Hopkins Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to the President’s Special Assistant (Hopkins)1


Prime Minister to Mr. Harry Hopkins. Personal immediate and most secret. Yours of the 24th.

In my immediately following telegram I send you brief memorandum summarizing history of US UK relations on project known as S–1 or Tube Alloys . If any of documents quoted therein are not available to you, please let me know at once so that I can send you copies by air.

There is no question of breach of agreement. Basis on which all interchange of information has taken place up to this time has been one of complete mutual confidence and of conviction that the most certain and most rapid realization of the project can be attained only through complete cooperation. Suggestion for formal agreement made from our side in August last2 was concerned more with joint control and post war arrangements than with wartime collaboration in actual work which, after the President’s approach to me in October 1941,3 had always been taken for granted.

We believe that no one will dispute that the American and British scientists and technicians working together as a joint team must achieve success in this difficult and novel project more quickly and efficiently than either group working separately.

When the President and I talked of this matter at Hyde Park in June 1942, my whole understanding was that everything was on the basis of fully sharing the results as equal partners. I have no record, but I shall be very much surprised if the President’s recollection does not square with this.4

I base my request to you to review the position and restore the [Page 3] original policy of joint work on my conviction that this is necessary if the joint resources of the two countries are to be used most efficiently. But I think that memorandum in my immediately following telegram will show you that, if I had to justify my case on grounds of fair play, I should have little difficulty in doing so.

I must ask you to let me have very soon a firm decision on US policy in this matter, as urgent decisions about our programme here and in Canada depend on the extent to which full collaboration between us is restored.

  1. Transmitted via military channels.
  2. Reference here is to the proposals set forth in letters of August 5, 1942, from Anderson to Bush. The contents of these letters are described in detail in Hewlett and Anderson, pp. 261–263.
  3. The approach of October 1941 is described in the document printed infra.
  4. No record has been found of the Roosevelt–Churchill discussions of the atomic bomb project during their meetings at Hyde Park in June 1942; see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington, 1941–1942, and Casablanca, 1943, p. 432.