Pete Scoville touched the lives of many people. The Arms Control Association received numerous tributes to Pete, many of which we are pleased to print here. We are sorry all the tributes could not be included. Readers may be interested to know that several congressmen entered tributes to Pete in the Congressional Record, including Gary Hart and Dante Fascell (July 31), Christopher Dodd, Les AuCoin and Nicholas Mavroules (August 1).
My friend from boyhood, Pete Scoville demonstrated all his life qualities of personality I learned to respect at the beginning of our friendship. His self-possession was complete; his autonomy, total. Pete had competence at every craft and task he turned to; from his sure grasp on external reality he drew confidence in his judgement of right and wrong in the empirical and moral sense as well.
Thus it was, at Bikini atoll in 1947 Pete comprehended the political in-utility of nuclear weapons. He saw plainly how the next great war, with such weapons in the arsenals of the combatants, must escalate to the self-destruction of civilization. In the CIA, the DoD and ACDA, he held critical responsibility for those weapons. He did not win all the contests of policy. But others, his opponents and allies alike, knew he was there because they all needed his sane rationality.
As counsellor to public opinion, Pete unwrapped the issues from the obscurantisms of thinking about the unthinkable. He was the first to sound the alarm at the next lurching turn in the arms race. He called a spade a spade and the MX a first-strike weapon. He framed the questions so laymen, Senators and citizens, could act on them.
People contribute to or they draw upon the life energy of other people; they are sources or they are sinks. No one not institutionalized, it may be supposed, is exclusively a sink. The laws of physics suggest that an energy-conserving balance is the rule. Pete Scoville defies the laws of physics. No longer with us, he remains a source, an inexhaustible source of the energy and purpose that must run in all of us for cherishing the miracle of our existence, for tolerance and for hope we shall survive to realize our humanity. He is a North Star. On him we take our bearings.
Gerard Piel, Chairman, Scientific American and President, American Association for the Advancement of Science
. . . The half-dozen years that Pete Scoville served as Assistant Director of ACDA were very productive ones for him and the Agency. The successful negotiation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty had given ACDA visibility and momentum. The meetings in Geneva of tile Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee were progressing vigorously and needed constant attention from ACDA. New disarmament measures were being developed and negotiated. Among the accomplishments of the period were the Outer Space Treaty and the Latin America Nuclear-Free Zone, both in 1967, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1969. In addition, there were analyses in ACDA and discussions in Geneva of another half-dozen possible arms control measures, some of which led in 1972 to the SALT I Agreement and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the US and the USSR.
With the advent of the new Administration in 1969, Pete Scoville resigned from ACDA and entered what was to be the crowning period of his life. For the next sixteen years he would be a full time public citizen dedicated to deeper understanding and greater progress toward substantial arms control and disarmament. . . .
But there were other sides to Pete. He was an outgoing person who enjoyed people and parties. Hipjoint operations that left him dependent on canes for walking almost eliminated his participation in outdoor activities, but one special love remained--fly fishing in Western trout streams. To watch Pete, canes and all, walk out into thigh-deep water in the Roaring Fork river of Colorado, fasten his canes to his belt and start casting a fly was an inspiring sight; to have him catch three or four fish to this writer's one was less inspiring, but not something that reduced the pleasure of his company.
Working full time in the US for peace and for arms control is no easy task. Government positions are conservative and ambiguous, and US priorities change from one administration to the next. The positions of the Soviet Union are not easy to understand, and their negotiators are tough. Even when the necessity of better control over nuclear arms is recognized by both nations, getting a mutually acceptable agreement is anything but easy. It takes someone of great dedication and courage to stay with the problem through misunderstandings and set-backs. The secret of Pete Scoville's great influence was that even as he recognized the problems and difficulties, he maintained a deep sense of optimism that the difficulties could be alleviated and the problems solved. He will be greatly missed.
Franklin A. Long, Professor of Chemistry, Cornell University
I had the good fortune to know and work with Pete Scoville for more than twenty-five years, in and out of the government.
In the late 1950s I was a young Army captain assigned to a small CIA directed unit analyzing Soviet missile programs. Though I didn't know it (or him) at the time, I was helping to pioneer intelligence collection and evaluation techniques, which Pete as head of the CIA's Office of Strategic Intelligence was directing, that would have a significant impact on the ability of the United States to verify future arms control agreements.
My path crossed Pete's many times thereafter as he moved from CIA to ACDA (I joined him there as a staff member for two years) to private life. It was with great pleasure that I accepted his invitation in 1971 to help form the Arms Control Association and serve as its Executive Director for the next five years. Our relationship then and since was always one of great mutual respect and appreciation. . . .
One of my early good memories of Pete Scoville was so revealing of his humanity and his total absence of pretension:
In 1962 a high-level committee was established by President Kennedy, under Scoville's chairmanship, to evaluate the status of the Soviet nuclear weapons program, in preparation for the nuclear test ban negotiations soon to begin in Moscow. Early in 1963 Scoville called a meeting to approve the final report. . . . I was then working in the State Department as ACDA's intelligence liaison officer, and was sent along with the ACDA official to carry his set of papers to the meeting in a locked briefcase.
We arrived late, and found the other Committee members already in the conference room, standing about chatting with one another. More jaded old hands might not have been impressed by the stature of all these high officials; I was. I was briefly introduced, unlocked the precious briefcase, handed the documents to my ACDA principal, and turned to sit down at my backbencher's station behind him. I knew my place, and headed for it.
Thus as I turned to take my seat, I was surprised to hear Chairman Scoville protest. "Mr. Halsted, won't you sit at the table with us?" he asked, "We'd like your input too."
People who need the adornments of authority to testify to their importance are soon forgotten. Pete Scoville, who found such trappings a waste of time, will have a lasting impact reaching far beyond the circle of many men and women whose lives touched his and were changed forever by the connection.
Thomas A. Halsted, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, 1971-1977
It was my good fortune to work under Pete Scoville for six years when he headed the Science and Technology Bureau of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1963 to 1969. Under his inspiring leadership, that Bureau was in the vanguard of ACDA's early efforts to demonstrate that arms control is beneficial, important, and feasible. He had key roles in arms control achievements of those years--notably the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Outer Space Treaty. He also contributed much of the groundwork for the subsequent Strategic Arms Talks.
Pete Scoville fully understood the overriding threat of nuclear war, and what has to be done to avert it. He saw clearly that some kinds of arms control agreements and some kinds of weapons systems would enhance strategic stability, while other kinds would undermine it. For example, he had the foresight to press for a MIRV ban, with acumen that other officials achieved only in hindsight.
I have to add that no one has had a more likeable, considerate boss than Pete.
When Pete left ACDA, he continued to work hard for arms control. In his two books, in his numerous articles in newspapers and professional journals, in repeated appearances before Congressional committees, and in lectures in many cities, Pete tirelessly raised our consciousness and our understanding of how we should deal with the foremost threat to our survival. Undeterred by his long battle with cancer, he courageously kept on spreading his wisdom to all who were willing to listen.
Pete Scoville was truly a great hero of the nuclear era.
Robert Rochlin, Chief Scientist, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
In his State Department days, those of us who in the UK were involved in the talks leading up to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 had much to thank him for. His background as one who had helped in the evolution of the concept of nuclear deterrence made his an authoritative and influential voice. . .
Pete Scoville was a generous man, always friendly, a man of presence and authority, and scrupulously honest . . .
Those of us who had dealings with him either in his armament or in his arms-control days will remember him with affection and admiration.
Lord Solly Zuckerman, Former Science Advisor to British Cabinet. The London Times, August 17, 1985
Accept our profound condolences on passing away of Herbert Scoville. Time will not efface his presidentship of Arms Control Association, untiring efforts for disarmament, and better understanding between the public of our two countries. We share the grief of his family.
Cable from Moscow. Sincerely, G. A. Arbatov, V. V. Zurkin, A. A. Kokoshin, A. Milstein
On a number of occasions, I had the privilege of appearing with Pete Scoville before congressional committees. It was always a pleasure to watch the conflict in Pete's emotions as his gentle nature tried to suppress the amazed indignation awakened by comments from Senators and Congressmen who tried to equate arms control with pusillanimity.
Most vividly, however, I remember Pete's deep interest and help during my conformation hearings in 1977. He was constantly alert to keep me straight during what turned out to be a somewhat protracted grilling. When he thought at one point that I was tending to be too conciliatory on the issue of how to deal with the increasing accuracy of the Soviet ICBM's, he handed me a note which read: "For God's sake, don't buy counterforce!" Of course, I took his advice. Like all of us, I will miss both it and him.
Paul Warnke, Clifford and Warnke
Pete's foremost gifts, which I found in working with him at the Association and beforehand, were his devotion to helping ordinary citizens, especially younger people, think clearly about the nuclear dilemma we face, his ability to bring people together, and his good humor. He led a remarkable life, doing both what he wanted and what he felt was required of him.
William H. Kincade, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Executive Director, Arms Control Association, 1977-1985
Everyone who knew Pete was aware of his constant attempt to debate, inform and learn about the complexities of peace and the position of those who promoted nuclear weapons. Dauntlessly he fought for the principles of peace. However, at one meeting he smiled slightly and informed his fellow directors that the task of communicating with Pentagon and State Department officials was even more difficult than ever expected since he had recently read their definitions for:
Nuclear War Civilian Casualties--"collateral damage"
Invasion of Grenada--"pre-dawn vertical insertion"
Killing--"unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of life."
C. Glenn Ihrig, Executive Director, Public Welfare Foundation, Inc.
In 1981 "Pete" Scoville was selected for one of the five Rockefeller Public Service Awards. I recall very well the meeting of the Selection Committee, of which I was Chairman, and the discussion concerning the material that had been submitted by Pete's admirers.
It had been in 1979 or so when those awards were changed to include non-governmental personnel as eligible. Prior thereto only employees of the Federal Government or local and state entities were selected to receive the $10,000 grants. As I recall, Pete was at or very near the top of those selected in the first round of votes. The committee members discussed his qualifications and were tremendously impressed with the fact that this man had a CIA background and had been involved in the government with the "ultimate" weapon. To become a advocate of disarmament with that background was in itself a source of deep respect flowing from the members of the Selection Committee. To cap it all, there were letters upon letters explaining how remarkably effective were his deep commitments to the cause of disarmament.
Often the Selection Committee struggled long before deciding between serious candidates. But in Pete's case the views were practically unanimous. I am proud to have been Chairman of the Selection Committee when Pete was honored as an awardee of that outstanding recognition.
Robert R. Nathan, Chairman, Robert R. Nathan Associates
More than once, watching Pete arrive for a meeting of our arms control group, his weight resting on two canes, it struck me that his kind of commitment could be symbolized by the insignia of crossed canes.
I last glimpsed him in a Los Angeles hotel, struggling across the lobby with the last of his strength after a long cross country flight to address a AAAS symposium on the future of arms control. It was the Memorial Day weekend, complicated by an airline strike. But he had given his word to be there, and so he was, one more time. He had a case to make to the scientific community that day. He made it even as his stricken body fought him all the way. He made it not with the dramatics of the activist but with the sober force of technical logic and with the authority of unmatched immersion in the intricacy of the security balance.
The formation of the scientific conscience is not the least troubling aspect of contemporary science. Pete's life, especially its last decade, came closer than he probably guessed to clarifying the terms of that conscience and daring us to look it in the eye.
William D. Carey, Executive Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Pete Scoville served for many years as a member of the board of directors of the Council for a Livable World, having been nominated by his long time associate George B. Kistiakowsky, then chairman of the Council.
We will treasure the memories of the time we spent with Pete. He was a world class leader in the struggle for the prevention of nuclear war. His passing leaves a gap that will be very difficult to fill. We will always remember his gentleness with friends and even antagonists.
One recollection stands out in my mind: the evening that we honored Pete's old friend George Kistiakowsky at a dinner in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge and had to coordinate the program with the playing of the 1812 Overture (including the live firing of pistols) as well as the boisterousness of Kisti's friends.
Pete will be missed and remembered.
Jerome Grossman, President, Council for a Liveable World
Pete Scoville's agreement to join the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the fall of 1982 formalized his long time willingness to share with us his great fund of information and provide his wise council on the matters of nuclear risk that he felt so deeply about.
He was a friend of the organization and a friend of the people in it as well, touching all with his grace, careful thought, and good humor.
And it was not just that he helped--he evidently responded to all thoughtful appeals.
The gap he leaves will be most difficult to fill.
Henry W. Kendall, Chairman, Union of Concerned Scientists
My first meeting with Pete Scoville foreshadowed Pete's most lasting legacy--inspiring and mentoring younger people to dedicate themselves to the serious study of arms control. I, the graduate student, was immediately accepted as a peer by Pete, the subject of the interview. Despite the somewhat formal setting of the Harvard faculty Club, Pete set me at ease, was generous with his time and insightful answers.
The subject was the scientists' role in the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) debate. In rereading the notes of that meeting in February 1971, I was struck how prescient he was.
Then, as now, the use of scientific advisory panels was an issue. Although he had a Pli.D. in chemistry, Pete cast a skeptical eye on exaggerated claims of objectivity. Scientific advisory panels, according to Pete, were sometimes picked because the decision-maker wanted advice, but more often because the decision-maker wanted some credible scientists to defend a predetermined decision. Scientists to Pete were no more or less "objective" in their approaches to and analyses of arms control issues than ordinary folk.
Then, as now, the public's attention span proved limited. Pete mused about the remarkable change in media and public interest in the ABM issue between 1969 and 1970. By 1970, Pete said, everyone was "terribly bored" with the issue. "Cambodia was the topic that year."
But Pete wasn't content with just remarking on the public's fickleness--he determined to do something about it. Long before most, Pete saw the importance of building a long-term grass roots constituency for arms control. Talking to students, to ranchers, to candidates for public office at all levels--no audience was too small, no town too off-the-beaten track, no trip too arduous. Pete was indefatigable.
One of Pete's most endearing qualities was his modesty. Throughout the interview, he downplayed his own role, in or out of government. Pete was always quick to credit others and slow to acknowledge his own role. But, in fact, Pete's part in defeating some of the more bizarre proposed MX basing modes was just as pivotal as his role in preventing a nationwide deployment of ABM.
Pete also taught us "stick-to-itiveness." Whether it was the MX, ABM (a.k.a. Star Wars) or the Comprehensive Test Ban, Pete was in the fray for the long haul. Miraculously, Pete never sounded repetitive, tired or discouraged. By his example, he inspired us all.
Careful attention to detail and real mastery of the facts were another Scoville trademark. In 1969, it was Pete who pointed out that when the Nixon Administration revised the ABM system from Sentinal to Safeguard, they redesigned the deployment but not the hardware. The result would have been fewer Sprint missiles defending the Minuteman sites than there would have been in the city defense scheme. Thirteen years later, immediately after President Reagan announced his START proposal, there was Pete, showing that by reducing launchers not warheads, the President's proposal changed the launcher to warhead ratio to our disadvantage!
Whatever the issue, perhaps the most important legacy Pete Scoville left was his example of cooperation and fellowship. Although the Arms Control Association, which he helped found, remained his "numero uno" he gave unstintingly to all arms control organizations. When one group needed a loan, another, a last minute speaker, or a third, someone to lobby a wavering legislator, it was to Pete that we each turned. For each of us in the arms control community, be we academics or government officials or in the public sector, our most lasting tribute to Pete will be to emulate this warm and energetic human being in our words and in our deeds.
Anne H. Cahn, Executive Director, Committee for National Security
I grew close to Pete during our fight to stop the MX. He was tireless in that effort--as in everything he did to restrain our headlong rush toward nuclear war. Pete was warm, caring and helpful. We relied on him constantly. Whether he was writing, speaking, traveling, enlisting
the aid of his expert peers and colleagues, playing host to the legion of visitors we brought into town to lobby Congress, or lobbying Congress himself, Pete was always available to us. No task was too small.
After his death, upon reading of his many accomplishments, Frances Farley, a close Utah friend who also came to know and love Pete, wrote me, "Somehow, realizing that he was so distinguished, loved and appreciated by so many was a little bit of a surprise to me. Not really. I knew who he was, but I guess I thought he just kind of belonged to us." In a way he did. But, Pete gave so much of himself that he left many of us feeling that way . . . like he belonged to us. That's why we loved him so much--and why we'll miss him so terribly.
Michael Mawby, Senior Lobbyist, Common Cause
Even after Pete was partially crippled he insisted on dancing, which he loved. He loved trout fishing too. He loved his country. In a real sense he gave his life for it; he would never let the disease or the unrealistic nuclear policies of both Democratic and Republican administrations get him down.
Scoville was one of the first to warn that Reagan's ideas--to which billions in research and development are committed--would weaken our security. It would rupture the ABM Treaty, the most successful pact the Soviet Union and the United States had achieved in the nuclear field because it restrained the otherwise limitless production of offensive weapons.
One of the most remarkable things about Pete was that he emerged from the pressure cooker of key government posts whole, human, his reason intact. So he knew, firsthand, the enormous pressures in and out of government, working effectively against the declared but unfulfilled policy of arms control. Pete Scoville once wrote a book called "Missile Madness." Now death has disarmed one of the most committed battlers against that disease.
Edward P. Morgan, From the August 8, 1985 broadcast of "In the Public Interest"
Pete Scoville gave unsparingly of himself to volunteer arms control efforts. No grassroots group was too remote or too inconsequential to receive a visit or a detailed answer about the arms race. No national organization was too "far out" from the Washington establishment to benefit from his wise counsel. No documentary film maker, no matter how obscure, failed to record both his lucid comments and his civility.
Thanks to Pete Scoville, tens of thousands of Americans know more about arms control and are more committed to achieving it.
Sanford Gottlieb, Executive Director, United Campuses to Prevent Nuclear War
Pete does not merely clamor for an end to the burden of the secret of nuclear weapons, he provides practical answers to this problem that are consistent with both technology and politics.
The progress that has been achieved to date in arms limitation, and that must be achieved in the future if man is to avoid the destruction of modern society, owes a large debt to the efforts of this one man. While others have contributed as specialists to this achievement, Pete Scoville has contributed both as a specialist and explicator. It can be said with considerable confidence that no American has done more to carry the message of arms limitation to the broadest possible audience; in a democracy, this is essential.
From the statement presented on Herbert Scoville's behalf, for his nomination as recipient of the 1981 Rockefeller Public Service Award.
It would be artificial for me to separate the personal from the professional in remembering Pete Scoville. My feelings for Pete arose from the contact I was fortunate to have with him and his family and are interwoven with admiration from the professional work we shared.
Although I first met Pete years earlier, our friendship deepened when I moved to Washington in 1982. He and his family opened their hearts and home to me as I established myself in the city and started working for one of several organizations to which Pete was devoted.
There, although the word is overused, Pete was the very definition of a mentor to me. He offered personal support, guidance, and sustenance throughout defeats and victories, just as he made himself available to numerous people in the arms control community to lend advice, direction, strategy, and the benefit of his years of experience.
During those years Pete never seemed to age. One of my strongest impressions of Pete was his extraordinary ability to communicate across generations, to any age, with a warmth and interest that was effortless. One felt, in conversation, he was as youthful as he was experienced, and could tap into both simultaneously.
Pete's loving spirit and overriding interest in helping whomever, whenever, ran as a current throughout his professional and personal life. His commanding knowledge of the field and his tireless willingness to be accessible to students and international diplomats alike combined to make him a role model and inspiration to many.
Once I brought a young friend to Pete's house to discuss job opportunities in the arms control field. Pete listened, gave advice, and encouragement. He spoke of the importance of getting young people involved in this issue. After we left, my friend said, "To have the opportunity to sit and talk with Pete Scoville has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. I will never forget this day as long as I live."
Pete's public and private life were propelled by the same spirit. His gifts of time and concern are what endeared him to many, and make our loss inconsolable.
In the early 1970s when I was a graduate student I came across an article titled "Flexible MADness" that wove history and logic together into a brilliant attack on "limited" nuclear war. The article was my introduction to Herbert C. Scoville, Jr. I got a chance to meet Pete in the flesh several years later and then work for him at the Arms Control Association. That article proved to be only a hint of the brilliance he brought to the fight for a rational nuclear policy. Canes and crutches are usually thought of as symbols of disability and weakness, but for Pete they became another sign of his incredible vitality. Pete used his canes as a portable chair at crowded meetings, as a reach-extender to get a beer at ACA press briefings, as a pointer to explain how stupid Dense Pack was, as a gavel to keep meetings or unruly arms control types in line, as a back scratcher, as a chin rest, and--yes--to help him walk.
Although he didn't really just walk. When he had a question to ask or a point to make, those canes helped him charge. The sight of Pete Scoville in full stride, leaning forward, black canes clicking along the floor, was enough to put the fear of God into anyone who dared sneer at arms control in his presence.
I was lucky enough to hear the click of those canes for eight years. It's still very, very hard to believe I'll never hear them again.
Jeff Porro, former Editor, Arms Control Today
I knew and worked for Pete Scoville for most of my professional life. Yet, I never thought of him as a boss--Pete was my friend. He was always generous with his time, even when I pestered him to relate stories (in vivid detail) from his many years in government. He respected me as a colleague and sought my advice and comments on his work and writings--even though his knowledge of arms control and experience dwarfed my own.
Pete's intellectual drive and curiosity remained with him even as his physical health deteriorated. He would telephone me occasionally to express disgust with certain foot dragging politicians or ask my opinion of a new wrinkle in his own thinking on arms control. If only his tenacity in pursuing ways to halt the arms race were contagious and could be passed on to certain political leaders.
Like many others, I regret that Pete passed away without my having told him what an inspiration he has been to me, both personally and professionally. I will miss him.
Thomas Longstreth, Assoc. Director for Research and Analysis, Arms Control Association
Pete and I were friends for over 25 years, but only in the last six months of his life did I have an opportunity to experience at first hand the full scope of his unique qualities. Working with him at the Arms Control Association, I saw the intensity of his dedication to the cause of arms control and his deep humanity in dealing with others. Despite failing health, he did not spare himself but threw himself into his work and undertook one exhausting trip after another to advance public understanding of arms control. To the very end, no matter how tired and ill he was, he maintained his enthusiasm, good humor, and consideration for others.
Shortly before Pete died, I had a long telephone conversation with him. Although he knew the doctors had concluded that he was terminally ill, he said that he did not intend to give up and wanted to be helpful to the Association in any way he could for as long as his strength would allow. He observed that he was not depressed by the prospect of death but rather thankful for the good and productive extra years he had had despite his illness.
Then he changed the subject to my forthcoming European trip that included a family vacation. He inquired about our itinerary and plans with great interest and volunteered helpful suggestions. Finally, he paused and said he was going on a trip himself. He described with anticipation a visit he was planning to his cabin at Durango, Colorado to fish one last time in the river he so loved. Pete died ten days later while preparing to leave with his family for Durango.
The world has lost a courageous man of peace whose humanity and intense enthusiasm for life was an inspiration to his many friends and colleagues.
Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr., Executive Director, Arms Control Association
Arms Control Today JulylAugust 1985