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  Library Correspondence Robert Oppenheimer: Memorandum, April 30, 1943

Memorandum on Los Alamos
From: J R Oppenheimer
To: Leslie R Groves, Brigadier General
Date: April 30, 1943

Los Alamos
April 30, 1943

In accordance with our discussion of last week, I have given some thought to the question of a story about the Los Alamos Project which, if disseminated in the proper way, might serve somewhat to reduce the curiosity of the local population, and at least to delay the dissemination of the truth.

We propose that it be let known that the Los Alamos Project is working on a new type of rocket and that the detail be added that this is a largely electrical device. We feel that the story will have a certain credibility; that the loud noises which we will soon be making here will fit in with the subject; and that the fact, unfortunately not kept completely secret, that we are installing a good deal of electrical equipment, and the further fact that we have a large group of civilian specialists would fit in quite well. We further believe that the remoteness of the site for such a development and the secrecy which has surrounded the project would both be appropriate, and that the circumstance that a good deal of work is in fact being done on rockets, together with the appeal of the word, makes this story one which is both exciting and credible.

This question has been discussed with the governing board of the laboratory who approve it and who further recommend that the technical staff of the laboratory be specially warned neither to contradict nor to support a story of this kind if they should run into it.

J. R. Oppenheimer


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