups?
Mr. Crouch. I believe that Dr. Harwit did, or intended to.
Ms. Newman. Mr. Chairman, may I intervene here just for a
The Chairman. Yes.
Ms. Newman. But I, on the other hand, made it clear that if
the videos covered subjects and matters that were of concern to
the institution that the videos would not play. Dr. Harwit was
present with me in discussing that matter with representatives
The Chairman. Again I get back to management, Ms.
Newman. How are the veterans groups to understand that the
commitment made by the curator is not the policy of the
Smithsonian unless we have some responsibility somewhere? I
get the feeling I am playing with a feather pillow. Every time we
ask a question we are told, no, it is over here. Then we go over
here and ask Dr. Crouch and they say, oh no, over here, I vetoed
that. Do you see our problem. Dr. Heyman?
Mr. Heyman. Yes, I understand, sir.
The Chairman. Is it a valid one? I am getting pilloried at
home by some people who believe that I am somehow attacking
the Smithsonian. I got that viewpoint too when I questioned the
exhibit on the west, and I got that when I questioned the
statements and the toadstool you gave to Professor Fuentes. It is
part of the life we lead.
But I think you need some management structure. You run
the equivalent of two divisions in the Army, and it appears that
all your regiments are going off in different directions. Is that
Mr. Heyman. It is very hard for me to answer that. I do not
know whether it is wrong or not. I can tell you that the
Smithsonian has been a place that has been analogized, and
certainly was by my predecessor, very much to a university in
which museums and research institutes are viewed like schools
in colleges that make an awful lot of their own decisions for
I think the undertaking that I am making at the moment, for
instance, with regard to exhibition policy and exhibition review
is a little shocking to a number of my colleagues, and we are
going to have an awful lot of conversation with respect to that.
As I am doing this, if I come across, in relationship to what you
are saying, processes that really ought to be put on paper, we
will put those on paper if they are not on paper yet.
The Chairman. I thank you for that.
Mr. Heyman. But I do understand your frustration. I really
The Chairman. I do thank you for that. I am worried, because
we are going to discuss the budget for the next 5 years, and there
is not room in that budget for the projection you have made to
manage the institution you have. I am sure you know that. I
believe you should have the money, and we have to find ways to
raise money from the public.
Let me tell you, I believe you should have the money you
outlined in your last presentation — not the one in 1992, but the
last one — for the management of the facilities you have and for
the exhibits that you have planned. I do not know how we are
going to get it from the public. I can tell you, you will not get it
from this Congress if we have controversies like this. You cannot
expect to have dramatic increases in funding at the time of
controversies of this size.
I am worried that you seem to be turning to foreign sources
for support of the Smithsonian. I do not want to get into that
now, but there are lots of rumors running around here now about
the extent to which you are turning to foreign sources for the
support of our institution. That is a unique American institution.
I have to tell you, I think the American people will be very, very
upset if it is determined that substantial foreign contributions
are made in a way that might influence exhibits like this.
Mr. Heyman. My view is that contributions ought not to
influence any exhibit.
The Chairman. You have three exhibits in Japan now, right?
Mr. Heyman. We just have one on gems.
The Chairman. I thought you had three going over there. Are
the others back now?
Mr. Heyman. Yes.
The Chairman. Were they paid for by Japan?
Ms. Newman. Yes.
The Chairman. Were the same curators who went over there
on the Enola Gay exhibit also a part of those exhibits?
Ms. Newman. No. The one exhibit that was in Japan that was
funded by NHK and Yomiuri Shimbun took many of our major
objects and talked about American culture based on a desire on
the part of the funding that this generation of Japanese do not
understand the culture and the contributions of this Nation, of
the United States, to science and technology. Therefore, they
funded completely the exhibit that took the ruby slippers and
things like that to Japan. That exhibit no longer exists. That was
for a short period of time in 1994.
The Chairman. Have you any further questions. Senator?
Senator CoCHRAN. No, I do not, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman. Mr. Secretary, I am still disturbed by the
letter you sent to Congressman Johnson indicating that you
believe the law applies to a museum that was never funded when
it specifically says the Smithsonian Institution shall take action.
That has been on the books for over 30 years. I do believe it is a
function that is required.
I am going to ask the Congress to modify the statute to make
clear our intent because I believe it might help settle this
controversy if we did have a fulfillment of the original
instruction of the Congress and the President to the Smithsonian
to take the action required to commemorate the service of the
men and women of the armed forces, and to portray them as an
inspiration to present and future generations. That is not me.
That is, as I recall. President Kennedy's request to the Congress.
I do not know what it is going to take to have you live up to
that law, but I do think that would go a long way towards
meeting the problem that has been brought out by this hearing.
Do you have any further comments, sir?
Mr. Heyman. No, I do not, sir. But we were going to make
another presentation on the Commission for the Future. We
could do that at another time if you wish, or we could do it now.
The Chairman. I think Dr. Singer is here and we are prepared
for that, yes.
Mr. Heyman. Fine, thank you. This is Dr. Maxine Singer,
president of the Carnegie Institution, who has been the chair of
our Commission on the Future which is a commission of 26
people of enormous quality, intellectually and otherwise, who
undertook to look at the Smithsonian in its present form, and to
try to look at the future and to try to give ideas and directions
with respect to how the Smithsonian most profitably, for the
benefit of the country, should face that future.
I had a longer prepared statement, but I would just put that
in the record, sir, and just introduce Dr. Singer.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Heyman follows:]
Statement of I. Michael Heyman, Secretary, Smithsonian
I would like to have Dr. Maxine Singer join me. Dr. Singer served as the Chair
of the Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian Institution. In September
1993, the Board of Regents established the Commission and charged it with the
task of examining the Institution, its mandate and roles. The Commission was
additionally charged to examine the cultural, societal, and technological factors
that influence the Institution's capacity to act. I would like to thank Chairwoman
Singer and the members of her commission for their invaluable service to the
Institution. I am committed to studying these recommendations and to working
with the Regents, the administration and my staff in the months ahead to respond
to the challenges presented in the report. I will ask Maxine Singer to provide the
committee with the highlights of the report. However, I'd like to comment briefly
on several initiatives that are responsive to the Commission's recommendations.
We are committed to developing institution-wide an ability to make our collec-
tions and information available to more of America, directly and through tech-
On May 8, 1995, the Smithsonian officially went "on-line" with our "home
page" to the Internet. This single event takes a giant step toward my goal of a
"Smithsonian without walls" and delivers the Institution's vast resources to
Americans throughout the country. People around the world can now view
portions of our collections as well as enjoy those exhibitions which we are putting
on line in their own homes.
Moreover, teachers can design curriculum relying upon our extensive collec-
tions, research, and exhibitions. This ability will be enhanced as more of our
materials are put in digital form. I'm pleased to report that the Smithsonian home
page on the World Wide Web logged over 2 million "visitors" since its first day.
While a great number of visitors come to the Mall each year, we recognize that
many Americans can never get here and those who do can manage the trip at best
once or twice in a lifetime. The Smithsonian's usefulness to our citizens should
not be just about that one class visit in the 10th grade. Without taking on the
impossible, we must be about carrying our mission across the country; we must
find ways to deliver to the American people, wherever they live, the wonders of
the institution they have supported for one and a half centuries.
One of my first decisions as Secretary was to authorize the creation of an
exhibition of some of the Institution's treasures that we can take around the
country beginning in our 150th anniversary year, 1996. With the aid of corporate
support which we are now seeking, we will bring "America's Smithsonian" to
locations around the United States. This is as it should be if we are to "increase
and diffuse knowledge."
Thank you. I would like to ask Dr. Singer to make a few remarks.
The Chairman. Let me, if I may, correct the record to a certain
extent. In June of 1961, the Kennedy Administration did support
the bill that led to the direction to the Smithsonian to authorize
an expansion to portray the contributions of the armed forces of
the United States. That idea, however, was based on a report
from President Eisenhower to the Committee on the American
Armed Forces Museum. He had stated very succinctly the
reasons for such action by the Smithsonian, but it was apparently
an idea that was carried over from 1960 into 1961, and was
supported by both administrations.
TESTIMONY OF MAXINE F. SINGER, CHAIRMAN, COMMIS-
SION ON THE FUTURE OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITU-
TION, PRESIDENT, CARNEGIE INSTITUTION OF
Ms. Singer. Good morning, sir. I thank you for giving me this
opportunity to speak to the committee. Like all the members of
the commission, I come from the world outside the Smithsonian.
I myself am a biochemist, and as Secretary Heyman has told you,
I am the president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington
which is an independent institution that carries out research in
astronomy, biology, and earth sciences. The institution is based
here in Washington, DC, where I reside.
Two years ago I was asked by the regents of the Smithsonian
to chair a commission of private citizens charged with an
examination of the Smithsonian, its mandate, and its roles, and
an examination of the cultural, societal, and technological
factors that influence its capacity to act. Based on these
examinations we were to provide alternative approaches to the
issues facing the Smithsonian rather than making specific
recommendations. Nevertheless, with a commission composed
of a large number of independent people, making some
recommendations was a temptation that the commission found
impossible to resist.
The names of the 22 commission members are listed on page
3 of our report which we submitted to the regents earlier this
month, and copies of the report have been submitted to the
committee in lieu of written testimony. I thank the committee on
behalf of the commission for this opportunity to describe the
results of our work. I would like to summarize how we organized
our efforts and the major points in our report.
Funds for the commission's work were provided by grants
from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and
the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. At our first meeting in
September of 1993 we determined the scope of our work and
established three independent working groups to investigate
in-depth three major areas: First, programs; second, outreach,
audience and electronic communication; and third,
management, administration and finance. The entire
commission met on three additional occasions to hammer out a
In addition, members of the commission visited comparable
institutions in Canada, England, and France. Throughout we had
the full cooperation of the Smithsonian's Secretary and staff in
providing information. Our study was broad and our focus was
on the future. We tried to peer out 10 to 20 years, although we
recognized that we had no reliable crystal ball.
Remarkably, in view of the range of geographic and
professional, not to mention social and political experiences,
represented among the commission members we reached
consensus. Perhaps this was because the Smithsonian represents
to all of us our great and vibrant Nation in all of its perplexities
and complexity. Perhaps this is also the reason that we found
Twyla Tharp's words such an apt title for the report, "E Pluribus
Unum: This Divine Paradox."
Our Nation, of course, has thousands of public and private
museums, as you have already pointed out. But the Smithsonian
is distinctive because it is the Nation's institution. It is also a part
of a vast international network of cultural and scientific
institutions and we can be proud of its outstanding reputation
abroad for the excellence of its collections, exhibitions, research,
collaborative efforts with many scholars in countries all over the
globe, and exemplary training programs for young scholars and
Our Nation is a very different one from the young country
that it was in 1846 when the Congress accepted James Smithson's
bequest and established the Smithsonian as an institution for the
"increase and diffusion of knowledge." Those words
nevertheless remain sound guides, although the Smithsonian too
has changed enormously and will continue to do so as the Nation
and the world change.
Among the changes at the Smithsonian is a shift in the
emphasis given to these two aspects of Smithson's instruction.
Fifty years ago, the emphasis was on scholarly research; the
increase in knowledge. Today there is more of an equilibrium
between research and the diffusion of knowledge; that is,
education. The commission supports this shift.
Because enhancing the education of both children and adults
is a high priority need in our country, the commission would
even emphasize new educational initiatives, especially ones that
reach out across the Nation. These can be through modern
electronic means, partnerships, traveling and collaborative
exhibitions, and public programs. We stress the opportunities
provided by electronic information technology and urge that
they be made a priority throughout the institution. We can see
the beginnings of that effort, in fact, in Speaker Gingrich's
participation last week in the inauguration of the Smithsonian
home page on the Internet as well as some of the things that
Secretary Heyman has already mentioned to you this morning.
Education is one of the four interrelated core activities of the
Smithsonian. The other three are collections, research, and
exhibitions. The commission believes that the collections that
have been amassed over the last 150 years are central to all the
activities and to the significance of the institution. But already
storage and care of the collections is a major headache because
of limited space and funds.
Moreover, the collections will not stand still. They will grow
as the great events and discoveries of the future expand our
Nation's history and accomplishments. A master plan for future
collections management is essential. Criteria and timetables that
are flexible with respect to intellectual and financial
considerations will be needed.
Without research, the objects in the collection are of little
educational, cultural, or scientific value. This does not mean,
however, that the way research is organized and carried out need
be stagnant. America now has many excellent research
organizations. The Smithsonian should emphasize its unique
research opportunities, including the collections, areas of
particular excellence, and long term global projects that are hard
to do in other places.
Outstanding research requires an excellent research staff. The
commission asks whether the current rigidities of Federal
personnel practices can be replaced by a more flexible system
that better balances the interests of the institution and the
individual researchers; for example, by facilitating temporary
appointments of scholars interested in particular collections.
This could help the institution face the often painful issue of how
programs and people that have already realized their potential
or failed in their tasks can be redirected or released.
Priorities need to be established for restoration, renewal and
expansion of existing permanent exhibitions. The need is acute.
In addition, there are now so many specialized museums around
the country that the Smithsonian can use its resources for unique
exhibitions that are not possible in those other settings.
Museums in general, and the Smithsonian in particular are,
as we certainly heard this morning, increasingly flashpoints in
the debates that characterize our Nation's transition from a
society that depends for coherence on a single accepted set of
values and practices to one that derives its strength and unity
from a deep tolerance of diversity. This happens because
museums, to fulfill their missions, must prepare exhibitions that
record and illuminate this transition. Sometimes this engenders
acrimonious and contentious debate.
The Smithsonian's position, as we have seen this morning
and in the past months, is especially challenging because it is a
national institution. The commission suggests several ideas that
might help forge a more tranquil path while still allowing a full
and fair debate. For example, we hope that the institution will
increasingly be recognized as an intellectual forum rather than a
cultural or scientific authority, or even a home for
Also, a mechanism for broader and independent review of
proposed exhibitions could be established, striving for balance
between constructive judgments and criticism of an exhibition's
content and the desirable independence of the curators and
scholars who are responsible for the exhibition. Such a process
should distinguish between the need to protect the intellectual
freedom of those individuals in their own scholarly work and
publication and the public responsibilities of the Smithsonian in
its exhibitions. Such mechanisms and others that we mention in
the report could help release the tension within the institution
regarding how it responds to the public, the Congress, and the
media on controversial issues.
Mindful of the programmatic issues, the commission
addressed questions of governance, management, and financial
need and resources. We recognize the ongoing need for the
regents' guidance to the fullest possible extent. For this reason,
we urge creation of standing committees of regents and that
individual regents interface with one or more of the advisory
boards to the museums and centers on a regular basis.
We also suggest in our report, which echoes some of the
things that were said this morning, that advisory boards be
appointed for all the museums and centers, and that the regents
define the role of those boards, thereby strengthening them and
their ability to provide both the Secretary and the directors of
the individual museums and centers with the advice and support
they need as well as enhancing fund-raising capabilities. It is
only by giving the advisory boards a clear and useful role that it
will be possible to attract highly talented leaders from around
the country to serve on them.
The commission examined internal organizational structures
and considered whether they were optimal for the coming
decades. In particular, we were concerned with the appropriate
balance of responsibility between the Secretary and the central
administrative staff and the directors of the individual
components. Each of the Smithsonian's major museums is the
size and complexity of many independent institutions. Each has
a different mission and a different culture. The Secretary must
preside over all. Moreover, the Secretary also deals with an
institution that depends both on public appropriations and
private funds, including fund-raising.
Built into any system this complex is the tension between
central control and unit autonomy. There was broad agreement
in the commission that in this situation much is to be gained by
decentralizing decision-making authority. The more
autonomous the decision-makers in the various museums and
centers, the easier it will be to recruit outstanding individuals to
lead those entities, and the better the resulting decisions. In
addition, the decisions and the people making them will be more
Of course, this oversimplifies a very complex matter. The
commission recognized how difficult it is to weigh the cost and
benefit of standardization against the potential payoffs from
local initiatives, but we think this needs to be done. Obviously,
there are things the central administration must do. Foremost,
the Secretary must articulate a broad vision and convey that
vision effectively to the Smithsonian's various constituencies.
The Secretary must guide the development of strategies and
priorities with the advice of regents. Equally important are the
responsibilities to attract and select the very best people to direct
the museums and research centers and to allocate human and
financial resources among the several units. The commission
also points out ways to improve the assessment procedures in
the institution in order to assure better quality.
Virtually all of the commission's comments were made with
an eye to assuring the future of this marvelous national resource
in an era of stringent financial considerations. This is why, for
example, we put so much emphasis on outreach by electronic
means and partnerships with other institutions, museums,
research centers, and K through 12 education programs rather
than building new Smithsonian outposts around the country.
Similarly, the commission calls for a moratorium on the
construction of new museums in Washington except where firm
legislative and financial commitments exist as in the case of the
National Museum of the American Indian.
Rather, we stress the need to devote resources to the
rehabilitation and maintenance of the aging existing facilities.
The magnificent vista along the Mall hides major needs for
renovation, restoration, and modernization. Without prompt
attention to this, the Smithsonian risks becoming a dilapidated
monument to the past. We also believe that new exhibition space
can be generated if facilities for the storage of collections were
constructed outside of central Washington. This approach could
also provide modern storage for precious items.
Nevertheless, the growth of the Smithsonian in size and
complexity over the past several decades has outpaced the
resources available to sustain the high quality of the very
programs that we all enjoy. This problem is exacerbated by
inflation, by federally mandated expenditures such as pay
increases, and a decrease in revenues from activities that depend
on a healthy economy. Very significant decreases in staff and
postponements of maintenance have already been made. This
gap really needs to be made up if there is to be incentive for
making the necessary difficult choices.
Changes in federally mandated rules can, as I pointed out,
help increase efficiency. At the same time, the commission
stresses that additional expansion of the facilities and programs,
even if the funds were available, is not necessarily the best way
to assure the institution's critical role in our national life.
Even with all these internal measures, the commission found
that additional funds for operations and capital needs are
required over and above the current budgets. We analyzed all
possible sources of funds. We urge, for example, increased and
optimized efforts to attract private funds. There was on the
commission substantial collective experience in fund-raising.
We concluded that in the present economic climate of the Nation,
even with the very best of efforts and maximum possibility of
success, it is unrealistic to think that private fund-raising can
meet the institution's needs.
We also studied the financial implications of charging
entrance fees. Our information suggests that it is highly
problematic whether fees would generate really substantial net
gains, especially in view of the virtual certainty that such fees
would effectively discourage many Americans from visiting an
institution that in fact belongs to them. We also offered
suggestions for enhancing the yields of commercial enterprises,
particularly by restructuring them to capture the advantages of
But all of these efforts together will not do even the restricted
job that we outline. The Smithsonian cannot achieve the Nation's
expectations on its own. It requires the full understanding and
support of the American people and the Congress. The actual
incremental amount of funds needed is a very small proportion
of the Federal budget; about $125 million annually. Currently,
Federal Government appropriations amount to less than $1.50
for each of the 262 million people in the country. If we could raise
that to $1.96 — a bargain price to most Americans — the extra $125
million would be available.
The Smithsonian is the result of a lucky and glorious
accident; James Smithson's gift. Parts of it are the result of
subsequent generous gifts; the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the
Hirshhorn Museum. We expect that other magnificent gifts will
be forthcoming in the future. But the core of support must be
from the Nation's people by appropriations and contributions.
Like the expansion of our Nation, future expansion of the
Smithsonian's programs must come from our human and natural
resources, not from real estate. Our modern world offers ways to
do this that past generations could not even imagine. By using
them, the Smithsonian will assure its vital role as a teacher, a
recorder, and a shaper of our vibrant national outlook.
Thank you. Senator.
[See Appendix VI for information on how to obtain a copy of
the report of the Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian
The Chairman. Thank you very much. That is a positive note
to end our hearings. We are very familiar with the commission
that you chaired and want to congratulate you and the members
of that commission for spending the time you did on the future
of the Smithsonian. I have seen a copy of your report before, and
I have another in front of me now.
You did ask for establishing operating principles. You asked
to establish a framework for setting institutional priorities,
including regular meetings with assembled leaders of the
museum and other Smithsonian components; to reinvigorate the
advisory boards and museums and other Smithsonian
components; to engage citizens throughout the Nation. You
urged the development of procedures for rigorous review and
advice on plans for major new exhibitions to help ensure the
quality and balance of the exhibitions as well as the integrity of
staff scholarship. You have also asked that there be a procedure
to establish priorities and to remember the lessons of history in
terms of the value of research.
I think this is a very wonderful report. My closing comments
would be, Mr. Secretary, that I think I will still be chairman next
year. We shall have an oversight hearing next year and we will
want to hear from you, what you have done to comply with the
commission's suggestions. They are some of the same
suggestions we have had this morning. I think ours have been
more subjective and theirs have been more objective; but as a
practical matter, we are on the same wavelength. To assure the
future of the museum you have to find some way to assure that
controversies of the types we have been through in the last few
years are avoided to the maximum extent possible.
We are going to have conflicts within our society, but if
people want to be revisionist, if people want to have an
opportunity to have politically correct exhibits, then I think they
should get private sector money to do it. As long as we are
dealing with public money I think we have to be responsible to
the public process. In effect, I think that is what Dr. Singer's
commission is telling the Smithsonian.
I also agree with her that we ought to find some way to
increase the money that is flowing towards you. As I said, I do
not expect that we can envision that in this 5 years ahead of us.
It may be that we can work it out. I think that the budget
proposals being considered by both houses reduce your funds.
So as a practical matter, those of us who have tried to support
the future of the Smithsonian have a tough job.
I know a lot of you do not think I believe in the Smithsonian.
I bet I have spent more time in the Smithsonian in my time here
than any other Member of the Senate. We do not go and get you
to take us through; we wander through with our kids or our
friends. My friends who come in from Alaska all want to go to
the Air and Space Museum. The one place they have to visit
while they are here that is more relevant in our life than many
Americans, is the Air and Space Museum.
So I hope you will be ready a year from now, Mr. Secretary,
to show us. With the assistance of my colleague here from
Mississippi, I am sure that the board of regents will reflect a
similar request — that we establish some procedures, particularly
procedures for establishing priorities, and that we use these
advisory committees for advice so we do not end up appearing
to criticize you from committee tables like this. Instead we can
go argue with our colleagues about increasing the money so you
can continue to do what we think is necessary with regard to the
Senator COCHRAN. Mr. Chairman, may I make just a brief
statement before you adjourn, if you are about to adjourn?
The Chairman. Yes, sir, please do.
Senator Cochran. I want to join you in commending Dr.
Singer for her statement and for being here today to present this
description of the excellent report of the Commission on the
Future of the Smithsonian. I also want to compliment Dr.
Heyman and Connie Newman for their contributions to our
hearing, and to commend Dr. Heyman especially for his
conscientious effort to take charge of this institution and set it
on a course that responds not only to its historic mission, but to
make it a more prominent national resource in the years ahead.
The Chairman. Thank you. I must tell you that on this
committee, unfortunately for the chairman, every member is
either chairman or ranking member on a full committee or an
important subcommittee and we hardly ever have full
We have had requests from several senators that we keep the
record open for 10 days in order that they may submit questions
to you for your response for the record. We also want to keep the
record open for 10 days for additional statements from you or
others who were witnesses, and we will review any other
statements we receive in that 10 days to see whether they should
be made a part of the record.
Do you have any last comments. Dr. Heyman?
Mr. Heyman. No, sir, I do not. I thank you for the attention
you have paid and I look forward to seeing you next year.
The Chairman. I hope I see Connie Newman sitting next to
you next year, too. I hear vicious rumors she is about ready to
leave us again and go somewhere else.
Mr. Heyman. That is an absolutely vicious rumor. That is
The Chairman. The District of Columbia can get along
without you, Ms. Newman. We need you where you are.
Mr. Heyman. We might have to share her, but we are not
going to lose her.
The Chairman. I would not even share her. I think this is a
critical period for the Smithsonian, Dr. Heyman. We know the
plans you have for expansion of some of these museums, and we
know the problem you have that has been mentioned by Dr.
Singer that every Federal agency faces — the problem of
accumulated maintenance and repair and upgrading. You
certainly are going to be in the position of asking us for more and
more money each year and I hope we can find it.
But clearly, we have to establish some procedures that will
get the public the greatest possible institution for the least cost.
As Senator Ford said, the days of just approving your regents
without question and approving your budget request without
question are unfortunately over. So we would like to work with
Dr. Singer, as I said, I admire your work and that report. I
wish we could send a copy of it to every American citizen as a
matter of fact. It might help the institution.
Ms. Singer. Sir, in response to that. The report is on the
Internet. It is one of the things that is available through the
Smithsonian home page.
The Chairman. That is good. I agree with you also about
using the Internet and World Wide Web. I think that through the
Library of Congress you have the greatest access to the world
that we have ever had. We want you to be able to continue to
meet those demands, but also not neglect the preservation of our
artifacts because of this incessant demand for information from
the people who come onto the Internet.
Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 12:56 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
[To obtain a copy of the script of the proposed exhibit, "The
Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II," make
your request in writing to Mr. James Douglas, Office of the
General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, MRC 028,
Washington, DC 20560. Due to its substantial size, there is a
charge of $37.00 to cover the costs of reproduction, binding and
mailing. Make checks payable to the Smithsonian Institution.]
511 H Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024
May 15, 1995
Statement of Martin Harwit
Former Director of the National Air and Space Museum
For the Committee on Rules and Administration
United States Senate
The Smithsonian Institution's
Future Management Practices
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
In testimony delivered before you on May 11, 1995, the National Air and Space Museum,
and I, as its Director during the planning of the exhibition The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and
the End of World War II, were accused of mounting an exhibition that dishonored the memory of
the brave young Americans who fought for truth and liberty in World War II. We were accused
of portraying the Japanese as victims and the United States as the aggressor. These are
distortions of the record which must be retuted because they are an injustice to one of the nation's
I attach four pages of detailed quotations from the final script of the exhibition as it stood
on January 30, 1995, the day the exhibition was canceled They speak for themselves If members
of the Committee doubt that they are representative of the document as a whole, the entire script
can be made available, at the Committee's request.
One further note may be in order. The American Legion's testimony accuses me of
intending to "include unilateral changes to the script that violated agreements and understandings"
reached with them I want to point out that I proposed the cited changes only on finding that a
historian, whose research the script was quoting, had misinterpreted the minutes of a June 18,
1945 meeting on casualties expected in an invasion of Japan ~ attributing to Chief of Staff Fleet
Admiral William D Leahy, a casualty estimate which directly contradicted both Leahy's diary
entry for that day and his later memoirs. Had I wished to perpetrate some kind of deceit, we at the
Museum could have made the changes without immediately notifying the Legion. However, I
knew of the Legion's interest and felt I should let them know, as soon as possible, that the label
as previously discussed was now likely to be attacked as inaccurate. In concluding my letter to
them I wrote, "If you have any concerns or comments, I'd greatly appreciate your letting me
know." I do not know how else I could have broached the subject.
"THE LAST ACT: THE ATOMIC BOMB AND THE END OF WORLD WAR II"
The following are verbatim excerpts from the FINAL label
script (Jan. 18, 1995) of the exhibition planned for the National
Air and Space Museum. The exhibition was cancelled at the urging
of critics who claimed that the script was "pro-Japanese" and
"portrayed the United States as a racist aggressor and Japan as
the victim" in the war. [Note: the first digit in brackets is
the script section, followed by the page number. ]
•Japanese expansionism was marked by naked aggression and extreme
brutality. . .Civilians, forced laborers, and prisoners of war were
subject to brutal mistreatment, biological experiments, and
• [In] the Chinese capital of Nanking. . .Japanese soldiers went on
an unprecedented rampage. Some 200,000 to 3 00,000 Chinese were
slaughtered (more than were killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki
combined), and 20,000 women of all ages were raped. The staff of
the German Embassy in Nanking reported on the atrocities and
described the Japanese army as "bestial machinery." 
• [Photo captions] (1) A December 1937 issue of the Tokyo Daily
News reported that these two Japanese sergeants, competing in a
contest, beheaded 105 and 106 Chinese civilians in Nanking. (2)
Chinese being buried alive in Nanking. 
•The Pearl Harbor attack plunged the United States into a just
war against Japanese aggression in the Pacific. 
•[Photo caption] Only 289 of the 1,466 men aboard the USS Arizona
survived the attack. Of the 1,104 Navy men and 73 Marines
killed, only 150 bodies were recovered. More than 900 others
remain entombed in the hull of the ship. 
•The Japanese were brutal toward the American and Filipino sol-
diers captured at Bataan. . .More than 600 Americans and 5,000 to
10,000 Filipinos perished during what became known as the March
of Death. Of almost 20,000 Americans captured during the fall of
the Philippines, over 40 percent would never return. 
•[Photo captions] (l) Treated by their captors with a mixture of
contempt and cruelty, American prisoners await their fate during
the Bataan Death March. (2) American dead during the Bataan
Death March. 
• [Photo caption] A burial party prepares graves for fellow
Marines who died during the battle on Bougainville. The fight
cost the Marines 423 dead and 1,418 wounded. 
•[Photo caption] American dead, Peleliu, September 1944. The
Marines and Army suffered 9,804 casualties, including 1,794 dead.
Only 301 of 10,695 Japanese surrendered. 
• [Photo caption] . . .Japanese troops systematically destroyed [Ma-
nila] and slaughtered about 100,000 civilians out of a population
of 1 million. Men, women, and children alike were burned to
death, blown up, bayoneted, shot, or beheaded in their homes,
hospitals, churches, schools, and streets. 
•"In a shallow defilade to our right... lay about twenty dead
Marines, each on a stretcher and covered to his ankles with a
poncho — a commonplace, albeit tragic, scene to every veter-
an... Every crater was half full of water, and many of them held a
Marine corpse. The bodies lay pathetically just as they had been
killed, half submerged in muck and water, rusting weapons still n
hand. Swarms of big flies hovered over them." E.B. Sledae. 1st
Marine Division, describing a scene on Okinawa. 1945 
• The Two-Thousand-Yard Stare by Tom Lea, a painting made during
the vicious fighting on the island of Peleliu. Lea's note
states: "He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his
first campaign. He has tropical diseases. . .He half-sleeps at
night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two thirds of his
"company has been killed or wounded... he will return to attack
this morning. How much can a human being endure?" 
•Starting in June 1945, American aircraft dropped millions of
leaflets like this one over dozens of Japanese cities, including
Hiroshima, warning people to leave cities that were to be bombed.
The leaflets were intended to save lives and counter Japanese
accusations of "indiscriminate bombing of civilians." 
•The Japanese government turned to slave labor to ease severe
manpower shortages and provide prostitutes for its troops. Some
667,000 Koreans and 38,000 Chinese who had labor contracts to
work in Japan ultimately became slave laborers or were forced to
be "comfort girls." ...Protests were punished by beating, flog-
ging, and execution. During the war, an estimated 67,000 Korean
and Chinese laborers died in Japanese custody. By 194 5 some
10,000 of almost 26,000 American prisoners of war had died or
been executed. Those held in Japan were also treated as slave
laborers. Like their compatriots in Japanese camps overseas,
they were often starved, beaten, tortured and executed. 
•Truman saw the bomb as a way to end the war and save lives by
avoiding a costly invasion of Japan. He wanted, he said, to
prevent casualties on the scale of "an Okinawa from one end of
Japan to the other." 
•...there is little doubt that if Japan (or Germany) had been
able to construct such [an atomic] weapon, it would have been
used against the Allies. 
• [Truman] saw the atomic bomb principally as a means to end the
war quickly and save American lives. 
•American military intelligence [learned] in the summer of 1945
that the Japanese had achieved an alarming buildup of forces in
southern Japan — precisely in the area American forces were
scheduled to invade late in the year. Thus, despite the peace
initiative, Japan was preparing to fight to the bitter end. 
•Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb was based on saving
American lives and shortening the war. 
•Estimates of the number of American casualties — dead, wounded
and missing — that the planned invasion of Japan would have cost
varied greatly. In a June 18, 1945, meeting, General Marshall
told President Truman that the first 30 days of the invasion of
Kyushu could result in 31,000 casualties. But Admiral Leahy
pointed out that the huge invasion force could sustain losses
proportional to those on Okinawa, making the operation much more
costly. Had the Kyushu invasion failed to force Japan to surren-
der, the United States planned to invade the main island of
Honshu, with the goal of capturing Tokyo. Losses would have
•After the war, Truman often said that the invasion of Japan
would have cost half a million or a million American casualties.
The origin of these figures is uncertain, but Truman knew that
Japan had some two million troops defending the home islands. He
believed, along with the many Americans who would have had to
invade Japan, that such a campaign might have become, in his
words from June 18, 1945, "an Okinawa from one end of Japan to
the other." Added to the American losses would have been several
times as many Japanese casualties — military and civilian. The
Allies and Asian countries occupied by Japan would also have lost
many additional lives. For Truman, even the lowest of the
casualty estimates was unacceptable. To prevent an invasion and
to save as many lives as possible, he chose to use the atomic
•[Document] These pages from the original minutes of the June 18,
1945 meeting between President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff discuss the American losses expected in "Operation Olym-
pic". On the second page. General Marshall endorses a figure of
about 31,000 casualties for the first 30 days of the Kyushu
invasion. , .On the third page. Admiral Leahy asks whether this
figure is too low, based on the bloody battle for Okinawa. 
• [Photo caption] For aircrew, capture meant imprisonment in
horrible conditions and even execution. Like this Australian
intelligence officer, Allied flyers were sometimes beheaded.
•A HERO' S RETURN . Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz awards Paul Tibbets the
Distinguished Service Cross for his historic flight. 
•This leaflet, warning of the atomic bomb, was dropped on Nagasa-
ki and two other Japanese cities the day before the second atomic
bomb. It was largely disregarded because the Japanese people did
not yet understand what had happened to Hiroshima. 
♦ HIROSHIMA: A MILITARIZED CITY ...the Second General Headquar-
ters, which was to plan and lead the defense against the expected
American invasion, was established in Hiroshima. Supplies for
Imperial forces in China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific had
passed through the... port throughout World War II. 
' NAGASAKI AT WAR . Nagasaki. . .was a major industrial center. One
of the most important shipyards in the nation was located in the
harbor. The great naval base of Sasebo was nearby. . .The city was
also home to a variety of factories critical to the war effort,
including the Mitsubishi Steel Works. The torpedoes used in the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 were manufactured in
• "The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the
Japanese war. It stopped the fire raids, and the strangling
blockade; it ended the ghastly specter of the clash of great land
armies." Secretary of War Henrv L. Stimson 
•Prime Minister Suzuki told his American interrogators after the
war that the atomic bomb had enabled his military colleagues to
surrender honorably. To surrender when one's powers of resis-
tance remained was dishonorable; to surrender to a force of
overwhelming power was acceptable without loss of face. No
brigades of children with bamboo spears, no kamikazi attacks, no
spiritual strengths could overcome such might... The bombs dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the prospect of more to come,
compelled Japan to surrender, lest it be destroyed forever. This
was the argument that Hirohito made in council to his government,
and it ended the war. 
• "When the atom bombs were dropped and the news began to circu-
late that. ..we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up
the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned,
mortared and shelled... we broke down and cried with relief and
joy. We were going to live. We were going to grow to adulthood
after all." Paul Fussell. U.S. Army infantryman in Europ e, from
"Thank God for the Atom Bomb" 
•The introduction of atomic bombs and their first use at Hiroshi-
ma and Nagasaki left a powerful legacy. For the Allies and
Japan, a horrendous war was brought to an abrupt end. For the
world, the new weapon was a double-edged sword. It offered both
the hope of preventing another global war and the danger that a
failure of deterrence could destroy civilization. . .The atomic
bomb cannot be uninvented. But the atomic bombings that ended
World War II provide grim evidence of the devastating potential
of these weapons — and perhaps the most compelling reason why
they have not been used since. 
THE NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of this committee:
I am Evan S. Baker, president of the Navy League of the United
States, a patriotic organization dedicated to educating the
American people about the importance of sea power, both naval and
commercial, and about the continuing need for a strong national
defense program across the board. I thank you, on behalf of the
Navy League and its more than 68,000 members throughout the United
States and overseas, for inviting the Navy League to submit a
written statement during these important hearings.
My statement reflects my personal views. But I am convinced,
from correspondence received at our national headquarters, and from
conversations I have had with several past national presidents,
most of our current national officers, and numerous Navy League
council presidents, that it accurately reflects the views of the
vast majority of our members as well.
From the beginning, those members have been concerned, as I have
been, with the way in which the Smithsonian Institution handled the
Enola Gay exhibit — which, as originally planned, was not only an
Insult to the dignity and honor of the many brave American and
Allied servicemen who fought and died in the war with Japan, but
also an affront to truth. Fortunately, this abortive attempt to
distort truth and make it more politically correct was quickly
recognized for what it was — a covert attempt by a small group of
revisionist intellectuals to rewrite history to fit their own
preconceived and devoutly held political agendas.
Thanks to the alertness and public-spirited efforts of such
patriotic organizations as the Air Force Association and the
American Legion, these intellectuals eventually failed in this
effort. It is nonetheless instructive to consider in detail what
they were trying to do. By virtually ignoring the fact that Japan
had started the war by a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and by
playing down both the Japanese record of atrocities throughout
occupied Asia and the Japanese military's suicidal use of its own
troops in last-ditch defenses of Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and
other islands, they gave undeserved and disproportionate prominence
to a number of revisionist theories and suppositions about supposed
U.S. "responsibility" for the war in the Pacific and about
President Truman's courageous decision to use the atomic bomb as
perhaps the only way to end the war quickly, thus saving many
hundreds of thousands of Japanese as well as American lives.
There were numerous other distortions in the planned exhibit of
what really happened during the war- -and even more errors of
omission. Following are but a few examples: The portraying of
Japan's actions, particularly toward the end of the war, as simply
a reaction to American "imperialism"; the glossing over of Japan's
brutal attack on China, and other nations in the "Greater East Asia
Co-Prosperity Sphere"; the outright murder of hundreds of thousands
of Chinese and other Asian civilians, many of them women and
children, both before U.S. entry into the war and on an even more
massive scale during the war; the previously mentioned surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, a date that will remain
in infamy; the prominent display of the anguished victims of the
Hiroshima bomb — but no parallel display of the thousands of
military prisoners tortured, mutilated, and killed — often by
beheading — by the Japanese, or of the estimated tens of thousands
of Asian women and teenage girls forced to serve the Japanese
military as "comfort girls".
I commend the Senate for its unanimous passage, on 23 Sieptember
1994, of the Sense of the Senate Resolution Introduced by Sen.
Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.), and I concur wholeheartedly in the
Resolution language that describes the revised Enola Gay script as
being, even with some minor cosmetic changes included,
"revisionist, unbalanced, and offensive." And I commend the members
of this committee for seeking to determine not only what happened,
and why, but also what corrective actions might need to be taken to
protect the public interest in any similar situations that might
occur in the future.
And there is a very real, extremely significant public interest
Involved in what has become known as the Enola Gay controversy. The
Smithsonian Institution receives 77 percent of its funding from the
federal government and, while it operates with a remarkable degree
of autonomy, is ultimately accountable to Congress and, through
Congress, to the American people. Millions of Americans, and
hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors, visit the Smithsonian
each year. They have a right to expect that the exhibits they see,
and the information they are provided — whether in print, visual, or
graphic form--be both accurate in its content and balanced in its
context. Neither the original Enola Gay script nor any of the
several revisions drafted under the pressure of public outrage
could reasonably be described as either objective or balanced.
The decision made by the Smithsonian's senior officials to
abandon any further attempts to revise the script and to scale down
the exhibit to a simple presentation, virtually without commentary,
of a few artifacts, including part of the Enola Gay fuselage, may
have defused the controversy to some extent, but it also, in my
opinion, introduces an error of another kind. Rather than
distorting history, it seeks to avoid history, insofar as possible.
This policy is in my mind almost as reprehensible as the
Smithsonian's earlier Enola Gay policy and once again perverts
truth in the name of diplomacy and in the end will do much more
harm than good. It is one thing simply to ignore the lessons of
history — and we as a nation have done just that, many times in the
past. It is another and much more serious matter to deliberately
conceal history from ourselves and our posterity.
Americans, and foreign visitors to our nation's capital,
traditionally have regarded the Smithsonian's Museums as the
storehouse of our nation's history. They do not expect the
Smithsonian to allow itself to be corrupted by politically correct
revisionists who seek to further their own preferred political or
social agendas by distorting the presentation of historical events
But that Is what has happened with distressing frequency — and
specifically at the Smithsonian, which In recent years has allowed
Itself to be used numerous times by special Interest groups, and
which has displaced some of its major traditional displays for
others of less historical significance, but which are deemed by the
Institution's anonymous arbiters to be more socially or politically
But even that is not the worst aspect of the Enola Gay
controversy. Danger to the institution aside, the real danger of
this attempt to manipulate history is that it undermines the
people's confidence in, and respect for, all public institutions.
The Enola Gay issue is but one instance of what seems to be a
continuing trend along these lines. Two other instances that
immediately come to mind are the President's Pearl Harbor
Commemoration announcement that made no mention of the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor, and the more recent White House statement
that the term "V-J Day" would not be used in U.S. observances
commemorating the end of World War II in the Pacific.
It has been reported numerous times that Americans are
frustrated and disillusioned with their institutions and
government. If they are, it is at least partially because of the
disrespect, bordering on contempt, for public opinion that is
demonstrated by misguided and ill-advised attempts, such as those
enumerated here, to manipulate and distort history.
The American people have a right to insist that, if their tax
dollars are going to be used to provide financial support for
Institutions like the Smithsonian, those institutions display
American history in a way that reflects mainstream American views .
That Is not what happened In this instance. Instead, Smithsonian
officials seem to have decided, in planning the original Enola Gay
exhibit, that concerns over the sensitivities of the Japanese
government outweigh the scholarly need for accuracy and the moral
obligation to portray American decision makers of the WWII era
fairly and in context.
Today, Japan is an ally and friend of the United States. But it
was not always so. History must reflect what was, not what certain
intellectual elites think should have been, or what they would have
liked it to be. This precept is desirable, if not legally
enforceable, in privately funded museums; it is mandatory in
museums, such as the Smithsonian, funded by taxpayer dollars.
On behalf of the Navy League of the United States, I thank you
again for the opportunity to comment on this important public
May 15, 1995
Chair and Members
U.S. Senate Rules Comnittee
Russell Bldg, Rm 305
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Ccxrmittee Members:
As am individual, longtime member of the World War 11 Studies Association —
formerly the American Comnittee on the History of the Second World War--I was deeply
concerned by the inplications of the Smi thsonieiri Institution's intended, distorted
depiction of the Asian Pacific War and our dropping of the atom bombs. (For an
excellent article on Hirohima and the historical battles cibout it, please see Penn
State professor Robert J. Maddox's "The Biggest Decision: Why We Had to Drop the
Atomic Bomb," in the May- June 1995 issue of American Heritage magazine.) The
exhibit text's intimation that Japanese militarism was simply a reaction to the
racism of E>aropean colonialism would have been utterly ludicrous, considering the
even worse racism the Japanese aggressors exhibited toward the Chinese and other
Asian peoples they were supposedly "liberating"--to say nothing of the ruthless
sexism demonstrated by their enslavement of Asian and European "comfort women."
The Japanese' barbaric treatment of prisoners (and, on occeision, of their own
would-be rescuers/captors) and their penchaint for suicide estciblished the savage,
no-mercy tone of the entire war. Their Pearl Harbor "sneak attack," on a Sunday
morning even while they were conducting peace negotiations in Washington, revealed a
dimension of viciousness and treachery by the Japanese' governing militarists which
earned the profound — if not permanent --rage and distrust of the American people and
Travesties like the Smithisonian's intended omission of these essential facts
are not only bad history: coming from a governmental agency, they have additional
weight and credibility. A distortion of the motives for our use of the atom bombs
by an "official" historian/ agency, like this, can lead many Japanese people to
consider themselves victims of the Allies rather than of their own militarists.
This could relieve much of the Japainese people's postwar recrimination against
militarism which has so far stifled any resurrection of that evil.
Unfortunately, this kind of "emissive history" is becorrdng all too typical of
the historical profession in the United States. At the American Historical
Association convention in Chicago in January, I stood uf to challenge the "one-
sided, hind-sighted, and all too "academic"' panel presentation on Hiroshima,
chaired by Dartmouth professor. Dr. Marty Sherwm. (The panel's presenters abetted
various "revisionist" claims: that the American people didn't support unconditional
surrender, that a substantive Japanese peace overture had been made and was known to
President Truman, that a primary reason the bombs were dropped was that their
creators simply wanted to see if they worked--ergo, regardless of the human grief/
While "liberal" professors probably outnumber "conservative" in academia, they
have generally respected and encouraged a diversity of opinion in their classes, to
judge by my own experience as a graduate student at Western Illinois University in
Macomb. However, the new generation of historians teJ^ing over the profession
exhibits far less perspective, balance, and tolerance, and "politically correct"
history is proliferating throughout American education cind bureaucracies. This
cancer to truth will require decisive measures to monitor and remedy.
EXfen on a few of the Internet discussion groups for academic historians, I have
seen (and experienced) editorial hia^/censorship against conservative viewpoints, on
occasion--despite the efforts of people (like "H-Net" organizer Richard Jensen of
the University of Illinois, for examfile) to make sure issues like Hiroshima are
being addressed in a balanced and tolerant msuiner . (The power of Internet is
inestimable!, and it has moved the United States to the position of ultimate
leadership of international academic/intellectual life. Congress would do well to
support it fully, as a public works institution, while making sure that the open cuid
balanced freedom of ideas eind expression is maintained.)
To ftHA's credit, I was given fair opportunity to raise questions and
participate frcni the floor. However, it is easy for some of the more extreme
/outrageous "acadenvic exercises" being held there to be given undue credence in the
media, at home and abroad. Indeed, Dr. Sherwin has made trips to Japan, presumably
to publicize and coordinate his Hiroshima "teach-ins" being held on canpuses
Not to ftHA's credit, exasperation was expressed at our meeting of the World War
II Studies Association--attended by such irdlitary history luminaries as Dr. Gerhard
Weinberg and Marine Corps historian Ben Frank — about the conterrptuous way our
request for a "50th anniversary" military history panel (on amphibious warfare) was
denied by the AHA. (The "unofficial" panel put on by the World War II Studies
Association itself, then, was excellent — including presentations on Carlson's
"Marine Raiders," Tarawa, and other topics.)
It is very easy for other countries and peoples to become confused and misled
by the contradictory dialogues of our country's "open forum" approach to academic
and political discourse and debate. Congress' passage of the prewar Draft by only
one vote was a key factor which led Japanese militarists to believe that Americans
wouldn't have the stomach to wage war in the Pacific and would capitulate to
Japanese demands after a knockout blow at our Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
This is why I have proposed an International Historical Commission on the Asiar.
Pacific War. (Please see the attachment.) It is irrportant that Pacific nations
achieve a final "official" resolution and reconciliation of the truth about that
tragic war and its various issues. Japan is on the verge of strategic superpower
status, and it is vital that the Japanese people understand that it is not just
Americans who need them to acknowledge and forswear--in their educational programs,
as well as the rest of their society--the evil of their World War II militarism.
Any veto by Japan of the historical findings of this commssion (or of the
educational dissen-dnation of those findings) should directly impact any
consideration of Japan for U.N. Security Council status.
Thank you for your time and consideration cf my concerns.
Louis R. Coatney
626 Western Ave.
Macomb, IL 61455
Louis Coatney January 5, 1995
626 Western Ave.
Maconb, IL 61455
rtis 1 r c^uxa . ecn . bgu . edu
PROPOSAL: An International Historical Conmission on the Asian Pacific War
Fifty years ago, the soldiers sind civilians of rrany nations died in the Pacific
War. The peoples of China, the Philippines, and Japan suffered especially. The
battles were many and reflected the bitter antipathy of the adversaries.
Regrettcibly , much of that bitter amtipathy remains as a poison to Pacific nations'
relations and future.
The Japanese government eind educational system has frequently refused to
acknowledge responsibility for the initiation of the Pacific War or for atrocities
perpetrated by Japanese militarists against not only Allied servicepeople but also
against civilians in Asian lands. Filipino deaths alone, due to Japanese atrocities
and the war, have been estirrated as high as one million. Instructional emission or
misrepre-sentation by Japanese educators of important Pacific War events like "The
Rape of Nanking" (1937) have raised international concerris.
Meanwhile, some people believe the American dropping of the atom bombs to have
been unjustified and to have been crimes against humanity as serious in principle as
any others in the Pacific War. In the United States, the intellectual Left is
marshalling its forces to prove Hiroshirra was an unnecessary and possibly racist
tragedy. This may lead Japanese to consider themselves victims of the Allies rather
than of their own militarists, and it could relieve much of the postwar public
feeling and pressure against militarism in Japein which hais so far stifled any
resurrection of that monster.
Similarly, rumors of Allied atrocities — against Okinawan civilians in 1945, for
exarple — should be investigated objectively and resolved fairly.
In general, the German people and government have done far more to remember and
condemn the aggression and atrocities of the Nazis, than the Japanese have done m
regard to In^erial Japanese militarism. Recent revelations in Russia about the
Soviet Union's aggression and atrocities during World War II have shown a
willingness by Russians to face some unpleasant truths about Soviet conduct and its
In 1991, lingering bitterness led some American veterans to refuse Mitsuc
Fuchida--the strike comnnander of the Japanese naval air squadrons which attacked
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941--direct participation in the 50th year rriemorial
service. This happened despite Fuchida's postwar conversion to Christianity and l^.v
repentance for his role in that massacre of 3,000 young Americari servicemen and
civilians. An important opportunity for reconciliation was lost.
In America, the World War II generation rightly takes great pride in having woi.
"The Just War"- -sometimes even overlooking credit due to the World War I generation
for its leadership and planning. However, the "blood, sweat, toil and tears" of the
actual battles and victories will all be lost , if their cruelly earned lessons are
distorted and/or forgotten. The true history of war is the most important memc.'.ia;
to those who have suffered the ultimate price for it. As survivors of the Jewish
Holocaust would tell us, "Never again!" means "Never forget!" Thus we are now
engaged in a second World World War 11: for the Truth.
The Proposed Coiimssion
I therefore suggest that an international historical comnission be convened to
investigate the basic facts and issues of the Asian Pacific War, to achieve a final
resolution of those, and to produce a basic position paper and video presentation
for continuing dissemination to students of all the participating countries by their
governments. A similar commission constructively addressed historical differences
between the Polish and Soviet peoples in the mid-1980s.
With regard to war efforts, roles, and losses, the comnnission should be
conposed of five major, voting blocs: China, Japan, Pacific Rim Allies, other
nations /peoples of Asia and Oceania, and European Allies. Each bloc could exercise
veto power against any final consensus. However, in view of the United Nations'
birth from the struggle against Axis militarism and aggression, Japan's exercise of
its veto power on this historical cammission should directly and decisively irrpact
any present or future consideration of it for membership on the UN Security Council.
Although, logically, historians should make up most of the delegations'
membership, room should be allowed for actual veterans, journalists, etc. Members
should be truly reprentative of their countries and selected by their national
legislatures. Decisions within the blocs could be by simple or two-thirds majority.
The blocs' membership could be composed as follows:
China : 15 members
People's Republic of China and Hong Kong 10
Republic of China 5
Japan and Okinawa
Pacific Rim Allies 12
Russia/ Comnonwealth of Independent States 1
United States 10
Other Asian and Pacific nations:
North and South Korea
A country could request membership in a different bloc.
For membership in the United States delegation, for exarrple, I would expect
Congress to draw heavily from a professional association like the World War II
Questions, criticisms, and conments on this proposal are welccme.
FACTS ON W.W. II AND JAPAN RELEVANT TO HEARINGS ON
FROM: VICTOR FIC
ASIAN DEFENSE JOURNAL
TRUTHS ABOUT HIROSHIMA
1) THE IMPERATIVE OF ACCURACY
Hiroshima was such a pivotal event in human history that it
will still spur discussion centuries from now. I would like to
contribute to a proper interpretation of the bombing because:
a) the men who ordered and carried out the bombing have a right
to be judged fairly, and not be wrongly considered guilty of
errors and crimes for ages to come. In any free society, a
person has the inalienable right to be declared guilty or
innocent according to the evidence, and those who wield the gavel
have an obligation to ensure objectivity and fair-mindedness.
But surely these nostrums have added significance in this case,
as an unfounded condemnation could lead to the blackening of a
name for ages hence.
b) humanity must understand the accurate moral and political
lessons of the bombing, such as the inherent dangers of despotic
rule, the suicidal ramifications of mindless conformity, and the
need for good to resist evil. If propaganda or falsehoods reign,
future generations will lack the clear lenses for seeing the
diplomatic and moral challenges they face.
c) Japan wants a warped interpretation of the bombing to prevail
to buttress its immoral conviction that it was the victim of
American racism and aggression in the war. Opposing Japan on
W.W. II is important to me simply because:
i) any professional analyst must seek the truth;
ii) the prevailing Japanese view of Hiroshima and W.W. II is
driven by a self-pity and an Orwellian propensity to manufacture
"truth", among other dysfunctional values (please note enclosed
short articles on this theme) . These characteristics will not
encourage Japan to be a responsible actor on trade, security or
human rights issues. Whenever Japan displays these tendencies,
whether on Hiroshima or car imports, the U.S. must signal to
Japan that it will be exposed and rebuffed, firmly yet fairly,
in the name of veracity, stability or equity.
2) THE CORRECT VIEW OF HISTORY
i) Why Japan Would Not Surrender
a) Social Structure Promotes Public Fictions and Conformity
Revisionist historians assert that in mid-1945, Japan was
"already defeated and on the verge of surrender", or words to
such effect. This is not true.
The revisionists cardinal error is assuming that the
Japanese think and feel like Americans do, and so were about to
exit the war because of their depleted military might and
widespread suffering. That is, they made a rationalistic
cost/gain/risk calculation, undergirded by norms that exalt life
over death, compromise with foes and diplomatic pragmatism.
The simple truth is that the Japanese have always behaved
like Japanese. Japanese society even in peacetime is
intrinsically conformist in the name of harmony, the supreme
virtue. People face intense social pressures to maintain
societal taboos, think, speak and behave like others (some
Japanese high schools, in the 1990 's, still force girls with
natural red or brown hair to carry cards certifying that they did
not use dye to look different) . They are socialized from birth
to perceive and to espouse the public fiction and to keep secret
- very secret - their sense of the reality behind that fiction.
The public facade is known as "tatemae", while the sincere
conviction is called "honne".
During the war, these social values assumed pathological
dimensions. While many in 194 5 knew or suspected that Japan
lacked the weapons and men to win, they suppressed their
sentiments. Instead, they acted on the public, nation-wide
fiction that Japan, with its samurai spirit and divine
protectors, would defeat the mongrel-raced Americans.
Japanese are not Americans - their radically dissimilar
social structure and mass attitudes have a 1,500 year history.
It is intellectually debased to speculate or predict what the
Japanese would have done in 1945 by imputing to them a value
system derived from Judeo-Christian ethics, the legacy of the
Western European enlightenment, and the individualistic spirit
of post-agrarian America.
b) Paranoid Fear of the Americans
Yet another factor compelling the Japanese to resist to the
bitter end was the propaganda that had made the entire nation
paranoid about their post-defeat fate. The authorities had
drummed into the people's heads that when American troops land,
they will forcibly prostrate women and children in a line and
crush them under tanks. Obviously, this hideous scenario would
induce people to pray to the war gods for superhuman prowess -
unless unfathomable force, rendered more painful because of its
surprise value, made capitulation seem like the lesser of two
c) The Japanese Hero is Self-Abnegating
For centuries, Japanese literature, drama and philosophy
have propagated the ideal of the self -abnegating hero. The
archetypical American hero follows his conscience, is true to
himself, and is willing to confront a disapproving majority.
However, the Japanese hero is someone torn between duty to
the self and to the group, be it the family, business firm,
military unit or nation. He agonizes over the choices, generally
in a private world, before ultimately submerging his
inclinations, even those rooted in primordial human instinct for
survival and comfort, for the collective. Japanese is full of
proverbs that warn that American-style heroes will be castigated;
"the nail that sticks up gets hammered down" is the best known,
and is told to kindergarten students.
To be sure, the Japanese model of the hero, held explicitly
or implicitly in the minds of millions, bred a "never surrender"
outlook. The kamikaze pilots were the very apotheosis of this
ideal: many wrote regretfully about their imminent death, their
natural desire to return to their sweethearts, and the
hopelessness of the kamikaze strategy. Some even had to climb
into the cockpit drunk to force themselves to overcome their love
of life and revulsion at a futile self-annihilation for the
group. But almost none of them abandoned their post, or turned
back; virtually every one elected to make the fiery crash that
snuffed out his young life the very symbol of his love for Japan.
It required unbearable pain in the form of the atomic bombs
for this ideal to be supplanted with the elemental urge for
survival and comfort.
d) Survival is Shameful...
A corollary to the hero model is the notion that Japanese
people who escape suffering should feel embarrassed or even
ashamed. The West also has the phenomenon of survivors guilt,
but in Japan, this emotion is infinitely more commonplace and
embedded in the minds of average people. Survivors of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki have written or said that they felt extremely guilty
that they had survived the bombings to the point of wanting to
This psychology also colored views of the home front towards
the soldiers still fighting in the Pacific. It was a powerful
impediment to the masses choosing life through surrender, given
the privation that their rifle-bearing sons and brothers were
enduring, and the misery of their fellow citizens being pounded
by hordes of deadly B-29 bombers.
e) The Left Wing Joins the Fight
As the militarists seized power in the 1930 's, and during
W.W. II, the Japanese left not only failed to protest and oppose
what it was seeing, it actively supported the new jack-booted
regime headed by Tojo. Japanese communists, including Stalinists
and Trotskyites, labor leaders, pacifists and intellectuals
underwent the process of "tenko" . This means a dramatic
recantation of beliefs, involving the soul as well as the mind,
and the embracing of a previously opposed ideology. For about
twelve years, ending in 1945, the left jettisoned its principles
to herald the dawning of the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
Of course, in American politics, one can also cite instances
of defections. But the Japanese example is different in degree
and implication: hardened leftists, champions of international
socialist revolution and world peace, became among the most
impassioned defenders of an imperialistic war that left some 30
million Asians dead.
Admittedly, some leftists never defected; they suffered
social persecution, torture and execution. Others broke down
under ghoulish torture. But a great many abandoned their life
long commitment to proselytizing socialism and pacifism. They
asserted in their public utterances, diaries, articles and
broadcasts that they realized they had been like errant children,
but were now rushing to be embraced again by the warm and tender
arms of the national Mother.
Along with the leftists, Christian groups, centralist
intellectuals and journalists also advocated the national war
aims. A few retreated into hapless silence as a means of non-
violent resistance. The Buddhists' conformity was especially
appalling, as Japan was then killing co-religionists in countries
- China and Korea - that were the very womb and cradle of
Japanese civilization. Imagine Americans uncritically supporting
the United States in the 1940 's as the Marines feverishly
massacred the British, forced British women into prostitution,
and conducted diabolical medical experiments on British
There are several conclusions to be drawn:
a) the forces of conformity were so powerful in Japan as it
fought the war that they overrode almost every deductive, moral
principle derived from religion, ideology or intellectual theory.
b) if even Stalinists were willing to support the emperor system
and an imperial war, it is safe to surmise that the average
Japanese person, inculcated with nationalistic propaganda from
birth, was even more of a die hard. This observation does not
point to the conclusion that the Japanese were on the verge of
making a rational decision to surrender in 1945, when there were
still 80 million people on the home front, armed with weapons,
driven by patriotism mixed with wrenching fear.
ii) Why Truman Could Not Guarantee the Emperor
Several historians, like Professor Barton J. Bernstein of
Stanford, have argued that Japan was putting out peace feelers,
and that it would have quit the war if the U.S. had agreed with
the Japanese request that the emperor system be preserved. This
view is wrong.
It would have been impossible for Truman to back away from
the pledge made by all allied leaders at the war's outset, and
again at Potsdam, for an unconditional surrender of fascism. He
could not have left in power a man, namely Hirohito, denounced
as an Asian Hitler any more than Churchill could have agreed to
a Nazi capitulation on the proviso that Hitler would remain the
undisputed leader of Germany.
True, after the war, Hirohito was left on the throne. But,
by then, passions had cooled: America had won the war; the
fascist dragon was dead for good in Japan and elsewhere; the
emperor was needed as a figurehead to implement the Occupation;
and the public's attention shifted rapidly to demobilization and
prosperity at home. Finally, Americans were prepared to manifest
the magnanimity and generosity towards defeated opponents which
is a hallmark of the American character.
iii) Casualties from Invasion
Invasion deaths would have been astronomical . At the very
least, 400,000 men would have died, because Tokyo had ordered the
wardens of p.o.w. camps to slaughter all prisoners upon an
invasion. Even if not a single invading allied soldier have been
killed, the prompt death toll among the Western armies would
still have been four times higher than the 100,000 or so who died
instantly at Hiroshima.
There is also ample evidence that the Japanese were planning
a defense to the death of their homeland. Kenzaburo Oe, the
Nobel prize winning writer, for example, has written that after
Emperor Hirohito made his surrender broadcast, Japanese people
began to wrap up swords and hunting rifles, which they furtively
buried in forests. He has recalled how high school students
practiced charging at straw dummies with pointed bamboo poles.
And he recollects that when teachers asked him as a boy what he
would do if Emperor Hirohito commanded him to die, he shouted,
"I would cut open my belly."
The very survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have asserted
in books like Hiroshima and The Bells of Nagasaki that they were
swinging sharpened bamboo spears in the days before the atomic
attacks, and that they never thought they would hear their divine
leader calling upon the benighted "fatherland" to surrender.
These same survivors have been lionized as heroes by the so
called peace movement, but in fact, they were ardent supporters
of fascism; they were willing to commit suicide in resisting the
expected American invasion, taking with them to the next world
as many Marines as they could skewer eight inches above the
testicles. The atomic bombings, however tragic and gruesome,
saved countless numbers of American - and Japanese - lives.
ommittee for Open Debate on Hiroshima
Martin J. Sherwin
Laura C. Yamhure
Barton J. Bernstein
Walter L Hbcon
Michael J. Hogan
Stanley N. Katz
Linda K. Kerber
Melvyn P. Leffler
Robert Jay Lifton
Edward T. Unenthal
Leon F. Litwack
EMsdlla Johnson McMillan
Robert L. Messer
Gary B. Nash
Leo Ribuf fo
Emily F. Rosenberg
Norman L. Rosenberg
Blanche Wiesen Cook
Marilyn B. Young
May 18, 1995
Sen. Ted Stevens
Committee on Rules & Administration
United States Senate
Dear Sen. Stevens,
With the undierstanding that the Committee has
agreed to -accept written statements for the record,
we wish to submit the enclosed memo and several
published articles. The memo is a chronological
analysis of the Washington Post's coverage of the
Enola Gay/Smithsonian controversy. The memo
demonstrates how the media in general has
inappropriately framed the debate over the
Smithsonian's planned exhibit on the Enola Gay. It
was recently sent to the Washington Post, whose
editorial director, Meg Greenfield, replied to us in
a letter dated May 10, 1995 defending her newspaper's
editorials. (Since then, this copy of the memo has
been slightly edited for two minor factual errors.)
Given the fact that you have found time for only
one historian to testify in proceedings which are of
a major concern to professional historians, we
request that these materials be printed together with
any other testimony pertaining to this Senate
^ai Bira & Martin Sherwin
1914 Biltmore Street, NW • Washington, DC 20009
phone: (202) 328-9659 • fax: (202) 332-4919 • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 18, 1995
Washinoton Post Coverage of the Enola Gay Controversy
(Submitted by the Historians' Committee for Open Debate on
Hiroshima to the Senate Rules and Administrative Committee
Hearings on the Smithsonian Institution.)
The Post's coverage of the Enola Gay was unbalanced: the
newspaper reported the controversy as a dispute between thousands
of veterans — armed with their irrefutably authentic memories — and
a handful of wooly-headed curators. The Smithsonian's curators
are described as men of a younger generation who never saw
combat, and in some cases were not even American-born or citizens
of America. The curators, according to the Post, were influenced
by left-wing revisionists, the anti-Vietnam war movement and a
latent anti-Americanism. The script they produced was
sympathetic to the Japanese and painted the Americans as villains
in a "war of vengeance." In the Post's coverage, historians were
rarely quoted, and the historical evidence was rarely cited.
(See the attached quotes from various archival documents and
memoirs which are well known to any university student studying
the end of the Pacific war, but which were never quoted in the
Post's reporting on this controversy over a contentious
historical event.) In stark contrast to the Post, the New York
Times editorialized that the curators should be left alone to do
their job, and the Times reporters frequently quoted both
historians about the controversy and quoted from some of the key
Chronology of Articles with Commentary
May 31, 1994: Guy Gugliotta reports that "curators also are
contending with skeptical veterans..." The basis of the story is
the fact that the editor of Air Force Magazine . John T. Correll,
has accused the museum of "politically correct curating."
Gugliotta interviews Martin Harwit, the director of the museum
and one of the curators, Tom Crouch. But no historian of the
Hiroshima decision is quoted. Gugliotta concludes his reporting
by saying, "...it is clear the museum will continue to have
difficult and perhaps impossible time presenting any atom bomb
display that will satisfy the vets. This is probably
understandable. A sizable percentage of American males spent
nearly four years of their youth getting frightened out of their
wits in horribly unpleasant places because of Imperial Japan.
Forgive, maybe. Forget, never. On the other hand, for the
United States a nation that has never been fire-bombed, strafed.
napalmed, rocketed or mini-gunned in anger, there is something to
be said for an exhibit that suggests that warplanes are not
simply expensive sporting devices to be used for movie props or
flyovers at presidential funerals."
July 21, 1994: Eugene L. Meyer writes in his lead sentence, "The
Smithsonian Institution has failed to mollify critics of its
controversial exhibit..." Correll, Harwit and Crouch are again
guoted. Richard Hallion, an Air Force historian is quoted as
being critical of the planned exhibit. But Meyer fails to report
that Hallion, who was a member of the exhibit advisory board of
historians, had previously approved the museum's basic draft
script of January 1994. In written remarks given to the museum,
Hallion actually wrote of the script, "Overall, this is a most
impressive piece of work, comprehensive and dramatic, obviously
based upon a great deal of sound research, primary and
Several other veterans are quoted, including Col. Paul W.
Tibbets. Retiring Smithsonian Secretary Robert McC. Adams, is
reported as raising guestions about the exhibits balance. But no
other historians are quoted. Meyer flatly asserts, "In fact,
some military planners estimated upwards of 800,000 American
casualties would result from a planned two-stage invasion in the
fall of 1945 and spring of 1946." When queried over the phone
about where this figure came from, Meyer said it came from an Air
Force document. But a phone call to the Air Force historian who
provided the document revealed that the document in question was
written in 1994 and was merely this Air Force historian's
personal estimate, extrapolated from casualty rates suffered
during the battles of Okinawa and Iowa Jima. Kai Bird sent a
letter to the editor correcting this "fact" but it was never
published. Shortly after Meyer's piece was published, Kai Bird
sent him a copy of J. Samuel Walker's survey of the scholarly
literature on the Hiroshima bombings, published in Diplomatic
History . Meyer never referred to the Walker essay in any of his
subsequent reporting. As chief historian for the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, Walker is certainly not a revisionist, but
he concluded in his survey of the scholarly literature, "Careful
scholarly treatment of the records and manuscripts opened over
the past few years has greatly enhanced our understanding of why
the Truman administration used atomic weapons against Japan.
Experts continue to disagree on some issues, but critical
questions have been answered. The consensus cimong scholars is
that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to
end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that
alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisers
knew it. . . It is certain that the hoary claim that the bomb
prevented one-half million American combat deaths is
unsupportable. " Meyer decided this expert opinion was not
newsworthy, even to provide a context for the debate taking place
between the veterans and the museum's curators.
August 7, 1994: Martin Harwit Op Ed piece.
August 14, 1994: Washington Post Editorial attacks Harwit, the
Smithsonian and "fashionable and wrong academic notion that all
presentations of complex issues must be politically tendentious."
August 14, 1994: Five letters to the editor are published,
including one by John T. Correll, the editor of Air Force
Magazine. All five letters are critical of the exhibit.
August 19, 1994: Charles Krauthammer, columnist, charges that the
museum has "fallen to the forces of political correctness and
historical revisionism. "
August 23, 1994: Chalmers M Roberts, retired Post reporter,
publishes Op Ed, justifying atomic bombing based on casualty
estimates given Truman in the event of an American invasion.
August 30, 1994: Ken Ringle reports Smithsonian acts to "defuse
criticism." Ringle quotes Congressman Peter Blute, a critic of
the museum, the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Secretary Adeiros-
--and not a single historian. Worse, he repeats a factual error
published by a Wall Street Journal editorial of the previous day.
The Journal editorial found it "especially curous to note the
oozing romanticism with which the [exhibit's] writers describe
the k£unikaze. . .suicide pilots [as] 'youths, their bodies
overflowing with life.'" Ringle reproduces this quote from the
Journal in its entirety. The quote "youths, their bodies
overflowing with life" is attributed to the curators, when
actually this is a quote from a written Japanese source, which
the curators were using in an attempt to explain how the Japanese
militarists motivated such young men to volunteer for these
suicide missions. It is an outrageous distortion to attribute
this quote to the curators, and clearly demonstrates that Ringle
once again has not read the script.
Sept. 30, 1994: Eugene Meyer reports "Smithsonian Bows to
Critics..." Quotes Harwit, American Legion internal affairs
director Hubert R. Dagley II, Air & Space Museum spokesman Mike
Fetters, an aide to Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.), Rep. Peter
Blute, Stephen P. Aubin (communications director of the Air Force
Association and one historian. Gar Alperovitz. The historian
quoted. Gar Alperovitz, is the author of Atomic Diplomacy , one of
the major critical studies of the Hiroshima decision. But Meyer
did not bother to identify Alperovitz and merely quoted him
innocuously saying that the Smithsonian was bowing to "a great
deal of pressure." Meyer also reports as fact, "Earlier scripts
had glossed over the estimated losses from a two-stage invasion
of the Japanese home islands..." This was incorrect. Meyer's
report leaves the impression that the Smithsonian was merely
correcting an historical script which "some critics believed
would portray the Japanese as innocent, even noble victims of
Americans hellbent on revenge •for Pearl Harbor." Again, no
reading of the first, second or third scripts could possibly
leave any one with this impression. Meyer does not seem to have
read the scripts, and has instead relied on the Air Force
Association's and American Legion's characterization of the
scripts as sympathetic to the Japanese.
Sept. 20, 1994: Colman McCarthy, columnist, says that while he is
of the opinion that the United States "committed unprovoked war
crimes that caused the slaughter of 200,000 Japanese, mostly
civilians .. .But I hold with deep regard the feelings of those who
see Hiroshima and Nagasaki differently." Paraphrasing David
McReynolds from the War Resisters League, McCarthy then suggests
that "debating the history of 1945 is futile."
Sept. 26, 1994: Ken Ringle: reports in a front-page story that "2
Views of History Collide Over Smithsonian A-Borab Exhibit."
Ringle says that for the curators who designed the exhibit the
Hiroshima decision is "old history, a scholarly abstraction
composed of archival records, argumentative books and the fading,
flickering images on black and white film. For veterans like
Grayford C. Payne, 74, of Annandale, who survived the Bataan
death march... and slave labor in five Japanese prison camps, it
was something else." Ringle then quotes Payne on how there was a
notice posted in his POW camp signed by Japanese Prime Minister
Hideki Tojo. The notice announced that all POWs would be shot
the moment American forces landed in Japan. Payne is then
quoted as saying that is why "all of us who were prisoners of war
in Japan. . .revere the Enola Gay. It saved our lives." Powerful
reporting, you might say, except for the fact that by the time
the Enola Gay dropped its weapon on Hiroshima, Tojo had been
ousted as prime minister for nearly four months. Ringle doesn't
report this fact, or the fact that the Truman Administration's
Japanese experts, including Acting Secretary of State Joseph
Grew, had characterized the new Japanese government as being led
by a moderate faction opposed by the hardline militarists. For
Ringle, the only history that counts is the view from the foxhole
(or the POW camp); what the President of the United States might
be saying in his diary or what his aides might be telling the
president about how to end the Japanese war is "old history, a
scholarly abstraction composed of archival records, argumentative
books..." And certainly for Ringle there is no space in his
reporting for any description of that archival evidence.
Ringle reports, "The first script ... laid heavy emphasis on
the horrors of the atomic bombing, little on the Japanese
aggression and atrocities that produced it." This is stated as
fact when it is clearly Ringle's opinion. Again, any one who has
read the entire script would be hard put to come to this
conclusion, which suggests that Ringle, like Meyer, probably
relied on the veterans' characterization of the script. Recall
that even Air Force historians Richard Hallion and Herman Wolk
initially praised the early script.
Ringle's long piece quotes Harwit, the various curators.
Secretary Adams, Harry Truman's memoirs (but not his
contemporaneous diary). Air Force historian Richard Hallion, the
Air Force Association and David McCullough. The author of a
highly admiring biography of Harry Truman, McCullough is quoted
at length. Martin Sherwin, the author of the critically
acclaimed A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand
Alliance , is not quoted, but is referred to by curator Tom Crouch
as having thought that "any display whatever of the Enola Gay was
obscene because it would amount to a celebration of the bombing."
Ringle does not bother to identify Sherwin as the author of a
book which Time magazine called "definitive" and which is used in
many college courses on the end of the war. (Sherwin was a
member of the museum's historical board of advisors.)
Instead, Ringle chooses to quote McCullough at length
justifying the bombing based on the argument that Truman was
given high casualty estimates which persuaded him that the bomb
would save lives. Ringle does not report in this story or any
where else that McCullough has gone on the record to retract a
crucial footnote in his book which wrongly suggested that Truman
was given a military estimate of 500,000 to one million lives
saved if an invasion was avoided. McCullough incorrectly
attributes this archival document to say that it "shows that
figures of such magnitude were then in use at the highest levels"
when in fact the document in question actually shows that
military leaders at the highest levels labeled such figures as
exaggerations. Since the veterans groups often relied on
McCullough 's book to sustain their critique of the Smithsonian,
this is no small matter. Ringle never addresses it in his
reporting. (Note, however, that a reporter for Defense Week ,
Tony Capaccio, published a piece which reported all of the above
facts about McCullough's retraction.)
Neither can Ringle claim ignorance. Like Meyer, he too was
sent a copy of the J. Samuel Walker survey of the scholarly
literature. He neither responded to a letter from Kai Bird nor
referred to any of the scholarly literature cited by Walker in
Ringle's piece also contains basic errors of logic: he
reports for instance that the initial script "devotes many pages
to academic speculation about whether the bomb was really
necessary to force a Japanese surrender." Logically, however,
the same word--"speculation"--can be used to describe the entire
argument of those veterans who say there would have been an
invasion if the bomb had not been dropped. Both arguments rest
on a "what if." The invasion of the Japanese home islands never
happened. But historians have documented that many of Truman's
aides were telling him that the Japanese were ready to surrender.
That did happen, and should have been treated by Ringle as part
of the historical evidence and part of any historical context for
an exhibit attempting to depict what happened at Hiroshima.
Ringle further suggests that the first script failed to note
that the Strategic Bombing Survey--which concluded that the
Japanese would have surrendered without the atomic bomb, without
the Soviet entry into the war, and without an invasion--was
"based" on the "escalation of massive conventional
f irebombing. . . " This is simplistic. A decision was made to end
the firebombing of cities late in the summer of 1945, partly
because the U.S. Army Air Force was running out of suitable
targets, and partly because military planners has concluded that
it would be more effective to target railroads. (see USSBS
report, "The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's War Economy"
released in December 1946, p. 65, footnote 13.)
Instead of reporting the controversy as a debate over
historical evidence , Ringle chooses to report it as a
"generational" conflict between veterans who have authentic
memories and a younger generation motivated by their anti-Vietneira
war sentiments and their fear of atomic holocaust.
In short, Ringle is clearly biased in his reporting; he is
determined to portray what the veterans remember as historical
"fact" and what the historians write as "scholarly abstraction"
at best and "left-wing", "anti-American" and "historical
revisionism" at its worst. Again, why is your reporter
ostensibly reporting on an event of historical controversy,
refusing to interview and quote the historians who have studied
October 16, 1994: Gar Alperovitz, op ed on the "historians' new
consensus." The first piece published in the Washington Post
which gives their readers any sense of the historical scholarship
on this issue. Notice, however, that the editors of the Outlook
Section decide to package the Alperovitz piece with another Op Ed
by Chalmers Roberts, entitled, "Our Boys or the Bomb?" (This is
Roberts' second op ed piece on the subject.)
October 21, 1994: Eugene Meyer reports that "anti-war activists"
are now weighing in on the controversy. He reports, "Until now,
the anti-war counter-attack has been mainly in the form of
letters to the editor and Op-Ed page pieces that have appeared
in recent weeks in the New York Times and the Washington Post . "
Here, Meyer is vaguely referring to Op-Eds written by Kai Bird in
the Times and Alperovitz in the Washington Post ? These are the
only Op Eds published on this issue and Meyer labels them "anti-
war." Why? Why are either historians--who happen to have written
important books in the field that deal with these is6ues--labeled
as "anti-war"? Like Ringle, Meyer clearly wants to suggest that
critics of the Hiroshima bombing, even if they be historians, are
nevertheless motivated by some kind of generational, 1960s anti-
war sentiments. (For the record, Alperovitz 's book was written
in the early 1960s and published in 1965, long before the anti-
Vietnam war movement was more than blip on the horizon. In 1965-
66, Alperovitz was an official in the State Department.)
November/December issue of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists : Eugene
Meyer writes a signed opinion piece on the Enola Gay controversy.
Meyer says the veterans groups were right, the museum's script
needed to be rewritten.
Nov. 18, 1994 - Eugene Meyer: "Academics Blast Revised Script" /
Meyer reports on news conference organized by historians critical
of the museum's cave in to "historical cleansing." Here is
Meyer's opportunity to give the other side, but his reporting is
brief and perfunctory. He does not bother to report the news —
contained in the letter released at the press conference — that
the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians
has issued a forceful condemnation of the Smithsonian's action.
He doesn't report that even conservative historians — including
historians like John Lewis Gaddis who believe the Hiroshima
bombing was probably necessary — signed the letter protesting the
museum's censorship. No effort is made to report any of
historical evidence used by critics of the Hiroshima bombing:
Eisenhower is not quoted. Admiral Leahy is not quoted, Truman's
diary is not quoted. All these quotes were referred to by the
historians at this press conference. But in the judgment of
Meyer, this was not news.
Nov. 30, 1994: Robert P. Newman, Op Ed, "What New Consensus?"
attacks Gar Alperovitz's previous op ed, taking up a full half-
Dec. 16, 1994: Eugene Meyer / reports on "peace activists"
meeting with Air & Space Museum officials and their
disappointment with the results of the meeting.
Jan. 19, 1995: Eugene Meyer, reports "veterans asked museum to
cancel the Enola Gay exhibit." Meyer reports: "But in the
months since, critics of the early exhibit scripts have grown
increasingly restive as some historians and anti-war groups have
mounted a counter-attack, meeting with curators and holding news
conferences to denounce what they termed 'historical cleansing.'
At least one of those contacts bore fruit when Barton Bernstein,
a Stanford University academician , convinced Martin Harwit,
director of the Air and Space Museum, that the anticipated
casualty figures in the revised exhibit text were too high."
Jan 20, 1995: Washington Post editorial: describes the
Smithsonian becoming "bogged down from the first in denunciations
of its incredibly propagandistic and intellectually shcUaby early
drafts and then in denunciations of the denunciations from
defenders of those drafts on the other side." The editorial goes
on to describe the initial drafts as "tendentiously anti-nuclear
"...Never mind how a museum of the Smithsonian's stature and
seriousness could have slipped into the absurdity of negotiating
its labels. What it needs to do now is clear this mess off its
screen... Get a couple of respected historians of the period, a
military expert or two and some people who know about mounting
good exhibits , and charge them with getting a reasonable
commemorative exhibit to the museum. "
The editorial writers seem unaware that what they are
proposing actually happened: initially, the museum had a few
knowledgable curators write a script in consultation with a board
of historical advisors representing a broad range of views and
Jan 20, 1995: Ken Ringle and Eugene Meyer: report that three
congressmen are calling for Harwit to resign, calling the exhibit
script an "insult" to veterans. The story casts Harwit 's
predicament entirely from the perspective of the veterans groups:
"For more than a year, veterans groups and others have charged
that the Enola Gay script written by Harwit and other Air and
Space Museum curators tends to present the Japanese as hapless
victims of American aggression and racism in World War II instead
of as militarists who brought on the atomic bomb by starting the
war." This characterization of the script, and the debate, is
factually inaccurate and slanderous. But since it is what the
veterans organizations think, perhaps it should be reported. But
why didn't Ringle and Meyer report what other parties to this
dispute think? Why was no effort made to balance this statement
by quoting a historian? If they had picked up the phone and
'asked Martin Sherwin, who sat on the museum's advisory board for
the script, they could have easily obtained a quote which would
have provided some balance. Or any of a dozen other historians
who have written on this subject and followed the Enola Gay
controversy. But this is typical of Ringle 's and Meyer's
reporting. They could have reported that from the perspective of
a great many knowledgeable individuals. Dr. Harwit was clearly
being hounded by a biased interest group (the American
Legionnaires) and several right-wing, know-nothing Congressmen
who haven't read any books on the subject and have no idea what
they are talking about. But they preferred to report what these
politicians said as fact.
Jan 26, 1995: George Will, columnist, praises the Washington
Post's coverage of the Enola Gay controversy, which should be
prime evidence of bias: "Washington knows what the Smithsonian is
up to, thanks to the reporting of the Post's Ken Ringle and The
Jan 27, 1995: Eugene Meyer: "Smithsonian May Drop A-Borab Exhibit"
Meyer reports, "When Harwit lowered the number [the casualty
estimate number], based on a single historian's interpretation of
one document, the American Legion last week demanded cancellation
of the entire exhibit." Meyer is suggesting that Harwit
capriciously amended the casualty estimate, and did so based on
the advice of merely one historian. He fails to report that
Harwit really had no choice unless he wished to consciously
include in the exhibit a "fact" which he now knew to be untrue.
Meyer fails to report that the historian in question. Barton
Bernstein, is the author of the single roost authoritative journal
article on this rather narrow and obscure question: what was
Harry Truman told about casualty estimates and when? His work on
this question has been thoroughly debated and inspected and still
is considered the authoritative judgment on the matter. Meyer
completely misses a great story here. He could have reported how
Bernstein persuaded Harwit. It was in fact quite dramatic.
Bernstein turned to Harwit in the November meeting with the
delegation of historians and said, "We have our documents [on
this casualty estimate question], where are yours to justify your
figure?" Harwit had to admit he didn't have any documents. To
suggest, in this context, that Harwit was caving in to the
opinion of merely "one historian" is an outrageous distortion of
Jan 30, 1995: Eugene Meyer: an admiring profile of Paul Tibbets:
"Target: Smithsonian / The Man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima
wants Exhibit scuttled." This piece is full of invective against
"revisionist arguments" and makes no attempt to balance its
admiring portrait of an admittedly likeable guy (Tibbets) with
any questions about his obviously questionable view of historical
events. It is a presentation of history from the perspective of
the foxhole (or in this case, the cockpit) with no attempt to
portray how the battle looked from the perspective of those
making decisions in the White House. It is one-sided. For
ex£unple, Meyer writes, "'It was a beautiful military target,'
Tibbets says, referring to Hiroshima. It sounds harsh, but this
is above all a military man speaking. " A military man speaking?
This is a great quote and Meyer is fully right to include it.
But what are the facts? He quotes Tibbets saying Hiroshima was
"the center of everything being done to resist an [Allied]
invasion." Now is this true? What do historians think of this
assertion? Well, if Meyer had called any of the historians who
have written any of the books on this subject in the last twenty
years, he would have been told that Tibbet's assertion was
questionable, debatable at the very least, and probably an
outright falsehood. Hiroshima did have some munitions factories
on the outskirts of the city. But Tibbets was instructed to
target the bomb on the center of the city. Hiroshima did contain
one military headquarters for one of the home island armies. But
its militairy significance can be judged by the fact that the city
remained at the bottom of the Air Force's target list throughout
the war. Hiroshima, in fact, beceime a target for the atomic bomb
precisely because of its low military significance; it had been
untouched by previous bombings and was therefore an ideal target
on which to demonstrate the destructive force of the new weapon.
Meyer is clearly ignorant of all of this. In his ignorance he is
reduced to being a pure propagandist for an official version of
Jan 31, 1995: Eugene Meyer: "Smithsonian Scuttles Exhibit"
Meyer quotes the reaction of one military historian, one
member of a "peace group" but no historians of the atomic
bombings. They are clearly irrelevant.
Feb. 1, 1995: Washington Post editorial: "The Smithsonian Changes
Course" This editorial begins by admitting that the
cancellation "is an intellectual abdication..." But the edit
then says, "It is important to be clear about what happened at
the Smithsonian. It is not, as some have it, that benighted
advocates of a special interest or right-wing point of view
brought political power to bear to crush and distort the
historical truth. Quite the contrary. Narrow minded
representatives of a special interest and revisionist point of
view attempted to use their inside track to appropriate and
hollow out a historical event that large numbers of Americans
alive at that time and engaged in the war had witnessed and
understood in a very different --and authentic--way. " In fact,
the Post editorial writer got it backwards. The know-nothings
did use political power to distort history, and worse to censor
historical documents from a tax-payer funded museum. Why they
did so with the support of The Washington Post's editorial board
is a mystery.
Feb. 1, 1995: Joel Achenbach : "The Pablura Museum" In an
otherwise funny feature on the cancellation, this reporter
writes, "For some reason academics have a natural lefty bent.
They're intellectual southpaws: They throw left, catch left,
teach left, think left. What is considered left by most people is
considered orthodox in many academic circles. Gar Alperovitz, a
historian who argues that it was unnecessary to drop the bomb on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, contended yesterday that his view is
raainstreeim in academia." He then quotes Alperovitz, and
concludes, "Regular people don't want to see America trashed at
the Air and Space Museum." This is all very amusing.
Unfortunately, its affect is Joe McCarthy doing a comic routine.
The aim here is clearly to marginalize Alperovitz, label him as a
lefty, anti-American, intellectual insanely bent on trashing
America. It warns readers that anyone with such historical views
risks being labeled in the same manner.
Feb. 4, 1995: Gar Alperovitz, op ed, "taking exception" replies
two months later to the attack on him in Robert Newman's Nov.
30th op ed. It is certainly commendable that the Post found room
to publish the author of one of the classic books on the decision
to drop the bomb. But by using only Alperovitz, and by not
soliciting op eds from Sheirwin, Goldberg, Messer, et al. they
make it easier for to suggest that Alperovitz is a party of one.
(Why, for instance, didn't the editors or reporters of the
Washington Post interview McGeorge Bundy or ask him for an op ed
on? If they had, they would have learned that Bundy, the author
of the first defense of the bombing decision, published in
Harper's in 1947, now has retracted much of what he wrote nearly
fifty years ago. That would have been interesting and news-
worthy. But it would not have fit into the perspective the Post
editors obviously wanted to push on the Enola Gay controversy.)
This is hammered into the reader of Alperovitz's reply by
the fact that the Post editors decided to package his piece with
yet another Op Ed by Edwin Yoder, Jr. entitled, "...Or Hiroshima
Cult?" Yoder 's thesis is a continuation of Acherbach's comic
McCarthyism. For Yoder, who is actually relying on Newman, those
historians who are critical of the Hiroshima bombings are merely
part of a "Hiroshima Cult." "Those who are content with cults,
whether celebratory or derogatory, will worship as they like.
Those who want history will read Newman." Yoder regurgitates
Newman's thesis that "revisionist views of Harry Truman and the
atomic bomb sprang from the tragic national division over
Vietnam..." In fact, revisionist arguments about the bomb began
much earlier and ceune directly as a consequence of the
declassification or release from private archives of such
critical pieces of archival evidence as Henry Stimson's diary
(released by McGeorge Bundy in 1960) and Harry Truman's diary
(discovered in 1978), Yoder's piece is merely a McCarthyite
attempt to label critics of the Hiroshima decision as
illegitimate. (Does Yoder believe Mac Bundy — or for that matter,
Gen. Eisenhower — is part of this "Hiroshima Cult"?)
Feb. 7, 1995: Colman McCarthy, columnist, commenting on the
cancellation, McCarthy writes, "Faced with posturing politicians
and ranting militarists, the Smithsonian caved. . .Why this
catering to American Legionnaires and similar groups who demand a
one-sided version of history?"
Feb. 19, 1995: James Van de Velde, Op Ed, "Enola Gay Saved Lives,
March 30, 1995: Eugene Meyer attends a panel discussion and press
conference on the Enola Gay controversy at the annual meeting of
the Organization of American Historians. But he publishes
nothing. A tape-recording of this event is available and clearly
demonstrates that this was an electrifying event attended by over
three hundred historians who listened as a panel of historians
lacerated the Smithsonian's censorship and the Washington Post's
shoddy reporting. A letter with over a hundred signatories
calling for a national teach-in on Hiroshim was released.
Another letter was released by a delegation of Japanese
historians which called for exhibits in Japan depicting Japanese
atrocities during the war and exhibits in America depicting the
tragic victims of the world's first atomic bombing. None of this
was reported on by Meyer.
April 15, 1995: Washington Post editorial: "Apologies for
Hiroshima?" The editorial writers assert without any evidence,
"The chances of an early and voluntary surrender in the homeland
were poor." They argue, "The nuclear bombs were a success in the
crucial sense that they were followed by an immediate end to the
fighting with no further American deaths." No apologies are
necessary and President Clinton need not have even added the
"cautious qualification" that President Truman made the correct
choice 'based on the facts he had before him.'" In other words,
there should be no doubts raised about the decision.
I ommittee for Open Debate on Hiroshima
QUOTES EROM VARIOUS DOCUMENTS AND MEMOIRS ON HIROSHIMA
Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chair of the Joint ChieCs of Staff
It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was
of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already
defeated and ready to surrender...
My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical
standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in
that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children...'
Joseph C. Grew, Undersecretary/Acting Secretary of State
The greatest obstacle to unconditional surrender by the Japanese is their belief that
this would entail the destruction or permanent removal of the Emperor and the
institution of the Throne. If some indication can now be given the Japanese that they
themselves, when once thoroughly defeated and rendered impotent to wage war in
future, will be permitted to determine their own future political structure, they will be
afforded a method of saving face without which surrender will be highly unlikely.
The President said that he was interested in what I said because his own thoughts had
been following the same line....^
Shmiichi Kase, Japanese Mister to Switzerland
A May 12, 1945 memorandum from O.S.S. Chief "Wild Bill" Donovan to President Harry S
Truman detailing an approach by the Japanese Minister to Switzerland, notes that Kase
believes that one of the few provisions the Japanese would insist upon would be the
retention of the Emperor as die only safeguard against Japan's conversion to
Communism. Kase feels that Under Secretary of State Grew, whom he considers the
best US authority on Japan, shares this opinion.'
1914 Biltmore Street, NW • Washington, DC 20009
phone (202) 328-9659 • fax: (202) 332^19 • e-mail: kaiOapcxirg
General Dwight D. Eisenhower,
The first full public statement by Eisenhower (beyond the brief mention in Crusade in
Europe) is contained in the book the president wrote immediately after leaving office, his
1963 Mandate for Chanee . In it Eisenhower also recalled the meeting at which Stimson told
him about plans to use the bomb— and added the following information:
During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of
depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief
that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely
unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking
world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer
mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at
that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of "face."
The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude, almost angrily refuting the
reasons I gave for my quick conclusions."
In an interview with Newsweek reporter Jacquin Sanders Eisenhower said:
We'd had a nice evening together at headquarters in Germany, nice dinner,
everything was fine. Then [Secretary of War Henry L.] Stimson got this cable saying
the bomb had been perfected and was ready to be dropped. The cable was in code,
you know the way they do it, "The lamb is born" or some damn thing like that. So
then he told me diey were going to drop it on the Japanese. Well, I listened, and I
didn't volunteer anything because, after all, my war was in Europe, and it wasn't up
to me. But I was getting more and more depressed just thinking about it. Then he
asked for my opinion, so I told him I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese
were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon. Well ... the
old gentleman got furious. And I can see how he would. After all, it had been his
responsibility to push for all the huge expenditure to develop the bomb, which of
course he had a right to do and was right to do. Still, it was an awful problem.' '
Army Air Force General Henry H. Arnold
In his 1949 memoirs Gen. Arnold observed that
...it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese
were already on the verge of collapse.'
Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War
Byrnes was opposed to a prompt and early warning to Japan...'
' Emphasis and ellipsis boih in the original.
Historians ' Committee
for Open Debate on Hiroshima
Harry S Truman, President
After his initial pre-conierence meeting with Stalin on July 17— and after Stalin reported on
his negotiations with Chinese Foreign Minister T.V. Soong on the Yalta understandings
concerning the Far East-the president observed:
Most of the big points are settled...
Truman then went on to record Stalin's confirmation that:
He'll be in the Jap War on August 15.
Finally, the president noted his own judgment:
Fini Japs when that comes about.'
The next day Truman wrote in a private letter to his wife:
... I've gotten what I came for— Stalin goes to war August 15 with no strings on it.
He wanted a Chinese settlement-and it is practically made-in a better form than I
expected. Soong did better than 1 asked him. ...I'll say that we'll end the war a year
sooner now, and think of the kids who won't be killed! That is the important thing.'
The president's journal entry of July 18, 1945:
P.M. [Churchill] & I ate alone. Discussed Manhattan (it is a success). Decided to
tell Stalin about it. Stalin had told P.M. of telegram from Jap Emperor asking for
peace. Stalin also read his answer to me. It was satisfactory. Believe Japs will fold
up before Russia comes in.'°
Ralph Bard, Undersecretary of the Navy
Ralph Bard is the only person known to have formally dissented from the use of the atomic
bomb without advance warning. In a June 27, 1945 memorandum Bard declared:
Ever since I have been in touch with this program I have had a feeling that before the
bomb is actually used against Japan that Japan should have some preliminary warning
for say two or three days in advance of use. The position of the United States as a
great humanitarian nation and the fair play attitude of our people generally is
responsible in the main for this feeling.
During recent weeks 1 have also had the feeling very definitely that the Japanese
government may be searching for some opportunity which they could use as a
medium of surrender. Following the three-power conference emissaries from this
country could contact representatives from Japan somewhere on the China Coast and
make representations with regard to Russia's position and at the same time give them
some information regarding the proposed use of atomic power, together with whatever
assurances the President might care to make with regard to the Emperor of Japan and
for Open Debate on Hiroshima Page 3
the treatment of the Japanese nation following uncx>nditional surrender. It seems quit
possible to me that this presents the opportunity which the Japanese are looking
John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War
At Potsdam, John J. McCloy heard of another Japanese peace feeler, this time delivered to
Allen Dulles, the U.S. O.S.S. representative in Geneva. As Dulles reported it, Tokyo was
hesitating only over the term "unconditional surrender":
They wanted to keep their emperor and the constitution, fearing that otherwise
a military surrender would only mean the collapse of all order and of all
John J. McCloy diought this report so significant that he had Dulles flown up to Potsdam to
report personally on the peace feeler. He noted in his diary of July 27, 1945:
Maybe the Secretary's big bomb may not be dropped-the Japs had better
hurry if they are to avoid it. "
On May 28, 1945 McCloy recommended tliat the phrase "unconditional surrender" be
I feel that today Japan is struggling to find a way out of the horrible mess she
has got herself into;... Unconditional surrender is a phrase which means loss of
face and I wonder whether we cannot accomplish everything we want to
accomplish in regard to Japan without the use of that term....'*
McCloy later recalled that the day before the June 18, 1945 White House meeting:
I said, Mr. Stimson, it seemed to me that we were now at a point where our
superiority was so vast over the Japanese; there were no more cities to bomb, no
more carriers to sink or battleships to shell; we had difficulty finding targets; we had
this tremendous moral and physical ascendancy which resulted from our win in
Germany and our moving across the Pacific from the treachery of Pearl Harbor to th<
very doors of Japan; and I thought there must be some other means that ought to be
explored in terminating the war without further bloodshed.... he said he was inclined
to think that this was right.... '^
McCloy expressed ethical concerns about the bomb:
God give us the intelligence and character to use it for good purpose.'*
We should have given the Japs warning at least of what we had.'^
Historians ' Committee
for Open Debate on Hiroshima Page
General of the Army George C. Marshall
In a memo dated May 29, 1945, Marshall stated that the atomic bomb should:
first be used against straight military objectives such as a large naval installation....'*
And that if the Japanese still did not capitulate:
we ought to designate a number of large manufacturing areas from which people
would be warned to leave— telling the Japanese that we intended to destroy such
centers.... every effort should be made to keep our record of warning clear.... We must
offset by such warning methods the opprobrium which might follow from ill-
considered employment of such force..."
Leo Szilard, Manhattan Project Physicist
Mr. Byrnes did not argue that it was necessary to use the bomb against the
cities of Japan in order to win the war.. .Mr. Byrnes's...view [was] that our
possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable
for Open Debate on Hiroshima Page 5
1. Reel Admiral William D. Leahy, I Was There: The Personal Story of the Chief of Suff to Presidents
Roosevelt and Truman. Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time (New York, NY; McGraw-Hill Book
Company, loc., 1950), p. 441.
2. Joseph C. Grew, Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic Record of Forty Years 1904-1945. Vol. n (Boston, MA:
Houghton Mifflin Co., 1952), pp. 1429-1431.
3. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers . 1945, Vol. VI, p. 481.
4. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change. 1953-1956 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company,
Inc.), pp. 312-313.
5. "Ike on Ike," Newsweek . November 11, 1963, pp. 107-110, cited material on p. 107.
6. H.H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1949), p. 598.
7. Stimson Diary, July 17, 1945, Stimson Papers, Yale University.
8. Roben H. Ferrell, ed.. Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (New York: Penguin, 1982),
9. Roben H. Ferrell, ed.. Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman. 1910-1959 (London: W.W.
Norton & Company, 1983), p. 519.
10. Robert H. Ferrell, ed.. Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Tnmian (New York: Penguin,
1982), pp. 53-54.
11. Memorandum on the use of S-1 bomb, Ralph A. Bard, June 27, 1945, File 77. Roll 6, H-B Files. M1108,
National Archives; reprinted in Stoff, Fanton, Williams, The Manhattan Project , p. 162.
12. Allen Dulles's foreword to Per Jacobsson's pamphlet The Per Jacobsson Mediation. Balse Centre for
Economic and Financial Research, ser. C, no. 4, published about 1967, on file in Allen Dulles Papers, box 22,
folder John J. McCloy 1945, Princeton University.
13. McCloy Diary, July 27, 1945, McCloy Papers. Amherst College Archives.
14. Memorandum for Colonel Stimson, from John J. McCloy, May 28, 1945, Stimson Safe File, (Japan), Entry
74A, RG 107, National Archives.
15. John J. McCloy interview with Fred Freed for NBC White Paper, "The Decision to Drop the Bomb,"
(interview conducted sometime between May 1964 and February 1965), Roll 1, p. 11, File 50A, Box SP2,
McCloy Papers, Amherst College Archives.
16. McCloy diary, 7/21/45, DY box 1, folder 18, John J. McCloy, Amherst College Archives.
17. "Dr. Freeman's Impressions," McCloy diary, box DY 1/3. folder 19, John J. McCloy; Amherst College
Archives; McCloy interview with Kai Bird, Sept. 14, 1984.
for Open Debate on Hiroshima Page 6
18. John J. McCloy, 'Memorandum of Conversation with General Marshall, May 29, 1945-11:45 a.m.,"
Sdm-.a Safe File (S-1), RG 107, National Archives.
19. John J. McCloy, "Memorandum of Conversation with General Marshall, May 29, 1945-11:45 a.m.,"
Stimson Safe File (S-1), RG 107, National Archives.
20.Leo Szilard, "A Personal History of the Atomic Bomb," University of Chicago Roundtable . No. 601
(September 25, 1949), pp. 14-15. Sec also Gar Alperovitz. Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (New
York, NY: Penguin Books, 1985), p. 290.
Historians ' Committee
for Open Debate on Hiroshima Page 7
May 15. 1995
^ FORGETTING THE BOMB
MARTIN J. SHERWIN
On January 30. 1. Michael Hcyman, Secretary of (he
Smithsonian Institution, bowing to pressure from
veterans' organizations and Congressional critics,
announced the drastic revision of a controversial
exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. "The Last
Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II " Per-
haps no other public controversy in recent times demonstrates
so clearly how much influence the sensibilities of 1945 still
have on the politics of 1995, and how fifty years of the cold
war have kept the need alive for Americans to be defined by
World War II and. in turn, to protect its reputation.
To Americans, the defining characteristic of World War II
was its lack of ambiguity. It was not just "the good war,"
it was the model war, the ideal war. the unifying war. Most
Americans, public opinion polls conclusively demonstrated,
were happy about how it ended. The atomic destruction of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki seemed an appropriate and just
fmale to a war against a vicious enemy that had launched a
surprise attack on American territory
But that atomic ending soon raised troubling questions.
John Mersey's Hiroshima created sympathy for the victims.
Reports that the Japanese had been seeking ways to surren-
der created doubts about the necessity of using atomic bombs.
Hanson Baldwin, military editor of The New York Times.
Norman Cousins, cdiior of the Saturday Review of Literature .
and David Law rencc. editor of C/S. News, discussed alterna-
tives 10 boih ilic iiiomic bombings and an invasion
By the fall of 1946 questions about the atomic bombings
had become so prevalent that James Conant, the president of
Harvard University and the former senior science administra-
tor of the Manhattan Project, urged former Secretary of War
Henry Stimson 10 write an article explaining why the atomic
bombings were both justified and necessary. Stimson's anicle.
"The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb," was published in the
February 1947 issue of Harper's Magaime. Arguing that the
bomb was used to end the war quickly m order to save Ameri-
can lives. Stimson neglected to make reference to the manv
notations in his diary — which he otherwise relied upon — ihai
suggested the advantages of using the atomic bomb during
the war in order to deal more effectively with the Soviet Union
afterward. Nor did he comment in this article— as he did in
his autobiography published a year later— on the option of
ending the war just as quickly, without using the atomic bomb,
by modifying the demand for unconditional surrender. "It
IS possible, in the light of the final surrender." Stimson wrote
in Ort Active Service in Peace and War. "ihai a clearer and
earlier exposition of American willingness to retain the Em
peror would have produced an earlier endinf; to the war"
(Emphasis added.) The suggestion that the war could have
ended earlier, without the use of the atomic bomb, was as
upsetting in 1947 as it is in 1995.
The ambiguities introduceij into the discussion of the atomic
bondi in 1946 by Herscy, Baldwin, Cousins, Lawrence and
Slimson, among others, were quickly submerged by the rising
tide of the cold war, McCarihyism and the Korean War. The
cold war foiced everything that questioned "the good war"
inioihc far left corner of our political basement. The critical
hlsioncs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were written were
either ignofd by the mainstream press or tainted as leftist and
revisionist. The natural discussion of thisimportani issue was
sliflctL Thus the battle over the Enola Gay exhibit was not
a debate over interpretations of history. It was, as Edward
LinenihaJ has written, a struggle between popular memory
and history, between the commemorative and (he hislorical,
cut off by fifty years of ►he cold war.
I was a member of the historical advisory board for the
Enola Gay exhibit. My strong impression of the first draft of
thescnpt fof the exhibition, which I shared with the other ad-
viser^ was that lis historical section was inadequate. No one
taking the trouble to study carefully the documents that were
to be displayed would understand why so many historians
challenge what President Truman and Secretary of War Stim-
son told the public about why the atomic bombs were used.
The draft script offered only a glimpse into the declassified
lop-seoa documents that have compelled historians to rewrite
the wartime history of the atomic bomb project. To those of
us familiar with those documents it appeared as if the curators
were giving undue attention to established myths at the expense
of historical research. In a word, the draft script was cautious.
which explains why the Air Force historians on the committee
inquiry praised it as "a most impressive piece of work."
This view of the exhibit was not shared by John Correll.
the editor of /I (/-Force Mojo;me. Furious at director Martin
Harwii for presumably masterminding the transformation of
the Air and Space Museum from an Air Force showcase into
something more serious, he published a critical review of the
exhibit, "War Stories at Air and Space." in the April 1994 issue
of AFM. Counting pictures of dead Japanese versus dead
Americans, and affirming that veterans believed thai the mu-
seum had become "an unpatriotic institution," Correll con-
demned the exhibit as pro-Japanese. Editorialists for The
Washington Star znd. astonishingly, for TTie Washington Post
as well, swallowed Correll's bait, encouraging politicians run-
ning for re-election to join ihe attack.
Lhe attack on the Enola Gay
exhibit is part of the 'culture wars'
raging through America.
By means of a Senate resolution, and a threatening letter
from Ihe relevant committee chairman and his colleagues, ihe
two houses of Congress joined forces to threaten the curators'
jobs and the museum's funding. In taking this action. Rep-
resentative Pcier Bluie of the Committee on Public Works and
Transportation. Senator Nancy Kassebaum and the other
Congressional critics of the Enola Gay historical exhibit laid
the foundations for a post-cold war form of McCarthyism
May li. 1995 The NatJOM.
in which the Japanese were substituted for the Soviets. Old
McCarthyite smears such as "unpatriotic" "left wing" and
"anti-American" were recycled in this deceitful campaign
to decree an official history of the atomic bombings of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
To say that this assault on a cautious presentation of the
history of the debate over the atomic bombings is part of the
turmoil within our political culture, or part of the "culture
wars" that are raging through America, is to sute the obvious.
It is one with the general attack by the right on the news media,
the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endow-
ment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broad-
casting and the National History Standards report. It is an
assault on the professional standards of a new generation of
curators, whose training (not their politics) in history and cu-
ratorial science obliges them to present new and competing
scholarly perspectives along with the expected and familiar.
Conservatives have been attacking the Smithsonian's mu-
seums regularly since 1988. arguing that the museums arc mere-
ly "the nation's attic," where anifacts should be displayed but
not evaluated, interpreted or context ualized. Those who have
followed this campaign will recall, perhaps with a touch of
irony, that the first target was the 1988 exhibit. "Toward a
More Perfect Union." which documented the forced removal
of Japanese-Americans to relocation camps during World
War II. Thus another objection of the museum's critics is the
subjects themselves: America's dirty laundry should not be
hung in Washington, they insist.
In light of the events surrounding the Enola Gay exhibit,
we might want to consider revising Saniayana's famous apho-
rism: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned
to repeal it." A more appropriate formulation for ihc current
state of affairs might read: "Those who insist only on iheir
memories of the past are condemning the rest of us to avoid
it." Of course, that is exactly the objective of the 1995 attacks
on the history of 1945. D
Martin J. Sherwin is director of the John Sloan Dickey Cen-
ter for International Understanding at Dorimcuih College
and Walters. Dickson Professor of History al Tufts Univer-
sity. He IS the author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and
the Origins of the Arms Race (Ranrtnm Hniitci
?^ ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY
242S WILSON BOULEVARD. ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA 22201-3385 (703)841 4300
STATEMENT OF GENERAL JACK N. MERRITT, USA RET., PRESIDENT
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of this committee:
The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is pleased to
have the opportunity to submit a written statement on behalf of its
115,000 members giving voice to concerns about the Air and Space
Museum's handling of the special Enola Gay exhibit.
AUSA has been associated with the Air Force Association and the
American Legion's effort to get the Air and Space Museum to put forth
an exhibit which demonstrated balance, put the Enola Gay in the
proper context of the period, and included fairness when dealing with
the decision of the political and military leaders of the time. We
applaud the cancellation of the original exhibition and we are
encouraged that the museum will now show a forward fuselage of the
Enola Gay in a simpler, straightforward display. We hope the new
exhibit will have the balance, context, and fairness that the brave
Americans who participated in the events that the Enola Gay stands
for truly deserve.
I want to applaud the Senate for its unanimous passage, on 23
September 1994, of the Senate Resolution which described the Enola
Gay script as being "revisionist, unbalanced, and offensive". The
American people who think of the Smithsonian Institution as its
repository of America's history have a right to expect that displays
and information provided will be balanced in context and accurate in
AUSA is in complete and unqualified support for the decisions of
President Harry Tniman and the direction and execution of the
resulting missions by our military leaders. We offer no apology, no
contrived justification for the two concluding acts that brought an
end to the conflict. We believe that lives were saved, that greater
and more populous areas of Japan were spared wartime carnage, and
that the treasure of many nations was conserved by ending the drain
of resources caused by combat operations.
We at AUSA, reflecting the convictions and sentiments of its
World War II veterans, believe that only the shock promulgated among
the Japanese people by the nuclear holocaust, could have caused their
leaders to surrender precipitately. Conventional weapons,
firestorms, and obscene casualty figures had not changed Japanese
policy. We can speculate that a last-ditch sacrifice of the Japanese
nation in a pattern with the Germany of Adolf Hitler was the promised
For these reasons, AUSA believes that the employment of atomic
weapons at the termination of World War II was momentous and deserves
special historical note by the Smithsonian. We believe that a
factual presentation of what was done and the results achieved need
not be qualified or embellished by what might have been or, in some
views, should have been. We believe that President Tniman, based
upon what he knew at the moment, demonstrated the willingness to
decide that is the mark of the great leaders of history.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy associated with the events that
have surfaced with this exhibit is the perception given to the
American people that another public institution cannot be trusted.
We cannot stand by and allow anyone who would distort history to
their own political agenda go unchallenged. The American people have
a right to expect that any institution which receives tax payer
dollars for support must be responsible enough to show accuracy and
balance when writing about or demonstrating history.
On behalf of the Association of the United States Army, I thank
you for providing an opportunity to comment on this important issue.
Enola Gay Chronology 1993-1995
August 20, 1993
September 10, 1993
November 23, 1993
January 31, 1994
March 15, 1994
March 16, 1994
March 22, 1994
April 1, 1994
April 1, 1994
April 15, 1994
April 16, 1994
May 4, 1994
The Air Force Association Executive Director discusses the
planned exhibit with the Director of the Air & Space Museum.
The Director of the Air & Space Museum sends the Air Force
Association a copy of the first planning document for our review
The Air Force Association Executive Director expresses concerns
over lack of balance to the Director of the Air & Space Museum.
Air Force Association and Air & Space Museum officials meet to
discuss the lack of balance in the exhibit. Museum officials counter
that the exhibit is balanced.
The Director of the Air & Space Museum forwards a copy of the
first script to Air Force Association.
The Editor of AIR FORCE Magazine interviews the Director of
the Air & Space Museum for an article on the exhibit.
The Air Force Association releases the first special report on
Air Force Association Press Release —
"Politically Correct Curating at the Air & Space Museum."
The Director of the Air & Space Museum submits a letter to the
editor of AIR FORCE Magazine, which was accepted.
AIR FORCE Magazine feature article on the Enola Gay exhibit.
"War Stories at the Air & Space," by John T. Correll, editor
AIR FORCE Magazine historical campanion piece, "The Decision
That Launched the Enola Gay," by John T. Correll, editor in chief
Air Force Association directors meet with
The Director of the Air & Space Museum in an internal memo
agrees with critics that the exhibit does lack balance.
The American Legion adopts a resolution condemning the exhibit.
September 1, 1994 AIR FORCE Magazine feature article on the Enola Gay exhibit.
"The Last Act at Air & Space," by John T. Correll,
editor in chief.
September 1, 1994
September 9, 1994
September 12, 1994
September 12, 1994
September 27, 1994
October 1, 1994
October 17, 1994
October 19, 1994
October 20, 1994
October 26, 1994
October 28, 1994
Smithsonian and Air & Space Museiim officials travel to the
American Legion National Convention to request Legion
participation in a line-by-line review process of Script 3 .
Air Force Association analysis of Script 3.
Air Force Association Press Release — "AFA Says Enola Gay
Revisions Must Go Further."
Delegates to the Air Force Association 1994 Convention
unanimously adopts a resolution calling Script 3 "the beginning of
a continuing process of revision."
Air Force Association Executive Director letter to the Director of
Air & Space explaining time is ruiming out and it is time to fix the
AIR FORCE Magazine follow-up article on the Enola Gay exhibit.
"Museum Promises to Change Enola Gay Exhibition," by John T.
Correll, editor in chief.
Air & Space Museum releases Script 4.
Air Force Association completes analysis of Script 4 and forwards
with letter of explanation to the Under Secretary of the
Air Force Association, The Retired Officers Association and the
Veterans of Foreign Wars meet with Smithsonian and Air & Space
leadership to discuss ways to make Script 4 less political and
Air Force Association Press Release — "Enola Gay Exhibit
Improved, but Significant Work Remains."
Air & Space Museum releases Script 5.
Air Force Association analysis of Script 5.
May 25, 1994 The Tiger Team, an internal independent group assembled by
the Air and Space Museimi releases its critique of Script 1 .
May 31,1 994 The Air & Space Museum releases Script 2.
June 9, 1994 General Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay, calls the exhibit "a
package of insults."
June 21, 1994 Dr. Neufeld of the Air & Space Museum in a letter proclaims
Script 2 final unless there are minor suggestions.
Jlwe 23, 1 994 Air Force Association finally receives a copy of Script 2.
June 28, 1994 Air Force Association analysis on Script 2.
July 1 2, 1 994 Office of Air Force History questions the lack of balance and
context in Script 2.
August 10, 1994 Air Force Association Press Release — "Air & Space Museum
Continues Revisionist Line on World War II."
August 10, 1994 Congressmen Blute and Johnson with two dozen members of
Congress send a letter to the Secretary of Smithsonian condemning
the exhibit and urging solutions be found.
August 17,1 994 Senior Air Force officials. Air Force Association leadership, the
Director of the Air & Space Museum and senior military historians
meet at the Pentagon to discuss the problems with Script 2.
August 22, 1994 Air Force Association releases an update paper on
the developments concerning Script 2.
August 23 , 1 994 Letter fi-om the Director of the Air & Space Museum to
the Executive Director of the Air Force Association requesting
line-by-line change recommendations to Script 2.
August 24, 1994 Air Force Association Executive Director responds by letter to the
Director of the Air & Space Museum accusation that the
Association has not clearly specified the problems with the script.
AFA declines to make line-by-line changes.
August 31, 1994
Air & Space Museum releases Script 3.
November 1, 1994 AIR FORCE Maga2dne article on the Enola Gay exhibit.
"The Three Doctors and the Enola Gay," by John T. Correll, editor
November 3, 1994 Letter from the Air Force Association Executive Director to the
Under Secretary of the Smithsonian with analysis of Script 5.
November 1 7, 1 994 Concerned historians write to the Director of the Air & Space
Museum voicing their concerns that veterans groups are promoting
propaganda versus history.
November 23, 1 994 Air Force Association meets with the Under Secretary of the
Smithsonian to discuss ways to make the exhibit less political and
December 1 , 1994 AIR FORCE Magazine editorial on the proposed Enola Gay
exhibit, "Airplanes in the Mist," by John T. Correll,
Editor in chief
December 13, 1994 Congressmen convey deep concem to Smithsonian and request to
see a sixth script in February.
December 1 5, 1994 Air Force Association, TTie Retired Officers Association and the
Veterans of Foreign Wars meet with Smithsonian and Air & Space
leadership to discuss ways to make the exhibit less political and
January 9, 1995 Air & Space Museum changes label on number of estimated
Janojary 18,1 995 American Legion calls for cancellation of exhibit.
January 19, 1995 Eighty-one Congressmen ask for the resignation of the Director of
the Air & Space Museum.
January 20, 1995 Air Force Association Press Release -- "AFA Blasts the Air &
Space Museum on Enola Gay Reversal."
January 20, 1 995 Air Force Association calls for cancellation of the exhibit.
January 30, 1995 Smithsonian scraps the Enola Gay exhibit.
H4f/4.7.y to/i. D C. 20560
April 4. 1995
Honorable Sam Johnson
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-4303
Your letter of March 22 provides the Smithsonian with an opportunity to set the
record straight with respect to the several remaining issues stemming from our once-planned
exhibition on the end of Word War EI, better known as the Enola Gay exhibition. As you
know, on January 30, 1995, I announced the replacement of that exhibition with a more
straightforward display of the airplane and ancillary materials on its mission and its crew.
To provide as complete a record as possible, I will repeat each of your questions and
reply to them in the order they were asked.
1 . To what extent did the now canceled exhibit conform to the charge of the Smithsonian Institution, as stated
in 20 use. Ch. 3 Paia A80? NASM officials respond to that requirement to present 'the service and
sacrifice of America's service men and women as an inspiration to the future generations" applies only to
the National Armed Forces Museum - which was never built. However, the language in the cited section
clearly states that "The Smithsonian Institution shall...." Absent case law to clarify the intent of the
legislation, no prevailing interpretation of that language exists, it appears that NASM is citing an
interpretation designed to free their hands from responsibility as probably intended by Congress.
The legislative language quoted pertained to a National Armed Forces Museum which
was authorized but never funded. The statute containing it specifically provided that that
statute was not intended to apply to the National Air and Space Museum. As stated in 20
The provisions of this subchapter [Subchapter X- National
Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board] in no way rescind
subchapter VII of this chapter, which established the National
Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, or any
other authority of the Smithsonian Institution.
It is worth noting at this point the language from Subchapter VII §77 which addresses the
"functions" of the National Air and Space Museum as follows:
The national air and space museum shall memorialize the
national development of aviation and space flight; collect,
preserve, and display aeronautical and space flight equipment of
historical interest and significance; serve as a repository for
scientific equipment and data pertaining to the development of
aviation and space flight; and provide educational material for
the historical study of aviation and space flight.
As you know from my statement on January 30, I am undertaking a management review of
the National Air and Space Museum, and one of our goals is to review a mission statement
for the Museum to make sure that it is responsive to this statutory provision. I will discuss
with the Regents the parameters of this management review on May 8, 1995, and I expect to
have the review completed by September 1995.
2. To what extent did the municipal museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki enter into a prior agreement with
NASM concerning the now<ancelled exhibit? It was reported in the Washington Times, without
verification or citation, that a prior, four-point agreement was extant. We have not been able to put our
hands on that agreement. The Mayor of Nagasaki, in an AP dispatch published around the nation last
month, is reported to have said if NASM will not display 'their exhibit' they will find another museum that
will. This tends to underscore the significance of the Nagasaki Peace Museum catalog, which parallels the
original NASM exhibit beyond an extent explicable by coincidence.
I am assured that no formal agreement ever was drawn up between the National Air
and Space Museum and the municipal museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However the
Air and Space Museum wished to borrow a number of artifacts from the two municipal
museums, and those museums were willing, in principle, to loan them. Both sides, however,
saw difficulties. The Air and Space Museum did not wish to cede authority over the script
to the Japanese side, and the Japanese did not wish to make a loan if they did not agree with
the thrust of the exhibition. Evenmally a tacit understanding was reached that:
(1) The National Air and Space Museum would be the sole
judge on the contents of the exhibition. NASM would write a
script for the exhibition, which, if necessary, would be mounted
without the use of any loans from Japan.
(2) The Hiroshima and Nagasaki museums were under no
obligation to loan artifacts to the Air and Space Museum if they
did not find the proposed exhibition acceptable. On the
assumption of a positive outcome, however, they were willing to
receive a request listing artifacts, images and video tapes that
might be used in the exhibition, so that they could rapidly
prepare to loan materials to the National Air and Space
Museum, if they chose to respond favorably.
As it turned out, the Japanese did have objections to the script that never were clearly
specified, even as late as January 1995, when the exhibition was cancelled. At that time,
less than four months before the scheduled opening of the exhibition, no agreement on the
loan of any materials had been reached.
Initially, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also asked that the destruction of
their cities should serve the purpose of warning the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
The Museum countered that it cannot be an advocate on such issues. As time went on, the
Japanese seemed to lose interest in this request, and the Museum independently determined
that a topic as complex as nuclear policy was beyond inclusion in an exhibition that already
was growing in size and needed to be pared back.
As you might expect, we incurred certain costs for the translation and transmission of
draft scripts in the course of these discussions. At no time, however, were any monies paid
to the municipal museums. The total cost of these services amounted to $15,898 which was
considered a legitimate expense of developing the exhibitioD.
3. How often, when, and why did NASM Curators travel to Nagasaki and Hiroshima in connection with this
exhibit? We know that curators and the Director made at least three uips to Japan in connection with the
exhibit, the first occurring in 1988.
Three trips to Japan occurred in connection with this exhibition and the desire of the
National Air and Space Museum to borrow objects from Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is
important to note, however, that at all times the Museum officials made it clear that there
would never be in the hands of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima museums the authority to veto
any portion of the script. The only power invested in the Japanese museums was to loan the
objects or not.
None of these trips took place in 1988. Museum Director Martin Harwit and
Chairman of the Museum's Aeronautics Department, Tom Crouch, were in Japan in early
April, 1993. Dr. Crouch, exhibition curator Michael Neufeld, and exhibition designer
William Jacobs returned for a second visit in late May, 1993, and Martin Harwit made a
final trip in August, 1993.
4. What is the significance, if any. to NASM Director Martin Harwii's travel to the Netherlands in early
Martin Harwit has been a member of the Science Team working on the European
Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory, an astronomical satellite to be launched in
September 1995. This is part of a NASA effort to minimize the costs of space ventures
through international collaboration. Work by the science team began in 1985, and regular
meetings have taken place four times a year since then. The December 1994 meeting was
the 36th of these regulariy-held meetings. NASA funds Harwit's participation.
5. Why did NASM fund the exhibition tolally from non appropriated fuods?
6. Were there specific donors for the exhibit? What is the source of the non-appropriated funds?
Most of the Museum's exhibitions are funded largely through support from industry,
although the salaries of staff working on the exhibitions are largely Federally funded. This
exhibition was no exception in that regard. Half of the funds came from a Smithsonian
Special Exhibition Fund administered centrally, and the other half was provided by the
Museum, largely from unrestricted, non-appropriated funds. The Museum felt that for this
exhibition it would be inappropriate to seek funding from an outside sponsor. The Museum
wished to avoid the appearance that the exhibition's contents could in any way have been
influenced by such a sponsor. The Museum's non-appropriated funds come largely from
earnings from the operations of its wide-screen theater, from revenues generated by the
museum shop and public restaurant, and from special events co-sponsored with professional
associations and corporations.
7. Why was Michael Neufeld, a Canadian National, hired by NASM? What are his philosophical and political
I am informed that Michael Neufeld was hired for his broad knowledge of World War
II, as displayed in his prize-winning book on the development of the V-2 rocket. The Rocket
and the Reich, published in 1994. The book won the "best book of the year" award from the
American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and was critically acclaimed in the New
York Times Book Review (see Attachment A).
Before embarking on the exhibition of the Enola Gay, Dr. Neufeld had already
curated a World War 11 commemorative exhibition on the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt,
affectionately known as "The Jug." In the same commemorative series he curated a display
on the German Arado, the first operational jet bomber which was used also for
I do not know Dr. Neufeld's political affiliations or philosophical propensities. These
are not matters that the Smithsonian inquires about.
8. Why was Tom Crouch, an early aviation history specialist, assigned as a curator? Why was he assigned to
curate the American History Museum (exhibition] which focuses on the interrunent of Japanese American
Citizens? Why is there language in the American History exhibit that is verbatim that which is contained in
NASM"s now-caiKeled exhibit?
Curators at the National Air and Space Museum are expected to be able to curate a
wide variety of aviation or space-related exhibitions. Like most other museums, NASM does
not have more than one specialist in any particular area. Large exhibitions, however, tend to
require three or four additional curators working with one leading specialist. This was
especially true of the "Last Act" exhibition, where Dr. Thomas Crouch and two other
curators, Joanne Gernstein and Tom Dietz, aided Michael Neufeld on this project.
Tom Crouch joined the National Air and Space Museum as a curator, in the early
1970s, and helped to install the initial galleries for the Museum's opening in 1976. In the
mid-1980s, he made a career change, leaving NASM for a curatorial position in the National
Museum of American History. There, at the request of NMAH's then Director, he curated a
gallery on the internment of Japanese American citizens, among other projects. In 1989, he
was recruited back to the National Air and Space Museum by Director Harwit as chair of the
Department of Aeronautics.
The Air and Space Museum has indicated that its very first script for the Enola Gay
exhibition had a label on the Japanese American internment which used the same quote about
American hatred of the Japanese as had been used in the exhibition in the American History
Museum. It should be noted, however, that by May 31, 1994 (the second draft script for the
Enola Gay exhibition) the quote was dropped from the script, and the entire matter of the
internment of the Japanese Americans was dropped from the fifth draft script (October 1994).
9. Why does Manin Haiwit mainiain an astrophysics laboratory in NASM, devoting sums and personnel to
that endeavor, and dispatching staffer to Europe on related business when the Smithsonian already has a
similar lab in Cambridge Massachusetts?
Most of the Smithsonian Institution's Museums are directed by leading scholars,
principally historians, scientists, and art scholars with various areas of expertise. Secretary
Adams' decision to hire Martin Harwit as Director of the National Air and Space Museum
was prompted by his desire to bring a recognized scholar into that position as well. This
was not a radical departure from earlier practice. Among the three previous directors,
Michael Collins was an astronaut, Noel Hinners a planetary geologist, and Walter Boyne a
retired Air Force officer.
The termis under which Martin Harwit was hired as director of tiie Museum sought to
assure that he could continue providing scholarly leadership in space science and
astrophysics, where many of the nation's most sophisticated and costly spacecraft currently
are making the United States a world leader. His letter of appointment specified that he
would be provided an astrophysics laboratory so that he and colleagues could bring to the
Museum expertise in space research, which has made America this century's pioneer in the
discovery of our place in the Universe. This team is now designing an exhibition, tentatively
titled "Universe," in which space telescopes and instrumentation will be displayed together
with clear explanations of the discoveries they have helped bring about to increase our
understanding of the nature of space and the structure and evolution of the universe. In this
fashion, the Air and Space Museum complements work carried out at the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, some of whose discoveries and
achievements have already been displayed in the Museum's galleries.
- 6 -
10. Have ihe miliu^y veterans who are on suff as historical consultants and acknowledged military historians in
their own rights been systematically excluded from the decision making on such exhibits as the one at issue''
The military veterans on the Museum's staff have made major contributions to the
exhibitions mounted in the past few years:
• Tim Wooldridge, a former aircraft carrier pilot and retired U.S. Navy captain, in
recent years instituted a major modernization of the Museum's Sea-Air Operations
Gallery, made possible with the support of the Association of Naval Aviation.
• Tom Dietz, a young U.S. Navy veteran, was one of the four curators on the "Last
• Tom Alison, a retired Air Force colonel, who had come to the Museum in late
May, 1993, after the "Last Act" exhibition already was under way, was later asked to
curate an introductory section to that exhibition. It covered "The War in the Pacific,"
and was added because the Museum found that many young people no longer know
the history of World War II.
• Working with Alison on this section were Tim Wooldridge and Lt. Col. Don
Lopez (USAF Ret.), who had recently retired as Senior Advisor to the Museum's
1 1 Why did curators rely on historians only from the revisionist school, such as Bird, Alpcrvitz, Bernstein, and
why did curators not contact esublished experts in Uie era and the key people involved?
In compiling a list of Advisory Comminee members for the exhibition the Museum,
tried to assemble a set of experts with a broad range of backgrounds and a variety of points
of view. These established experts were initially brought in to provide the curators with
constructive criticism and advice. They included;
• Edwin Bearss, Chief Historian at the National Park Service, a decorated disabled
veteran of the Guadalcanal campaign. He was in charge of the 50th anniversary
commemoration at Pearl Harbor.
• Barton Bernstein, a Professor of History at Stanford University.
• Victor Bond is a radiation physiologist, expert on the radiation effects of atomic
• Stanley Goldberg who is completing a biography on Gen. Leslie Groves, who
headed the successful Manhattan project.
• Richard Hallion, an Air Force Historian and a former curator at the National Air
and Space Museum, with extensive experience in exhibitions.
- 7 -
• Akira Iriye is Professor of History at Harvard and a recognized expert on 20th
century relations between the U.S. and Japan.
• Edward Linenthal, a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin
at Oshkosh. He had written about the controversies that attended the
commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and was asked to serve in
the hope that he could help the Museum anticipate and steer clear of such difficulties.
• Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic
• Martin Sherwin, an historian and Director of the John Sloane Dickey Center at
Though they may have made their perspectives known in the media, Drs. Bird and
Alperowitz had no role in developing the exhibition, nor were they ever invited to
participate. Both men, however, often berated the Museum's script in the media.
One might wonder, as I often do, how it was that with a balanced set of advisors we
seemed to have developed a script which was imbalanced. I suspect that the explanation is
not only complex but also entirely worthy of extensive exploration, which we intend to give
it at the symposium we have planned with the University of Michigan, "Presenting History:
Museum in a Democratic Society," Ann Arbor, MI, April 19, 1995.
12. Why did Harwii fire decent Frank Rabbit, for speaking about the ejJiibit?
Director Harwit informs me as follows:
Frank Rabbitt, a long-time volunteer who gave guided tours at the National Air and
Space Museum, was first suspended from his duties for interfering with legitimate inquiry
into the exhibition of the Enola Gay by a Baltimore Sun journalist. While on duty at the
Museum, he had heard the reporter tell him he had an appointment the next day to see
General Tibbets in Columbus, Ohio. Rabbitt then called some of the General's friends to
warn him not to see the reporter, and when the reporter appeared at General Tibbets's house,
he was met at the door and sent away.
Mr. Rabbitt's suspension was not aimed at his rights to free speech. The action was
taken to reaffirm that individuals affiliated with the Museum have no right to interfere with
legitimate inquiries into the Museum's activities by the press.
Shortly after his three-month suspension, Mr. Rabbitt was found to be openly
soliciting signamres in opposition to the Museum's exhibition of the Enola Gay. At that
juncture, he was dismissed from his volunteer duties, since volunteers are brought to the
Museum to help ongoing activities, not to oppose them. In abrogating his services, the
Museum told Mr. Rabbitt in writing that it was not challenging his right to speak out as he
saw fit. His activities simply were seen as more of a hindrance than a help to the Museum.
Service as a volunteer at the Museum is not a right; it is a privilege that many applicants
seek and few are accorded.
On January 30, 1995, immediately following the Secretary's decision to change the
exhibition, Martin Harwit wrote Mr. Rabbitt, stating that there now was no reason to deny
his return to the Museum, since the main object of his opposition had been removed, and
since he had served the Museum loyally for many years. Mr. Rabbitt promptly accepted that
offer to return and has been fully reinstated.
13. Has i( l)cen Harwit's intent since his hiring to "radicalize" and "redirect" NASM? Does revision conform
to the charge and intent of Congress?
Director Harwit responds that the National Air and Space Museum, as initially
conceived and realized by its first director. Astronaut Michael Collins, has been the most
visited museum in the world, ever since it opened its doors to the public in July 1976.
Given this popular appeal, it would make no sense to attempt any radical changes.
Nevertheless, the Museum carmot stay static. It needs to comply with changing national
demands. When the present director came on board, a number of alterations meeting new
priorities seemed in order:
a. At a time when many youngsters are turning away from careers in science
and technology, and the number of licensed pilots in the United States is
rapidly declining, it seemed incumbent on the Museum to show youngsters the
opportunities for space exploration that might be open to them when they grow
up. The "Where Next, Columbus?" gallery, opened in 1992, asks what
explorers like Columbus might be doing in the next 500 years. What goals
would they set? What challenges will have to be overcome for us to explore
further and deeper in space?
b. To date it has been possible to go through the entire Museum without ever
learning what keeps balloons aloft, aircraft flying, and satellites from mmbling
down to earth. For a nation that is placing renewed emphasis on science and
technology education, that deficiency seemed in need of correction. A new
gallery called "How Things Fly" has been in preparation for several years. It
will answer those questions and feature numerous interactives that will help
youngsters to understand the most fundamental scientific and technological
aspects of flight. The gallery will open in the summer of 1996.
c. The awe-inspiring machines exhibited at the Museum are more than
technological wonders. They provide a cross section of America's history and
our nation's contribution to human civilization in the twentieth century.
Airplanes and spacecraft have radically altered the ways in which we travel,
trade, wage war, communicate across the globe, predict weather, monitor the
state of our planet, and view our place in the Universe. Each machine carries
a unique story in that regard, which the Museum should strive to tell. Flying
machines are not just technology devised for its own sake. They provide
opportunities and services to humanity that were never available before.
America's history can be vividly told through these national treasures that the
Museum displays. Their stories are fascinating and convey the essence of
America's role in changing life in the 20th cenmry. In recent years, the
Museum has attempted to place greater weight on those stories, in a balanced
way, as it displays the artifacts.
I would add that none of these changes are radical; rather, they are designed to enrich
the Museum's offering to a public eager for additional information. Still, some exhibitions
in the Air and Space Museum may appear to depart significantly from earlier ones; for
instance, a few exhibitions have taken a new critical approach, but they are hardly
characteristic of the whole museum.
But when the question remains whether there is an appearance of some sort of bias in
our museum presentations, the answer leads inevitably to an exploration of our exhibition
review processes and, indeed, a thorough examination of how exhibitions are framed
philosophically at the outset. I am conducting a study of these- matters across the board at
the Smithsonian, but I am satisfied in the meanwhile that there has been no fundamental
effort at the Air and Space Museum or at any Smithsonian museum to do exhibitions only of
the newer sort.
14. What comprises the exhibit now touring Japan, entitled "The Smithsonian's America"?
The exhibit, "The Smithsonian's America," is not now touring Japan. However,
from July 9 through August 31, 1994, there was on view such an exhibition created by the
Smithsonian Institution for the American Festival at the Nippon Convention Center in the
Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. That exhibition used artifacts, historic images and film
footage to tell the rich and complex story of the United States. Examples of the subjects and
objects in the exhibition are as follows:
• Photographs and artifacts representing American icons suggesting the cultural
richness and ideals of the American people.
• A high-definition television presentation introducing the American landscape and
the ways in which Americans have explored its incredible beauty and enormous
natural resources. Part of the exhibition covered the fact that America is a land of
many faces and cultures with unifying experiences such as military service, popular
culture, education and work. The highlights of that section of the exhibition included:
a Crow feather headdress; a Mohawk baby carrier; a French spinning wheel brought
to the United States in the early 1800s; and a vest embroidered in a traditional
Hungarian style by a young immigrant.
• Other subjects covered in the exhibit included: the national popular culture; the
Western Frontiers; conquering time and space; Americans at Home; Looking
American (focussing on clothing); and a section on Commodore Perry's visit to Japan
and subsequent events.
• Some of the objects included were: the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The
Wizard of Of, a 19th-century ballot box; George Washington's mess kit; the compass
used by Lewis and Clark; Apollo 15 spacesuit; a Morse telegraph key and receiver; a
1920s cowboy hat made by Stetson; a hat from Commodore Matthew Perry.
During the first two weeks of the American Festival, the Smithsonian presented a
series of concerts from eight musical groups from bluegrass to Cajun to Native American
music and from gospel to the blues.
The Festival was sponsored by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and The
Yomiuri Shimbun. The Media International Corporation, an affiliate of NHK, coordinated
the planning activities.
In addition, an exhibition titled "The Smithsonian Exhibition of Grand Gems and
Minerals" began touring in Japan in the fall of 1994 and will continue through January,
1996. The exhibition was organized jointly by the Smithsonian's National Museum of
Natural History, the Japan Frontier Association and the Association of Space Development
15. What is the status of the companion volume on the now canceled exhibit? How does Secretary Heyman
intend to slop this? What will happen to the 10,000 copies said by an unidentified spokesperson at the Press
to exist? Do they? If so, have they been distributed to anyone? How will they be recalled?
There has been no publication of the catalogue that was to have accompanied the
Enola Gay exhibition. No catalogue has been printed, published or distributed that must be
recalled. The Acting Director of the Smithsonian Press reports that the Press did not even
keep copies of the draft manuscript.
In response to my decision regarding the Enola Gay exhibition and the decision to
cancel the publication of The Last Act, the Smithsonian Press took the following steps:
• Sent a memorandum to all sales representatives throughout the world informing
them of the cancellation. The same memorandum went to key wholesale accounts.
• Placed a message in the system at the warehouse that automatically informs
customers who order the book that it has been canceled.
• Sent a letter to book reviewers and other media that informed them that the
publication has been canceled. That information was included m a routine letter from
the publicist to the key media contacts.
- 11 -
16. Does Secretary Heyman intend to honor his promise to cancel all related materials? More imponant, is he
positioned properly to effectively control the actions of NASM personnel?
I fully intend to honor my promise to cancel all related materials. The only material
that may be in the public purview are copies of the various draft scripts that were out for
comment prior to the decision to cancel the exhibition. The Institution has received some
requests for the first and last scripts. We are referring those requests to the Office of
General Counsel. There is, however, no basis to deny people access to the documents that
had already been made public. To date there have been very few requests of the General
Counsel to supply copies of any of the draft scripts.
17. How has the Enola Gay controversy effected fund-raising?
During the time of the controversy, there were concerns raised about the impact on
our fund-raising ability. Some potential major donors waited to see the outcome before
making a commitment to the Institution. However, the level of funds that have been raised
this fiscal year has increased over the first quarter of last year and thus deleterious impact, if
any, has been remedied.
18. Why docs one major corporate donor insist on anonymity despite the Institution's offer of on-exhibit
acknowledgements to all donors?
I am not aware that any major corporate donor to any of our exhibitions or programs
has insisted on anonymity.
19. How many subscribers have withdrawn their membership and financial suppon? What is the extent of the
During the height of the controversy, we received letters from members and
subscribers of the Magazine indicating that they intended to cancel their subscription and
withdraw their support from the Institution. In each case, we explained what we were doing
to respond to the criticism. In most instances, the members/subscribers decided to reserve
judgment. You should know that there is always a percentage of the Magazine subscribers
who do not renew their subscription. We do not know what percentage of those were
affected by the Enola Gay controversy, but the number is not significant.
It is worth noting that from February 16 to 19, 1995. Peter D. Hart Research
Associates conducted a nationwide survey among a representative cross section of 1 ,003
Americans. The poll has a margin of error of ±3.2%. Among its fmdings were the
There has been much discussion and commentary about the Air and Space
Museum's World War II exhibit that features the B-29 bomber Enola Gay, and
the survey includes two questions designed to gauge the American public's
familiarity with and reactions to this controversial exhibit. Sixty-one percent of
Americans overall have heard of the story, while 38% have not heard about it.
The most significant finding reveals that the situation has made littJe or no
difference to most adults' perception of the Institution: just 14% of Americans
have a less favorable opinion of the Smithsonian because of the way it handled
the Enola Gay simation, while 5% say they have a more favorable opinion of the
Institution because of it. A plurality of the public say that the controversy has not
really affected their opinion of the Smithsonian; 3 1 % say the situation did not
affect their opinion of the Smithsonian, and another 7 % say that it did not make
much difference either way.
Despite the coverage of this controversy in the press, it seems to have
made little difference to the American public, with 86% of adults saying the
situation has not adversely affected their opinion of the Smithsonian, including
39% who either have not heard or are not sure whether they have heard about the
Enola Gay story. In the open-ended question about their impressions of the
Smithsonian, a mere I % of adults volunteered Enola Gay comments.
20. Are the safeguards and oversight sufficient to ensure the Smithsotiiaii Institution uses taxpayer dollars in (he
way that Congress intends?
The Institution is subject to and complies with all laws and regulations that govern the
use of appropriated funds. We have an Inspector General who reports regularly to the
Institution's Board of Regents through the Audit and Review Committee and responds to
Congress, providing information through a semi-annual report as well as upon request. In
addition, the Institution has an independent auditor who reports annually to the Audit and
Review Committee of the Board of Regents on the fmancial management of the Institution.
We also voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990
as well as other fmancial requirements of federal agencies such as the Federal Managers
Financial Integrity Act, even though we are not subject to them by law.
All of these elements combine to provide a significant degree of oversight. I believe
the Institution has put into place the safeguards that are essential to protect the Institution and
to ensure that we are using all funds as they are intended whether they be appropriated by
the Congress or generated in the private sector. We are also looking at our exhibition review
processes to determine whether further measures are needed to ensure that our activities,
including exhibitions, meet not only the letter but also the spirit of Federal expectations.
Again, I expect that the April 19 symposium at the University of Michigan, with its focus on
"Museums in a Democratic Society," will shed important light on these matters.
21. Why did the Institution send all complaining members a 'fonn letter" that falsely implied no problem wiih
the Enola Gay exhibit?
I am not sure that I know the letter that is being referenced here. I do know that
during the process of the controversy my predecessor attempted in various communications to
explain what was being done to address the problem. Early in the process, there was a letter
sent to some saying that the various advisory groups were in the process of reviewing the
script and that problems would be addressed in that process. During the Fall of 1994, I, too,
- 13 -
wrote a letter indicating that the changes and the review by the American Legion made me
very optimistic. I was wrong. Once I canceled the exhibition, the Insiioition informed those
who had written about my actions and enclosed a copy of my statement.
22. Why do Smithsonian personnel have business cards ihal have their name trarucribcd in Japanese on the back
Those Smithsonian personnel who travelled to Japan in connection with the American
Festival in 1994 had business cards with their names transcribed in Japanese on the back.
There were many negotiations regarding the exhibition with various business entities. As
you know, the exchange of business cards in Japan is an important first step in a business
meeting and American businessmen characteristically carry such cards.
23. With regard to new employees, what is the hiring criteria with regard to background and experience in the
air and space field? Is any on the job training occurring instead of hiring qualified and experienced
New professional staff of the Air and Space Museum are hired according to criteria
which vary in accordance with each position. The Museum seeks people with expertise
appropriate to specific fields, and that expertise may be largely academic or more practical
depending on the needs of the Museum at that time. The Museum sometimes hires and
trains promising younger professionals right out of college or graduate school; this is often
more economical than hiring fiilly experienced professionals. On the other hand, the
Museum also hires professionals already in their mid- to late-careers, when the positions
would benefit from their specialized experience and when those individuals' salary
requirements can be met.
24. Are any NASM staff currently teaching in the Washington DC. public school system? If so, how is this
As is typical of other major Smithsonian museums, the National Air and Space
Museum, through its Educational Services Department, provides a range of public services to
fulfill its educational mission. However, those services do not include teaching in schools,
and we are not aware of NASM personnel serving as teachers in school classrooms.
The Museum conducts workshops for teachers on-site at the Museum to help them
strengthen their science and history teaching with current research and with interactive,
inquiry-based approaches for students. It is rare for these workshops to happen in the
schools. The Museum also produces aviation- and spaceflight-related curricula for use in
the classroom. All produced to date have been funded with external support from
corporations and foundations.
In addition, through two other programs, also funded by external grants, the
"Museum Explainers" and "Sin Limites: The Latin American Experience in Aviation,"
NASM has been able to allow schools to come to the Museum and experience a more
extended relationship with the Museum.
Several partnership schools also work with NASM to test materials, integrate galleries
and collections into school requirements, and view the IMAX films and public programs the
Museum offers. Generally, the schools pay or external funders pay for any services that
have attached costs.
25. Have NASM personnel participated in visits to space shuttle launches? If so how often, and how arc they
Three or four members of the Museum's staff each year accept NASA invitations to
attend Shuttle launches. Transportation to these events is on NASA-provided aircraft.
Where occasional overnight stays have been necessary, the Museum has borne the per diem
cost. Seeing at least one Shuttle launch seems entirely in line for Museum staff who daily
deal with a public interested in aviation and space flight.
26. Is it true that Mr. Harwii is working on a book addressing strategic bombing? If so, how is it funded, is it
going to be an official Smithsonian publication and what will the review process be?
Dr. Harwit is not working on a book addressing strategic bombing.
However, attached is a copy of a book proposal on that subject by Tami Davis Biddle
(see Attachment B). The book in question, The Legacy of Strategic Bombing, will be a
collection of essays based upon papers given at a series of symposia on the topic, held at the
Air and Space Museum between September 1989 and December 1990, and funded by the
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The book will be edited by Ms. Biddle,
who was a Museum fellow in 1989-90 and one of the organizers of the symposia. Ms. Davis
is now an assistant professor of military history at Duke University and is completing a
doctoral dissertation at Yale on the history of strategic bombing.
Among the participants in the symposia who will have essays in the book are General
Curtis LeMay, Freeman Dyson, Paul Nitze, John Kenneth Galbraith, Kurt Vonnegut, Max
Hastings, and former Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Portions of the draft manuscript for The Legacy of Strategic Bombing were recently
submitted to the Smithsonian Institution Press for a decision on publishing the book. The
manuscript will undergo the usual review process at the Press, which includes review by
outside scholars familiar with the topic but unaffiliated with the Smithsonian or the Air and
Space Museum. No funds from the Air and Space Museum will be used in the publication of
27 How many people are currently employed by the NASM? How many are directly involved in restoration,
preservation and display versus those involved on administration and side studies? Please itemize.
The vast majority of the Museum's staff of 239 Federal employees, an additional 145
largely part-time Trust employees, and roughly 420 volunteers are dedicated to restoration,
preservation and display.
The collections management staff, numbering 45, registers acquisitions, monitors the
status of artifacts, recommends preservative measures, undertakes preservations and
restorations, collects and archives supporting documentation, answers public and professional
inquiries about individual artifacts, and ships and receives items that are loaned out to other
museums that care for and display artifacts from the Museum's collections. Within the total
of 45 collections management staff, 12 are devoted to airplane restoration, an additional post
is filled by a supervisor, and several additional conservators advise the restoration staff on
the work to be done.
The exhibition staff of 41 designs and produces exhibitions in collaboration with the
Museimi's curatorial staff, and oversees additional exhibitions produced for the Museum by
The building management staff of 82 cleans artifacts and has the enormous task of
daily cleaning up and providing maintenance in the wake of the eight to nine million visitors
who come to the Museum annually.
A staff of roughly 20 provides educational services to teachers and students from all
over the country coming to see the exhibitions and wishing to acquire educational materials
to enrich their school curricula through the insertion of aviation and spaceflight, as displayed
by the Museum.
Staff dedicated to research and curatorial activities number 58. Curators are expected
to spend approximately 30% of their time dedicated to the collections in their care, 30% to
exhibitions for which they are responsible, 30% on research, and 10% on public service.
While individual curators might spend close to 100% of their time on a major exhibition
during the year of two before it opens and then spend a correspondingly large amount of
time on their collections or research in subsequent years, these percentages indicate
characteristic averages for the activities of this group.
Approximately 100 part-time staff members also service the theater that daily shows
popular wide-screen, IMAX films on aviation and space flight, which the Museum produces
with support from NASA and the aerospace industry.
Of the 420 volunteers, 220 work as docents, giving gnided tours through the
exhibitions for visitors. About 120 others work behind the scenes as restorers or research
aides, while about 80 more answer the thousands of public inquiries that pour in annually.
The NASM administrative staff is comprised of 15 Federal employees and 15 trust
employees. Computers throughout the Museum are served by an additional 7 staff members.
28. Why was the script of The Last Act, The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II advenised in the
Smithsonian's Spring Catalogue after I had been told by Under Secreury Newman that this advertisement
would have a 'canceled" mark through it?
The Spring Catalogue of the Smithsonian Institution Press anticipated such a volume
and had already been printed and put in the distribution channel by the time of my January
30 announcement. The Catalogue becoming available in mid- April will not include reference
to the Enola Gay book. However, as I detailed in response to Question 15, in the interim
there has been significant effort to inform people of the cancellation of this publication.
I hope these responses are helpful to your greater understanding of the circumstances
of the National Air and Space Museum. Like you, I trust they will assist us both in clearing
up any misunderstandings that may be lingering in the wake of my cancellation of the
I. Michael Heyman
Sins of the Rocketeers i
Tlic Nnz] missile scientists ol 1944 became llie American space technologists of 1945 and efler
The Legacy of Strategic Bombing
Taml Davla Blddle, editor
From September 1989 to December 1990, the National Air and Space Museum
sponsored (In conjunction with the John D. and Catherine T. HacArthur
Foundation) o oyropoelum and lecture series on the history of strategic
bombing. Invited to give lectures and panel presentations were not only some
of the best scholars in the field of aviation history, but also some of the
men who helped to shape the history of strategic bombing. This formidable
list of individuals Included: General Curtis LeMay, Freeman Dyson, Paul Nltze,
John Kenneth Galbraith, tyord Zuckerman, and former Supreme Court Justice Lewis
F. Powell, Jr. Prominent scholars and writers participating Included: Paul
Fuseell, Barton Bernstein. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.. Max Hastings, Michael Sherry,
Wesley Wark, and David Rosenberg.
Over the course of the 16-month series, these individuals offered their
thoughts and reflections on one of the most important military developments in
modern times; the evolution of long-range bombardment. The purpose of the
proposed volume is to bring their essays and speeches together in one place,
and to bracket these contributions with a scholarly overview essay on the
history of strategic bombing, and an up-to-date and detailed bibliographic
essay on the scholarly literature on strategic bombing.
In planning the lecture series, the Museum staff set itself an ambitious
goal: to examine the history of aerial bombardment from Its roots in
pre-World War I theory to its postwar manifestation as the agent of superpower
armageddon. The contributions, which cover this entire time span, contain
some unique additions to the literature. General LeHay's speech, for Instance,
was the last one he gave In public before his death in October 1990.
Contributors to the volume include some of the most prominent scholars in
the field of air power history, as well as notable individuals who had
important roles to play in that history. The attached proposed table of
contents contains a complete list.
The volume, which should appeal not only to general audiences but also to
more specialized scholars as well, will consist primarily of: an introductory
essay of about thirty-five pages; a series of individual essays which will
vary In length from several pages (most) to up to fifteen pages (a few); and a
bibliographic essay of roughly twenty pages.
Order of Materials:
--Biographies of the Contributors
Taml Davis Blddle
This essay by Blddle, a former historian at the National Air and Space
Museum and now a professor at Duke University, will provide a comprehensive
overview of the history of strategic bombing. The essay will not only offer
on Important primer on the subject, but will tie together the many and varied
essays which will appear in the pages to follow. Professor Blddle has
recently published an essay "Air Power and the Law of War,' In Michael Howard,
et al., (eds.) The Laws of War , (Yale University Press, 1994), and she has a
long essay on strategic bombing appearing in the spring 1995 issue of The
Journal of Strategic Studies . She is currently at work on a book titled
Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American
Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1917-1945 .
--Chronology of the History of Strategic Bombing
Tami Davis Blddle
--Contributions of the Symposium Participants (see Table of Contents)
These will be presented in (rough) chronological order, from the pre-World
War I era to the post -World War II era.
Taml Davis Blddle
This essay will offer an in-depth survey of the scholarly literature on
strategic bombing that has been produced in Britain, the United States, Italy,
and Germany between the late Victorian era and 1994.
Some statistics from the history of strategic bombing.
The final manuscript will be approximately 300 to 350 pages in length.
The book will also Include one section of black and white photographs from the
tluseum's collection, some never before published. These will be captioned by
the editor. In addition, a tew ot the essays included in the main body will
require graphs and charts. The volume should be produced in both a hardback
edition, for libraries, and a paperback edition for students and Museum
The book ought to have a strong market among general readers with an
interest in military history, as well as scholars with a more detailed
knowledge of the subject. As the history of the Second World War, and the
history of strategic bombing in particular, of are interest to many people,
the book should sell well. The volume will be broad in scope and accessible
to the lay reader. In addition, the volume should be suitable as reading for
college courses in military history.
The Journal of American History , the Journal of Strategic Studies , and
the Air Force Journal should be Interested in the book. The National Air and
Space Museum tapped into huge interest (albeit negatively) in strategic
bombing with the Enola Gay controversy. The combination of essays by people
such ae LeMay, Vonnegut, Galbraith, Nitze, and Zuckerman as contributors is
While Professor Blddle will serve as the editor of the volume. It will
also be overseen by Dr. Gregg Herken, chairman of the Museum's Space History
Department, and the author of The Winning Weapon . Counsels of War and Cardinal
Choices ; and Dr. Tom Crouch, chairman of the Museum's Aeronautics Department,
and the author of A Dream of Wings , The Eagle Aloft , and The Bishop's Boys .
Table ot Contenta
Blographlefl of Contrlbutois
Introduction: Overview of the HlBtory of Strategic Bombing
Taml Davis Biddle
Chronology of the History of Strategic Bombing
Vislone and Predictions! Prehistory of Strategic Bombing
Cultural Origins of Strategic Bombing
Strategic Bombing in World War I
Trenchard and the Royal Air Force
Two Views on the Interwar Royal Air Force:
The Development of the Luftwaffe in the Interwar Years
The Royal Air Force in World War II
John Terra ine
Circumstances that Affected Discussion of the Morality of Area Bombing
Bombing Japan: The Congruence of Fantasy and Reality
The Bombing of Dresden
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Strategic Bombing in World War II
General Curtis E. LeMay, USAF (Ret.)
The Course of Bombing in World War II
General T.R. Milton, USAF (Ret.)
Intelligence and Bombing: An Overview
Intelligence and Strategy for Air Warfare: Britain in the 1930'8
Electronic Warfare in Great Britain, Beginnings to 1945
World War II: ULTRA and The Strategic Bombing Offensive
ULTRA and Strategic Bombing
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Electronics in U.S. Strategic Bombing Operations In World War II
■ Flank Voltaggio
The Twentieth Air Force and the Bombing o£ Japan
Gen. David A. Burchinal
The Use of the Atomic Bomb
The History of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey
David A. Macleaac
Strategic Bombing: The Stern and Inconvenient History
John Kenneth Galbralth
Pacific Bombing Survey
The Accomplishments of Strategic Bombing: An Air Force View
General Ramsay Potts, USAF (Ret.)
The British Bombing Survey
Strategic Bombing In World War II and Today. Has Anything Changed?
The Early Days of Strategic Air Command
General Russell Dougherty, USAF (Ret.)
Into the Nuclear Age
The Rivalry between Strategic Air Command and the Navy
Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, USN (Ret.)
Ideas, Budgets, and Weapons
RESPONSES OF DR. I. MICHAEL HEYMAN, SECRETARY,
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, TO QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY
HON. JESSE HELMS, MEMBER, COMMFTTEE ON RULES AND
1. Question: Do you agree with the Commission on the Future of the
Smithsonian Institution in its May 1995 report, "E Pluribus Unum: This Divine
Paradox", that one of the primary goals of the Smithsonian Institution should
be to "devote attention and resources to the rehabilitation and maintenance
of existing facihties?"
Answer: The Smithsonian's Board of Regents, which is the governing
body of the Institution, has established a Committee on Policies and
Programs. Its initial goal is to review the recommendations in the Report of
the Commission on the Future of the Smithsonian Institution, which was
appointed by the Board of Regents in 1993. Thus, while I am happy to
respond to your questions, it must be understood that these responses reflect
my personal view rather than any poUcy direction of the Board of Regents.
With that in mind, I can say that I am in full agreement with the idea
that the Institution must devote attention and resources to the rehabilitation
and maintenance of easting facihties. I was a member of the Board of
Regents when it approved the FY 1996 budget for the Institution that sought
an increase of more than $10 miUion in order to accelerate its abiUty to deal
specifically with rehabilitation and maintenance issues.
2. Question: The Smithsonian Institution has been called "America's attic."
Do you agree that the Smithsonian should be first and foremost a national—as
opposed to a local Washington, D.C. and metropoUtan area-museum?
Answen The Smithsonian Institution consists, of course, of a number of
museums, many of which carry the word "National" in their titles. Although
the provisions of Mr. Smithson's Will required that the Institution be
established in Washington, his purpose— the increase and diffusion of
knowledge among men-has from the outset been interpreted as being global
in its application. In the course of my tenure, I hope to make the Smithsonian
more truly national, taking it beyond the boundaries of the Mall into schools,
libraries, and homes across the country by means of the new communications
technologies that are increasingly available.
3. Question: On page 3 of its report, the Commission states that "steps
have been and are being taken to make the museums inviting, interesting, and
relevant to (visitors from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area)." Do
you agree? If so, what steps are you planning to ensure that the primary
focus of the museiun as a national museum will be carried out?
Answer Smithsonian museums must be interesting, inviting, and relevant
to all of their visitors. We want people to visit our museums-electronically or
on the Mall-knowing that they will be welcome and made comfortable by
finding there ideas and objects that are familiar icons of America's heritage,
as well as those that may be less so, but which will stretch the horizons of
their imaginations. This, I believe, is more and more the case, particularly in
the National Museums of American History and American Art that quite
consciously reflect and extend the multiplicity of traditions that make us a
4. Question: Please provide a breakdown of the exhibitions which,
accordii^ to page 12 of the Commission report, are in "need for restoration,
renewal, and expansion."
Answen I do not know which exhibitions the Commission had in mind
in making the statement quoted. However, I can report that in the National
Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History there
are a number of areas that are out-dated in terms of design and the
information that they convey. As an example, the HaU of Gems and Minerals
in the latter currently is undergoing a major rehabilitation that, among other
things, will include a section on plate tectonics, which has transformed our
understanding of earth science in the last 30 or 40 years. In the National Air
and Space Museum, which has been open for nearly 20 years, there has been
nothing to explain the principles of flight to the general public in a clear and
systematic way. That, too, is now being remedied.
5. Question: The Commission states that "investments in these activities
and facilities should have high priority." Do you agree?
Answen I do agree. Museum exhibitions are the primary means by
which the Institution shares knowledge with the public. Thus, investment in
them is essential. However, permanent exhibitions are very expensive and
require long periods of time to plan and create. As the previous examples
illustrate, they must be based on the most current information available, and
also suggest where new ideas might lead. Furthermore, they must be designed
with the needs and interests of the visiting public in mind.
6. Question: In regard to operating budgets, the Commission states that
"The Institution has responded by significantly decreasing staff size and
postponing needed improvements to facilities. The gap needs to be corrected;
it is already threatening the vitality of the Smithsonian." The former Secretary
of the Smithsonian, Dr. Adams, had also alluded to the need of downsizing
at the Institution. In the Washington Times (September 24, 1993), he is
quoted as saying, the downsizing is "affecting every aspect of what we do.
from the size and extent of our exhibition programs to the educational
programs ... to our abihty to acquire objects.''
Please share with the Committee your plans for downsizing the
Answen At present I am engaged in a planning process to review
various aspects of the Institution's operations and get a better sense of how
we can most effectively deploy available resources in protecting the collections
and fadUties of the Institution^ while also meeting our obligation to serve the
pubUc on the Mall and beyond in a lively and intelligent manner. In addition,
I have taken steps to remove layers of management and to consolidate
functions where possible. Soon after I became Secretary, I reorganized the
Institution's central administration into two major groups: operations, which
are within the purview of the Under Secretary, and programs. The offices of
three assistant secretaries were combined into a small, cohesive programmatic
unit under a single Provost. A fourth assistant secretary position was
eliminated. This approach to reorganization through consoUdation and
delayering levels of management is intended to serve as a model for the
various units of the Smithsonian as they imdertake their own reorganization
7. Question: In light of the downsizing, do you believe the Smithsonian
should engage in creating new museums?
Answen The issue of creating new museums is closely tied to the needs
of collections, overall Institutional priorities, and, most particularly,
authorizations by the Congress. Certainly, new museums cannot be created at
the rate of the recent past, but one should not foreclose that option in case
imique opportunities arise. At this point, I have no plans to propose any new
museums. However, I beUeve it is important to fulfill the obligations inherent
in P.L.101-185, which authorized establishment of the National Museum of the
American Indian, because an incomparable collection of immense significance
to the American people is at risk. Not only must that collection be protected
in a physical sense, it also must be articulated intellectually, so that the
fullness of the heritage of America's original people can be understood.
8. Question: The Commission also recommends "the elimination of
(unspecified) programs or faciUties." Do you feel this is going to be
necessary, and if so, what programs or faciUties do you think would have to
Answen While it ultimately may be necessary to eliminate programs or
close facilities in order to keep resources available for the core activities of
the Institution, it is not possible at this time to say if and where that will
happen. The Regents' considerations most certainly will be brought to bear
on this matter, and my own views will be informed by the results of studies
planned and now underway.
9. Question: I am concerned about what the Commission describes as a
"large and growing" "deferred maintenance problem." What is this
maintenance problem and what steps are you going to take to assure
Smithsonian resources are used to maintain exhibits and artifacts already in
the possession of the Smithsonian before actively pursuing new objects for
new exhibits or museums?
Answen The deferred maintenance problem to which the Commission
referred is, I believe, that associated with the Institution's facilities and
referenced in Question No. 1. Appropriations simply have not been siifGdent
to cover the backlog of repair and restoration requirements. While I recognize
the difficulties of the present fiscal environment, we will continue to seek
adequate funding for this purpose. We also will continue to apply resources
that are available to the care and protection of the collections with which we
have been entnisted and to the maintenance of existing exhibitions.
10. Question: On page 26 of its report, the Commission states "continued
capital expansion in the early decades of the next century.. is out of the
question. The Smithsonian should essentially assume a moratorium on new
museums." Do you agree?
Answen While the statement quoted is not an unreasonable one, as I
indicated above, I would not want to foreclose the option of addressing an
unique opportunity for the Smithsonian and the American people, should one
arise. I am more in sympathy with the statement further on in the same
paragraph on page 26 of the Commission Report that states: "New
construction should be undertaken only if the funds are assured for capital
and operating costs."
11. Question: How much taxpayers' money is being spent on the
Smithsonian m FY 1995 and what percentage of total Smithsonian receipts
does this amoimt to?
Answen For fiscal year 1995 $371.1 million has been appropriated. It is
expected that this will be about 70% of the Institution's total net receipts.
12. Question: In light of the need to reduce the size of the federal debt,
which stood at $4,885,256,391,108.42 on May 18, 1995, how much money do
you believe can and should be cut from the federal contribution to the
Smithsonian for FY 1996?
Answen The Smithsonian cannot sustain any reduction in the Federal
contribution for its activities in fiscal year 1996 without correspondingly
reducing its level of public services by limiting museum hours; riffing
employees, among whom will be some of those who repair and maintain
eidiibitions and facilities; and postponing needed repairs to the buildings on
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13. Question: What previously appropriated funds does the Smithsonian
currently have in its base budget for general planning?
Answen The Smithsonian currently has $1.1 million in previously
appropriated funds for general planning.
14. Question: Due to the current budget situation and the size of our
federal debt, should such funds appropriated in prior years be used for
current operating expenses, therefore reducing the ciurent federal
contribution to the Smithsonian?
Answer The Institution would welcome the availability of imexpended
prior year appropriations. Instead of using those funds for current operating
expenses, we would propose applying them to the backlog of repair and
restoration requirements without reduction in the level of the current Federal
OF WASHINGTON Extending the Frontiers of Science
OFRCE OF THE PRESIDENTT
May 15, 1995
Senator Ted Stevens
ATTEN: Christine Ciccone
305 Russell Office Building
Committee on Rules and Administration
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 6325
Dear Senator Stevens:
I am pleased to enclose copies of the report of the Commission on the Future of
the Smithsonian Institution, released earlier this month. This will stand as my written
testimony for the hearing on the Smithsonian Institution: Management Guidelines for the
Future, on Thursday, May 18, 1995.
I had the honor to chair this Commission of independent citizens, which was
established by the Regents of the Smithsonian. Commission members came from around
the nation and represented many fields of endeavor. It met and worked over the last 20
months, studying in depth various aspects of program, governance, finances, and
administration of the Institution. The written report describes the Commission's final
ideas about how the Smithsonian can best prepare for the future, considering a time frame
of 15 to 10 years.
In my oral presentation at the hearing, I will emphasize those aspects of the report
that are pertinent to the management of the Institution. I thank you, on behalf of the
Commission, for the opportunity to describe our findings.
Maxine F. Singer
1530 P STREET. NORTHWEST . WASHINGTON, DC. 20005 1910 . 202 387 6400 . FAX 202-387 8092
(For a copy of this report, contact the Office of Public Affairs,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560. The report is
also available on the Smithsonian's World Wide Web site
(@www. si.edu). I