Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Mr. Bernard M. Baruch 82 to the Secretary of State

My Dear Jim: I have just been able to get the atomic energy resolution83 which I read over very carefully.

Section 5, paragraphs B, C, and D are the crux. Any proposal will have to be based upon a better observance of promises. In the present circumstances that would be worth very little judging by your notes to Russia.

There is no reason why Section A should not be undertaken, although this immediately raises the question of patents in connection with all scientific processes, particularly those of peace, which are being industrialized [Page 758]and which help to raise the standard of living of everyone. In war one can seize those patents, but in peace they must be protected.

When it comes to the others, I do not see how we can proceed at present. If Russia will not permit entree of news men or others, can we believe they will permit any inspection? That would immediately stop the discussion regarding atomic energy.

Unless we get a better working UNO which is the only hope of the world, we will be unable to discuss the elimination of the atomic bomb from armaments because we will be the only ones who will have them.

I must confess that paragraph B is a puzzler to me. Indeed, I feel I should like to have you expatiate a little more on the terms of reference of the commission. I understand it had to be more or less indefinite but I would like to know more about what exactly lies in your mind.

Another thing, I can only work between the hours of 10 and 12 in the morning and from 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. I cannot go to any night sessions.

I feel very strongly we ought to work everything through the UNO and try to uphold that, but I do not see any point in our discussing any of the questions this will bring up unless a better understanding—a two-way street—is had with other countries, particularly Russia and that all contracts and promises should be lived up to. There is no good making new ones unless we live up to the old ones.

I understand also that this will not stop me from expressing my views on any other questions. It will stop me from making any statement regarding atomic energy which will be the work of the commission. Anything I will have to say will have to be said to the commission. I then become a part of the machinery as long as I remain a member of it.

This is a very important matter and I do not want to say No, but I should like to have an alternate or assistant—a man like Eberstadt,84 Hancock,85 Searls86 or Swope,87 besides the scientific advisers.

In view of all this, if you still want me to serve I will accept.

Sincerely yours,

[File copy not signed]
  1. Civic leader and investment banker; chairman of the War Industries Board during World War I; government consultant during World War II. In late February, Byrnes had asked Mr. Baruch to be United States Representative on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
  2. The resolution on atomic energy adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, London, January 24, 1946; for text, see GA (I/1), Resolutions, p. 9.
  3. Ferdinand Eberstadt, banker, served on the War Production Board during World War II.
  4. John M. Hancock, investment banker, served with the War Resources Board during World War II.
  5. Fred Searls, Jr., mining corporation executive, served with the Office of War Mobilization during World War II.
  6. Herbert Bayard Swope, former editor of the New York World and head of the New York State Racing Commission; served with the War Industries Board during World War I.