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1961—November 8, 1961, may be identified as the first beginnings of the future integration of NSF programs relating to the oceans. A memo to files by Harve Carlson, director of BMS, reported on a meeting "to bring about better communication between interested divisions and offices within the Foundation in reference to oceanography." The attendees identified a list of discussion items for future meetings, which included drawing up a 10-year "program for oceanography," providing regular input to NSF representatives on the ICO (i.e., the associate director for research with Carlson as alternate), and issues relating to ICO and NASCO.

A second meeting was held on December 29, 1961, and a twice-monthly meeting schedule was set up through April 1963. New issues not mentioned at the previous meeting included coordination of the planned International Indian Ocean Expedition, the question of who makes international commitments involving universities (ICO, NSF, or State Department), anticipation of congressional problems (the Magnuson Act and other oceanography-related bills), and ships and ship titles. A bill had been passed directing the establishment of a position of assistant director for oceanography in the White House Office of Science and Technology, but it was vetoed by President Kennedy.

1962—In March 1962, a contractor was selected for Phase 2 of Project Mohole (Deep Crustal Studies of the Earth), and the position of NSF managing coordinator for Project Mohole was selected, reporting to the Associate Director for Administration. On May 4 the Foundation's Mohole Committee was established. Initially funded at $1.65 million, the project was expected to "require between 3 and 5 years to complete." The detailed story of this and subsequent programs of deep seafloor drilling is told by Edward Winterer in this volume.

On March 27 the NSF produced an internal report entitled "10-Year Projection of National Science Foundation Plans to Support Basic Research in Oceanography." The projection of plans was made "without regard to possible budgetary restrictions," but was "meant to convey some notion of the magnitude of effort required . . . ." There were four sections with budgets rising from 1962 to 1971 in Physical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography, Antarctic Program, and the International Activities. Table 1 includes research, facilities, and ''all other aspects of oceanography." Physical oceanography was defined to include "all physical, chemical and geological phenomena."


NSF Ten-Year Budget Projections (million dollars)


Physical Oceanography

Biological Oceanography



International Activities











NOTE: See Appendix E for actual budget figures.

SOURCE: NSF (1962a).

The budget numbers for fiscal year 1962 are realistic since they are not out-year projections or based on wishful thinking, but they are approximate, since grants were included under "biological oceanography" at the judgment of program managers of several different programs.

The year 1962 saw the initiation of the second large-scale ocean-related program following on from IGY. It was the International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE). Conceived in 1958 within ICSU, it was based on the premise (NSF, 1962b) that the Indian Ocean was the least understood ocean, biologically and physically, but there were indications that it might have a biological productivity higher than either the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans. This was contrasted to the fact that "many inhabitants of the surrounding region suffer from severe dietary protein deficiency." Also, the seasonal reversal of monsoon winds made it a "huge natural laboratory for observing the effects of wind stress on oceanic currents." The NSF budgets for fiscal years 1962 and 1963 for IIOE were $2.1 million and $4.4 million, respectively. By comparison with the numbers in Table 1, it is clear that these funds represented a very significant infusion of new support for oceanography.

On April 13, 1962, NSF Director Alan Waterman signed directive O/D-102, which officially established the NSF Coordinating Group on Oceanography (CGO). "In addition to its general responsibilities," it was specifically tasked with coordination of oceanographic facilities; conversion, construction, and operation of ships; and the International Indian Ocean Expedition.

Within two months, Randal Robertson, the Associate Director for Research and chairman of CGO, established an Ad Hoc Panel on Grants and Contracts for Ship Construction, Conversion and Operations, whose initial assignment was to assemble existing agreements and background information, and recommend a set of procedures to be adopted.

The Division of Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences redesignated its program areas as "sections" on October 29, 1962. The Earth Sciences Program Office became the Earth Sciences Section, and four programs were established: Oceanography, Geophysics, Geology, and Geochemistry.

Beyond NSF, NASCO now decided to prepare a report giving the best estimates of the possible actual worth to this country from the planned National Oceanographic Program, particularly an expanded research effort.

1963—In two meetings of the CGO (January 25 and March 27, 1963), committee members wrestled with definitions of "oceanography" and "oceanographic manpower." It was noted that only in MPES was there a single program, and hence a "line item," for the support of all oceanography. Various programs of BMS supported marine-related biol

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