3 0 4 D O C U M E N T 1 9 1 N O V E M B E R 1 9 2 0
3. I am going to reply to you in about four weeks in writing, after consultation
with my friends and after I have calmly reviewed my currently outstanding obliga-
tions. Specific advice of Mr. de
4. You inform me briefly but precisely
) What Smedeman has offered
) What other offers from America exist (precisely!!)
5. You do absolutely nothing more about the America business, either regarding
Wisconsin or with any other offer—nothing that binds you in the slightest way be-
fore you have a reply from us (from me; Mr. de Ridder).
— • —
1. An America trip by you is justifiable by no other single aspect than that you
can thereby finally resolve your Swiss
= Net gain of 20,000
[2.] The standing or interests of German science will be promoted by your visit
to America only if you are invited by the 2–3 of the most prestigious universities in
America. If, however, you go to the
best university, you then
damage this standing exactly like many a German privy councillor has damaged
the interests of German scholars in Holland through ineptness (of a different
3. Your attitude toward the America matter up to now convinces me that you will
achieve neither purpose 1, nor purpose 2 unless
people with very much tact (like: [. .
and experience (Mr. de Ridder)
settle this business
Van Aardenne naturally hesitates to force his help upon
And has, more-
over, an unjustifiably great confidence in your judgment of such things. (I don’t:
that you consider it irrelevant, for inst., what ranking the university inviting you
has, means that you will damage the interests of all the younger physicists who will
be coming to America after you.)
Mr. de Ridder is so interested in your obtaining the money and respect that you
deserve that he has (spontaneously) declared his willingness to help you in every
way, e.g., he is even ready to come to Berlin or to send a suitable friend to Berlin,
in case that’s necessary.
But I want to repeat briefly what the main thing is:
1. Commit yourself neither orally nor in writing in any sense before we here can
assess everything exactly.
2. Inform us briefly and precisely about everything that is being offered to you.