Department of State Atomic Energy Files

The Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs (Hiss) to the Under Secretary of State (Acheson)

Joint Chiefs Views Concerning Military Implications of Atomic Energy Commission

You will recall that on the 25th of January last a Joint Chiefs of Staff paper (JCS 1567/26) entitled “Guidance as to the Miliary Implications of the United Nations Commission on Atomic Energy” was [Page 774]distributed to the members of the State, War and Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC 253).11 Mr. Blaisdell prepared under date of January 25 a brief commentary on the Joint Chiefs’ paper12 which was sent forward to you together with a supplementary memorandum dated January 29 from Mr. Ross.13 Copies of the papers referred to are attached for convenient reference.

In Mr. Ross’ memorandum the question was raised of the attitude the Department should take with regard to this paper when it came up for consideration in SWNCC the following afternoon. It was suggested that this paper might be referred to the SWNCC Committee on Security Arrangements for further consideration with a view to concerting the views of the three Departments.

If my understanding is correct you discussed this matter with Mr. Matthews14 and Mr. Ross and authorized Mr. Matthews, as the State Department Representative on SWNCC, to inform the Committee that you were keeping the Secretaries of War and Navy currently informed on the progress of work of your Committee on Atomic Energy and that it would seem, therefore, for the time being no further action on the Joint Chiefs’ paper would be required. This was in effect the decision of the Committee.

An officer of the War Department General Staff and Joint Staff Planners has told Mr. Blaisdell informally that the Joint Chiefs are considering revision of the paper under reference and its resubmission to SWNCC. Also Mr. Baruch is scheduled next Monday to discuss with General Eisenhower and Admiral Nimitz the question of his relations with the two Services with regard to atomic energy matters. It is understood that the General and the Admiral have under consideration recommending that the United States Representatives on the Military Staff Committee serve as advisers to Mr. Baruch with regard to military implications of the work of the Atomic Energy Commission. This would be consistent with the Joint Chiefs’ paper under reference which states one of its objectives as being “to provide guidance to the Representatives of the United States Chiefs of Staff on the Military Staff Committee of the United Nations as to military advice to be given to the United States Representative on the Commission on Atomic Energy”.

In view of this information it would seem essential for the Department to take the initiative to the end of assuring civilian clearance among the three Departments of any material to be sent to our Military [Page 775]Staff Committee Representatives and, in turn, used by them in advising Mr. Baruch.

It is recommended that this initiative be taken in two ways: first, Mr. Blaisdell should be authorized to discuss informally with officers of the Joint Chiefs with whom he is in more or less constant contact, any current revisions which may be contemplated of the Joint Chiefs’ paper under reference; second, it is recommended that if the Joint Chiefs of Staff decide to resubmit a revised paper to SWNCC the Department’s view should be to refer this paper to the SWNCC Committee on Security Arrangements.

The subject of this memorandum is closely related to the question of organising the Department’s work in regard to atomic energy matters both generally and with particular reference to Mr. Baruch’s plans. A separate memorandum on this subject is being sent forward to you.15 I think a very useful purpose would be served if we might discuss this entire subject with you on the basis of these memoranda at your early convenience.

  1. Ante, p. 738.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; John C. Ross, Deputy Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs.
  4. H. Freeman Matthews, Director of the Office of European Affairs.
  5. Not printed.