SCI Files

The Chairman of the Combined Development Trust (Groves) to the Chairman of the Combined Policy Committee (Patterson)

My Dear Mr. Chairman: The following conclusions have just been drawn from the investigations by the Combined Development Trust of the world’s resources of uranium and thorium:

From present knowledge, it appears that the Trust group of nations controls 97% of the world’s uranium output from presently producing countries.
Of the large tonnage deposits which while of lower grade are capable of early commercial development, the British Empire controls 60%, i.e., those of the Union of South Africa. The other 40% is in Sweden.
Looking ahead ten years or more to large tonnage low grade deposits which might be developed if no consideration is given to costs, the Trust group of nations controls 35%, i.e., those of the United States of America and India. The remaining 65% is divided between Russia and the Argentine.
According to our present knowledge, it would appear that the only countries, outside of the Trust areas, having resources and industrial power which might challenge the dominant position of the Trust group of nations in the near future are Russia and possibly Sweden. Russian resources of raw materials are far inferior to those of the Trust group of nations and in all probability these could not be made available unless costs of production are completely disregarded.
Looking ten years or more ahead, the Argentine and Brazil might possibly come into this class although this would mean a scale of industrial and technical development which does not now seem at all probable.
Geological deductions would suggest that the discovery of deposits of uranium is not improbable in certain unexplored areas of the world such as China, Manchuria and Portuguese West Africa. However, even if such discoveries are made, having regard to industrial and technical capacity, it is not believed that these countries are likely to be able to challenge the position of the Trust group of nations in the foreseeable future.
With regard to thorium, the Trust group of nations controls about 65% of the world supply in India and Brazil.
The above opinions are based on the assumption that 100 tons of uranium and thorium are a practicable minimum working stock for an atomic energy project. We consider this a sound assumption under present knowledge.
There is no possibility of acquiring one hundred per cent commercial and political control of the world’s resources of uranium and thorium.
We would like to emphasize that all above figures are rough approximations intended to show the general order of magnitude. They represent the present picture integrating a number of factors which are constantly changing. This picture will become more definite as information becomes more fixed.
The above information is of the highest order of secrecy which should be preserved not only from other countries but from citizens of the United States (Trust group of nations) who might be tempted to profit by the information.

A summary of work in progress, pending and recommended is attached.32

Respectfully submitted,

L. R. Groves
Major General, U.S.A.
  1. Not printed.