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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA MF 340-342
1957-1961, 1986
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
3 reels


Name of creator(s)

President's Science Advisory Committee (PASC)

Administrative / Biographical history

As a response to the launch of the Soviet radio satellite, 'Sputnik', on 4 Oct 1957, President Dwight David Eisenhower launched the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) on 21 Nov 1957. Dr James Killian, Jr, previously Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) president, was appointed its first chairman. Dr George Kistiakowsky was appointed to that position in 1959 and served as PSAC chairman until 1961. The PASC was presented with a succession of space and national security issues in general and arms control in particular. On the advice of the PSAC, Eisenhower established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, which proposed a centralisation of science and technology in the newly created office of Director of Defense Research and Engineering. By the summer of 1958 PASC turned its attention towards the formulation of national security policy. Exploiting a network of working groups on topics such as reconnaissance, arms control, missiles and early warning systems, PSAC was able to give Eisenhower a succession of recommendations on disarmament, aerial and space-based reconnaissance, and banning of nuclear weapons tests. Other major areas of study included the exchange of scientific information with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As much as technical advice and information was essential, however, the PSAC was divided on political issues such as test-ban verification. In addition, subsequent administrations valued the PSAC less highly than Eisenhower did and accorded it less influence. It was disbanded by President Richard Milhous Nixon in 1973.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guide edited and compiled by Robert E Lester.

Content & structure

Scope and content

The Papers of the President's Science Advisory Committee, 1957-1961 are microfilmed copies of meeting minutes, correspondence, agenda, scientific reports and studies from the President's Science Advisory Committee (PASC), 1957-1961. The records of the PASC in the Eisenhower administration detail science policy, 1957-1961, primarily relating to arms control and disarmament through nuclear power; space; medical research; and particle physics. The PASC records include minutes and agenda from PASC's regular monthly meetings; minutes from the annual meetings with Eisenhower, compiled by PASC Executive Officer David Beckler; reports, speeches, studies and correspondence relating to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Space Project, US Strategic Air Command; satellite communications; nuclear testing; nuclear propulsion; early warning defence systems; US and Soviet biological and chemical warfare capabilities; US aircraft development, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lunar Program; ocean surveillance projects; the Television Infrared Observation Satellite Program; the Apollo lunar Program; US anti-submarine warfare capabilities; Soviet scientific progress, 1957-1961; US missile programs and radar and radio astronomy advancements. Microfilm also includes correspondence and memoranda between PASC and Eisenhower; Emanuael Piore, PASC consultant and research director for IBM; Alan Waterman, President of the National Science Foundation; Senator Henry M Jackson; and presidential adviser Gen Andrew Jackson Goodpaster.

System of arrangement

The records of the PSAC are arranged into three sections. The first section contains meeting notes which consist primarily of typescript minutes and agenda from the PSAC's regular monthly meetings as well as manuscript and typescript notes for the annual meetings with President Eisenhower, 1957-1960. The second section consists of subject files, composed primarily of correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, studies from relevant executive departments and government agencies, and press reports arranged alphabetically by subject title and in reverse alphabetical order therein. The third section consists primarily of correspondence and memoranda, arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent and in reverse chronological order therein.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be provided for research use only. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America, Inc., 4520 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3389, USA

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

This Summary Guide, and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room,Paul Kesaris (ed.), The Papers of the President's Science Advisory Committee, 1957-1961 (University Publications of America, Bethesda, MD, 1986).

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

Dwight D Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas, USA



Compiled Jun 1999

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

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  • Aircraft
  • Artificial satellites
  • Biological warfare
  • Chemical actions and uses
  • Chemical warfare
  • East West relations
  • Economics of science
  • Energy resources
  • International relations
  • Military aircraft
  • Military engineering
  • Military equipment
  • Missiles
  • Nonrenewable energy sources
  • Nuclear energy
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Pharmaceutic aids
  • Research councils
  • Science administration
  • Science budgets
  • Science finance
  • Scientific facilities
  • Scientific organizations
  • Space exploration
  • Space technology
  • Spacecraft
  • Specialty uses of chemicals
  • Vehicles
  • Warfare
  • Weapons

Personal names

  • Eisenhower, Dwight David, 1890-1969, US President and General
  • Goodpaster, Andrew Jackson, b 1915, US General
  • Killian, James, fl 1957-1960, US scientist
  • Kistiakowsky, George, fl 1957-1960, US scientist

Corporate names

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


  • USA, North America
  • USSR, Eastern Europe

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