Seventh Interim Meeting

Friday, 6 July 1945

Friday, 6 July 1945, 9:30 AM to 12:45 PM


  • Members of the Committee
  • Dr. Vannevar Bush
  • Dr. Karl T. Compton
  • Dr. James B. Conant
  • Mr. George L. Harrison, Acting Chairman


  • Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves


The Committee members read a memorandum prepared by the British dealing with the situation arising from the discovery of large deposits of uranium in Sweden. Mr. Harrison explained that the Combined Policy Committee, at its 4 July meeting, had voted unanimously that prompt action should be taken to enter into a political agreement with the Swedish Government to secure the total possible control over the deposits in Sweden. Mr. Harrison reported further that the Secretary of State, on being informed of this situation, favored prompt action along the lines of a political agreement and stated to Mr. Harrison that the resources of the State Department were available to that end and that he hoped action could be initiated at once.


Regarding the draft Presidential statement, the Committee accepted the British suggestions in toto.

Mr. Harrison reported that the British manifested some concern about mentioning in the draft statement of the Secretary of War the various processes employed and the fact that the several methods had proven successful. Given this objection, the Committee agreed that specific process references should be omitted. Still, it felt that there was no point in avoiding contact with the fact that several methods were being successfully employed, for this would be realized by any competent physicist as soon as the use of the bomb was made public. It was reported that the British felt that Section I dealing with a resume of scientific discoveries leading to the development of the bomb, was misleading because it was incomplete. Given this, the Committee agreed that this Section should be abbreviated to make only very general reference to the universality of knowledge in nuclear physics before the war without mentioning the contributions of particular scientists.

About the scientific statement now in the process of clearance with the project’s scientists, Dr. Bush reported that at the 4 July CPC meeting, he had argued strongly that no useful purpose would be served by withholding the general scientific history of the project. At Dr. Bush’s suggestion, the

Combined Policy Committee had agreed (1) that it should approve a set of principles and conditions governing the release of information on this subject and (2) that the scientific release should be prepared in line with these principles, with Sir James Chadwick being authorized to clear the statement on behalf of the British.


As a matter of information, Mr. Harrison read his letter of 27 June to Dr. A. H. Compton, which stated that the Interim Committee felt it could not enlarge the Scientific Panel at this time but that the Scientific Panel should obtain from Dr. Urey and others such views on any phase of the project as they might care to express, and that the Panel should decide whether such opinions as are obtained should be passed on to the Committee for consideration.


Mr. Harrison reported that the position taken by the Committee at its last meeting concerning the discussion of this subject at the “Big Three” Conference had been communicated to the Secretary of War and that the Secretary was in complete agreement with the Committee’s recommendation, particularly given the short time between the Conference and the actual use of the weapon. The Secretary of War strongly endorsed speaking to the President about it.


After considerable discussion of legislation to establish a post-war Control Commission, it was evident that many unsolved problems would have to be carefully considered, particularly regarding the relationship of such a Commission to the organization for general research proposed in Dr. Bush’s forthcoming report to the President. Mr. Harrison reported that in their thinking thus far, General Royall and Mr. Marbury favored a proprietary status for the Commission since this would provide greater power and freedom of action. Mr. Harrison expressed the view that the present organization, namely the Manhattan District, should be kept in being until the new organization established by law could begin functioning. The first emphasis should be to get the Commission set with full constitutional power to act and then take up the details of internal organization and the question of relationships with the proposed general research agency.

The Committee agreed that Dr. Bush, with the assistance of Dr. Conant, should draw up a set of principles that should be furnished to General Royall and Mr. Marbury as a guide in drafting legislation.


Since it was felt that the time of the next meeting would depend upon the test date, it was agreed that the next meeting should occur sometime between the 18th and 21st of July, when the Committee would consider a report from the sub-committee on legislation.

The meeting adjourned at 12:45 P. M.

1st Lieutenant, A. U. S.

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