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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Part III, Session 1
Interviewee: John B. Oakes
Interviewer: Louis M. Starr
Location: New York, New York
Date: December 7, 1977


Let's start with a retrospect on what you were talking about last time, which is a mere thirteen years ago.


That's right. And I was interested that, in what I said last in '64 in that session, that I recalled very well the difficulties that I had with Punch [Arthur Ochs Sulzberger] in the spring of '64 over the supersonic transport problem. What it really involved was whether or not the Times should support the development, which involved federal funds, the development of the supersonic, and Punch was very strongly for it. I was extremely dubious about the wisdom of it, on environmental as well as general public policy grounds. While I remember that we had difficulty over this, and I guess it was the first real problem that we had, as between myself as editor and Punch as publisher, I did not recall, until I re- read the transcript of the 1964 oral history that I'd given thirteen years ago, the apparent severity of it. I really hadn't recalled that. And I notice that I felt that I was going through a real crisis, even considering the possibility of resignation at that point. But then we satisfactorily worked out a compromise on the issue, in which I was quite satisfied about.

So this was kind of a test, I guess.


In retrospect of the time, in retrospect, say, of 1965, you didn't think anything of it, because you had come to a satisfactory resolution.

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