Is Anybody Listening? (2)
The papers kept pouring forth from the photocopying machines and the printers, along with the audiotapes on which the dialogues were voluminously recorded. But general publicity languished, in spite of the capable drumfire of public relations handouts produced by former newspaperman Frank Kelly. Aside from the attacks and threats by the John Birchers—the ex-New Yorkers at the Center were used to that—the City of Santa Barbara wasn't interested in the machinations atop Eucalyptus Hill, nor was the country as a whole. It was hard to get any notice at all; with Watts, Detroit, and Newark burning and national leaders being assassinated, people didn't care all that much about, say, the constitutionalization of science and technology or long-term trends and futurological speculations. There was just too much of it—some seven million copies of papers, tapes, magazines, leaflets, booklets distributed on an often random scale over the first ten years on the hilltop. (Between two and three thousand educational institutions, high schools, colleges, and universities, subscribed to the tapes of the Center dialogues.)
The octogenarian Rex Tugwell worked for several years drafting a proposed new Constitution for the United States. His fellow Fellows weren't much interested in the undertaking, and it very rarely figured in the discussions around the conference table. (And when Tugwell participated, which wasn't seldom, his observations were likely to be casual and peripheral.) When his finished Constitution was unveiled, in something like its thirty-fifth draft, it made a considerable one-day splash in the New York Times ; in the rest of the country it sank like a stone, and like a stone, never rose. It was that way with a great deal of the Center's output, more often than not.
After all, a university doesn't get much notice unless it is the scene of a
student riot or a sports event or its biologists produce a sure cure or its physicists a sure kill. And a university has an ancient name and ancient ceremonials, great public status, and a great many alumni. And both public and alumni think they know what a university is for and what it does. The Center had none of these redeeming and beguiling features. It sponsored what it called convocations, both at the Santa Barbara center and across the country, to nourish its supporters and attract new ones; many of these symposiums featured the all-star names which Hutchins was able to attract to an ad hoc event, especially with the payment of always generous fees and travel expenses. And still the public notice was minimal.
Of all the multifarious conferences and convocations it set up at home and abroad—in Mexico City, Athens, Malta, Geneva—the most spectacular were the Pacem in Terris meetings, the name taken from Pope John XXIII's famous encyclical. These were all-out extravaganzas staged on an amazingly grand scale for so small—and financially hard-pressed—an institution as the Center. They signaled the transition of the Center's focus from national to international affairs. The first was held in New York in February of 1965, with two thousand people in attendance. Its announced purpose was "an attempt to see whether the understanding and interchange advocated by Pope John XXIII is possible." It drew scholars and statesmen from all over the world as participants, and its drama was intensified by President Johnson's order for the continuous bombing of North Vietnam, put into effect three days before the convocation opened. The president declined an invitation to speak, but he sent the newly elected Vice-President Humphrey, together with a message saying that he had "no doubt that such discussion, under private auspices, of the problems of peace will provide a major contribution to the greatest single problem of our time."  Other United States representatives were senators George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Adlai Stevenson, head of the American delegation to the United Nations. Non-governmental celebrities included George Kennan, former ambassador to the USSR; the philosopher Paul Tillich; the Nobel laureate Linus Pauling; and Henry R. Luce, the publisher of Time, Life , and Fortune . Foreign participants were Abba Eban, deputy prime minister of Israel; U Thant, secretary general of the United Nations; N.N. Inozemtsev, deputy chief editor of Pravda ; Yevgeni Zhukov of the Soviet Academy of Sciences; and the philosopher Adam Schaff, a member of the Polish Communist Party's central committee. Hutchins presided over the principal sessions.
In terms of national—and international—coverage, the three-day Pacem in Terris was a resounding success, bringing the Center greater attention than all its previous efforts together. Life magazine called it "an
extraordinary assemblage of the world's movers and shakers. . . . The speeches and seminars, recorded for distribution to 90 U.S. educational TV and 125 radio stations, are only a beginning. But it is a beginning that holds promise for new departures in world statecraft."  The guest list (said Life ) would have done credit to a United Nations charter gathering. The prestigious panel members explored every aspect of a durable world peace and the obstacles to it.
No sooner had the echoes of Pacem in Terris died down than Hutchins and Harry Ashmore—soon to be appointed executive vice-president of the Center—began planning a replay, this time in Geneva in May of 1967, specifically designed to "see what private peace-making could accomplish in regard to the war in Vietnam." Here the gathering was much smaller, with some three hundred in attendance, but more highly flavored internationally, with participants from seventy countries. The official attitude of the U.S. government was cold this time. The second Pacem in Terris coincided with a mighty escalation of the war in Vietnam; President Johnson and his entourage were in no mood to help provide "a major contribution to the greatest single problem of our time." Not only did the United States and the Soviet Union send no delegations—Senator William Fulbright participated unofficially—but China also declined the invitation. When North Vietnam decided not to attend, the Center, bent on evenhandedness, declined to let the South Vietnamese speak. And most of the Arab delegations, with the onset of the Israel-Arab war, simply melted away. The coolness around the world was reflected in the press, which gave the second Pacem almost no attention, even though it marked the first high-level and fruitful contact between the two Germanys. 
Two more Pacem convocations were held. One took place in October of 1973 in Washington, attended by three thousand people, who heard Henry Kissinger and William Fulbright in a knock-down, drag-out debate on American foreign policy. The concluding Pacem in Terris IV in Washington in December of 1975, was attended by two thousand people. The four conferences, while they produced both notice and income, also produced additional dissatisfaction among the Fellows of the Center, many of whom felt that the Hutchins-Ashmore impresario ventures, successful as they were, were diverting the Center from its appointed task: the dialogue. There was nothing resembling real dialogue—panel discussions and debates had long since become commonplace—at the convocations. Any public policy institution could have staged them. The attention and energy they consumed in Santa Barbara left the very idea of the dialogue dangling in midair while the "communications" program flourished. The cleavage widened on Eucalyptus Hill between the administrators and jour-
nalists typified by Ashmore, on the one hand, and the scholars and academics, typified by Harvey Wheeler, on the other. The relations between these two grew progressively strained and eventually emerged as head-on conflict.
There was further dissatisfaction in the fellowship over the financing of the Pacem convocations. The money for them—they were all done in the sumptuous Hutchins manner—came to something approaching a million dollars apiece. Hutchins was able to assure his critics, both among the Fellows and the board members, that their cost was met by fund-raising separate from that for the Center budget, and that no considerable amount of money was raised for them that might otherwise have gone into regular expenditures. But it was still a lot of money for a small institution that was spending, in its regular outgo, some $1.5 million a year and habitually running a relatively colossal million-dollar deficit.
The Center's informal motto was "Feel Free," and the Fellows, including the laissez-faire Hutchins, felt free with money. Salaries compared favorably with the highest paid in the universities; Hutchins was paid $68,000 a year, and the senior Fellows ranged up to $40,000. It was doubtful if many of the Fellows would have been paid that much anywhere else. (On the other hand they had cast their lot with an unendowed institution of dubious longevity.) The long-distance telephone bills were staggering and travel expenses phenomenal.
A few board members grumbled, but none of them wanted to suggest that Bob cut down; the Hutchins style had always been lavish. The financial situation was perennially acute, and if it had not been for one man, Chester Carlson, the inventor of Xerox, it would have been fatal; over the years Carlson provided ten million of the twenty-four million dollars the Center grossed between 1959 and 1978. It was an awful lot of money in its time, no matter where it came from.
Where it came from was something else. Some of it was produced by the sale of high-priced seats for the mass-attended Pacem conferences; and the Center membership fee of ten to fifteen dollars, paid by up to 100,000 members, grossed another million or more. But some of the Center's funds were extracted from more questionable, and even shadier, sources, especially in connection with the limited attendance at Pacem II in Geneva. The sum of $100,000 was contributed by the Albert Parvin Foundation, established with Las Vegas money by an otherwise little-known American whose business dealings with big-time mobsters was a matter of public record. Most of the rest of the almost one-million-dollar outlay for Geneva was provided by, of all people, Bernard Cornfeld—the man who, before his collapse and takeover by the plunger Robert Vesco, from his Swiss base
sold stock through his paper empire of Investors Overseas Services to naive Europeans, who were approached by his salesmen with the question: "Do you sincerely want to be rich?" Cornfeld's man Jimmy Roosevelt, the president of IOS, was, at Cornfeld's suggestion to Hutchins and Ashmore, appointed secretary general of Pacem II , and the convocation was roundly and embarrassingly plastered with propaganda for the gigantic bucket-shop balloon which was about to burst. 
Hutchins, it will be remembered, had a small sign which he liked to display on his desk at the University of Chicago, which read: "We Wash Money." And wash money he did, as does every head of an institution which maintains itself by begging. (One of Hutchins' fellow directors of the Albert Parvin Foundation was the president of Princeton.)  But money, needing washing or no, can be powerfully hard to come by, and it was during most of the Center's history. The reason it was hard was only in small part that people with (or without) money did not understand what the Center was or what it was doing; that can be said, in considerable measure, of a university too. In larger part the Center's generally desperate history was due to the inability, or unwillingness, of its board members to get out and get it—or stay in and give it.
As the first Pacem in Terris convocation approached, the financial straits of the Center were dire in the extreme. One of the board members proposed a fund-raising dinner in New York in honor of Hutchins, and his fellow directors were enthusiastic; except for Hutchins, who demurred strongly, saying that he did not want his friends to be asked for money on his account. But the directors overcame his objection by pointing out what he already knew, that the Center might have to close otherwise. He yielded unhappily. The dinner was given the evening the convocation ended, with pollster Elmo Roper as chairman; Bill Benton, Henry Luce, Norman Cousins (of the Saturday Review ), and Morris Levinson of the Center board as cochairmen; and Ralph Bunche, Paul Hoffman, and Adlai Stevenson as honorary chairmen. Hutchins sat squirming while his praises rang and the professional fund-raisers counted the gifts and pledges, which came to a staggering $1.4 million. "Moved by that outpouring of affection and the substantial evidence of support for his intellectual enterprise," Frank Kelly wrote, "Hutchins found it difficult to speak that night. He was on the verge of weeping."  It was on that occasion that he responded to the toasts by saying, "If I'm such a great man, why haven't I been able to quit smoking?"
The Center had exhausted its four million dollars, and on several occasions the board agreed to undertake an endowment drive. But the drive was never undertaken. There were some rich men and women on the
board, including some millionaires; but there were no Rockefellers, and this was no University of Chicago. The lethargy of the Center board— largely men and women of Hutchins' own selection—was a bitter disappointment to him as long as he lived.
How long would he live? The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions was the lengthened shadow of Robert Maynard Hutchins. Donors to the University of Chicago had been donors to a great university; donors to the Center had been donors to a Hutchins undertaking. The board members were many of them willing to support the Center on an ad hoc basis, to see it through its recurrent crises; some of them were willing to go outside and ask for money for a then-and-there need. Long-term endowment was something else altogether. It aroused no enthusiasm inside or outside the board. The irony lay in the fact that it was Hutchins' Center and no one could say how long it would remain so.
He was a very tired man. He had been tired when he established the institution at the age of sixty. Within five years he was urging his closest associates on the board to search for his successor. Within ten years he underwent major coronary surgery, and from then on he was an extremely tired man and ever more urgent in his desire to lay the burden down. A few years later he quit asking and urging, and simply informed the board that he had to get out. A successor was finally found—a series of short-term successors. But these successors were successors to the office, not to the man. There could be no successor to Hutchins, and the people who might have asked other people for long-term money all knew it. It was not immodest for him to know it too. It was not immodest for him to know that he himself was the reason the endowment was never established.