SCI Files

Minutes of a Meeting of the Combined Policy Committee

[Extracts]
Present:
Members: The Secretary of State (in the Chair)
The Secretary of War
The Rt. Hon. Earl of Halifax
Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson
Dr. Vannevar Bush
By Invitation: The Canadian Ambassador, Mr. L. B. Pearson (representing the Hon. C. D. Howe)
Mr. George L. Harrison
Mr. George Bateman34
Joint Secretaries: Major General L. R. Groves
Mr. Roger Makins

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

V. Cooperation Between the Three Governments.

The Committee had before them two documents:—

(a)
Memorandum by President and Prime Ministers of Great Britain and Canada.35
(b)
Memorandum addressed to the Chairman of the Committee and signed by General Groves and Sir John Anderson.35

(a) Procedure: Judge Patterson explained that during the visit of Mr. Attlee and Sir John Anderson there had been insufficient time to prepare a formal document to take the place of the Quebec Agreement. The present document was intended to constitute heads of an agreement for discussion and consideration, and had been worked out between General Groves and Sir John Anderson. It was in the nature of a preliminary working paper. Lord Halifax understood the memorandum to constitute general guidance to the Combined Policy Committee as to the way in which paragraph 3 of the memorandum signed by the President and the Prime Ministers should be implemented.

Judge Patterson said that it was important to note that this document would take the place of the Quebec Agreement, the provisions of which would be completely superseded, including paragraph 4 concerning the use of atomic energy for commercial and industrial purposes.

[Page 87]

General Groves said that the memorandum was not exhaustive and there were one or two other questions which might have to be included in the final document.

On the proposal of Lord Halifax a Sub-Committee was then appointed consisting of General Groves, Mr. Makins and Mr. Pearson or Mr. Bateman, (designation to be made later by Mr. Pearson) to draw up a document for submission to the main Committee.

Discussion followed as regards the nature of the agreement to be drawn up, and it was suggested that it should be an executive agreement in the form of a memorandum for signature.

The Committee:— instructed the Sub-Committee to prepare a memorandum accordingly in the form of an executive agreement.

VI. Combined Development Trust.

General Groves, Chairman of the Trust then made a report to the Committee on the following matters:—

(a) He asked the Committee to take note of a trend towards the nationalisation of uranium throughout the world.

(b) World Survey Report: A letter addressed to the Chairman of the Committee by the Chairman of the Trust was read drawing attention to the conclusions of a recent survey of the world resources of uranium and thorium undertaken by the Combined Development Trust. (Copy of this letter is attached as Tab JJ.)36

Attention was drawn to paragraph 3 of this letter regarding the low grade deposits in the Soviet Union and the Argentine. It was pointed out that it would require a revolution in extraction technique to develop these deposits.

In reply to a question, General Groves said that the policy of the Trust was to extract and bring under the control of the Trust high-grade deposits at the earliest possible moment. For example, it was hoped that the Belgian Congo deposits would be worked out at the end of ten years. In reply to a further question, General Groves said that there was no evidence of any high-grade deposits in the Soviet Union.

The Committee:— took note of the letter from the Chairman of the Trust and of the points made in the discussion.

(c) Contracts with African metals:

The Committee:— took note of a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Committee by the Chairman of the Trust37 reporting the conclusion of two further contracts for the supply of uranium between the Trust and African Metals Corporation.

General Groves explained that the African Metals had insisted on the protection of the purchase price by a gold clause. Under the [Page 88]existing law of the United States this could not be agreed to by the United States negotiators. It had, therefore, been provided that, as far as the United Kingdom share of the cost of the uranium was concerned, a gold clause would apply, and a premium of 15% would be paid on the American share. It had been stated in an exchange of letters between the senior United Kingdom and United States members of the Trust38 that, although under this arrangement the amounts ultimately paid by the United States Government and the United Kingdom Government could differ, the Governments were in fact undertaking equal obligations under the contracts with African Metals and that the spirit of Article 3(1) and Article 6 of the Trust Agreement was therefore met.

The Committee:— Took note and formally approved this understanding.

(d) Travancore: General Groves reported that negotiations by the United Kingdom authorities with the State of Travancore concerning deposits of monazite sands in the States were continuing. Meanwhile, the mining of these sands had been stopped and full control had been secured over the export of monazite and its derivatives.

(e) Portugal: General Groves reported that the Trust was continuing its operations in Portugal, with the object of securing complete control of the uranium deposits in that country. These deposits were of sufficient size to permit a country which secured control of them to engage in extensive experimental work.

(f) Brazil: General Groves referred to the agreement which had been made in July 1945 between the United States and Brazilian Governments and the subsequent arrangements between the United States and the United Kingdom Governments for the control of monazite sand and its derivatives in Brazil. The time had now come to make some purchases of material from Brazil under this agreement and the matter was being pursued with the advice and assistance of the Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. William Clayton.

The Committee:— Took note of this statement.

(g) Purchase of stock piles in the United States and United Kingdom: General Groves reported that there were certain stocks of thorium, mostly in the United States, which it was desirable should come under control of the Trust. It had been decided that each Government would take steps to secure this control in its own territory, and the Manhattan District was taking the necessary action in the United States of America.

VII. Policy in regard to the control of raw materials.

General Groves said that the policy of the Trust was to try and secure exclusive control of all deposits and supplies of raw materials [Page 89]wherever they might be situated. He pointed out that there had been a considerable change in the membership of the Combined Policy Committee and asked that this policy be again stated by the Committee. Judge Patterson said he saw no alternative to re-affirming this policy, at least until some arrangement of a wider character could be reached and adequate assurance from other powers could be obtained. Lord Halifax, Dr. Bush and Mr. Byrnes agreed.

The Committee:— Approved the policy of the Combined Development Trust as stated by its Chairman.

VIII. Combined Intelligence Section.

The Committee:— Took note of a letter to the Chairman from General Groves39 setting out the functions of the Combined Intelligence Section.

IX. Tripartite Declaration.

Mr. Pearson enquired whether the procedure for the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission under the United Nations Organisation would be discussed in the Committee.

Mr. Byrnes said that there had already been an exchange of views between the Department of State and the British and Canadian Embassies on this subject, and he contemplated that for the time being the matter should continue to be handled through diplomatic channels.

X. Documents of the Committee.

Mr. Makins said that the minutes and memoranda of the Combined Policy Committee were treated as Top Secret documents. There were two master copies of the proceedings and documents of the Committee; one for the United States Joint Secretary and the other for the United Kingdom Joint Secretary. These were kept in the War Department.

Mr. Byrnes directed that these documents should continue to be kept in the War Department. The Committee then adjourned.

L. E. Groves

Major General, U.S.A.
Roger Makins
  1. At this meeting the nomination of Mr. Bateman as Canadian Joint Secretary was approved.
  2. Dated November 16, p. 75.
  3. Dated November 16, p. 75.
  4. Supra.
  5. Dated December 2, p. 81.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.