Interim Committee Log (May 9th to June 1st)

9 May 1945:

The first informal meeting of the Committee was held in the S/W’s office to explain to the members the function of the Committee and to give them the general background of the project, the Quebec Agreement, the Combined Policy Committee, and the Combined Development Trust. The Secretary of War explained that the Committee had been established by him, with the approval of the President, to study and report on the matter of temporary war-time controls and publicity and to make recommendations on post-war research, development, and management and legislation necessary for these purposes. The Committee’s recommendations were to be submitted to the S/W and, through him, to the President. The total membership was announced as follows: The Secretary of War, Chairman; Hon. Ralph A. Bard, Dr. Vannevar Bush; Hon. James F. Byrnes; Hon. Ralph A. Bard, Dr. Vannevar Bush; Hon. James F. Byrnes; Hon. William L. Clayton; Dr. Karl T. Compton; Dr. James B. Conant; and Mr. George L. Harrison, Alternate Chairman. All were present except Dr. Conant. Mlr. Bundy was present by invitation.

(See notes of Meeting)

14 May 1945:

Bard, Bush, Byrnes, Clayton, Harrison, and General Groves (by invitation) were present at the second meeting. The Committee agreed that a Scientific Panel should be established to advise the Committee on technical matters and any other subject phase on which the Panel might care to express its views. Membership was designated as follows: Drs. A. H. Compton, E. O. Lawrence, J. R. Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi.

It was suggested that a Military Panel might be organized with membership drawn from high levels in the Army and Navy. The Committee agreed that the views of representatives of those industries most directly concerned with the project should be obtained, particularly about the potentialities of industrial mobilization in this field in other countries, but that no Panel should be formalized.

At the suggestion of Harrison, it was agreed that Lt. R. G. Arneson should be appointed Secretary of the Committee. It was decided that William L. Laurence, a science editor of the New York Times, now under contract with the Manhattan District, should work up drafts of public statements that would have to be made after using the weapon. Page was to review the drafts before presentation to the Committee.

(See Notes of Meeting)

18 May 1945:

At the third meeting, Bard, Byrnes, Clayton, Conant, and Harrison were the members present. Arthur Page and General Groves were present by invitation. Consideration was given to the draft statements of publicity; it is agreed that publicity concerning the test should be kept to a minimum, that following actual use, the President should make only a short announcement to the effect that the weapon had been employed and the S/W should release a longer statement giving the general story of the project. Other releases should be made later concerning the details of the program.

It was understood that under the terms of the Quebec Agreement, the U.S. was obligated to secure U.K. consent to the use of the weapon against a third party, no prior consent being necessary, however, in conducting local tests.

Harrison reported that the British were considering the establishment of a similar committee to consider publicity and post-war controls.

(See Notes of Meeting)

19 May 1945:

Page was assigned to prepare the Presidential statement; Arneson, a draft of the S/W’s report.

22 May 1945:

Bundy discussed with the S/W the desirability of inviting certain industry representatives to discuss with the Committee their experiences in connection with the project. The S/W agreed that they should be heard.

24 May 1945:

Bundy received from Roger Makins a copy of a letter proposing the establishment of a parallel British committee. I’m sharing some of the problems involved. I’ve included a note to Harrison for his information.

25-29 May 1945:

I have completed arrangements for meeting with representatives from the industry and with the scientific panel.

31 May 1945:

All members were present at the meeting with the four scientists. General Marshall, Groves, Bundy, and Page are current by invitation. (See Notes of Meeting)

1 June 1945:

All members were present at the meeting with the industry representatives: George H. Bucher, President of Westinghouse; Walter S. Carpenter, President of Du Pont; James Rafferty, Vice President of Union Carbide; and James White, President of Tennessee Eastman. General Marshall, General Groves, Bundy, and Page were present by invitation. (See Notes of Meeting)

Copies of the A.H. Compton Report were given to Committee members.

7 June 1945:

Harrison discussed with S/W the recommendations of the Committee agreed upon at the 31 May and 1 June meetings: (1) the current program, including Chicago, be continued at present levels for the duration of the war; (2) the bomb be used without prior warning against Japan at the earliest opportunity, the targets to be a military target surrounded by workers houses; (3) a Military Panel be established, and (4) work be started promptly on legislation. The S/W agreed (1) and (2). He did not favor establishing a Military Panel. About (4), the S/W wanted priority given to legislation for domestic control, with the problems of international relations and rules to be dealt with by the Permanent Post-War Commission that would be established by law.

12 June 1945:

Arneson met with A.H. Compton concerning a memorandum prepared by sure of the Chicago scientists on “Social and Political Problems.”

13 June 1945:

Arneson delivered to and discussed with Byrnes a copy of the Quebec Agreement and other documents dealing with negotiations leading to the Agreement, with particular reference to the exchange of information concerning plant and construction data. Documents revealed that no interchange was made between plant and construction information.

15 June 1945:

Arneson reported to Harrison on his discussions with Compton and Byrnes. Harrison decided that the Scientific Panel, rather than the Committee, should consider the memorandum from the Chicago scientists. Arneson handed Harrison the first draft of the proposed public statement of the S/W.

16 June 1945:

Harrison talked with A.H. Compton by telephone concerning the Chicago memorandum, stating that he thought the Committee should consider it only after the Scientific Panel had made its comments. Compton agreed and promised to have the panel’s views on the memorandum available for Committee consideration at the next meeting. He also agreed to submit the Panel’s recommendation as to the disposition of the Chicago group after the war.

18 June 1945:

Copies of draft statements for President and S/W were sent to Groves’ office for comment.

20 June 1945:

Arneson discussed with Considine suggested changes in statements. Some changes were accepted and incorporated into redrafts. I am pointing out that references to CPC and CDT omitted in the S/W statement were held in suspense pending consideration by the Committee.

21 June 1945:

All members, except S/W, were present at the sixth meeting of the Committee. Groves, Bundy, and Page are current by invitation. The draft statement for the President was approved with minor changes. It was agreed that specific references to CPC, CDT, and the Quebec Agreement should be omitted.

It was agreed that releases that would be necessary after the statement of the S/W was made public should be handled by Groves’ organization in cooperation with Page.

(For other matters discussed, see Notes of Meeting)

25 June 1945:

Discussions with the British led to the conclusion that the most appropriate way to record British consent to our weapon used against Japan would be to make it a minute of the CPC.

26 June 1945:

Draft statements incorporating changes made by Committee decisions taken on 21 June presented to the S/W by Harrison and Bundy. S/W approved both comments with minor verbal changes and authorized Bundy to make copies available to Makins.

Harrison presented a memo to the S/W outlining the committee’s view that the President, after consultation with the Prime Minister, should be prepared to tell the Russians at the Conference that we were working on the weapon and expected to use it on Japan but that he should not open up the question of international control for the present. S/W approved this recommendation and authorized Bundy to make a copy of this memo available to Makins.

Bundy handed copies of the Presidential and S/W statements and a copy of the memo to Makins.

27 June 1945:

Harrison wrote A.H. Compton, informing him that Committee felt that the Scientific Panel should not be enlarged to include Urey but that it should hold itself free to receive any views that any scientists on the project might wish to present.

1 July 1945:

Bundy received from Makins specific suggested changes in the draft statements. Changes in President’s report were minor and were incorporated in a redraft. In the S/W’s view, it was felt that the section dealing with the history of nuclear physics leading up to the war was incomplete and therefore inaccurate, that no mention should be made of the successfulness of several processes, and that Tolman, Chadwick, and Mackenzie should be cited as Scientific Advisers to CPC members.

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