Second Interim Meeting
15 May 1945
NOTES OF AN INFORMAL MEETING OF THE INTERIM COMMITTEE
Monday, 14 May 1945. 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
- Hon. Ralph A. Bard
- Dr. Vannevar Bush
- Hon. James F. Byrnes
- Hon. William L. Clayton
- Mr. George L. Harrison, Acting Chairman
(in the absence of the Secretary of War)
- Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves
1. Scientific Panel
It was agreed that the membership of the Scientific Panel should be as follows:
- Dr. Arthur H. Compton
Dr. Ernest O. Lawrence
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer
Dr. Enrico Fermi
It was further agreed that the Secretary of War or Mr. Harrison, on his behalf, should write to these four scientists inviting them to become panel members. In line with suggestions made by Dr. J. B. Conant and Dr. Vannevar Bush, it was the sense of the meeting that the Scientific Panel should be free not only to discuss technical matters but also to present to the Committee their views concerning the political aspects of the problem.
2. Military Panel
After some discussion, the Committee concluded that the Secretary of War should discuss with General Marshall and Admiral King the desirability of establishing a Military Panel and securing their membership recommendations. The Committee believed that the Panel, if constituted, would be most effective if its membership were drawn from high levels of the Army and Navy and, accordingly, agreed that the following membership would be desirable:
FOR THE ARMY:
General of the Army George C. Marshall
Lt. General Thomas T. Handy
Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves
FOR THE NAVY:
Admiral of the Fleet Ernest J. King
Admiral Richard S. Edwards
Rear Admiral William R. Purnell
3. The question was raised whether an Industrial Panel should be established to advise on the potentialities of industrial mobilization in this field in other countries. The Committee believed that no panel on this question should be organized at this time but that such men as Mr. James A. Rafferty of Union Carbide and Mr. A.K. Chapman of Eastman Kodak should be invited to sit in with the Committee to discuss this question.
II. PUBLIC STATEMENT
The inclusiveness of a public statement concerning the weapon was felt to be dependent upon the outcome of the test to be made in July. If the test showed poor results, it would suffice to have only a brief notice made public by the theater commander that a dump of high explosives had blown up. If, however, the results that are now confidently expected are borne out by the field test, a complete public statement would be necessary. The President should make such a statement and indicate the weapon’s general nature, trace its development history, and the national and international controls contemplated.
It was agreed that William L. Laurence, a New York Times science editor, now under contract with the Manhattan District, should be brought in to draft these two alternative statements. Arthur Page should review these statements before their presentation to the Committee for consideration.
III. INTERNATIONAL SITUATION
The international aspects of the program were discussed at some length, with the Quebec Agreement and the operations of the Combined Development Trust being stressed copies of a memorandum from Drs. Bush and Conant, on this question, were distributed to Messrs. Byrnes, Bard, Clayton, and General Groves for further study after the meeting. Copies of a memorandum from sure scientists addressed to Dr. Arthur Compton were also distributed to Messrs. Byrnes and Bard for further research.
IV. LEGISLATIVE CONTROLS
The matter of controls and the legislation necessary to effectuate such control were discussed in general terms; no attempt was made, however, to arrive at any definite conclusions.
V. THE CHICAGO SCIENTISTS.
General Groves and Dr. Bush outlined the nature of the work being carried on by the Chicago Group and raised the question as to its future status. It was agreed that the group should continue its work for the present and that future status should be taken up later after the weapon was put to improper use.
VI. APPOINTMENT OF SECRETARY.
The Acting Chairman recommended that Lieutenant R. Gordon Arneson, Assistant to Mr. Bundy, should be appointed Secretary of the Committee.
VII. NEXT MEETING.
The next meeting of the Committee was set for 2:30 P.M., Friday, 18 May 1945.
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