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  Library Correspondence Diary: Leslie Groves

General Leslie Groves Diary

I [General Groves] was over in Mr. Stimson's office talking to him about some matter in connection with the bomb when he asked me if I had selected the targets yet. I replied that I had that report all ready and I expected to take it over to General Marshall the following morning for his approval. Mr. Stimson then said: "Well, your report is all finished isn't it?"

I said: "I haven't gone over it yet, Mr. Stimson. I want to be sure that I've got it just right."

He said: "Well I would like to see it" and I said: "Well it's across the river and it would take a long time to get it."

He said: "I have all day and I know how fast your office operates. Here's a phone on this desk. You pick it up and you call your office and have them bring that report over."

Well it took about fifteen or twenty minutes to get that report there and all the time I was stewing and fretting internally over the fact that I was shortcutting General Marshall. My relationship had been rather peculiar for an Army officer. I reported directly to two people, the Chief of staff and the Secretary of War. I reported to the Chief of Staff anything I thought was of interest to him from a military standpoint.... So anyone who had been in the army as long as I had didn't have to think about the spot I was in.

But there was nothing I could do and when I protested slightly that I thought it was something that General Marshall should pass on first, Mr. Stimson said: "This is one time I'm going to be the final deciding authority. Nobody's going to tell me what to do on this. On this matter I am the kingpin and you might just as well get that report over here." Well in the meantime he asked me what cities I was planning to bomb, or what targets. I informed him and told him that Kyoto was the preferred target. It was the first one because it was of such size that we would have no question about the effects of the bomb.... He immediately said: "I don't want Kyoto bombed." And he went on to tell me about its long history as a cultural center of Japan, the former ancient capital, and a great many reasons why he did not want to see it bombed.

 

 

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