S/AE Files

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (Bush) and the Commanding General, Manhattan Engineer District (Groves), to the Secretary of State

Supplementing Memorandum of November 5.

This memorandum is prepared in answer to the question “what do we do with our bombs in the meantime”, assuming that a plan similar to that of the previous memorandum is being carried out.

One possible answer is as follows, although this is advanced tentatively.

It is assumed that we will continue to manufacture for the present at least the explosive material for bombs. This will also be useful, after an interval of some years, for the generation of power for peaceful purposes.

We might announce when the discussions have proceeded to a propitious point, that we do not propose to assemble this into bombs. Rather we propose to store it in bar form, simply as a stock of material and hold it for later installation in industrial power units when matters have advanced to that point. Moreover, we could state that, when there is a workable international inspection system in operation, we propose to invite their inspection of this material to assure themselves that we are thus holding it in this form.

As a reason, we could state that we do this as a partial proof of our good will. We have no intention of attacking anyone suddenly. We realize that storage in the fashion proposed would prevent us from using the materials for bombs without warning. We wish voluntarily to take this step, because we wish to have no threats of sudden attack hanging over the world.

The cost of this step to us is merely that it would make the material unavailable for atomic bombs without a period of preparation.

The effect on the world if this step were taken soon might be salutary, even although it is only one step of many.

There is one other point that we should like to mention, as a result of our conference of yesterday. It is our understanding that the first conference will include only Mr. Attlee, Mr. King, Mr. Bevin,23 the President, and yourself. If the British should wish to bring others into later conferences, where atomic energy is to be discussed, we believe you should then bring in, not just ourselves, but the Secretary of War, and Mr. Harrison, as well.

L. R. Groves
V. Bush
[Page 75]

[For text of the Agreed Declaration by President Truman, Prime Minister Attlee, and Prime Minister Mackenzie King, signed at Washington, November 15, 1945, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1504; or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1479.]

  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.