1979 – Packard Speeches

Box 4, Folder 9 – General Speeches

9/79, Letter to Packard from Vincent dePaul Draddy, inviting him to the Awards Dinner on December 4, 1979. A handwritten note on the letter says “Can’t do.”

Box 4, Folder 24 – General Speeches


June 5, 1979, Annual Brotherhood Award Dinner, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Santa Clara County Council, San Jose, CA


Packard was the Guest Speaker at the dinner program which honored Dr. Frederick Terman and Mr. P.Anthony Ridder


6/5/79, Typewritten text of Packard’s speech


Packard says he was considering what to say at this affair and his mind wandered back to the fall of 1930 when he enrolled as a freshman at Stanford. He had decided he wanted to be an engineer, but didn’t have a clear idea what a career in engineering might entail. He thought he would probably be working for GE building power plants.


In Stanford he took a course in American History and was “thrilled” about the stories of frontier life, and the “Great Western Migration.” He particularly liked the spirit of self reliance that helped people overcome almost insurmountable obstacles.


Packard recalls “a sense of disappointment in realizing that the westward movement in America had ended – there were no more frontiers to conquer.”


Packard first met Fred Terman when he was in his Junior year. Terman was, he says, “a young Professor at Stanford who had been developing a new program in radio engineering. It was radio engineering at that time; that was the title of the textbook he had just completed. Only a few years later the field became known as electronics.”


Packard recalls that “This course opened a new vista for me, not only in terms of the academic content but during the course, the class visited several electronics companies in the Bay Area including some laboratories that were involved in what were to become new frontiers in this newly developing field of electronics.”


Packard graduated in 1934, and did indeed start to work with General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York. He says that electronics “did not have a high priority at General Electric in 1938, and it did not take much persuasion on the part of Fred Terman to convince me I should leave GE and come back to start the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto in 1939 with my old class mate, Bill Hewlett.”


Much of the local electronics industry moved East during World War II and Packard says that the Santa Clara Valley did not share fully in the development of this new frontier. Terman, himself, moved to Boston to “operate the radio research laboratory for the war effort.”


“Many of us who remained here,” he says, “were worried that Fred Terman would not return to Stanford after the war, but he did, and his leadership at Stanford has had a profound influence on the progress and prosperity of our community as well.”


Speaking of the growth and development of the character of Santa Clara Valley, Packard says “We were fortunate to have a system of strong local school boards working to meet the expanding needs of elementary and secondary education during the late 1940s and 1950s.


“We were blessed with a strong system of junior colleges to further broaden and improve our educational system in vocational areas which helped the development of industry and in other areas which contributed to the quality of life.


“And our community has been blessed during the last four decades with increasing individual involvement in private charity. Organizations such as the National Conference, in events such as the one we are attending here tonight, have focused attention of individual citizens on problems of our community and provided substance to deal with them.


“The new frontier of electronics that has been such an important part of Dr. Terman’s life and the life of so many others in Santa Clara County has brought us great prosperity. Most of the firms producing products here export these products out of the State, many out of the country as well. The electronics industry alone will bring into Santa Clara County over ten billion dollars a year, and this will largely go to 600,000 employees and their families. A large share of the wages and salaries these employees receive is spent right here to support the thousands of merchants and service activities that make up the economy of Santa Clara County.”


Blessed as this area may be, Packard sees some problems as well. “We still have areas of poverty in a sea of affluence. We have crowded highways in periods of peak traffic. Housing is expensive, as is nearly everything else.”


Packard says he does not know what the future will bring, but he says “…I am fully convinced the young people of today will …go a long way together in the next fifty years. There will be new problems, new challenges – yes, new frontiers to conquer.


“I have the honor now of presenting the award to Dr. Frederick E. Terman. He has had a great deal to do with making electronics the great new frontier of the 20th century, not just in California but worldwide. As an author and teacher, Dr. Terman opened the door to electronics to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. As Dean of Engineering at Stanford, he developed the finest Department of Electronics Engineering of any University in the country, and as provost of Stanford, he was the driving force in bringing Stanford to the forefront of all of the great universities of the world. And, as I am sure you realize, he had a key role in setting the stage for the great economic prosperity we enjoy in the Santa Clara Valley.”


6/5/79, Typewritten draft of Packard’s speech with several handwritten notations by him

6/5/79, One page typewritten text of the dinner program

4/79, Letter to Packard from C. Lester Hogan, Vice Chairman of the Board of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Division and Robert A. Fuhrman, President, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. The letter asks Packard if he will serve as one of the Vice Chairman of the dinner to honor Terman and Ridder. Attached is a copy of the printed invitation for  the dinner

4/4/79, Letter to Packard from Patrick H. Peabody Chairman of the NCCJ Santa Clara county Region, suggesting they get together to discuss the extent of Packard’s participation on the event committee

5/14/79, Letter to Packard from Lillian Silberestein, Executive Director of the NCCJ, thanking him for agreeing to give the keynote address at the dinner. She encloses some background material about the NCCJ.

5/24/79, Letter to Packard from Lillian Silberstein, asking that Mr. and Mrs. Packard join them at the head table, and giving other details of the dinner arrangements.

Undated, Newspaper clipping from unnamed paper covering Packard’s address at the dinner



Box 4, Folder 25 – General Speeches


July 18, 1979, Statement Before the Energy Resources, Conservation and Development Commission of the State of California, representing the Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group


7/18/79, Copy of the typewritten text of Packard’s statement


Packard tells the Commission of the concerns of the high-technology industry for reliabile electric resources in the near future. He emphasizes that it is not the amount of power they need, it is the reliability.


He describes the size of the industry and the jobs that are involved – says that the industry and the jobs would be at risk if they do not have adequate power reserves. “It is our understanding,” he says, “ that the utilities collectively have set a reserve capacity minimum requirement of approximately 15%, and that your guidelines might be even lower.” With the projected rapid growth of the electronics industry in the county, Packard says the reserve capacity should be more like 25%.


Another point Packard addresses is conservation. “We understand…that you are counting heavily on conservation to provide additional available power for the growth of our industry. All of the member firms of the Santa Clara county Manufacturing Group are aware of the need for conservation, and all of them have instituted programs to conserve electric power and to minimize the waste of energy….”


“We are concerned, however, that there now may be an over-reliance on conservation to provide the needed power reserves for the future….The most effective conservation measures have already been taken.”


Given the projected growth of the electronic industry, and the fact that electric utilities take 5 to 15 years to bring a new generating facilitity on line, Packard says that the risks are extremely high.


“Unless it is your conscious desire that we plan for growth outside the state of California, we urge that you substantially increase the margin of reserve capacity in your planning process.”


“It is clear to me,” Packard says,… “that the present reserve capacity without Diablo Canyon [nuclear plant] is inadequate and that the electricity from the Diablo Canyon facility is needed now. We have no other alternatives for the near term. Though you may want to establish a policy providing other means of power generation for the long term, adequate power for the immediate future, 1980-1981, is critical.”


“In conclusion, let me say that it is the observation of the Santa Clara County Manufacturing Group that the current energy commission forecasts are unrealistic. Further, its policy of constraining economic growth and forcing conservation by means of a minimal electrical power reserve carries with it significant risks in terms of jobs and economic dislocation for a very important segment of the state’s industrial sector. I urge that you modify your policy; that you continue to emphasize conservation but raise the minimum electric power reserve to a more realistic level to avoid the major problems associated with power outages.”


“This state has many superior attributes. They continue to be an attraction to a great many people who want to live here. Accepting growth gracefully is not easy, but I believe it can be done without taking unnecessary risks. We must plan carefully to accommodate changing conditions, but, philosophically, I do not believe that we have to plan for a lower standard of living in order to protect the environment.


“Energy is a matter of great concern to the American people. Changes are inevitable, but those changes must be based on fact and not wishful thinking. I commend your commission for the professional work you have accomplished in providing a solid base for our planning process. It is the decisions that are made from this factual base that will be crucial to the future economy of the state of California. I urge that you establish a policy of safeguarding our future by providing a reserve electric-generating capacity safely in excess of minimum requirements.”



Box 4, Folder 26 – General Speeches


October 4, 1979, Forecasting the Energy Future, Peninsula Industrial and Business Association, Palo Alto, CA


Packard is asked to be the Keynote Speaker at a workshop about energy sponsored by the Peninsula Industrial and Business Association.


10/4/79, Handwritten text of Packard’s speech, written by him on yellow, lined,  writing pad paper.

10/4/79 Also included is a typewritten text of Packard’s speech which is somewhat different, but with the same message.


“Until about 10 years ago,” Packard says, “it was a relatively simple problem to forecast the Energy future for California. The energy situation in California had been outstanding for many decades. There had been good performance and good planning by the public utilities all up and down the State. Gas and electricity were cheap and reliable and industry had no reason to give the matter any concern. It was known that the State had nearly reached the limit of hydroelectric development, that out-of- state sources for gas and oil would increasingly be relied on in the future, but nuclear power would provide an ample back up at reasonable cost.


“There were some straws in the wind 10 years ago that indicated trouble ahead for energy but they did not engender much serious concern. There was increasing opposition to nuclear power but this was from the lunatic fringe elements of society. That situation has not changed except the opposition to nuclear power has become more vocal as well as more lunatic and has been a real deterrent to the expansion of nuclear power.


“I assume this subject will come in for some discussion and, frankly, I believe it is time for the energy using industries in this State to take a much stronger and more visible and active position in support of nuclear power. As I see the situation there will be a very serious energy problem in Northern California if the Diablo Canyon Plant does not go on line before the peak power demand period next year.


“Again, back to the situation ten years ago. During the time I was in Washington – from 1969 to 1972, there was no great concern about energy. There was a great deal of work being done in 1971 to find a solution to the Middle East problem but no one predicted at that time war would break out again, in fact the October War of 1973 was not widely predicted even a few months before it broke.


“There are two things that have happened over the past ten years that have made the energy problem a much more serious matter. The most serious and least controllable development is the change in the Mid-East. First the oil embargo, then Iran. And we now are living with an unstable, unpredictable and dangerous situation. We have the current situation of questionable reliability of supplies and uncontrollable prices.


“Worse yet, we should not, in our planning overlook the distinct probability of further political and possible military turmoil that could further restrict or even disrupt the flow of oil from the Mid-East.


“While the magnitude and the seriousness of the energy problem have greatly increased over the last ten years, our governments, Federal and State, have become actively involved. It is hard to find any evidence that government involvement has made the situation better. Indeed,  almost everything they have done has made it worse.


“Thus, the situation in which we find ourselves is that the Energy Future is at the mercy of developments in the Mid-East and at the mercy of political developments here at home. Actually, the energy future in the United States is also at the mercy of political developments in all of the major oil producing countries, including Canada and Mexico.


“Given these problems, there is little that can be said about the energy future that might not be overtaken by events tomorrow or in a year. Developments in the Mid-East, as you know, have been and will continue to be strongly influenced by what goes on in Washington. The Camp David Summit and the resulting Israeli-Egyptian accords are a step that had to be taken toward any long term solution. Whether the next step can be taken in a way which will not further weaken our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a very important matter bearing on our Energy Future.


“Even more important is the stability of the Saudi Government. Though not very well understood here at home is the fact of U.S. deteriorating military strength, world wide, vs. the Soviet Union. Unless this trend is reversed it is only a matter of time, say five years, until the Soviets are in a position to disrupt the flow of Mid-East oil. And the United States would have no way to deal with the situation short of the resort to nuclear arms – a course I do not consider to be acceptable to us or to the rest of the world.


Packard says he mentions this as a “possibility” not a “probability” – “the worst possible development in relation to our Energy Future.


“It has often been said that we do not have an Energy Crisis – we have instead a crisis of too much government in energy matters. The Energy Future will depend a great deal on whether and when our Federal and State governments realize they have very little ability to deal with the problem of producing and distributing energy, and turn this matter back to be resolved by the forces and incentives of a free market.


“I believe more of the general public is becoming disillusioned by the intervening hand of government, but they are not yet ready to let the private sector get on with the job. For that reason, the Energy Future in California will continue to be distorted and held back by the helpful hand of Big Brother in Washington or of Little Brother in Sacramento.


“On this point, a friend of mine recently asked Governor Brown why he continued to appoint so many ‘kooks,’ such as Jane Fonda and her like to important offices in Sacramento. The Governor’s response was – ‘After all there are so many ‘kooks’ in California and they deserve to be represented.’


Packard reemphasizes the point that it is not possible to forecast the future energy picture with any assurance that the forecast would be right – “except to the extent one can forecast the outcome of a very ominous world wide political military situation and an equally unpredictable domestic political situation.”


Packard turns to some specific aspects of the energy situation. “First, I strongly believe a safety factor should be included in projections for growth in electrical energy demand. The reason I say this is because the cost of an energy shortfall will be so high in terms of loss of production, driving industry from the State, and unnecessary inconveniences of all kinds that far overshadow the cost of a reasonable margin of reserve capacity in our systems….It is much easier to provide standby reserves of gas or oil at individual plant locations [than for electrical power.]


“Second, I do not believe we can possibly meet our energy needs without nuclear power. As I see it, we will have a very serious problem in Northern California if the Diablo Canyon plant does not go on stream in the near future. If I am wrong about this Mr. Shackelford [Bart Shackelford, President of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.] can set the record straight [when he speaks] this noon.”


“If the situation on nuclear power is as serious as it appears to be, I believe it is essential for all of us who are energy users to speak up. The utilities are not likely to carry the day against Governor Brown and his ‘kooks’ without help – and we users are the ones who will lose if the battle is lost.


“I do not believe we will have a shortage of natural gas in the foreseeable future if the government will get out of the way and let the free market forces come into play.


“Oil is another matter, and there will be a shortage for transportation, automobiles and airlines, and it will require strong action on every front —  conservation, coal conversion, alcohol and other substitutes —  as well as further progress on automobile fuel efficiency to avoid very serious problems in the future.


“Here, the development of tar sands and shale could help enormously. I understand the Canadian tar sands have oil equivalent to perhaps fifty years of current world wide oil consumption, and shale perhaps even more. These sources have a high monetary price and a high ecological price but they both should be given high priority against the potential risks to the world wide supply of conventional oil.


“Solar power, particularly if one includes biological products, wind etc. do have considerable potential over the longer term. I think current efforts to subsidize solar installations are misguided and will result in the installation of much unsatisfactory equipment. There is already a great deal of effort going into research and development of practical equipment and here again I believe we would be better off to rely on the market forces rather than government intervention to get the job done.


Adding to his previous mention of conservation, Packard says “It is certainly true that the cheapest energy we will ever have is the energy we have today. Some people believe that conservation could reduce by 30-40% our current use of energy. I do not believe this is realistic without the most stringent measures to induce conservation. Putting this matter in another way we could probably live on 30-40% less energy – yes, even 30-40% less oil and gasoline if we had to, but I don’t see any way to induce the American public to such drastic conservation. I don’t believe that even a large increase in price would do [it.] I don’t know what the price demand for oil and gasoline might be but it is probably 2 or 3 – 1 at least. I doubt that $3 a gallon gasoline would reduce consumption by more than 25%. And, of course, this is all speculative because it is not politically doable.


“I am afraid I have not done very well in saying anything new or useful about Forecasting the Energy Future. I make no special apology, however, for books have been written on this subject by people who have not said anything useful either.


“The subject of your workshop today is immensely important for the future welfare of your companies and our industries here on the Peninsula. We, as energy users, have a great stake in this issue. I believe we can have a considerable influence on the Energy Future if only we give it a very high priority and begin to work and speak out in a way that will counter all the anti energy these ‘kooks’ in California, who are working hard with a serious dedication against the future welfare of our companies, our employees and our customers.


“It is time to change from defensive actions to offensive actions and I commend to all of you the best defense is a good offense. And I suggest to each of you that [that] old adage applies to energy as well as to football.”


10/4/79, Copy of printed registration form for the PMA program

10/4/79, Copy of the printed program for the energy workshop

8/1/79, Letter to Packard from Flemming L. Nielsen, Chairman of the PMA Energy committee asking if Packard would speak to their group at a workshop on energy

8/13/79, Copy of a letter from Packard to Flemming L. Nielsen  saying he would be able to participate in the workshop

8/22/79, Letter to Packard from F. L. Nielsen, thanking him for agreeing to participate in their workshop

9/28/79, Note from HP manager Jack Beckett, attaching an article from The Energy Daily

9/24/79, Copy of a memorandum to all workshop participants from the Workshop Team, giving information about the workshop arrangements

9/27/79, Copy of a letter to Packard from Flemming L. Nielsen discussing arrangements for speakers at the workshop

9/28/79, Copy of a letter to HP manager Jack Beckett from Victor Calvo California Assemblyman, thanking him for information sent, and discussing opportunities to meet on energy problems

1979, Photocopies of several newspaper articles discussing energy issues apparently gathered by/for Packard



Box 4, Folder 27 – General Speeches


October 31, 1979, Engineers and Public Affairs, Founders Award Lecture, National Academy of Engineering, Washington D. C.


10/31/79, Typewritten text of Packard’s speech with several  notations handwritten by him


Packard was left to select whatever subject matter he wished for his address. He chose Engineers and Public Affairs so he could, he says, “discuss several issues which I believe are of great importance today; because they are responsible, at least to some degree, for the decline in productivity and in technical innovation in the United States….I want to discuss,” he says, “matters of public policy, governmental regulatory problems, actions of pressure groups and public attitudes toward various aspects of engineering work. This subject is of great importance not only to our profession, but also to the economic welfare of our country.


Packard feels that “a very large part of the economic progress made in the United States since the beginning of this century has been built on the contributions of engineering ingenuity and engineering productivity,” He  cites the automobile as an outstanding example; [plus], radio, television, electronics, communications and computers on the electrical side, [and] plastics, fibers, drugs, fertilizers and pesticides on the chemical side. The airplane and many other products which are commonplace today are [also] the products of engineering and science.”


“Similar developments were going on in other countries around the world, in Europe and in Japan in particular. And in some technical areas – for example, chemistry in Germany before world War II – engineers in other countries were more innovative and more productive than engineers in the United States.”


“Since World War II engineers and scientists in the United States have outperformed those in other countries around the world in almost every area of technology. From the end of the War until the mid-1960s, our technical leadership produced great economic progress because several other essential ingredients were present.”


The reason for this, Packard feels, was the ready availability of risk capital in the U. S. This provided the incentive needed to encourage adventurous investment and management. Also he says “There were few inhibiting governmental regulations. And economic growth had considerable virtue in the eyes of the public. These, indeed, were also the essential ingredients that had converted engineering innovation into great new industries earlier in the century, and in earlier centuries since the industrial revolution.


“Today, there is considerable concern, supported by evidence, that the United States is losing its dominant lead in engineering innovation and productivity, and that our economy is becoming stagnant….The decline has become devastating in some areas, such as nuclear power and the development of new drugs, and it is of serious concern in other areas.” Packard sees it likely that we will find “the United States second best in almost all areas of engineering innovation and productivity by the turn of the century.


Packard does not feel this has come about because engineers are less innovative or less productive. And there is no shortage of important and innovative engineering work to be done – new energy sources, new materials, computer technology, communications and transportation are areas he mentions as providing great opportunities for innovative engineering.


“I believe,” he says, “the decline we are seeing in engineering innovation and productivity an be attributed to several key developments. First, changes were made in tax policy a few years ago that reduced the availability of risk capital and reduced the incentive for adventurous management. This affected the establishment of new business concerns.


“Second, regulatory activity has diverted a great deal of engineering time and effort away from innovative work into activity that is essentially unproductive.


“And third, public opinion about the virtue of growth has changed, and public safety has become a more important issue that has fed back into the regulatory processes.”


“And speaking of regulations reminds Packard of the time back in 1939 when he and Bill Hewlett were starting the company. “There were,” he says, “considerable incentives in tax policy to plow earnings back into the business and look forward to capital gains in the long run. We had no regulatory problems to take up our time. My wife, in her spare time in the evenings, could easily fill out all the forms that were needed. Thus, Bill and I could direct whatever energy and engineering talent we might possess into the mainstream of our business – designing, building and selling new electronic instruments.”


“When I see all the impediments today, it seems to me a wonder that anyone tries to start a new business, particularly one engaged in new technology. The fact that Hewlett-Packard Company has grown from its beginning in 1939 to a worldwide firm employing over 50,000 people producing over two billion dollars’ worth of advanced technology products every year may have been in part the result of hard work and a little luck. But I assure you that a favorable environment for engineering innovation and engineering productivity had a great deal to do with such success as we have been able to achieve.”


Packard points out that the many companies which started in “Silicon Valley” depended greatly on teams of highly talented, highly motivated scientists and engineers. “They were attracted to these newly forming enterprises because there could be greater personal rewards than in a traditional job in an established concern. They could be paid in stock options which would become very valuable if their work were successful.


“This incentive for engineering innovation and engineering productivity that encouraged the establishment of new business ventures was all but destroyed in the early 1970s by two governmental actions: a change in federal tax policy that made stock options taxable when they were exercised rather than when the stock was sold, and an increase in the capital gains tax. Almost immediately, the rate of formation of new businesses built on engineering innovation began to fall off dramatically.


“The Congress, by these actions, thought it was closing some loopholes in Federal tax policy. In fact, it was closing a very important incentive to engineering innovation and productivity that was bringing very large economic benefits and, I might add, substantial tax revenue at the local and state as well as the federal level.”


“Fortunately, last year a number of people, mostly engineers who had been affected, took an active role with the Congress and succeeded in getting the capital gains tax rate reduced. Many of these same people have been working with the Congress to restore the value of stock options, and they are likely to be successful. If they are, they will have restored an important incentive to the creation of new technical businesses, and new jobs, to the stimulation of the economy and to the maintenance of U.S. technical leadership.”


Packard sees some other aspects of public policy that “have had a dampening effect on engineering innovation and productivity. Policies relating to education, equal opportunity, problems of poverty, and many other areas of social concern have shifted significantly. As one very important result, the concept of equal opportunity, with the rewards going to those who succeed, has been largely supplanted by a concept of equal results, where the regards of success must be shared with those who do not succeed.


“I agree that the disadvantaged need help in reducing their disadvantages, and I agree that the impoverished should be helped in raising themselves from the dark despair of poverty. But I firmly believe we must be much more careful to make sure that public policy, while attempting to improve the shortcomings of our society, does not at the same time destroy the strengths of our society. To me, engineering ingenuity and productivity are clearly two of our most important strengths. What we need is to find a way to apply more judgement and common sense to these matters of social concern so we do not have to pay such a high price for a little progress.


“The case of nuclear power is one of the most serious,” he says. “The engineering and construction work to design, build and bring on line a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant should take between four and five years. That is about the time required today in Korea, Taiwan and other countries where the regulatory process is reasonably straightforward (and where public protest is minimal or non-existent).


“This is not the case in this country,” he adds. [In this country] the complex maze of regulatory procedures and delays resulting from public protest have nearly tripled the time it takes to build such a plant in the United States. Instead of four or five years as it should be, it takes twelve to fifteen years to bring a new plant on line in the United States.


And Packard points to similar delays in obtaining regulatory approval for other engineering projects. “Coal-fired power plants, and even those using natural gas or oil, require at least twice the time that should be needed to do the necessary engineering and construction work.


An oil refinery is another type project Packard points to. “Fifteen years ago,” he says, “a major oil refinery was built in the United States in two years, from the authorization of the project until completion of construction. Today it would take at least two years after the project was authorized to get all the regulatory approvals, and a total of five or six years for a similar project


“Nor is this crippling over-regulation limited to major projects. Many companies in the course of their normal work now have 50% or more of their engineers dealing with regulatory problems instead of doing useful and innovative work. Seldom can one find an engineering activity today, from working on a bridge to constructing a new industrial plant, in which the engineers are spending less than 10% of their time dealing with unproductive and, to a large extent, unnecessary regulatory problems.


“Before 1960 there were few, if any, companies whose engineers spent as much as 10% of their time in such unproductive work. It’s no wonder engineering innovation is on the decline in the United States. Incentives and rewards for innovation have been reduced by public policy, and thousands of engineers have been condemned to useless, unproductive work by seemingly endless regulatory procedures.


Public attitudes have had a lot to do with this situation Packard agrees. “Public attitudes have affected public policies and engendered more stringent regulatory procedures.


“There are several ways in which public attitudes have changed during the last decade and a half. One change is in what people think is important. As economic well-being has increased, other things have become more important. Many young people are more interested in the quality of life, variously defined, rather than economic success. The preservation of the natural environment has become more important to many than, for example, the production of more electricity.


“A second way public attitudes have changed,” Packard believes, “is in the perception of what is an acceptable risk. This issue has become increasingly sensitive because we have discovered potential dangers from many situations and substances that were heretofore considered harmless. Of course, we knew two decades ago of a number of substances that were known to be dangerous to people after long exposure at a very low level. But the list of such potentially dangerous substances has been greatly increased by continuing research. We now have instruments that will make rather accurate measurements of materials that are present at very low levels of concentration, much below one part in a million. Thus, we must deal with contaminants we didn’t even know were present twenty years ago.


“The increasing concern about the quality of life is, of course, related to changing attitudes about acceptable risks. If a person is hungry enough, he is willing to risk his life to get enough to eat. If he is living a happy life secure from all of the traditional risks that threatened him a few decades ago, his concern will naturally turn toward those things which threatened him at a lower level of probability.


“These changes in public attitude began to appear in the mid-1960s and have been greatly accelerated in the decade of the 1970s. These public attitudes have been an important factor in the regulatory problem, for our legislators must respond to the attitudes and priorities of their constituents.


“Unfortunately, pressure groups have had a large influence in translating the changing concerns and changing priorities of our society into restrictive and regulatory legislation. This legislation has had the serious effect on engineering innovation and productivity that I have described.


“I would like to make it clear,” Packard emphasizes, “that I do not believe the widespread concern about damage to our natural environment is wrong; indeed, I share that concern. And I do not believe the change in what is considered to be an acceptable risk is wrong, either.


“What we need is a better way to deal with these matters. And what we need to ask is, how can our social concerns be accommodated without reducing or eliminating the ability of engineers to make in the future the kind of important contributions they have made in the past?


“our profession has a great deal at stake in these matters. They are far too important to be left to the politicians, the lawyers and the activists. In fact, the politicians, lawyers and activists have caused problems. So I am suggesting today that we, as engineers, must become more active in public affairs. We must draw inspiration from the good example of constructive changes that were made in Federal tax policy – changes, I am convinced, that would not have come about without the involvement of engineers from Silicon Valley. We must strive to make our voices heard on issues affecting our profession.


“I am convinced that most legislation is biased to some extent, at least in the direction of those who are more active in presenting their views. I also think a certain amount of bad legislation comes about simply because legislators aren’t always well informed. I don’t believe engineers have been anywhere nearly as active or as aggressive in the legislative process as they could be in support of what they know and what they believe. I am convinced more participation on your part would be welcome at both the state and federal level. In particular, I believe the time is right to obtain some reforms of these burdensome regulatory matters.


Packard describes his experience in California where, following his remarks similar to the above, panels of government legislators and regulators, met with several business executives and engineers in a day-long discussion about the energy question. “I noted,” he says, “with some surprise and a great deal of satisfaction, that the discussions were amicable and extremely constructive. There was no hostility, no defensiveness. Rather, there was a sincere desire on the part of everyone to fully understand the energy problem and to come to grips with it. Most important, the government people were outspoken in their desire to obtain more frequent input from the private sector, pointing out that such input was essential to the government’s decision making process.


Packard feels that most legislators, “particularly the effective ones, are very sensitive to the thoughts and opinions of the ‘people back home,’ their constituents. We should all take advantage of this opportunity to be heard, particularly by becoming acquainted with our elected representatives and familiar with their interests and concerns. Contrary to what some people believe, legislators are interested in what we think, especially if we are ale to offer some useful, factual information and some first-hand experience with the subject under consideration.


“Of course, public attitudes are constantly shifting, and increasing in their depth and complexity. In any case, we are not likely to turn the clock back to what some of us might recall ‘the good old days.’ Concern about preserving our environment will continue to be high in the public mind, and risks to health and safety that were tolerated at the beginning of this century will not be tolerated at the beginning of the next.


“I believe we engineers can influence public attitudes more effectively. To the extent we can recognize these changes and take them into consideration in our work, we can reduce to some extent the need for and the possibility of governmental intervention.


“The automotive industry provides a good example. It was known for more than ten years before Federal air pollution regulations were imposed on the industry that automobiles were a major source of smog. Engineering solutions were known that would have been more practical and less costly than those mandated by Congressional action. But little was done, and you all know the result of that inaction. I would hope our profession can find some way to take voluntary action on engineering matters that will become public issues in the future.


“But if we, as engineers are to operate more effectively in the public arena, we must exercise our right and our privilege to speak out. We must become better advocates in the future for the things we know and believe. We must become better advocates before our legislators, our public officials and the general public [do.]


“The United States became the most powerful and most influential nation in the world since World War II because our engineers became the most innovative and most productive engineers in the world, and we operated in an atmosphere that nurtured the conversion of engineering innovation into economic progress. We are beginning to lose this position of dominance. I believe we can help reverse this trend of more engineers give public affairs a higher priority in the work they do.”



10/31/79, Printed copy of Packard’s lecture prepared by the NAE

7/5/79, Letter to Packard from Courtland D. Perkins President, National Academy of Engineering telling Packard he has been selected to receive the 1979 Founder’s Award. He tells Packard they would like him to deliver a lecture on a subject of his choice, and he encloses copies of recent speeches given by other award recipients.

7/9/79, Copy of a letter from Packard to Courtland D. Perkins saying he is honored to be nominated for the Award, and will have a lecture prepared for the occasion.

8/20/79, Letter to Packard from George M. Low, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the previous year’s Award recipient, congratulating Packard on his nomination for the Award this year

8/79, Copy of a biographical sketch apparently prepared by NAE and sent to Packard for review

10/2/79, Letter to Ms. Margaret Paull, Packard’s Secretary, from Robert J. Burger of NAE, thanking her for giving them the title of Packard’s lecture

10/26/79, Internal HP memo to Packard from environmental engineer, Glenn Affleck giving examples of delays and added costs to HP dealing with governmental agencies on environmental matters. He attaches copies of letters exchanged with government representatives.

11/8/79, Letter to Packard from Luis W. Alvarez congratulating him on receiving the Award

11/20/79, Letter to Packard from Courtland D. Perkins of NAE thanking him for his “beautifully organized and delivered speech”

12/21/79, Letter to Packard from Harold Liebowitz, NAE, sending copies of several NAE publications

1/30/79, Copy of a letter from Courtland Perkins to professor Massonnet in Belgium giving permission to publish a translation of Packard’s speech to the 4000 members of their society



Box 4, Folder 28 – General Speeches


December 9-12, AEA Electronic Warfare Conference, Monterey; CA


12/10/79,  Typewritten text of Packard’s remarks at the opening of this conference.


Packard says his experience with electronic warfare is “spotty;”

first during World War II, when he worked on developing an anti-radar device for the Navy, and second when he was in the DOD from 1969 to 1972. “I have been involved ,” he says, “one way or another in a great many of the wrong things to do – in fact, at one time or another I have done most of them.”


Packard says he wants to talk about four points:


  1. Electronic warfare is an area where the United States has a decisive lead over any combination of potential enemies.
  2. Packard sees many “exciting” opportunities for electronic warfare in the future.
  3. It is important to develop new electronic equipment and get it to the military as quickly as possible – before it becomes obsolete.
  4. Military equipment must be reliable.


On the first point, regarding our lead over potential enemies, Packard says, “I am convinced we can stay ahead both in the development and production of the necessary hardware, and also I think we can continue to enjoy the support of the Congress and the general public in this very important facet of our national security.”


He says both the [Soviet Union] and [China]  are considerably behind the United States in electronic work. “The USSR has good technical people and they apply a great deal of common sense to development problems. Also, military equipment has the highest priority in both the USSR and the PRC. The PRC, however, is at least a decade behind the U.S. and the Western world in all aspects of electronic work.


“I am convinced we, at this time, have a decisive advantage in all aspects of military electronic capability over any possible combination of adversaries. It is absolutely essential that we keep this lead.”


On the future of electronics Packard says “…there are several exciting opportunities just over the horizon.

“Solid state devices have been extended into higher frequencies and without any doubt, millimeter waves will be used for many military applications in the future. Memory capacity has been expanding at a very rapid rate in recent years and will certainly continue to expand for some time in the future. This technical progress opens many interesting possibilities for electronic warfare, as does the increasing speed and power of LSI.


“Other types of transistors are becoming more powerful, and speed or frequency range is increasing.


“Not least of all, life and reliability of solid state devices are increasing. Without any doubt the future holds just as great a promise of progress as it did a decade or two decades ago.”


On the third point, rapid development of new devises, Packard poses the question “…how can we, you people who are here at this conference, continue to optimize the capability of our military forces with the latest and the best electronic equipment?


“I judge,” he says, “this is the theme of this conference, and I hope you can have a good give and take discussion while you are here together.


“Now I don’t believe the delays in getting new equipment are primarily due to any serious delays in perceiving the need or evaluating the threat. There may be some shortcomings in this area, but these are not in the ability of someone in the military to perceive the need or to evaluate the threat – rather the problem is how to get someone high enough in authority to decide that something must be done about the need and the threat and to get it done.


“The best way to get something done about an important need or an important threat is to get the problem to a high enough level for action with the fewest number of people.


“In the first lace, if an important requirement has to go through too many levels of approval before it gets to the final action point, much time will be wasted and the proposition that arrives at the point of action will have been modified considerably on the way – often to the extent the person who started it would not recognize it as his proposition when it gets all the way through the layers of bureaucracy.


“This was the basic premise of the so called ‘prototype’ program that we started when I was in the Pentagon. Here the idea was to limit the involvement of people trying to specify every detail of a new weapon before it was developed.

“ It was my thought that if you just gave the contractor a good description of what you wanted the performance to be, and assuming he had the experience and the capability, you would get a design with better balance between cost, performance, reliability, etc. than if you had an army of clowns in the military trying to specify all the details in advance and then have a corps of lawyers, who were usually less capable than clowns in these matters, write this all into a contract.


“From these remarks you should conclude that I believe a closer relationship, one based on confidence and a common understanding of objectives between the contractor and the department would go a long way toward more effective, more timely and less costly development programs.


“I realize there are budget problems, political problems and other problems, but I will repeat what I said eight or nine years ago, if contractors and the services would quit playing games with each other and with the Congress, our military establishment would be in much better shape.”


Packard turn to his fourth point, reliability. “As electronic equipment becomes more complex, it tends to be less reliable and more difficult to repair.


“Fortunately, solid state electronics and LSI can be more reliable than earlier vintage electronic equipment.


“But, as I am sure all of you here know, reliability can not be specified into being. It must be designed in and built in. Reliability is highly dependent on the attitude of the contractor, for it requires meticulous attention to detail – and experience is very important in designing and building highly reliable equipment.


“Here I think free and frank discussions between contractors and with the services might do more than a lot of the detailed military specifications to achieve improved reliability.


“Operational testing is important because reliability problems show up in operational testing that do not show up under laboratory testing. Extensive laboratory testing and operational testing will show up problems that need to be corrected. All of the reliability problems will never show up before a considerable number of products have been produced and used in operation.


“For this reason there should be more reliance placed on the performance of every contractor, in terms of the performance of the product, its cost and its reliability in actual operation.


“If we could find some contracting flexibility to enable the Department of Defense to select for the new job that contractor who had the best record on comparable jobs in the past, I think we would be miles ahead to terms of getting the best, the most reliable, and the lowest cost equipment for our forces whether it be electronic warfare or any other military equipment.”


12/10/79, Handwritten text of Packard’s speech written by him

12/9/79, Folder of handouts given to Conference attendees

12/9/79, Copy of Conference schedule

12/9/79, Copy of printed detailed program for the Conference

6/18/79, Letter to Packard from E. E. Ferrey, AEA President, inviting him to speak at the electronic warfare conference the AEA is sponsoring. He attaches a tentative program.

7/10/79, Copy of a letter from Packard to E. E. Ferrey, saying he would like to but cannot do it on December 11. He suggests December 10.

7/27/79, Letter to Packard from John J. Baumeister, AEA VP, confirming the December 10 date.

9/14/79, List of conference speakers.

9/26/79, Letter to Packard from John J. Baumeister, enclosing a copy of a brochure describing the conference.

10/19/79, Letter to Packard from John J. Baumeister enclosing a list of key issues to be discussed at the conference.

5/15/80, Letter to Packard from John J. Baumeister enclosing recommendations that resulted from the Conference.

12/79, Newspaper clipping from unnamed newspaper covering Packard’s speech, along with a photograph