Dr. Herbert Scoville Jr., 70, a former deputy director of the CIA and assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency who had written extensively on issues relating to arms control, died of cancer July 30 at Georgetown University Hospital. He maintained homes in McLean and Taconic, Conn.
Dr. Scoville began his campaign for nuclear arms control in the 1950s following the famed nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll. He argued at the Pentagon in 1954 for a test ban treaty and over the next three decades was a consistent opponents of a nuclear arms buildup.
Through his books, "Missile Madness" and "MX: Prescription for Disaster," and in speaking engagements in this country and abroad, Dr. Scoville sought to lay the issues of arms control before the public.
Dr. Scoville said in a 1983 article in The Washington Post that he believed the U.S. was "drifting toward annihilation." "Somehow the public doesn't seem to be able to grasp the significance of the issue," he said. "They read these numbers -- 50 million will be killed in an atomic attack, whole cities wiped out. It's nothing they can conceive of. It has no meaning in their day-to-day lives.
"If an airplane crashes and 75 people are burned up, that's a disaster everyone can visualize," Dr. Scoville continued. "They can picture themselves in the airplane. But a nuclear war that destroys our society -- that tends to be just numbers. It's too depressing and they don't see what they can do about it anyway."
From 1955 to 1963, Dr. Scoville worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, where he became the deputy director. For the next six years, he was the assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He resigned from the federal service in 1969. Between 1958 and 1966, he also was a member of U.S. delegations to three disarmament conferences in Geneva.
Dr. Scoville was born in New York. He graduated from Yale University and earned his doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Rochester. He moved to Washington in the early 1940s and went to work for the National Research Defense Committee.
He was president of the Arms Control Association and had served on the boards of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Defense Information. He also had served on the council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 1981, he received the Rockefeller Public Service Award from Princeton University. He also received the Hutchinson Medal from the University of Rochester.
Survivors include his wife, Ann Curtiss Scoville of McLean and Taconic; three sons, Anthony and Thomas, both of Washington, and Nicholas, of Los Angeles; a daughter, Molly Fitzmaurice of Washington, and six grandchildren.