Gilbert F. White
hear about congressmen or politicians reading this kind of book, or is it
mainly limited to an academic audience?
A: I never had any indication of politicians looking at it. Most of the response
I had was from people within the agencies or from a few academicians who
came across it. In fact, it was some of them that publicized the book rather
than my having undertaken to do so.
Q: Was the book used at all during the drafting of various reports by the first
A: Oh, yes, certainly the ideas were incorporated.
Q: The first Hoover Commission, as I recall, came up with a recommendation
to get the Corps of Engineers out of civil works. What did you think about
A: At the time I felt that if Hoover had been strong enough to bring about a
genuine national water resources agency in which he incorporated the Corps
and Bureau of Reclamation, it would have been a desirable move. Several of
us had dinner one night with President Hoover and he recalled his early
experiences with the Corps of Engineers. He was rather hostile to it. And
he said he was prepared to get the Corps out of the water business. My
feeling was if he could get the Corps out of the water business and the Bureau
of Reclamation out of its similar more narrowed channel, and lead to
development of a genuine national water management agency, this would be
highly desirable. He never was able to do that. Lacking that, my view was
make the best you can out of two agencies that are both deeply rooted in
communities and political power structures of the United States and try to help
them do the best they can without an administrative change.
Q: And so we then get into the preparation of what was to be called the Green
Book, and then there's BOB Circular A-47. Were you involved with those
A: Yes, but in a rather peripheral way. I was involved in trying to get them
started, and I suggested some of the people who worked on them at the time,
such as Ed Ackerman, who left his post as assistant general manager of the