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STATEMENT OF DR. ATHELSTAN SPILHAUS, DEAN OF THE INSTI
TUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA Dr. SPILHAUS. Senator, it is a particular honor to be invited to give testimony before this important subcommlttee on sea grant colleges, a concept which I originally suggested, but I must say your remarks are too gracious. If it were not for Senator Pell's interest, drive, and imagination, none of us would be here today.
In view of the fact that you will have statements from the national committee for a sea grant college, on which I serve, I will attempt not to duplicate the statement of that committee. I will not say all the things that I said at Rhode Island because I believe that they are available in the Congressional Record should anyone want to read them.
The National Academy Committee of the National Academy of Science, over the 10 or so years, contributed much to revitalizing, ,
, , strengthening, and formulating a national program in oceanography and the marine sciences. We may well be proud of the work in marine science which is going on in the United States today.
But in my opinion we are not doing enough to capitalize on our excellent marine science by utilizing its findings to strengthen the U.S. position in commercial and other nonmilitary uses of the sea. As far as the exploitation of the sea for the benefit of our people is concerned, and in comparison with Japan, U.S.S.R., and even Peru, we are an underdeveloped nation.
It was for this reason, in 1963 I proposed that the United States take steps to make a lasting commitment to the sea through its many excellent universities and colleges. And that we do this by using the analogy of the land-grant colleges that contributed mightily to the present leadership of the United States in the use of our land for abundant food and natural resources and the application of the “mechanic arts" in our enterprising industry that gave people the things they need. I proposed that we arrange to have sea grant colleges with special funds and provisions that would dedicate their efforts to the sea and the use of its natural resources for greater human benefits.
Sea grant colleges with continuing support would provide the focus needed to bring the United States rapidly to a position of leadership in ocean engineering and aquaculture, and keep it there. They would draw out and put our vast scientific knowledge of the sea to use. We have a grand technological goal—a goal no less than the peaceful exploitation, occupation, and colonization of the sea by man.
And for this goal we need, on a long-term basis, not only to develop marine technology, underwater prospecting, mining, fish and sea plant farming, marine pharmacology, shipping and navigation, but we need to relate all of these to social sciences, economics, sociology, psychology, politics, and law because all are affected by an effort to colonize the sea and all, in turn, affect the way we pioneer this new frontier.
There are those who fear that emphasis on technology of the sea will decrease the support of basic science. I believe exactly the reverse is true; history, even the most recent history, shows that science blooms in an atmosphere of application and so it will be for marine science. In the sea grant colleges the marine focus would also be associated with the liberal arts, literature, art, and history, which describe man's emerging relationship to the oceans and enhance his appreciation of their potential and value.
In an early talk I said that, the sea grant college to do its job, will also need its county agents in hip boots, an aquacultural extension service that takes the findings of the college or university onto the trawlers, drilling rigs, merchant ships, and down to the submarines and submotels.
I am happy to see that at least in one institution—in Senator Pell's home State-there has already been recently established a marine experiment station parallel in its aims to the agricultural experiment stations which help the farmers on the land.
I also said in this earlier exposition that law is an utterly important adjunct to any widespread exploitation of the sea, and that we need a clarification of the law of the sea as we move toward industrialization of its resources and colonization of its waters. I am pleased to see that already there is being organized an important National Conference on the Law of the Sea, at the University of Rhode Island June 27-July 1, 1966.
While these beginnings are gratifying, we need to consolidate them and insure that this kind of interdisciplinary activity continues at an even greater rate and with a long-term commitment. It is with this in mind that I heartily support the National Sea Grant College and Program Act.
Sea grant colleges could be established in any public or private college or university which is willing to dedicate itself on a continuing basis not only to the science of the sea, but toward using this knowledge to turn the sea increasingly to the benefit of people.
However small we start, I hope ultimately there might be many of these colleges and, as to the matching question, Senator, I think the most important matching thing is some way of insuring the commitment of the college, the intellectual commitment of the college, and whether this is insured by their dedicating existing buildings, shorelands or turning their programs in the direction of exploiting the sea, this is a more important thing to have than matching the funds given to them with other funds.
I certainly think that all the sea grant colleges need not be on the seashore. We are discussing a marine science and technology program at my own university in Minnesota, which is equidistant from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. We think we have an advantage that none of them are too far away from us.
I don't think all space science is necssarily done next to the launching pads at Cape Kennedy, and I believe that the seashore resources, the seashore facilities that are needed by inland colleges could be in charge of the sea grant college which, themselves, are on the sea. They could have a brother-sister relationship, a symbiotic relationship, with those fortunate enough to be on the sea supplying the facilities for those, their coworkers in land colleges.
I would personally like to see grants offshore seabottom lands and waters to some of the colleges analagous to the land grants made years ago. But this, though desirable, if not feasible at the moment, should not prevent us from moving toward the other important aspects of this bill.
If you will permit me, in closing, to say that an idea such as mine would simply wither and die if it had not been for the support and interest that was afforded me from all over the United States. Particularly, I want to pay my respects to the many Senators and Congressmen, many besides Senator Pell.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much, Dean Spilhaus.
There are a couple of specifics about which I would be interested in your reaction.
First, with regard to the revenue. Do you think that our original thought in the bill of tying it in with rents and royalties could be foregone in exchange for a direct authorization? Do you have any thoughts on that?
Dr. SPILHAUS. Yes, sir. I think that there are many ways, and these are two which have been discussed, to finance the beginnings of this concept, and I believe any way in which we can start the concept would be desirable, and there are others in Government who know best which way is most feasible.
For my money, which it is partly, I would be happy to see either way, because I think the birth and the beginning of the concept is more important than really worrying about the details. We must get the bill sold, the authorization to focus our eyes on the exploitation of the sea, the national commitment, and the commitment of the institutions toward this great goal. Once we have that, I am perfectly sure the money will come. Senator PELL. I would agree with you.
, Now, with regard to this idea of matching funds which was brought up by one of the witnesses yesterday and brought up by the administration today as a suggestion, what is your thought on that? You mentioned it in your testimony already, in your ad libbing statements; I was wondering if you would enlarge on it.
Dr. SPILHAUS. I believe in the idea of matching funds, the basic idea being that if you ask for a matching contribution, it means that the person or State or institution receiving the funds must indicate its need for them by putting up some of its own resources.
On the other hand, matching funds often are not parallel with the commitment. Some wealthy institutions might be able to find the matching funds while some institutions in poorer circumstances, with a far deeper and greater commitment to do the job, might be prevented from receiving the matching funds.
It was for this reason that I thought we ought to keep the concept of matching but put it on a basis of matching by the turning of facilities, the turning of their programs, toward our objectives, the use of their existing funds into which the States have money, rather than to demand a quid pro quo of new funds.
Senator Pell. I would agree with you in that view.
Another question here is with regard to the administering agency. I was developing the thought that because of the National Science Foundation's interest in pure science and basic research, and also its custom of awarding funds on an individual grant basis, that it might be best to put this in the Smithsonian, with the understanding that it would go off to another agency eventually, or stay there, depending on the decision of this self-liquidating council that is to be set up.
However, since advancing this idea, and as was pointed out today, the very witness from the Smithsonian Institution emphasized that their interest was in basic research and the executive department's witnesses seem to prefer the NSF as the administering agency.
I have a very open mind on this subject. I just thought the Smithsonian Institution would be a logical place, but I must say the witness from them, to a certain degree, refuted his own premise, I thought, in his continuous emphasis upon basic research, and also in his verbal testimony, afterwards.
What are your thoughts on that, Dean Spilhaus? Dr. SPILHAUS. My thoughts are this. I think, leaving apart the discussion of the two agencies in question at the moment, the most important thing is that pending the other excellent complementary legislation that is in Congress today on oceanography, whatever agency we choose, we should choose it as the administering agency for the time being and not commit the other legislation to something.
On this, I would say about the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian—and with full admiration for the work they do that both are largely turned toward pure science, whereas our focus is the other way,
But having said this, I would say that there is no reason whatever why, given the charge, their competent people could not turn their sights
to the objective of this bill, which is the drawing out of science and the exploitation of the sea.
Senator PELL. If, as the consensus seems to be, the NSF should handle it at this time, what is your thinking with regard to the idea of turning the program over, the administration of it, over to the eventual oceanological agency? As it turns out, maybe it is a wet NASA-we pray not—or some other Parkinsonian structure that will be created that will look toward developments.
Dr. SPILHAUS. It was with that in mind that I said the responsibility should be given to an agency for the time being. I believe as our engineering exploitation of the sea proceeds, there will need to be some kind of what I have called a sea engineering agency, SEA, in Government to which industry can come, a central agency for the peaceful exploitation of the sea.
This engineering agency need not interfere with the present various agencies that support marine research and science. But when you do big engineering, as I envisage we will be doing, I think we will need a central agency in Washington, and the pending legislation, other than your own bill, Senator, is pointed in this direction. Só that, therefore, whatever agency we choose, we should have in the back of our minds and they should realize that they will turn it over when this new arrangement in Government comes to fruition.
Senator PELL. What we are talking about here is the very practical kind of project, as we suggested yesterday, to get young fellows when they finish high school to spend a couple of years in technical training and go aboard fishing fleets, to get proper use of seaweed, to help mining underneath the surface of the sea, and to do that, I think we want to get away from pure science because the money we are talking about is but a drop in the bucket when it comes to pure science, but it could help very much in the development of technical training.
A couple of other questions in behalf of the minority. First, Senator Murphy has asked, what do you think of the idea of a floating school of oceanography-a floating school where the students and professors and the working professional scientists and technical personnel might work and learn at sea ?
I must say it is a new concept to me and I hadn't thought of it until I just read the question to you, sir.
Dr. SPILHAUS. It is not an entirely new concept. I think it is very important that students should get their feet wet in the sea. I am not sure that a floating platform is the best podium for professors or teachers of technicians. I think we need both. I think we need shore facilities where we can teach subjects and then sea facilities where we can take the students for the experimental work, their laboratory work, if
I think we need both.
I don't think we should really think that we need to have all our sea instruction done from floating structures on the sea, although such structures will be needed for the laboratory work of the students.
Senator PELL. If we did have such a school, do you have any idea how much it would cost, such a school vessel ?
Dr. Spilhaus. No, sir. I haven't given this much thought but I am quite convinced it would cost a lot more to do the same job that you could do on land, using ships for laboratory purposes.
Senator PELL. I must say I would agree with you. It would be perhaps a little like this Project Hope where the individual cost of the treatment to the people abroad is far greater than if they had hospital units under Medico. It is a little off the subject, but I think the expense analogy is not particularly off the subject.
Another question from the minority is to the following effect, that provision is made in our bill for consultation with scientists and engineers by the National Science Foundation in carrying out the provisions of the bill, but no provision is made in the bill for a statutory advisory group that would also report to the President and the Congress, and as the reports would be in the public domain, do you think such a provision would be advisable? I must add here I am completely openminded.
Dr. Spilhaus. Senator, this question comes all of a sudden to me. I haven't given it any thought. I don't understand the purpose of this group. Is it to report to the President and the public at large?
Senator PELL. Indirectly, a technique or device that we use sometimes in the Congress to keep the public interested and informed, and also a certain check on the operation.
Dr. SPILHAUS. Well, I am one of those who firmly believes that, and one of the basic-my basic reasons for wanting to exploit the sea for the benefit of people is that I believe that not only does science bloom, pure science blooms best, in an atmosphere of application, but that if you are going to ask the people at large to support science, that they not only—we not only ought to feel it is our duty to draw out the benefits of the science for their use, but we ought to keep them informed about the progress of it, the implications of it for society in the future. So that any device, and if this is one, that keeps people stimulated, excited, and informed about our program of colonizing the sea, I am for. I don't know if this is the best one or not.
Senator PELL. I think this is something we would discuss in the committee and if some of the members of the committee like this idea, it surely would be acceptable to all of us.