The 23rd session of CERN Council was held on 19 December 1962, under the presidency of Mr Jean Willems (Belgium). The president opened the session by a tribute to the memory of Prof. Niels Bohr, one of the founders of CERN, who died on 18 November.

Commenting on the progress report of the Organization, Prof. V F Weisskopf, the Director-general, stated that "1962 was a decisive year for CERN…which now has a healthy scientific programme exploiting reasonably well the opportunities of the two accelerators, within the limits of our present state of development".

In a statement concerning the programme and budget, however, Prof. Weisskopf issued a warning, pointing out that the success of our laboratory does not mean that its facilities are fully exploited. Because of insufficient spending in the last few years, much more financial support than is even now proposed would be needed to make the fullest use of all the research possibilities offered at present.

The Member States which brought CERN into being and encouraged it to build the accelerators that are now working, he suggested, should support the exploitation of CERN in the same spirit as they fully supported its construction. Our laboratory, which is at the centre of Europe in the field of high-energy physics, must not fall behind similar laboratories elsewhere in the world, and its capacity of exploitation must not be restrained if it is not to become a second-rate institution.

The Director-general also stated that as CERN is part of this situation it must fulfil the demands for more and better opportunities of work, and more scientific material for study and exploitation, by the rapidly growing number of European scientists entering the field and anxious to contribute to it. As now foreseen, a full exploitation of CERN would require 2200 or more personnel (staff, fellows and visitors) against the 1450 it has now.

Voting the budget for 1963, the Council authorized CERN to spend 94.2 million Swiss francs in 1963 to pursue its basic research in nuclear physics. The sum corresponds to an increase of 13% over the budget voted for 1962, together with an allowance of 3.6% for price increases. From this should be deducted 1.7 million from miscellaneous receipts. Contributions from Member States amount therefore to 92.5 million Swiss francs.

Another important development was the Council's approval in principle of an extension of the CERN site into French territory. "CERN could be the first international organization with a site extending on either side of an international frontier", declared Mr. François de Rose, Ministre plénipotentiaire of France.

This new move had its origin as early as 1958, when the then Director-general, Prof. C J Bakker, expressed the fear that CERN might lack space on its present site. A survey of the surrounding area subsequently showed that the most favourable direction for expansion would be on to French territory. An approach was made through the French delegation, and at this meeting of Council the delegates of France gave the news that their Government is willing to put at CERN's disposal an area of land in the Commune of St. Genis (Department of Ain), immediately adjoining the present site. This land, alongside the main road from Geneva to Lyon, would have an area of about 40 hectares (100 acres), that is, about the same as that of the present CERN site, which was placed at the disposal of the Organization by the Swiss in 1953. The Swiss authorities have already been approached by the French and have reacted favourably to this proposal to extend CERN across the frontier.

CERN's use of the area that has been offered poses some problems of a practical, diplomatic and administrative nature, both between CERN and France and between France and Switzerland. It is estimated that it will be about one year before CERN can take possession of the new ground. Building work could then be started on the section nearest to Switzerland; it will be some time, however, before the whole area can be used for buildings of any size.

• Extracted from a two-page article.

The Organization

CERN in a nutshell

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) came into being in 1954 as a cooperative enterprise among European governments in order to regain a first-rank position in nuclear science. At present it is supported by 13 Member States, with contributions according to their national revenues: Austria (1.92 %), Belgium (3.78), Denmark (2.05), Federal Republic of Germany (22.47), France (18.34), Greece (0.60), Italy (10.65), Netherlands (3.87), Norway (1.46), Spain (3.36), Sweden (4.18), Switzerland (3.15), United Kingdom (24.17). Contributions for 1963 total 92.5 million Swiss francs.

The character and aims of the Organization are defined in its Convention as follows: The Organization shall provide for collaboration among European States in nuclear research of a pure scientific and fundamental character, and in research essentially related thereto. The Organization shall have no concern with work for military requirements and the results of its experimental and theoretical work shall be published or otherwise made generally available.

• This information appeared at the front of each issue of CERN Courier in the 1960s.