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Key Issues Nuclear Weapons History Pre Cold War Interim Committee Log

Interim Committee Log
2 July 1945 through 28 July 1945

2 July 1945
Arneson delivered to Byrnes copies of President's and S/W's statements, British suggestions, Harrison memo to S/W on Russia, Harrison to S/W transmitting Bard memo, and Bard memo to S/W concerning warning to Japan.

5 July 1945
Arneson turned over to Kyle for delivery to Bundy at Potsdam sealed package containing copies of Quebec Agreement, Combined Development Trust Agreement, compilation of documents

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See Also
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Documents

leading up to Quebec Agreement, President's statement, S/W's statement, and British suggestions.

6 July 1945
At the seventh meeting of the Committee Bush, Compton, Conant, Harrison, and Groves (by invitation) were present. The British suggestions on the President's statement were accepted in toto . With regard to the S/W's statement, it was agreed to omit reference to processes by name; it was felt however that no prupose would be served by omitting reference to the fact that several processes had proven successful. It was also agreed to make only very general mention of the world wide interest and work in nuclear physics before the war started, without giving the names of any of the scientists who contributed during that period. Certain verbal changes were also accepted. 

(See Notes of Meeting)

Harrison saw Makins at 3:00 P.M. and showed him the changes we had made in line with the British suggestions.

7 July 1945
Arneson delivered to Makins copies of the redrafts containing suggested British changes.

10 July 1945
Further British suggestions received from Makins. Largely in the nature of changes consequential to the original amendations which we had accepted, these were incorporated in toto .

11 July 1945
Redrafts incorporating further British suggestions delivered by Arneson to Makins' secretary. It was understood that Makins would make known to the Chancellor our acceptance of the suggestions.

16 July 1945
At 8:00 A.M. E.W.T. Groves called Harrison reporting success of the test. At 9:00 A.M. Groves called in further details. Results even better than expected. Harrison prepared a cable to send to the S/W which he turned over to Pasco to prepare for transmittal. At (:30 A/M/ Harrison showed a copy of the cable to Lovett and then to Patterson. After Patterson's approval, Harrison authorized dispatch of cable at 11:15 A.M.

At 1:00 P.M. Consodine came over to show Harrison a copy of the statement that had been released to the local press in New Mexico at 11:00 A.M. M.W.T.

Harrison had tried to get in touch with Makins during the morning. At 3:00 P.M. Makins came over and was shown the telegram. Harrison told him about the press release that had been issued in New Mexico to cover the curiosity that had been aroused locally. It was agreed that Makins should inform Halifax immediately but only in very general terms to the effect that the test had been successful and that results had exceeded expectations. It was understood further that Chadwick's report would be transmitted to Makins through Groves.

17 July 1945
Groves called Harrison from Nashville at 2:00 A.M. E.W.T. reporting that he would arrive in Washington about 1:00 P.M.

Harrison advised Bard of the success of the test at 9:00 A.M.; K.T. Compton, at 9:30 A.M.; Page, at 1:00 P.M.

At 2:00 P.M. with Page, Consodine, Mrs. O'Leary and Arneson present, Groves reported to Harrison the results of the test in some detail. All evidence points to much greater success than had been expected. No casualties occurred and the speculation aroused locally was successfully taken care of by the local press release. Consodine stated that he thought the story was of only one day's interest and would not give rise to any difficulties later.

Groves said that he felt a news story should be released in New Mexico after actual use giving information in general terms about the test. He also suggested a minor verbal change in the President's statement. 

In the presence of the group Harrison prepared a cable to the S/W in line with Groves report. Cable given to Pasco at 4:15 P.M. for dispatch.

18 July 1945
General Royall and Marbury met with Harison and Arneson. The bill which Royall and Marbury had drafted was read and discussed in general terms. It was learned that General Groves has had two young lawyers, Lts. George S. Allan and George L. Duff, working on legislation for some period and that they had compiled a most useful document of background material which Royall and Marbury have found most useful. Harrison called Groves to suggest that Allan and Duff should sit in on the meeting on the 19th during discussion of draft. Groves agreed to have them present.

19 July 1945
At the ninth meeting of the Committee Bush, Compton, Conant, and Harrison were the members present; Groves, Royall, Marbury, Allan and Duff were present by invitation. The principle topic for consideration was the draft bill.

(See Notes of Meeting)

Makins handed to Harrison a proposed statement to be made by Churchill after use of the weapon with a request for comment and criticism. Groves and Harrison went over the statement together and concluded that they had no objection to it provided present conditions did not change.

20 July 1945
In accord with the decision of the Interim Committee at the 19 July meeting the memorandum drafted by Bush and Conant for dispatch to the Scientific Panel from the Committee was sent out to the members of the Panel with certain verbal changes incorporated. A letter of appreciation and congratulations was also sent to Oppenheimer by Harrison on behalf of the S/W and the Committee.

Harrison met with Makins to report that he and Groves saw no objection to the proposed statement of the Prime Minister, provided present conditions did not change and that he was prepared to recommend that the S/W approve the release if it was finally decided by the British that they wanted to use it. Harrison requested that final approval of our public statements be cleared promptly in view of the fact that the time is growing short. Makins promised to report our wishes to London immediately. As regares the scientific release Makins indicated that while his government did not like the idea of a scientific release it was willing to consider the rules of release approved and raise no objection to the statement provided Chadwick certified that it came within the rules.

Bush indicated his dissatisfaction with the Royal/Marbury draft and suggested that his comments and a copy of the Foundation bill should be sent up to Allen and Duff for their consideration. Arneson arranged for this to be done. Allan and Duff explained to Arneson when he called them that Royall had given them only a limited objective to work on, namely, that they were to make only minor changes in the draft along the general lines of the discussion of the Committee on 19 July without changing the basic approach of the document. On being informed of this, Bush expressed the view that further discussion concerning the basic approach would be necessary, but that in any event his comments and the Foundation bill should be sent up to Allan and Duff for their use before they returned on Monday. Allan and Duff indicated to Arneson over the telephone that they had some doubts about the basic approach of the Royall/Marbury bill and proposed to submit a memorandum on that point to Royall when they came down on Monday.

25 July 1945
Makins saw Harrison this morning. He explained that the situation with regard to the clearance of the public statements of the President and the Secretary of War as reflected in Harrison's memorandum of 20 July remained unchanged. He had cabled London of our desire to secure speedy clearance and had received a reply stating that while the Prime Minister's advisers approved the statements Churchill might want to discuss the matter at Potsdam. Harrison pointed out that the time was growing short and that he was prepared to recommend release of the statements without the sprcific approval of the Prime Minister should the "use" date make this necessary. Makins remarked that if he were in Harrison's place he would do the same under the circumstances. Harrison suggested that the British should also feel free to release their statement without specific approval from our highest level if events make this necessary after our statements had been made public.

As regards the "scientific" release Makins stated there was nothing new to report. Accordingly, it is assumed that the decision taken by the Combined Policy Committee at its last meeting stands unaltered.

Harrison suggested a minor change in the draft letter to Halifax concerning the agreement concluded with Brazil. This change states that "the interest of the United Kingdom was disclosed to the Brazilian Government at these negotiations." Makins stated that he was in agreement with the proposed change. Harrison said that he wished to await the return of the Secretary of State or at least the Secretary of War before giving final clearance to the exchange of letters. 

Marbury turned over to Harrison copies of the third draft of a bill to establish a Commission of Atomic Energy. He explained that perhaps 75 percent of Bush's objections had been met in the redraft. A copy was sent to Bush for further comment. One was also sent to Groves' office for dispatch to Conant. Bard saw a copy this afternoon and returned it without comment.

Consodine discussed with Arneson the mechanics of releasing the statements. He suggested that the President's statement should be turned over to the President's press secretary, Charles Ross, for any final changes that might be deemed necessary and for distribution to the press. The S/W statement can be mimeographed on machines being arranged for by Consodine.

27 July 1945
Consodine reported that arrangements have been made through Col. Matthews (temporarily assigned to Groves' organization from BPR) to release the S/W statement through BPR, and that a specifically guarded mimeograph room of the AGO can be used to run off copies.

Arneson discussed with Harrison an addition to the S/W statement, suggested by Matthews and Moynahan, to the effect that the War Department was to be the sole releasing agency for information on the project. Harrison agreed to bring this point up in going over changes with the S/W.

Page and Arneson made certain changes in the Presidential statement which gear into the Potsdam proclamation of 26 July. These changes were approved by Harrison.

28 July 1945
Makins reported to Harrison by telephone this morning that the proposed statement of the Prime Minister had not been approved in London. In view of the election results it was assumed that certain changes would need to be made. It was expected that the changes when made would be cabled to Washington. 

Makins had no further word on our two statements but assumed that Bundy would be able to report on this matter when he retrurned.

As regards the scientific statement, Makins stated that both he and Chadwick were much concerned about the amount of information it revealed.

Original at:  http://www.whistlestop.org/