Interim Committee Log (July 2nd to July 28th)
2 July 1945:
Arneson delivered to Byrnes copies of the President’s and S/W’s statements, British suggestions, Harrison’s memo to S/W on Russia, Harrison to S/W transmitting Bard’s memo, and Bard’s message 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 the Quebec Agreement, Combined Development Trust Agreement, a compilation of documents leading up to the Quebec Agreement, the President’s statement, S/W’s statement, and British suggestions.
6 July 1945:
Compton, Conant, Harrison, and Groves (by invitation) were present at the seventh meeting of the Committee Bush. The British suggestions on the President’s statement were accepted in toto. Regarding the S/W’s statement, it was agreed to omit reference to processes by name; however, it was felt that no purpose would be served by omitting reference to the fact that several methods had been successful. It was also agreed to make only very general mention of the world’s broad interest and work in nuclear physics before the war started, without giving the names of any of the scientists who contributed during that period. Specific 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:
I got additional British suggestions from Makins. Essentially like changes consequential to our accepted original amendations, these were incorporated in toto.
11 July 1945:
Redrafts incorporating further British suggestions delivered by Arneson to Makins’ secretary. I understand that Makins would inform the Chancellor of our acceptance of the recommendations.
16 July 1945:
At 8:00 A.M. E.W.T. Groves called Harrison reporting the success of the test. At 9:00 A.M., Groves called in further details. The results were 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 the line at 11:15 A.M. At 1:00 P.M. Considine came over to show Harrison a copy of the statement 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 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 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 test’s success at 9:00 A.M., K.T. Compton at 9:30 A.M., and Page at 1:00 P.M.
At 2:00 P.M., with Page, Considine, Mrs. O’Leary, and Arneson present, Groves reported to Harrison the test results in some detail. All evidence points to much greater success than had been expected. No casualties occurred, and the local press release successfully handled the speculation aroused locally. Considine stated that he thought the story was of more than 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 group’s presence, Harrison prepared a cable to the S/W in line with Groves’s report. The thread was given to Pasco at 4:15 P.M. for dispatch.
18 July 1945:
General Royall and Marbury met with Harison and Arneson. The bill that Royall and Marbury drafted was read and discussed in general terms. It was learned that General Groves had had two young lawyers, Lts. George S. Allan and George L. Duff, working on legislation for some time, had compiled a most valuable document of background material that Royall and Marbury have found most helpful. Harrison called Groves to suggest that Allan and Duff sit in on the meeting on the 19th during the draft discussion. 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 Harrison a proposed statement to be made by Churchill after using the weapon with a request for comment and criticism. Groves and Harrison reviewed the information together and concluded that the no objection to it, provided the present conditions did not change.
20 July 1945:
Following 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 specific verbal changes incorporated. I also sent a letter of appreciation and congratulations 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 the final approval of our public statements be cleared promptly because the time is growing short. Makins promised to report our wishes to London immediately. As regards 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 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 said that further debate concerning the basic process 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 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 about 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 the release of the statements without the specific approval of the Prime Minister should the “use” date make this necessary. Makins remarked that he would do the same if he were in Harrison’s place. 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 noted that he agreed 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 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 a word.
Considine discussed with Arneson the mechanics of releasing the statements. He suggested that the President’s message be turned over to the President’s press secretary, Charles Ross, for any necessary changes and distribution to the press. The S/W statement can be mimeographed on machines being arranged for by Considine.
27 July 1945:
Considine reported that arrangements had 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 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 by reviewing changes with the S/W.
Page and Arneson made specific changes in the Presidential statement, which geared into the Potsdam Proclamation of 26 July. Harrison approved these changes.
28 July 1945:
Makins reported to Harrison by telephone this morning that the proposed statement of the Prime Minister had yet to be approved in London. Given the election results, it was assumed that specific changes would need to be made. It was expected that the changes would be cabled to Washington when completed. Makins had no further word on our two statements but assumed that Bundy could report on this matter when he returned. Regarding the scientific statement, Makins stated that he and Chadwick were concerned about the amount of information it revealed.
Original at: http://www.whistlestop.org/