Half a Somersault

September 1953
New Republic;9/14/53, Vol. 129 Issue 7, p13
The article discusses issues related to politics and administrative agencies in the United States. Turning somersaults is not ordinarily thought of as a qualification for a member of the Cabinet, but few in the United States are prepared now to deny Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks that knack. On March 31, 1953, Weeks announced the forced resignation of A.V. Astin, Director of the National Bureau of Standards of the Department of Commerce, because the Bureau had reported adversely to the Post Office on a battery dope called AD-X2. On April 17, Weeks reinstated Astin temporarily, pending studies by several committees, and retracted his prior aspersions on the Bureau's integrity and objectivity. The retention of Astin apparently settles at least for the present the issue of political tempering with the directorship of the National Bureau of Standards. The gist of Weeks' remarks in his five-page statement is a criticism of the Bureau on three counts. (1) Serious lack of balance in the programs of the Bureau. (2) Imperfections in the system of evaluating commercial products. (3) Inadequacies of organization and administrative control. The criticisms are not justified by facts, and what is said is largely a matter of face-saving.


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