Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism

By Jeanne Guillemin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

SECRET SHARING AND THE
JAPANESE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROGRAM
(1934–1945)

As World War II was ending, Secretary of War Henry Stimson ordered that research and development in biological warfare should continue. The Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service (renamed the Chemical Corps in 1946) was put in charge of the program, and he was to be guided by the advice of the Surgeon General on medical aspects. The Army and Navy were expected to continue their cooperation. The newly established Air Force joined them in 1948. Partnerships with Canada and the United Kingdom also continued.1

For a brief time after the war, the US program showed considerable openness about its wartime activities and their contributions to scientific research. In October 1945, after arguing that an open publication policy would retain high-quality biologists and attract new ones, the Chemical Warfare Service was allowed to relax its publication rules.2 From then until 30 June 1947, 156 scientific papers passed approval at Camp Detrick. Of these, 121 were published in the open literature, 15 were accepted for journal publication, 20 articles were under review, and another 28 papers had been presented at professional meetings. The subjects covered included aerobiology, bacteriology, veterinary medicine, and the study of plant pathogens. In May 1947, the formerly secret report by Rosebury and Kabat discussed in chapter 1 was published by the Journal of Immunology. Rosebury also brought out his book Experimental Air-Borne Infection as a publication of the Society of American Bacteriologists. This work contained a diagram of an aerosol chamber devised at Camp Detrick, photographs of equipment, and seventy-five tables

-75-

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