Gilbert F. White
contributions through it. It was the first attractive-looking government report
that had been put out. Did you ever see it?
Q: No, I don't think I have.
A: It was distinguished by its graphics, by its quality of writing, and by the way
it was marketed, because Morris Cooke called wide attention to it. He took
it over and presented it to the President. The President made a variety of
comments about it. It probably was the first time that a group of federal
agencies joined together to propose how a disaster which the country had just
experienced could be prevented in the future. Parts of it, the analysis of the
environment of the Plains--its climate, its soils, vegetation, water
resources--are quite accurate today. (I have written this up in the Great
Plains Quarterly for spring 1986, pages 84 to 93.) Parts of it, its analysis of
the capacity for technological change in respect to both crops and ground-
water exploitation and its estimate of the capacity of society to change in
planning resource, were way off base. It's one of the early cases in the
history of the United States where there was a unified effort by all the
agencies to grapple with a major social and environmental problem and to
propose a single set of solutions.
Q: What was your involvement?
A: Oh, I was secretary of the Water Resources Committee. The Water
Resources Committee was asked to contribute to the water part of it. It was
mostly agricultural economics and soil conservation.
Q: Another issue that I didn't discuss with you and a project which did produce
a handsome publication is the National Water Commission Report, published
in 1973. Do you know what I' m referring to? Howard Cook was involved
A: Yes. That was the one that Ted Schad directed, and Chuck Lute was the
chairman. I was a consultant for that, as I had been for the report of the
Senate Select Committee on Water Resources in 1960.
Q: To what extent did you get involved?