Minutes of the Meeting of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy, Washington, February 5, 1946, 10:30 a. m.7

top secret
Present: The Secretary of State
The Secretary of War8 accompanied by Assistant Secretary Petersen9
The Secretary of the Navy accompanied by Admiral Blandy and Mr. Hidalgo
Mr. Matthews10

Atomic Energy

Mr. Forrestal stated that he had asked Admiral Blandy to accompany him in case Mr. Byrnes wanted to raise any question in connection [Page 1204] with the proposed invitations for foreign observers to attend the forthcoming atomic bomb tests. Admiral Blandy stated that the three departments had now agreed to recommend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that two foreign observers be invited for each country represented on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission except for the British for whom a team of ten officers and civilians should be asked. Mr. Forrestal stated that he was making inquiry as to the number of places aboard ship which might be available since this might be helpful in limiting the number of foreign observers and press representatives to be invited. Mr. Byrnes said that he felt it was wise to limit foreign observers to the countries who are members of the Atomic Energy Commission because naturally from motives of curiosity every country would like to be present. He said that he would like to inform Molotov of our plans for foreign observers and that Molotov would naturally wish to know what their presence would mean.11 Admiral Blandy said that with the exception of the British Delegation the observers would see no more than the press. He said that he had drafted the security provisions of the Congressional Resolution which will reserve full authority to prevent any violation of basic security requirements. Mr. Byrnes raised the question as to whether the public should be told that the British observers are to see more than the others. As soon as the plans for observers are approved by the JCS he wants to clear the question with the President. (Admiral Blandy left at this point.)

[Here follows discussion of various other subjects.]

  1. The Secretaries of State, War, and Navy, or their representatives, met on an almost weekly basis in 1946.
  2. Robert P. Patterson.
  3. Howard C. Petersen, Assistant Secretary of War.
  4. H. Freeman Matthews, Director of the Office of European Affairs.
  5. In telegram 237, February 7, the Embassy in Moscow was instructed to inform the Soviet Government of United States plans to conduct atomic tests; for text of telegram 237, see vol. vi, p. 691.