A Who’s Who Wishes Hammer A Very Happy 88th

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Following are excerpts from remarks by Dr. Armand Hammer and responses by Drs. Robert Gale and Paul Terasaki at Hammer’s 88th birthday party:

Ladies and gentlemen and dear invited friends, last year when we celebrated my 87th birthday, I invoked Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, stating “four score and seven years ago, my parents brought forth on this continent me.”

Now that I am 88, I’m beginning to work on my recollections of George Washington. . . .

Some very kind things have been said about me this evening and I would be remiss if I didn’t recall my beloved parents, Julius and Rose, who endowed me with good health and energy that made this evening possible. From my father, Julius, I learned it is not what a man accumulates, but what he gives away that counts in the final great reckoning.


My father was a physician who frequently not only collected no fee from his patients but left behind the money which they needed to buy the medicines. . . . My mother, Rose, was a supreme optimist and believer in human equality. She could and did converse as easily with Eleanor Roosevelt as she did with our next-door neighbors in my father’s waiting room. And after listening to some of their complaints, she suggested to them: “Why don’t you go home and try bicarbonate of soda?”

That didn’t help my father’s practice any. Adding to the priceless gifts my parents gave me have been the comfort and strength imparted to me by my wife, Francis. She’s been at my side during the bumpiest parts of the road and also enjoyed the smooth parts. But being a keen and penetrating person, she may inquire: “But when were the smooth parts?” Perhaps I ought to substitute “exciting” for “smooth,” then I’m sure she will agree with me. . . .

If there was any doubt, prior to the catastrophic accident at Chernobyl, that an atomic war must never be allowed to occur, that doubt has been eradicated.

I returned the night before last from Moscow, where I had been to open my art collection and also to transport much-needed supplies to the efforts of Dr. Robert Gale and his team made up of Dr. Paul Terasaki and two other doctors--Dr. Richard Champlin (also of UCLA) and Dr. Yael Reisner of Israel. Dr. Gale and Dr. Terasaki, would you come up to the podium please: I want the audience to meet you.

Dr. Gale, I’d like you to say a few words to the audience and tell them how this came about that you were able to go to Moscow and help these unfortunate victims of this nuclear disaster and how you marshaled together a team of doctors and how you were able, in two weeks, to operate with your colleagues and with the help of the Russians on 19 victims who otherwise would probably not be alive today. Dr. Robert Gale.

DR. GALE: I’m not a public figure. I’m a little bit embarrassed to speak, but maybe I should say that there were two things which were important to us in Moscow--the group of us that were there. No. 1 was the knowledge, albeit unspoken, that all of you were behind us; and that made some very difficult moments a bit easier for us. We knew that all Americans were supporting us in our efforts. The second was that, in formulating our offer to help the Russians, which we had made plans for over the years, when I heard of the Chernobyl reactor accident, I tried to think who in the world could help me get a message to Mr. Gorbachev of our offer of help. Because no matter how good our intentions might be, we really had to deliver it to the right person.


And it became immediately clear to me that we couldn’t really achieve anything without the help of Armand Hammer. I think we all owe to him a great debt of gratitude for enabling us, as physicians, to assist our Russian colleagues in the care of these unfortunate victims. And I applaud you for this.

DR. HAMMER: Thank you, Dr. Gale. The first thing that Dr. Gale did when he arrived in Moscow was to telephone me and tell me: “I need Paul Terasaki.” Paul Terasaki is the greatest authority in the world on transplants, and the Russians were not set up to do any transplanting. And without checking on the donors, the chances of their succeeding with their transplants were very doubtful. Paul Terasaki dropped everything, got on a plane, went to Moscow, set up a laboratory there and in two weeks taught the Russians how to do (tissue) typing. He is indeed a great hero. Paul Terasaki.

DR. TERASAKI: Thank you very much. I have been privileged to have this opportunity to go to Moscow, particularly through the help of Dr. Hammer. We were able there to help the people try to type the patients and set up for mass typing--this is typing many, many patients that might need help in the future. I’d like to again thank Dr. Armand Hammer for this great opportunity to help the Russian victims. Thank you very much.

DR. HAMMER: I think we can learn from this terrible accident of a nuclear power plant what would happen if we ever had a thermonuclear war. This must never happen.

When I received the invitation from Mr. Gorbachev to meet him and bring Dr. Gale along, it was after a Politburo meeting, and I thought he would be tired and give us about five or 10 minutes. Instead of that, we spent over an hour with him.

I think that this accident, terrible as it is and was, may open a door for better relations between our two countries. I said to Mr. Gorbachev, “You started something at Geneva with the first summit. You liked our President; he liked you. If nothing else came from that meeting, there’s a beginning of trust. And without trust, there can never be any peace or any permanent reduction in arms.


He said: “I’m disappointed, because I feel that, since our meeting, our relations have deteriorated; and really I don’t know whether there will be another summit.” He said: “I want to go to the United States. I want to meet your President again. But,” he said, “unless some good will comes of it, I don’t feel that I should go.”

I said: “Mr. Gorbachev, I’m sure President Reagan wishes to go down in history as a great President and a person who has brought peace between Russia and the United States. Why don’t you try again?” I said. “I’m sure that the President is glad that you are now able to cope with this disaster.”

He said: “Well, if the initiative comes from the President, I am ready to consider it.”

I think that the initiative will come from the President, and I hope that these two leaders will meet again; because the peace of the world really hangs by a very thin thread. There is so much distrust on both sides. But on the other hand, these two men can get together. I said to him: “If you would spend a week at Camp David with President Reagan, walk in the woods, talk over your problems just like you did in Geneva, I think you’ll find a way for peace between our two nations.”