JF Ptak Science Books Post 2517
I've written on this blog earlier on the creation of Atomurbia--the dissemination of U.S. industry and population centers more-or-less evenly, and remotely, throughout the country to decrease targeting liability, "employing distance as defense". There were different flavors of this plan, from the gargantuan to less-so, but no matter how this is idea is presented, on virtually any level, it was. of course, a Big Plan. It was so very big that it was even hard to talk about--the thing seemed just too big, and impossible, for discussion beyond generalities.
I found some language in a Congressional hearing on civil defense for 1960 that addresses and undresses the issue of "dispersal". In "Part II--Post Attack Planning" of these hearings1 there is a discussion of "dispersion", and what it is and is supposed to do, but there is ultimately a monumental shrug about this Enormous Situation, and a recognition that "there is no active program of dispersion" (pg 102). This in the face, evidently, of at least part of the dispersal plan being the Federal Government's "responsibility of carrying out out the national policy of dispersal in locating new or major expansions of essential facilities in accordance with defense mobilization order I-19".
I've wondered how such a plan would come into being--I mean the impossible move everyone everywhere plan--but did not know about this I-19 plan that actually made the dispersal of new national-interest industries a governmental responsibility.
The hopelessness of implementation of such a nightmare is spelled out pretty well in this bit, on the same page 102: "The objective of industrial dispersal can only be achieved when industrial and economic factors contribute to this purpose". A statement like this is so large and bland and intractable that it really says nothing, except that if the effort and the money was there, then the dispersal plan could possibly be achieved.
The report continues, "It indicates a desirable goal but there is no program here".
Leo A. Hoegh (former governor of Iowa and speaking to the CD issues as the first director of the Office of Civilian and Defense Mobilization) makes the case that there is dispersal going on, but as a natural element of industries looking to "get out of the marketplace", and brings up the growth of new industry in Iowa as an example, which was really pretty ingenuous, and he is held accountable to that thinking by Congressman Chet Hollifield (Ca.) who basically says, "Oh, come on...."
Mr. Hoegh responds: "The thing is, we are interested in dispersal and we are urging it".
Mr. Holifield: "There has been no dispersal", he said, there has just been growth. "None of your industrial centers...have decreased".
Mr. Hoegh: "We are still desirous to have dispersal".
According to the borrower's card in the pocket at the rear of the book, it was never borrowed. That doesn't mean that it wasn't read--just that it wasn't overnight reading.
[For those keeping track of such things the "L.S. Taylor" on the front cover of this hearing was Lauriston S. Taylor, (1902-2004), pioneer in radiation measurement, radiation protection, and health physics.)
1. Hearings before a Subcommittee on the Committeee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, Civil Defense (Parts I-III); March 28-31, 1960, 573pp.