A FEW LESSONS IN
THE WELL-BEING of the Livermore laboratory was always at the forefront of my thoughts, but until 1958, it did not occupy all my time. In addition to my academic responsibilities at the university and my work at the Berkeley and Livermore laboratories—and my occasional activities in Washington—I was involved in consulting with Nelson Rockefeller.
In about 1954 or 1955, my friend Teddy Walkowicz introduced me to Nelson Rockefeller. (Teddy knew Nelson Rockefeller because of his work as a consultant to the Rockefeller Family Trust.) Nelson had held some appointed offices in the Roosevelt and Eisenhower administrations, and at the time I met him I believe he was undersecretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and also a special advisor to President Eisenhower on foreign affairs.
Nelson was committed to a career in public service (rather than politics) and, being a conscientious man, he was undertaking an assessment of the needs of the nation to prepare himself for political office. I was honored when Nelson asked me to join the study group, even though that meant foregoing my interest in being a consultant to the Family Trust, an invitation that Laurance Rockefeller had issued. I considered the work of the study group an important and interesting project. And so it proved. Nelson's study group provided me my first real (although not necessarily fully realistic) introduction to the world of American political thought.
In one respect, Rockefeller was the most unusual political figure I have known. All politicians in my experience listen to advice. Some of them listen