707. Harrod to J. Marschak , 22 October 1937 [a]

[Replies to a letter not found; follows on from 703 R, continues at 709 ]

Christ Church, Oxford #

22 October 1937


My dear Marschak

1. I am, as you know, very keen to see the promotion of the studies in which you are particularly interested and, you may be sure, will always give my opinion in that sense.

2. I have not been consulted about the whole matter. [1] I have no doubt I shall be sooner or later. I think it would be most injudicious to bat in at this stage. One would be likely to do more harm than good.

3. One must remember that it is probably safe to say that the V[ice]. C[hancellor]. [2] has done hard and good work in deflecting Nuffield from his original crude intentions. And in return I think it is only fair to allow him, the V.C., a little rope. I dont think we can assume from the beginning that the money is there to be spent in the way we should most like.

4. I am not altogether sure about Robertson & Hicks. Of course they are quite first rate. But is their quality the kind of quality of which Oxford is most lacking? And it is specially valuable in the direction of statistical work and field work with which Nuffield is mainly concerned? Mind you I have the highest regard for Robertson and think he would make an excellent warden. His way of handling the Geneva committee, [3] which is mainly concerned with statistics, was most praiseworthy. But I dont think he is so obviously suited to that job that we should set about canvassing for him at an early stage. What right have we to assume that they will appoint an economist at all?

Furthermore I am very doubtful indeed if Robertson would leave Trinity for Nuffield. I dont think he has many financial worries. It would be a very extraordinary migration to make for any other reason--unless he was prepared to immolate himself in the interests of statistical work and field work, which does not seem probable. He may be dissatisfied with the goings on of JMK and his supporters, but I always imagined that he loved Cambridge itself.

5. I did not bear or catch the "personal" remark by the V.C. to which you allude in your letter. I hope it was nothing offensive. He has a certain roughness of manner, which may lead to his giving offence without meaning to. [4]

6. Personally I am convinced that the people who can do work and organize work, as you have shown yourself able to do, will ultimately occupy the field of Nuffield. Meanwhile I believe the wisest policy is to bide time, while the others fall into quarrels with each other, which they are almost certain to do.


Roy Harrod

P.S. I am convinced that it would create a very bad impression if it got to be supposed either by other social scientists or by outside people in the university that the economists were trying to nobble the Nuffield benefaction and get it all for themselves. That is just the thing which would arouse most resentment. I think we probably shall get a lion's share in the end, but we can only do so if we disclaim all such intentions in the beginning! To press for an economist warden would be injudicious in the extreme.

  1. 1. See also letter 705 , [jump to page] .

    2. A. D. Lindsay; see note 3 to letter 705 .

    3. Refers to Robertson's supervision of Tinbergen's work at the League of Nations: see note 1 to letter 606 .

    4. On Harrod's relationship with Lindsay see letter 704 R.

    1. a. ALS, five pages on three leaves, in JMP 1275, Box 147, folder H.

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