Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 1961 v7 No 3 FallActions


A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.


How the Other Half Lives:

General and Botanical Observations on the USSR at and before the International
Biochemical Congress in August, 1961.


Harvard University

Address of the retiring President of the Botanical Society of America, delivered at the annual banquet at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, August 30, 1961.

The rate of progress of science is now so rapid that to be able to keep abreast of it, let alone to make useful contributions to it, requires persistence, devotion, unusual ability with both head and hands, and a memory like a phonograph. If the work is to be any good, a touch of real imagination and a flavor of the artist are needed as well. The mass of material flowing into the journals and presented at meetings like these is discouraging. Some of it, perhaps, might have been withheld without loss. To quote from another Presidential Address:—"The multitudinous facts presented by each corner of Nature, form . . . the scientific man's burden today, and restrict him more and more, willy-nilly, to a narrower and narrower specialization. But that is not the whole of his burden. Much that he is forced to read consists of records of defective experiments, confused statements of results, wearisome descriptions of detail and ... protracted discussions of unnecessary hypotheses." That this problem is not wholly new is attested by the fact that I have quoted from the address of the physiologist, J. N. Langley, given to the British Association in 1899.

Perhaps Langley took a pessimistic view of our burdens, but we have still another which he did not mention; namely, that the scientist cannot Iive by science alone,—he must take notice of the world around him. This is much more necessary in our present uncertain times than it was in the steady Victorian days. Its urgency brings me to the present subject, for my original topic, the education of the scientist, has been quite put out of mind by a very recent experience which I should like to share with you because of its bearing on an aspect of our world of utmost importance to us all.

We drove from Paris, through Czechoslovakia, to the Southern Ukraine, then east through the Ukraine, north to Moscow, northwest to Leningrad and west to Helsinki. The immediate reason was to attend the International Biochemical Congress in Moscow, but another, almost equally cogent reason, was to see and experience something of this other world behind what Churchill so expressively called the Iron Curtain.

The trip was L-shaped, 2500 miles long, almost due east as far as Kharkov, then north. We traveled freely, without Soviet guides, except when we requested their services in the cities. The highways were second-class, but acceptable; though there were few signs one could not lose the way, partly because most side roads almost immediately became barely passable tracks. The people were friendly and seemed glad to talk, within the limits of languages; only a very few were surly or doctrinaire.

What I want to do here is to try to make an objective assessment of this huge mass of land and people, and to compare it with our own, so that we can make up our minds where we stand in regard to them. What follows is largely limited to what I have personally seen, or heard at first hand from Russian people, putting aside newspaper headlines, speeches, prejudgments and emotions.

The first thing to remember is that if the Soviets have sacrificed some of their personal freedom they have certainly achieved something with the sacrifice. They have succeeded in a very large-scale experiment, i.e. in inverting the economic system which has sufficed for man's activities al-most from the beginning of organized society. With us—both with the present western world and with the past civilizations out of which it has grown—a man either works on his own or for someone else, and earns what he can; from this he buys or rents a place to live, and he contributes an agreed fraction of his earnings to the cost of running the government. With them, it is the government that finds him employment, assigns him to a house or apartment, pays him what it can,—modified by the law of supply and demand, as with us,—and keeps back the cost of running the government. There are taxes, but actually no taxes are really necessary; it is all deducted at the source. Indeed, income tax is to be gradually done away with. The difference from our traditional system is immense and hard to realize. Yet the system works. Of course parts of its have appeared elsewhere. In England the railways and coal mines are owned by the State, and medicine and hospitalization are administered by it; in France the tobacco industry has been a State monoply for 50 years or more. In

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Rutgers—The State University
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HARLAN P. BANKS   Cornell University

NoRMAN H. BOKE   University of Oklahoma

ELSIE QUARTERMAN    Vanderbilt University

ERICH STEINER    University of Michigan

OCTOBER, 1961   •   VOLUME 7, NO. 3

CHANGES OF ADDRESS: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society of America, Inc., Dr. A. J. Sharp, Department of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 16, Tennessee.

SUBSCRIPTIONS for Libraries and persons not members of the Botanical Society are obtainable at the rate of $2.0o a year. Send orders with checks payable to "Botanical Society of America, Inc." to the Business Manager, Dr. Lawrence J. Crockett, Department of Biology. The City College, Convent Avenue and 139th Street, New York 31, New York.

MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION should be typewritten, double-spaced, and sent in duplicate to the Editor.

Address Change for Business Manager

Dr. Lawrence J. Crockett, Business Manager of the American Journal of Botany and of Plant Science Bulletin has a new address. All correspondence for the Business manager should be addressed to Dr. Lawrence J. Crockett, Department of Biology, The City College, Convent Avenue at r39th Street, New York 31, New York.


(Continued from page I)

practically every country of the western world there is some state ownership. But these are abnormalities, grafted on to a system of individual enterprise, and do not represent a basic change in the whole system.

It was difficult for me to realize how complete the system of state ownership has become. With a guide one day we passed a little watch repair shop in a side street of Kiev, and I asked the guide how such an individual business managed to make out, surrounded by giant state monopolies. "Oh no," he replied, "that is not individually run, that is a state industry." Later I confirmed that there is a whole national network of little watch-repair shops in back streets, doubtless all placed under some central office, and subject to its accounting and inspection. We bought ice-cream cones from a little old lady in the park, prefabricated ones wrapped up in wax paper:—that is a State industry too. We may picture some grave-faced Commissar of Light Refreshment, with a staff of assistants, trying to determine the proper number of wrapped ice-cream cones to issue on Sunday afternoon to the little old lady in the park. The only exceptions to the system will be mentioned later.

As is well known by now, a number of churches are open and functional—I believe 16 in Moscow, including one Baptist church, and about as many in Leningrad. One monastery, in Zagorsk, continues as in the old days. We attended church service in a country town and found it very well filled, though almost wholly with the older generation. Attendance at church, indeed, is incompatible with any political standing; a member of the Young Communist League told me that one of his fellow-members, to please his wife's parents, celebrated his wedding in a church; he was at once expelled from the League. Many churches and especially cathedrals, like the splendid St. Sophia's in Kiev, are maintained as museums and are in good condition.

Everyone wants to know about prices and earnings in the USSR as compared with the west. We had the opportunity to compare some prices with ours, both in Czechoslovakia and in Russia, and there is no doubt that they are on the high side. Bread and potatoes are about the same as with us and western Europe, though bread was 24 cents a pound in Czechoslovakia and cheese was $I.5o a pound. Meat and vegetables are distinctly higher: even in late August tomatoes were 33 cents a pound, apples, which were very small and poor, were 50 cents each and oranges 55 cents each. A few days earlier in Moscow restaurants apples had been priced at $I.Io each. Although canned goods, especially fish, are displayed in every store window, they are very high—a little can of sardines cost over $I, and others in proportion. Butter is more than double our prices and is often very hard to find in the stores; chocolate is astronomical, a ro-cent bar being priced at over $I. Workday clothes are not unduly high, though the quality is second-rate, and black market operators are reputed to offer visitors 15 rubles ($16) for the ordinary shirts they are wearing. Shoes are priced high, up to $45 a pair, though children's shoes are more reasonable. Still, many children, even in towns, ran barefoot. In 1935, when we visited Leningrad and Moscow for the Physiological Congress, many people were in rags, and leather shoes were almost unknown; now, people are reasonably well dressed even in the country. The children are generally well dressed, too, with their hair carefully done. Cars are very dear and indeed one sees very few on the roads (a disproportionate number stalled), though there are plenty of trucks. The smallest Soviet car, the Moskvitch, appears to cost about $8000, but the price depends on the buyer; one who can show a need for a car in his work, such as a party organizer or a medical practitioner, can get it for less. In any case, a number of Soviet cars are now being sold in Finland, where they must somehow be competitive with European makes. Two things are cheaper;—gasoline, at about 55 cents a gallon, is less than in France or Germany; and books.

But when we compare earnings with those in the West, the price differential becomes still less favorable. The aver-age U.S. factory worker earns $92 per week, according to a recent Government figure. The average Soviet worker gets some $Ioo-$20o per month. Because this is an average, some earn less; a high-school English teacher from a country town told me he earns barely $Ioo. It was recently announced that income tax would be canceled on earnings of $66 per month, so there must be some at this level. Skilled workers may earn up to $30o per month, but I believe only University professors, factory managers or senior


party officials much more. Thus, with prices averaging, say, 1.5 to 2 times ours, and earnings barely one half ours, the overall Russian standards of living cannot be far from one-third of ours.

Apologists point out that the ratio is not really so unfavorable because housing is free, being provided by the Government. This is true, but the housing is one of the least satisfactory features of the whole system. Most of Moscow's 6 to 7 million people (one estimate is 90 per cent) live in single-room apartments,— a whole family in one room, with kitchen and toilet shared between two or more families. Moscow is said to be the only city in Europe where one can buy a frying-pan with a lock on it. With our private homes and spacious apartments it is hard to imagine what living together in one room must be like, year after year. In Kharkov I was told that if the family increases in size one can apply for a larger apartment, but what the chances are of getting it remained unclear. To some degree Moscow is a special case, for it has been over-crowded by the movement of people in from the country to the capital. But in the cities which were extensively damaged by the war, like Orel, Kursk and Belgorod, the situation is similar. Indeed, these cities are still in the midst of rebuilding; apartment houses are going up everywhere, and truckloads of building materials are seen everywhere on the town outskirts. Housing contrasts strikingly with that in West Germany, which was also subject to great destruction but is now completely rebuilt and enjoying unexampled prosperity. French newspapers of August 25th carried the story of a German film producer who needed some shots taken in war ruins; he scoured the country to find some but was forced to conclude that there were none left anywhere. Eventually he had to construct some ruins artificially.

Russian housing may well become worse in future years because Pravda's newest figures for the birth rate, 2.65 per cent, are claimed to be the highest in the world. Further, much of the building going on now is of poor quality and may soon need replacement. Large apartment house blocks in Moscow have wire neeting stretched above the street at the level of the first floor, to catch the bricks and tiles which are constantly falling off. In Orel, which was said to be 70 per cent damaged in the war, the hotel had so many evidences of age and deterioration that I congratulated the manager on having been able to preserve the fine old place undamaged through the war; "Oh, no," he said, "this hotel was built in 1950." Even the new show-buildings, such as Moscow University and the Ukraine Hotel, already indicate rapid deterioration; hardwood floors with soft inserts already largely worn away to leave gaps or depressions which can trip the unwary walker, roofs with iron flashings already badly rusted, doors opening on outdoor court-yards inadequately protected from the weather, and leaky toilets.

It is the shortage of housing space that drives everyone to walk in the streets; we found the streets of Soviet towns almost as crowded as in 1935. Of course there are TV and the movies, but as one young man complained to me, "When you have seen the week's movie, you still need something to do for the other six nights." The TV, doubt-less an important organ for official information, is indeed widespread. It is illuminating to see on the smaller old houses in the suburbs of towns, where one would expect a single family to live, 6, 8 or ro TV aerials, indicating that there is a family living in every room in the house.

It is clear from all this that Soviet Russia is not the workers' paradise it was supposed to be, and the average Russian is clearly worse off than his West European or U. S. counterpart. The revolution is now more than 40 years old, and one can only conclude that, while the system does work, nothing (except rocketry and perhaps city parks) is really better under communism than under free enterprise. After 40 years of unceasing propaganda to the contrary, I find this general conclusion to be very helpful. We have no reason to feel there is anything much about our system which is easily bettered.

It has been claimed that the Soviets are rapidly coming up to our level, but the fact is that the west is not standing still and the Soviets have so very far to go and such a back-log to make up. The highways offer a good instance; the reason why foreigners are only allowed to travel on specified main highways is obvious: they are the only ones good enough. I dare say there are more miles of paved road in New York City than in the Soviet Union, at least in the European part. Everyone who goes off the highway, by the way, is soon stopped by an armed policeman and ordered back to the main road. This happened to us, and to so many others I have talked to, that it is evidently the rule and suggests that visitors, for all their apparent freedom, are closely observed. The amount of highway building that will be needed to come anywhere near Western levels is simply stupendous. Gasoline stations are rare—5o to loo miles apart—and primitive in equipment:—operators use prehistoric makes of gasoline pumps or even fill the tank from cans; hotels for the travelers are limited to the big cities, and are few at that. Thus in this one respect, travel, it will take far more than ten years for them to catch up with us. Housing I have mentioned. To give every family in one room the luxury of 2 rooms means doubling the present frenzied rate of building, which is unlikely.

A contrast is presented by Czechoslovakia, which before the war was one of the more advanced countries of Europe, with flourishing heavy and light industries, and consider-able prosperity. Now, of course, the industries are still very active, but it appears poorer than Germany, and the people look rather shabby—even on Sunday afternoon in Prague, the capital, and on its best street; prices are high and wages lag. A professor at Prague University told me that because he was head of his department and with many subsidiary duties he earned 500 crowns a month, which is about $8500 a year, and except for Academy members and senior Communist party officials, this would be the highest salary level. Prices are not low and goods appear rather scarce. A revealing experience was an attempt to buy an electric plug for my shaver; several electrical goods stores had big front


rooms with television sets and refrigerators on display, but when one penetrated to the back room, where the actual business was done, it developed that what most people were queuing up for was flashlight bulbs. The implications of a great need for flashlights in a city of the size and modernity of Prague are worth thinking about.

Again, books are cheap in Czechoslovakia, though they are in large part political propaganda; everything else is dear and seemed of mediocre quality. The small towns are not so crowded as in Russia, and the rural districts, except for much party propaganda everywhere, look normal. All in all, it is a fair deduction that, while things are improving in Soviet Russia, they are stationary or even declining in Czechoslovakia, and the inference is that the country is being bled of its productivity to supply the USSR. There is no proof of this, of course.

An exception to the universal state ownership in the Soviet Union is that a really well-paid man can buy a car, and it becomes his own property (unlike a house or apartment, which is merely supplied by the State). He can leave it in his will to his wife or son. When we suggested to our guide in Kharkov that this would be the beginning of capitalism he was indignant: "Capitalism," he said, "is the exploitation of the worker." One cannot argue when the definitions of terms are so completely different. We did see a street of privately-owned houses in the suburbs of Kharkov,—rather decrepit old wooden structures, but still privately owned. Whether the owners will be able to keep them up is another question—since it is probably difficult to obtain building materials or labor.

The biggest contrast, it appeared to me, was between the city and the country. In the cities there is the frenzied building of big apartment houses,—usually with stores on the ground floor,—there are wide streets, especially in the new parts, excellent parks and recreation facilities, including a zoo in most cities, and in Kiev a magnificent sandy beach on the shores of the Dnieper River. In short, the feeling, at least on the surface, is of modernity, progress and drive. But in the country, people are still living in the 18th century. Most of the Ukrainian villages consist of wooden, z-room cottages, plastered with mud; we even saw the women mixing up the mud with cattle manure, apparently a usual procedure, and applying it with a brush or even with their bare hands. Some of the rural cottages have electricity but very many (perhaps a half of those we saw) do not. In the North the mud huts give way to log cabins, built just like the primitive log cabins of America, with moss laid between the logs and a tiny chimney in the roof. Thsee are not exceptional, but the rule; thousands of villages contain almost wholly this kind of house. From news-paper pictures, which are invariably taken in Moscow, one gets the impression that Russia consists of huge brick apartment houses, but the fact is that it is in the main a country of mud huts and log cabins. One must remember, too, that the villages we saw were those on or close to the main road. Those in the back country are hardly likely to be more advanced.

As to the actual agriculture, much has been said about the manufacture of tractors; the Kharkov factory, we were told, turns out more tractors than France and Italy combined. But since neither of these is a great tractor-producing country, and both are small in area compared to the USSR, this is not very convincing. We did see a number of tractors, and harvester-combines too, which look like the American article, (all farming is collective and these are owned by the collective farm). I saw ploughing with tractors and harvesting with combines. However, either there are nowhere near enough of these machines or else they are often out of order (like the cars on the side of the high-ways) ; in any case we saw plenty of hand labor. Peat, an important fuel in the country, is cut and stacked by hand over large areas. We saw a whole village starting to cut an immense field of wheat with hand-scythes—a field stretching out of sight over the rolling hills. I even saw a peasant threshing wheat by hand with a flail, something I had never seen, although I grew up in a rural district in England. This was probably his own wheat, i.e. wheat grown on his own land, for most country folk have an eighth to a quarter of an acre of their own and take the products to the farmers' market. Presumably, he was not allowed access to whatever threshing machinery they may have had on the farm. Everywhere, heavy work is done by women;— scything, digging, pounding in stone on the roads, driving spikes on the railway, spreading asphalt, loading trucks, carrying building materials. This is not due to the war, for we had seen the same thing at the time of the Physiological Congress in 1935. And the horse is very much the engine of transportation still,—everywhere farm-carts drawn by one or two horses are doing most of the carrying, though parties of people occasionally ride standing up in trucks. Contrast this with the situation in Finland, which, of course, has only a fraction of the resources of Russia. I watched the farmers' market setting up in Burgs (east of Helsinki) ; nine of the farmers arrived in trucks or cars, three with horse-drawn wagons, one with a motor-cycle and one old lady with a pushcart. So 9/14, or 6o per cent, owned a car or truck.

The main Soviet crops are corn, wheat, sunflowers and cabbage. Further north, potatoes take the place of corn, and there is also rape. Hay is cut from the meadows; I saw no evidence of balers; it was stacked loose in haycocks as in the old days. East of Kiev, thousands and thousands of fruit trees have been put in, a great many square miles of them, and when these come into bearing they should relieve the present great scarcity of fruit. Presumably spraying equipment will be manufactured in quantity from now on, but one wonders where the skill and knowledge necessary for the proper care of fruit trees will come from. The present apples are very inferior and would never reach a U. S. or European market. All of this reminds us that the botanical aspects of politics, which are of tremendous importance, are not usually given sufficient weight. We saw a striking ex-ample in the much-heralded visit of Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana. Everywhere in Prague the Czechoslovakian children were handed out Ghanaian flags to


wave; there were big crowds and a great government reception. He had previously had the same reception in Hungary, and in several hotels in Moscow we came across Ghanaian delegations comfortably ensconced at the Soviet's expense. All this enthusiasm is of course because the Soviets badly want tropical agricultural products, especially palm oil, cocoa and chocolate, of which Ghana is one of the world's largest producers. With a ten-cent chocolate bar priced at $1, one can understand the Soviet passion for Ghana and the Congo.

The interaction between botany and politics is of course exemplified by the well-known support by the Communist party of Lysenko's doctrines. This has severely limited the plant and animal breeding programs and thus set Soviet agriculture even more behind that of the West than it was before the revolution. Also scientifically, by stopping the development of genetics, it has excluded the Soviets from the immense modern development in this field, which has done so much to enrich other areas of biology and especially biochemistry. As a practical matter, with the huge plantings of corn they now have in the Ukraine and even north above Moscow, it has denied them the increased yields due to hybird corn, estimated to average 30 per cent. It is rumored that the Agricultural Academy, until recently pre-sided over by Lysenko, is to be abolished, on account of its not having served the Union effectively. This (if true) might well be only a device for reducing Lysenko's power. Another observation worthy of record is that north of Leningrad we saw no cereal crops at all, only a little hay and potatoes, most of the land being left in wilderness; where-as across the border in Finland fine crops of wheat, oats and rye were growing. Does this not suggest much better progress in breeding, and in selection for cool-season cereals, on the Finnish side?

Soviet and Czech botanical laboratories, as far as I saw them, seemed entirely adequate. I visited six, three in Czechoslovakia and three in the USSR. Professor Prat in Prague is maintaining very large collections of sterile cultures of algae, mosses and liverworts; he also studies photosynthesis, and the effects of humic acid on growth. The Microbiological laboratories there are doing interesting work on pathogenic Corynebacteria, physiological pathology and biochemistry. Professor Dostāl in Brno, though long ago retired, is still working steadily on the correlations between plant organs, a sort of descriptive plant endocrinology. Professor Rubin at the University of Moscow is training numbers of graduate students, and doing work on respiration and root metabolism. The Timiriazev Institute of Plant Physiology in Moscow (an Academy laboratory, quite independent of the University) provided our best visit. Dr. A. L. Kursanov, one of Russia's leading plant physiologists, and known to many Americans, is directing work on a number of topics including the role of 0215 in metabolism. Dr. M. H. Chailachian continues his celebrated work on photoperiodism and vernalisation and their interrelations with gibberellic acid. He had just demonstrated the formation of gibberellin-like subsances in vernalized cereal seeds and showed us these experiments. In Leningrad Dr. Bressler is working on protein synthesis in bacteria and viruses and the physicochemistry of virus proteins. The equipment was generally good; optical apparatus from Eastern Germany, Soviet-made isotope apparatus; Soviet-copied and improved Beck-man spectrophotometers, Soviet and German centrifuges, ect. Their work is evidently not hampered by equipment shortages.

An interesting visit was to the Chair (Section) of Plant Physiology at the University of Moscow, one of the 26 Chairs in the very large Department of Biological and Soil Sciences. The students enter after high school or, more generally now, after 2 years of practical work on farms or in factories. (This system tends to emphasize the practical applications of science, which is not so good.) In Botany there are two pathways, the morphological and physiological-experimental, with different entrance examinations. A 5¼ year course, in which the last 21/2 years are specialized, leads to the Diploma, which is equivalent to our A.M. In the last years all students carry out a research problem. Several additional years are required to attain the Candidat or Ph.D., for which five to seven publications are essential. About 70 per cent of the students are women. The training has plenty of practical work, e.g. in the fourth year in Plant Physiology the students have 6o lecture hours and 15 4-hour laboratory periods.

If the teaching and research are entirely adequate, the agriculture seriously behindhand, and the economics not up to ours (though interesting because experimental), what are we to say about the spirit, the state of mind, the intangible price which the Soviet people have paid for the tangible effects of the revolution? This is difficult for a visitor to encompass but crucially important, for the freedom on which we of the West pride ourselves is largely in the abstract; though we are free in principle, we are often con-strained by custom, by habit or by the social mores,—what de la Mare calls "The whole vague populous host that keep one as definitely in one's place in the world economy as a firm-set pin the camphored moth." On these psychological matters one can speak only with many reservations, for much more extensive knowledge would be needed.

Of one aspect there can be little doubt. Let me mention three slight incidents.

  1. One of my colleagues offered to drive a Russian girl a few miles off the highway to her home town. They were stopped by a policeman. Looking at his passenger, my col-league was astonished to find that she was white and petrified with fear.

  2. Another of my colleagues was so rash as to photo-graph some soldiers (which is forbidden). He was in the suburbs of Moscow with a student guide. An armed police-man came up and reprimanded him, threatening to confiscate the camera. My friend looked to his guide for help, but the young man had run away—sooner than face a policeman.

  3. The car on crossing the borders of the USSR has to be inspected inside and out—and underneath, with an in-


spection pit. The reason, as I was told by a friendly guard, is that they are looking, not for smuggled goods, but for men. They are evidently terrified that men—opposed to the regime no doubt—will escape.

The keynote of these anecdotes is fear. A Russian told us frankly: "We all live in fear—not only of the authorities, but of one another. No man can trust another—even with-in his own family."

Of course, it is true that Russians in general may have never known what real Freedom is like, for the great development of liberalsim and tolerance in the 19th and zoth centuries in the West passed them by,—but the revolution has certainly done nothing to foster it and has only intensified the tradition of fear. The tragedy is stronger in other countries; such as Czechoslovakia and Hungary, which have known freedom. It is this fear that is doubtless responsible for their complete insulation from the world. A visitor feels this very keenly. In the Soviet Union one can get no news of the west. Pravda and the other papers are full of Communist party doings, gloating over Soviet achievements, reporting domestic affairs, such things as Titov's trip in the satellite, etc., and the only Western (Communist) papers, such as the Daily worker and L'Humanite, are the same. The radio programs from outside are either jammed or too weak to be heard. In the University there is a radio in every students' room, but it has only one switch—on and off. This is worse than it was under the Czars. An oldish man who was carrying the Times folded up in a book said:—"Before the revolution I could have carried the Times openly in the streets of Moscow; in fact I could have bought it here. Now it is illegal. You must remember that when Lenin was in Siberia we read him freely in Moscow."

The most important question is; what can we do about it all; what should our attitude be? The Soviet Union is not only an immense territory; it is self-contained. This fact was brought home to me by an exhibition of arts and crafts in Moscow. Here was work from every people's democratic soviet socialist republic in the Union. It varied from Russian painting, Lithuanian weaving, Ukrainian embroidery to Eskimo shoes and costumes, Turkestan brass-work, Mongolian pots, and Moslem prayer rugs. The Union is much more varied than the U. S. A. and Western Europe, in climate, in peoples and in traditions. It is true that the separate republics have little or no real autonomy, I gather; they are tightly run from Moscow. But it is a world of its own; one feels that if the whole West were to be engulfed tomorrow, it would make very little difference to the USSR. The Union is so vast we cannot hope to up-set it; even to dismember it, or separate off parts of it, would be a major understaking quite likely to fail. You cannot destroy another car by driving your own car at it head-on. On the other hand, the slow growth of private property, the increasing influence and prestige of the scientists and other intelligentsia, and the spark of divine discontent that appears from time to time in all men, leads one to believe that gradually the Soviets will draw nearer to our way of life,—just as to a small degree the increasing intervention of governmental activity and governmental organization in our lives (still more advanced in Western Europe) brings us somewhat closer to theirs. The Soviets are here to stay. They have a large, varied and well integrated mechanism like ours. Then, too, their science is growing and as scientists we use their results and of necessity work with them. Botanists of course have always been familiar with Russian contributions. Vavilov was elected President of the 1939 Genetics Congress (though he was not allowed to attend). The Botanical Society has an active pro-gram of translating books and monographs, of which the first, Vasiliev's Wintering of Plants, has just appeared. The AIBS has been issuing the Doklady and Fysiologia Rastenyi in English. What we are doing between scientists, in ex-tending recognition, maintaining and developing contacts, translating their books and journals, we shall have to do as between nations. There is really no choice. The sooner we make up our minds to it, the better. That is my conclusion, and I think it must be every intelligent man's.


The Asia Foundation has for the past six years sponsored a Books for Asian Students Program to provide Asian faculties, students and libraries with needed books and journals. Over one and one-half million books and more than a quarter of a million journals have been sent to thousands of Asian institutions, in fifteen countries. Requests for books have been increasing and the program needs new sources of donation.

Books and journals are needed in most of the liberal arts fields, science, technology, law, journalism, and business. Scholarly, scientific and technical journals are needed in runs of five years or more. University, college, and secondary level books (except foreign languages) in good condition will be welcomed provided that they have been published after 1945. Works of standard authors (Dickens, Plato, T. Huxley, etc.) published before 1945 are also needed.

The Asia Foundation will pay transportation costs from the donor to San Francisco and thence to Asia. Books may be shipped by the following methods only: Educational Materials rate parcel post in packages under 70 pounds (reimbursement for which will be sent on receiving donor's postal receipt); or if quantity is large by motor freight (truck) collect, (but not by Railway Express or moving van). Books may be shipped in cardboard cartons, securely tied. All shipments or questions concerning categories, criteria and program details should be addressed to: Books for Asian Students, 21 Drumm Street, San Francisco r1, California.

Request for Seeds of Robinia

Dr. J. Paris, Muzeum korut 4/a, Budapest, Hungary is interested in obtaining samples of viable seeds of Robinia pseudo-acacia (black locust) from various localities in the United States and Canada for a physiological study. He is also interested in a brief statement regarding the soil type.


Minutes of the Business Meeting
At Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana

Session I—August 28, 1961

1. The meeting was called to order by President Cheadle at 1:05 p.m. in Room 320 of the Chemistry Building. Approximately too members were present, this constituting a quorum.

2. As instructed by the Council, the Secretary presented the names of those on the second nominating ballot who stood in the top three places as a result of the balloting in which more than 1200 votes had been received. These names, listed in order, highest in each category, were as follows:



Vice   President

Member of Editorial
Committee 1962-1964

G. L. Stebbins, Jr.

D. D. Keck

R. McVaugh

P. J. Kramer

A. W. Galston

A. Lang

J.   N.   Couch

P. Dansereau

T. A. Steeves

A motion was made, seconded, and carried unanimously that the candidates with the highest number of votes in each category be elected. The new officers for 1962, there-fore, are:

President: G. L. Stebbins, Jr.

Vice President: D. D. Keck

Editorial Committee Member: R. McVaugh

  • The Secretary reported that votes on the proposed By-law amendment, to change the dues for patron membership from $250.00 to $500.00 were 1,052 votes for and 72 against. A motion was therefore made and carried unanimously that the By-laws be so modified.

  • Upon the recommendation of the Council a motion was made and carried unanimously that the dues for Life Membership be raised from $100.00 to $200.00, effective immediately.

  • It was announced that various reports from Sections and Committees of the Society had been received and approved by the Council (these are appended to the minutes of the Council Meeting).

  • The interim reports and proposed budgets of both the Treasurer and the Business Manager were approved by the membership present.

  • Dr. Thimann, Chairman of the Committee for Corresponding Membership, proposed the following names for Corresponding Membership:


Dr. Erwin Bunning (physiologist)


Dr. David Catcheside (geneticist)


Dr. Michael Evenari (ecologist)


D. Albert Frey-Wyssling (cytologist)


Dr. Roger Heim (mycologist)


Dr. Eric Hulten (taxonomist)


Dr. Hiroshi Tamiya (physiologist)


Dr. C. G. G. Jan Van Steenis (taxonomist)


Dr. Frans Verdoorn (botanical historian)


A motion was made and carrie unanimously that the above persons be accorded Corresponding Membership in the Society. (There are now 39 Corresponding Members; the By-laws allow 40.)

  1. President Cheadle presented a report from Dr. G. S. Avery, Chairman of a Committee on Special Awards, in which it was announced that two awards of $250.00 each for five years would be available to the Society from the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden respectively. First presentation of these awards will be made at the annual meetings in 1962. A committee headed by Dr. R. C. Rollins will work out the details of announcing the purpose of these awards and methods of making them. The assembled body moved a vote of thanks to Doctors G. S. Avery and W. C. Steere, Directors of the two gardens, for making these awards available.

  2. It was announced that the Botanical Society would henceforth make appropriate payment to the A.I.B.S. so that all members (including Retired, Student and Corresponding) might receive the A.I.B.S. Bulletin.

ro. Dr. John Tucker, representing the Pacific Section of the Society presented the following resolution:


The United States National Tropical Botanic Garden

Whereas, there is presently no national tropical botanic garden in the United States, for a living museum of tropical plants and for basic and applied research in tropical botany; and

Whereas, the climate and soil of Hawaii are exceptionally well suited to the growth of tropical vegetation, and would make Hawaii the ideal location for a national tropical botanic garden; and

Whereas, the tropical botanic garden would benefit the entire nation by facilitating research and instruction in tropical botany and agriculture by botanists and scholars from within the nation and abroad; and

Whereas, such a garden would serve as a sanctuary for the native birds of Hawaii, and aid admirably in the preservation and conservation of the native plants of which more than ninety per cent of the species are endemic; and

Whereas, the need for such a garden has many times been felt by professional plant scientists of the nation; and

Whereas, there are now pending before the Congress of the United States two bills (S. 772, introduced by Senators Long and Fong, and H.R. 5628, introduced by Representative Inouye) which would provide for a study of the feasibility and desirability of establishing a permanent National Tropical Botanic Garden in the State of Hawaii, now, there-fore,

Be it resolved, by the Botanical Society of America, assembled at its annual business meeting on August 28, 1961, in Lafayette, Indiana (Purdue University), that the Society fully endorses the establishment of a National Tropical Botanic Garden in the State of Hawaii, and will be glad to cooperate in any studies in relation to its establishment; and

Be it further resolved, that the Botanical Society of America does hereby respectfully request the passage of S. 772 and H.R. 5628 by the Congress of the United States; and


Be it further resolved, that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the President of the United States, and to the Senators and Representatives of the 87th Congress of the United States of America.

After appropriate discussion, a motion was made and carried unanimously that this resolution be adopted by the Society.

  1. The Meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m., to meet again at 1:0o p.m. on August 29.

Session II—August 29, 1961

  1. The Meeting was called to order in Room 306, Memorial Center, by President Cheadle, there being over 150 members present.

  2. Dr. Paul J. Kramer, the Society's representative to the National Committee of Plant Science Societies, introduced a discussion relative to an action taken by the Council at its regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday, August 27, 1961. The reasons for taking the action were then described by Dr. Richard H. Goodwin, Coordinator for the National Committee of Plant Science Societies. After brief but spirited remarks, pro and con, by several individuals, the following resolution, earlier adopted unanimously by the Council, was introduced by Dr. Kramer, regularly seconded, and carried by a large majority.

"It is resolved that the Botanical Society of America approves in principle the formation of a plant science group within the A.I.B.S., to be composed of such plant science societies as wish, while maintaining their identities, to join for such purpose; and

That the Botanical Society of America will assume its share of responsibilities, financial and otherwise, connected with such an organization; and

That the Botanical Society of America will publish for its members progress reports on the formation of the plant science group."

  1. There being no other business before the Society, the meeting stood adjourned at 1:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted

B. L. TURNER, Secretary


Dr. J. Ben Hill, Emeritus Professor of Botany of the Pennsylvania State University, died in the Centre County Hospital on March 31, after a long illness.

Dr. Lester W. Sharp, Emeritus Professor of Botany at Cornell University, died at his home in Nuevo, California, on July 17, 1961, after a long illness.

Dr. J. E. Livingston, Head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at the Pennsylvania State University, died unexpectedly on August 15, 1961 of a heart attack while attending a meeting at Washington, D. C. A Jesse Livingston Memorial Lectureship and Library Fund has been established by the Department. Anyone interested in contributing to it should make checks payable to "The Jesse Livingston Memorial Fund" and send to Dr. J. E. Wright, Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

AWARDS, 1961

At the annual banquet of the Society, President V. I. Cheadle announced the following Merit Award Winners for "outstanding contributions to American Botany." The recipients and the citations enscribed on their Certificates of Merit are:

FREDERICK CAMPION STEWARD, plant physiologist and bio-

chemist, widely known for his research on salt accumulation, nitrogen metabolism, and plant tissue cultures; also an editor of numerous important contributions in the field of plant physiology.

WILLIAM RANDOLPH TAYLOR, world-renowned authority

on the algae, especially of marine waters, with first-hand knowledge of the floras of many parts of the world. Author of numerous important books and articles dealing with the algae of such diverse areas as the northeastern coast of North America, the Caribbean, the west coast of tropical America, and Bikini.

The Darbaker Award was presented by Dr. R. W. Krauss, chairman of the Committee, to Dr. Paul B. Green of the Universtiy of Pennsylvania for his meritorious work in the study of algae.

The Cooley Award for the outstanding paper presented before the Systematic Section was given to W. R. Ernest of Stanford University for his paper, "On the Family Status of the Fumariaceae." The award was presented by Dr. A. J. Sharp, President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.


The annual banquet on August 3o, 1961 was attended by 419 persons. Following the presentation of awards and the address by Dr. K. V. Thimann, immediate past President, President Cheadle adjourned the gathering with the following statement:

"Before we close, I wish to express the Society's gratitude to Purdue University and its staff—especially to our local representative, the untiring, indomitable A. Carl Leopold—and to the American Institute of Biological Sciences, for having made our meeting so enjoyable and worthwhile. Unless I hear an objection, our remarkably able Secretary shall spread these tributes over the Minutes in the form of a resolution, copies of which shall be sent to those concerned."

A smoker, courtesy of the Botanical Society, was held immediately following the banquet in Room 250 of the Stu-dent Union. Approximately Soo persons attended.

Dr. David R. Goddard, Kuemmerle Professor of Botany and Director of the Division of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania has been elected Provost of the University by the trustees. Dr. Goddard will retain his professorship and continue his undergraduate teaching while serving as Provost.

Dr. Bassett Maguire, head curator and coordinator of tropical research at The New York Botanical Garden, has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Botany at Columbia University by the Board of Trustees of the University.

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