Visit by Dr. L. F. C. Blackman, director of R&D, British American Tobacco Ltd, London
To: Witt SB III
Title: Memorandum Prepared by RJR Scientist, Transmitted to RJR In-house Legal Counsel and Copied to RJR In-house Legal Counsel, RJR Outside Legal Counsel and RJR Scientists for the Purpose of Providing Confidential Information in Order to Assist in the Rendering of Legal Advice Concerning Smoking and Health Issues.
No. 12 By F.G.C.
March 31, 1981
Mr. Samuel B. Witt, III
RE: VISIT BY DR. L. F. C. BLACKMAN, DIRECTOR OF R&D, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO LTD, LONDON
There was, by and large, general agreement in what was explicitly said during the almost five hours of conversations between Dr. Blackman and myself. However, I perceived -perhaps subjectively- that there is an unreconcilable difference between his position and the RJR policy, the U.S. Industry policy, and my own convictions. Dr. Blackman, in my Judgment, believes -possibly, at least in part unconsciously- in the philosophy of what is called the "safer cigarette" and in everything this implies.
It is recalled that I talked to Dr. Blackman for the first time when I visited London last December, since he was kind enough to invite me to visit him at his London office to discuss smoking and health.
At that time Dr. Blackman mainly listened to my arguments, and he stated that he might have some reservations and that it would be desirable for us to discuss this further. A few weeks ago Dr. Blackman sent me a letter asking me whether or not he could come to Winston-Salem to further discuss smoking and health. The meeting took place on Monday, March 30th. I first reiterated the meaning of the two sides of the controversy concept, i.e. that smoking has not been proven as being a "cause" of any of the diseases it has been alleged to be linked with, but that, on the other hand, smoking could not be exonerated either.
Dr. Blackman stated that he generally agreed with me on this basic concept and on my views as presented in my "paper" (SMOKING AND HEALTH UPDATE "SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL ASPECTS OF THE SMOKING AND HEALTH CONTROVERSY--SOME PARADOXES AND FALLACIES" - Revised April 1979).
He further stated that it was his experience and the experience of the British industry in general, that the tobacco industry had no credibility on smoking and health, and this applied to the British public in general and most particularly to the medical profession. He then described in some detail some recent contacts he had made with the leadership of the British Medical Association (BMA). In particular he revealed that he and his associates had made to the BMA
Mr. Samuel B. Witt, III
March 31, 1981
RE: Blackman visit
leadership a rather detailed presentation on how much the products, i.e., the cigarettes, have changed over the last decades. He stated that the BMA leaders apparently were totally unaware of the extent of these changes, and that all they knew was that there are now filter cigarettes in lieu of regular cigarettes, and that 'tar' and nicotine levels had been changed, but that that apparently did not have much meaning to them. He also said that on some aspects of the smoking and health controversy he conveyed some information to them, which was contrary to their accepted beliefs, and they apparently declared that nearly all this was totally new to them. He also remarked that the BMA leaders were surprisingly sympathetic to the Industry's potential legal problems.
Subsequent to that meeting he had been invited and consented to make a similar presentation to a wider gathering of the BMA. He said he had done this under the impression that it would be a non-public meeting. Later he found out that it would be a public meeting and that members of the press would be invited. He thereupon withdrew from participating in that meeting.
Dr. Blackman handed me a 1980 brochure on the "Central Research and Development" of RAT with the comment that the discussions on pages 6, 7 and 8 (attached) were a full reflection of his own views. While I am in general agreement on what is stated on page 6, his beliefs are, in my judgement, more fully, but not completely, expressed on pages 7 and 8.
I presented to Dr. Blackman many scientific facts and arguments why, in my opinion, the smoking and health controversy is a controversy, with reference to all major diseases which have allegedly been linked to smoking. A great deal of this obviously was new to him and I also handed him copies of several papers of special interest.
From all this and the general tone and various "signals" during our conversations,I had, regretfully, to come to the conclusions stated above in the summary. I did see no point in belabouring the matter, especially since Dr. Blackman several times stated that he believes his view to be largely compatible with the American Industry stance with reference to product liability, as well as what he perceived to be my own convictions. With reference to product liability, he foresees for Britain and the other countries of the EEC that the legal situation will come to resemble that in the United States.
I then resolved in favor of candor some conflicts In my own mind to what extent I should be either tactful or candid with reference to sow specific Industry situations in Great Britain, especially the Tobacco Advisory Council (TAC).
I first talked about Peter Lee, an epidemiological statistician who was formerly employed full time by TAC, and who now is a consultant not only to TAC but also to BAT and Imperial. I stated that in my opinion Peter Lee's views were at variance with the scientific developments as I saw them, that Lee, in most instances, saw matters entirely from the views of the anti-smoking establishment. Furthermore, that nearly always, once it came to the point where
Mr.Samuel B. Witt, III
March 31, 1981
RE: Blackman visit
the facts had been established and a political and/or Judgemental decision was required, Lee's conviction nearly always lead him to an anti-smoking "decision". Dr. Blackman said he disagreed with me on this and that he believed that Peter Lee was giving them most of the time good and helpful advice.
I also said that I had a similar assessment regarding Dr. Geoff Felton, whose present assignment is to brief Dr. Blackman and others on smoking and health issues. Dr. Blackman stated that, by and large, he agreed with my view on Geoff Felton.
I also brought to Dr. Blackman's attention the, in my judgment, totally unwarranted comments which Mr. Aubyn, Associate Director of TAC, had made regarding Dr. Eysenck.
Dr. Blackman also informed me that Dr. Gary Huber, who had been invited to speak before the RAT Board in London on March 9th, and who was then scheduled to visit BAT and others in Germany, had not shown up in London, apparently because his passport was lost or stolen while he was still in Kentucky, and that Dr. Huber apparently failed to inform him and/or others in Great Britain and in Germany that he was unable to come.
Dr. Nystrom sat in on these almost five hours of discussions on smoking and health with Dr. Blackman, and he fully shares my interpretation of Dr. Blackman's views.
At his request, Dr. Blackman also talked to the following on tobacco research in general, without reference to smoking and health:
Dr. Alan Rodgman - Director, Fundamental R&D;
Mr. J. A. Giles - Director, R&D Technical Services;
Dr. Don Piehl - Director, Applied R&D;
Mr. J. L. McKenzie- Director, Brands R&D.
Dr. Blackman also participated in a basically social luncheon with the following participants:
Dr. R. E. Morse, Mr. Max H. Crohn, SBW, Mr. Tucker, Dr. A. Rogman (sic),
Dr. C. Nystrom, Mr. Ernie Pepples/B&W.
Frank G. Colby
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