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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Federal Government on diseases related to military service, such as malaria and other tropical diseases. But the Committee on Medical Research of the Office of Scientific Research and Development was going to come to an end at the end of the war, and we thought, because it was now the summer of '44 and there had been a successful landing in France, that the end was fairly well in sight.

Q:

Was Senator Pepper truly interested in this subject himself, or was it your interest which evoked his?

Lasker:

Well, it was our interest that eventually evoked his interest. After a while, he got interested himself, very much so. But the initial thing was to do something in return for our interest and help to him in a political way, because I'm sure none of this would have happened had we not been able to help. He would have thought it was a fine idea, but so what, you know.

Q:

Politicians are pragmatists.

Lasker:

Yes, absolutely.

But later on, the more he fought and helped us, the more interested and involved he himself became, and he made an enormous contribution to the beginning of the Institutes of Health, tremendous. It can't be overestimated, what he did.



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