Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1964+ Cig Ind Legal Coordination

The Cigarette Century pp 252 – 253

The Policy Committee began as a group of industry lawyers who met to plot the industry’s response to the expected regulatory effort. In late 1963, as the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee was finishing its report, the committee met almost daily, mapping strategies to deflect any potential regulatory initiatives, especially those that required warning labels on packages and advertisements. Evaluating every possible contingency, they drafted testimony witnesses for legislative hearings. 46 Chaired by R.J. Reynolds’s Henry Williamson, Fred Hass from Liggett & Myers, and Cy Hetsko from American Tobacco, as well as representatives from Lorillard and Philip Moris. “This Committee is extremely powerful; it determines the high policy of the industry on all smoking or health matters – research and public relations matters, for example, as well as legal matters – and it reports directly to the presidents,” explained the two industry representatives from Great Britain. 47

The industry understood that the situation demanded unity. Even as companies competed sharply for market share and pushed the boundaries of health claims, they were committed to presenting a seamless front on science, policy and law. In a February 1964 meeting the executives agreed to appoint a single spokesman to respond to the FTC regulators. “Counsel were in agreement that if representatives of individual companies were to make a presentation to the FTC, they might be faced with embarrassing questions as to particular advertising and that conflicting statements as to the proposed Trade Regulation Rules might be voiced.” As a result they agreed to rely upon attorney Thomas Austern of Covington & Burling to speak for them all. He “would be best able to ‘field’ these questions, to plead ignorance to ads, etc. 46

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