When the President established the Advisory Committee on
Human Radiation Experiments, he also directed Federal agencies to
provide it with the documentary information it needed to do its
job.  The Interagency Working Group created a subgroup to focus
on document location and retrieval.  Committee staff works with
this group, and its representatives from each agency.

    The Interagency Working Group has, collectively, devoted
considerable time to these search efforts, which are ongoing.
Numerous records collections, encompassing thousands of boxes of
potentially relevant files in Federal Records Centers throughout
the country, have been identified.  Even where relevant
collections are identified, however, the search process has been
arduous; dozens of boxes may yield only a handful of relevant
documents, yet these documents may be of great value.  Overall,
the level of effort expended by the agencies, and the yield, has
been significant.

         1.   Initial Reports

     At the Committee's initial meeting, each agency reported on
the status of their searches and invited Committee direction for
continued search.

    o    CIA told the Committee in April, 1994 that its search
         had not found evidence that either showed CIA
         sponsorship or funding of human radiation experiments
         or information on human radiation experiments conducted
         by others.

    o    In January, DOD components had been charged to locate
         entities that conducted or sponsored experiments, and
         documents related to those experiments.  DOD reported
         that many experiments had been identified.

    o    DOE explained that the first phase of its search was an
         attempt to inventory all potentially relevant records
         possessed by the agency and current contractors, in
         order to identify specific experiments and collections
         that would merit further review.  The second phase
         would be an attempt to focus, based on what had been
         found, on the policy or contextual documents
         surrounding the experiments.  (DOE had previously
         provided documents relating to human radiation
         experimentation in response to congressional inquiry
         and other investigations. [15])

    o    HHS reported that data on the many thousands of grants
         for earlier years were limited to skeletal grant
         records, which did not always make clear whether
         research involved human subjects.  HHS was working on
         targeted approaches to locate documents of relevance to
         the Committee and to develop more complete data on
         intramural research.

    o    NASA's initial search resulted in the identification of
         about 200 reports and publications describing six
         specific studies and three large categories of

    o    VA's initial search focused on a survey of 172 medical
         centers throughout the country and a review of reports
         at the central office.  There was no formal effort to
         identify and list experiments. VA told the Committee it
         would search for further information on its
         confidential Atomic Medicine Division, which was
         created in 1947.

    In addition to document searches, a number of the agencies
interviewed former officials who might have knowledge of
experiments (or related records) and sought to make use of
Radiation Helpline telephone information.

         2.   Committee Assessment

     In the first days and weeks of work, staff met with the
search teams from each agency to learn of progress in and
obstacles to the search. Search plans and status, as reported in
detailed staff memoranda to the Committee, varied from agency to
agency.  In most cases, however, their progress demonstrated the
inevitable difficulty of retrieving complete, detailed records on
specific activities after the passage of up to half a century:

    o    To the extent experiments had been identified, only
         fragmentary further information had been provided (or
         was available).

    o    The volume of potentially relevant records is enormous,
         particularly because records often have been consigned
         to records centers or the National Archives with little
         useful indexing.

    o    Agencies had not always searched for headquarters-
         related documents, including those showing the nature
         and development of research ethics policies.

    o    Agencies had not always searched for documents retired
         to the National Archives (which are technically not
         within agency possession) and only sporadically
         searched for documents located in Federal Records

    o    While the agency searches produced surprising new
         information on early ethics policies, there was much
         less information on the implementation of these
         policies in the case of particular experiments.

    o    After the passage of many years, agency components
         responsible for human experimentation have been
         renamed, reorganized, or abolished, making it difficult
         to determine which records collections to search.

         3.   Committee Work with Agencies on Search Strategy

     The initial agency searches provided a start in identifying
experiments and an appreciation for the difficulty in retrieving
substantial data about the experiments.  With this data and
experience in hand, the Committee sought to determine how to
assist agencies in directing  the searches.  The particulars of
these activities are discussed in more detail in Appendix E and
in staff memoranda and related Committee discussion concerning
each agency.

    In general, agencies were asked to refocus their searches.
From the "dragnet" searches to identify experiments, it was
suggested that focus be placed on identifying and retrieving
headquarters-level collections that could provide context for
particular experiments.  The Committee expected that once more
was known about the planning, funding, and use of experiments, it
would be able to better advise the agencies on the particular
experiments (or groups of them) for which a more intense field-
level search would be requested. (It was also expected that the
higher-level documents would help identify further experiments.)
Agencies also were asked to look for documentation of the
development and implementation of ethics policies governing human

    The Committee's archivists and historians, in conjunction
with agency historians and records specialists, identified
headquarters-level records collections to be searched and the
likely location of these collections in the National Archives or
Federal Records Centers.  Agencies were also asked to give high
priority to locating readily available documentation, such as
agency histories, that could serve as guides to further searches.

    In summary, and with further detail provided in Appendix E,
considerations that were raised with each agency are discussed

              a.   CIA.

    Documentation provided by DOD and DOE, and located by staff
in the National Archives, confirmed that CIA was a participant in
the mid-century DOD groups at which biomedical human
experimentation, among other matters, was discussed and planned.
Other data obtained by the Committee from members of the public
confirmed that CIA contracted for work with, at least, DOE
radiation research facilities.  As a consequence, the Committee
has asked CIA to search for documentation related to further
evidence of CIA's association with human radiation

              b.   DOD.

The Committee proposed that DOD agencies [16]  look for
headquarters-level planning, programming, and budgeting
documentation. The headquarters-level ethics and policy
documentation located as a result of this effort did reveal
important documentary trails. For example, the records of the
Joint Panel on the Medical Aspects of Atomic Warfare include
debate on the need for human experimentation, plans for
experimentation, and digests of  experiments. Similarly, the
Armed Forces Medical Policy Council initiated discussions in 1951
that led to both the Secretary of Defense's February 1953
issuance of the top secret version of the Nuremberg Code for
human experimentation and to the Joint Panel's consideration of
experimentation in connection with atomic bomb tests.

    DOD will continue to search for the location and retrieval
of the records of relevant headquarters-level groups (through at
least 1974), and the location and retrieval of documents relating
to the development and implementation of its 1953 Nuremberg Code
policy.  It is also refocusing field-level searches in light of
the new understanding that has been gained.

              c.   DOE.

    In initial discussions, DOE proposed to continue its Phase I
effort to locate and provide a comprehensive inventory to all
relevant record collections.  This effort should yield a publicly
available index to extensive and previously disorganized public
records.  In the course of this review, experiments would be
identified and some records retrieved.  The Committee agreed to
this proposal, with the expectation that the inventories would be
available in the timeframe required by the Committee to retrieve
documents for its work.

     The Committee's initial review of DOE efforts led to
specific Committee requests that DOE  (l) locate the files of the
AEC Intelligence Division, which may have contained data on work
performed for other agencies and on intentional releases; (2)
locate the collection of 250 documents that underlay DOE's 1974
reports on the plutonium injection experiments; and
(3) arrange for the retrieval of documents from the three
universities involved in the plutonium injections (University of
Chicago, University of Rochester, and University of California--
San Francisco).  DOE is currently retrieving materials from the
universities, but it reported that the files of the AEC's
Intelligence Division had been destroyed and that the collection
associated with the 1974 report could not be located.  As
discussed in Appendix E, the volume of documents that remain to
be examined is large. On an ongoing basis, DOE and Committee
staff are working to identify headquarters and field collections
for priority retrieval.

              d.   HHS.

    Initial review by HHS produced a computer-generated list of
experiments that apparently involved both ionizing radiation and
human subjects, but only for research initiated in and after
1962.  Although components of the agency and its predecessor
conducted or funded numerous human radiation experiments before
1962, a complete review of potentially relevant records was
determined not to be feasible, because the extant records of
earlier research are fragmentary.  Once a listing of experiments
reviewed by the NIH Radiation Study Section was produced, the
systematic search for early experiments focused on archival
research into organizational, policy-related evidence, and
project specific documentation when available.  More recently,
the Committee and HHS have agreed that the Radiation Study
Section list, with completed project titles, could serve as a
reasonable proxy for a comprehensive search of pre-1962
experiments.   This approach is reasonable because many, if not
most, of the experiments of interest likely were reviewed by this
study section.  This approach will be complemented by review of a
more complete listing of intramural human radiation research
conducted at the NIH Clinical Center.

              e.   NASA.

    The Committee has asked NASA to provide a comprehensive
inventory of potentially relevant record collections and
locations.  Several areas for focused inquiry have been
identified:  the development of NASA ethics practices; total body
irradiation work conducted at Oak Ridge and supported by NASA;
and space-related research performed in coordination with AEC
and/or DOD.    

              f.   VA.

    VA's initial effort focused on a survey of field locations,
in response to which some data were provided. There was only
limited review of headquarters-related documents and no provision
for the systematic identification of experiments conducted or
sponsored by VA.  Following review of the responses to the
survey, the Committee and VA agreed to search headquarters
records and, as that search proceeded, focus on a sample of field
sites.  In July, VA committed to a search of the approximately
1,800 Washington, D.C.-area record boxes that may contain
relevant information.  The present estimate is that the review
will be completed by mid-November.  The Committee simultaneously
identified a number of field offices from which additional
information was requested.

    As noted previously, VA intends to find the purpose of its
Atomic Medicine Division, which apparently included confidential
activities. In October, VA asked the Office of the Inspector
General, because of its expertise in records examination and
search, to assist in this search.

         4.   Classified Documents

    From the outset, the Committee was  concerned about the
limits that classification may put on its ability to review
documents and to report on them to the American public. The
Committee's policy is to seek declassification of relevant

     In the cases of DOD, DOE, and CIA, while documents have
been declassified, significant collections of relevant material
are still classified. [17]  The Committee sought, and  received,
written assurance that reasonably discrete requests for
declassification would be acted upon within three weeks.  Where
large classified collections of documents remain to be searched,
Committee and staff may review the collections to identify
priorities for declassification requests.  This process has been
impeded because of delays in the receipt of security clearances.
By mid-October, only the Chairperson and six staffers had
received interim clearance.

     Agencies have stated that biomedical research materials
should, in general, no longer be classified.  However, they have
also stated that some information of importance to the Committee,
particularly that related to some intentional releases, will
continue to require classification. [18]  For example:

    o    DOD has stated that information related to the planning
         and purpose of the Green Run intentional release must
         still remain classified; and

    o    DOE has stated that much documentation related to the
         250 radioactive lanthanum intentional releases
         conducted at Los Alamos must remain classified.


    In addition to documentation available from the agencies,
the Committee seeks to locate information from all other feasible
sources.  Towards that end, it is conducting additional
documentary searches, an interview project, and an oral history

         1.  Documentary Search

    This search for information includes:

    o    Members of the public. Many members of the public have
         provided the Committee with important data, including
         documents gathered through personal research.

    o    Published literature. As noted elsewhere, the Committee
         staff is assembling published material from a wide
         variety of sources.

    o    Congressional materials.  Staff has compiled a
         chronology of congressional hearings related to human
         research involving radiation going back to 1948.  The
         materials are a valuable research tool.

    o    Universities. The Committee is contacting universities
         that may house documents of relevance.  With DOE's
         assistance, for example, the Committee is retrieving
         documents from universities where researchers
         participated in the plutonium injection experiments.
         The Committee is also working with universities that
         have undertaken to review human radiation research
         conducted at their institutions.  As the Committee
         focuses on additional experiments, further inquiries
         will be made.

    o    Collections. The Committee seeks to locate and review
         relevant collections of personal papers.  For example,
         Committee members and staff have reviewed portions of
         papers of the medical director of the Manhattan Project
         (located at University of California - Los Angeles),
         the first head of the AEC Isotope Development Division
         (Texas A&M University), an early director of the AEC
         Division of Biology and Medicine (Boston University),
         the 1950-1951 chairman of the Armed Forces Medical
         Policy Council (Ohio State), the chairman of the DOD's
         Joint Panel on the Medical Aspects of Atomic Warfare
         (Harvard), and other members of mid-century radiation
         research review committees (University of California,
         Case Western Reserve University), as well as DOD-funded
         researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, the
         World War II Committee on Medical Research (University
         of Pennsylvania), and Henry Beecher, whose 1966 New
         England Journal of Medicine article was a watershed in
         the discussion of the ethics of biomedical research
         (Harvard University).

         2.   Ethics Oral History Project and Interview Project

    In addition to collecting documentation, the Committee has
embarked upon an Ethics Oral History Project in order to
understand the evolution of ethical norms and research practices
in human experimentation from World War II onward.  Oral
histories are essential, since information from other primary and
secondary sources will be incomplete.  Approximately 10 to 25
senior research scientists active in both radiation and
nonradiation research from 1944 to the present are being
interviewed by experienced interviewers from the Advisory
Committee and its staff.  Interviewees are being selected from
two age groups:  (a) clinical researchers who began their careers
in the 1940s or 1950s, and (b) those whose careers began in the
early 1970s.

    In developing this project, the Committee has consulted with
independent experts (ethicists and historians) concerning both
whom to interview and how to conduct an oral history.  Because
the project involves the collection of information from human
subjects, and the Committee seeks to draw generalizable
conclusions from this information, the project was submitted to
an institutional review board (IRB) from Pennsylvania State
University College of Medicine (the home institution of the
Committee member directing this effort).  With IRB approval
granted September 26, 1994, the Committee began interviewing on
September 30, 1994.  All interviews are being tape-recorded and
transcribed; interviewees will be offered the opportunity to
review transcripts before they are evaluated by the Committee.

    The Committee also is interviewing individuals connected
with particular experiments that the Committee is studying, and
the government programs related to the experiments.  Those
interviewed to date include individuals connected with the
plutonium injection and Cincinnati TBI experiments, attorneys who
worked in the AEC Office of General Counsel at its creation, the
military assistant to Secretary of Defense Wilson, and Glenn
Seaborg (discoverer of plutonium).   Finally, the Committee is
seeking transcripts of interviews conducted by others.  For
example, DOE provided the Committee with (DOE-funded) interviews
conducted by J. Newell Stannard on behalf of his history of
radiation research and the Committee has reviewed interviews
conducted by the American Institute of Physics.


15   These documents, along with materials collected by DOD
    relating to the Cincinnati total body irradiation
    experiments, were the bulk of documentation about specific
    experiments available at the onset of the Committee's work.

16   Including the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the
    Defense Nuclear Agency, as well as each of the military

17   HHS initially stated that it did not have classified
    documents.  HHS subsequently reported that it reviewed
    classified documents still within its possession and did not
    find any of relevance.  VA similarly reported that it lacked
    original classification authority and that it does not
    possess any relevant classified documents.  More recently,
    VA has found that President Truman in 1951 gave VA original
    classification authority;  VA lost this authority in 1972,
    apparently due to none-use.

18   The Committee will explore the further possibilities for

Interim Report of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation
Experiments, October 21, 1994