Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Minutes of the Meeting of the Combined Policy Committee at the Department of State, February 15, 1946, 4 p.m.

top secret
Present: Members The Secretary of State (in the Chair)
The Secretary of War
The Rt. Hon. Earl of Halifax23
Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson
By Invitation
The Canadian Ambassador, Mr. L. B. Pearson (representing the Hon. C. D. Howe)24
Mr. Dean Acheson25
Sir James Chadwick26
Joint Secretaries
Major General L. R. Groves
Mr. Roger Makins

I. Minutes of the Meeting Held on December 4th, 1945.27

Various amendments were proposed to the Minutes. The Secretariat was instructed to circulate a revised copy for approval at the next meeting.

[Page 1214]

II. Revision of Agreements.

The Committee had before it a report of the Sub-Committee appointed at the last meeting. The Sub-Committee had drawn up, on the basis of the Committee’s instructions, a document to take the place of the Articles of Agreement signed at Quebec on August 19th, 1943, in the form of an executive agreement. The Sub-Committee had also revised the Agreement and Declaration of Trust and had drafted an exchange of letters to cover the fourth provision of the Quebec Agreement. The report of the Sub-Committee is attached as Tab NN.28

The Chairman referred to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations. It was the policy of the United States Government, and he was sure also of the British and Canadian Governments, to be scrupulous in their observance of the obligations of the Charter. It seemed clear that the revised agreements as presented to the Committee would require to be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations.

Lord Halifax and Mr. Pearson said that the same point had also been present to their minds.

A discussion followed on the form of any revised agreements.

Mr. Pearson suggested that the revised arrangements might be covered by an exchange of letters of declarations on the part of the three Governments to the effect that, pending the working out of an international scheme for the control of atomic energy by the United Nations Commission, they intended to proceed in their relations with one another on certain lines.

It was suggested in the discussion that, apart from the question of form, and of Article 102 of the Charter, there might well be advantage in making the revised arrangements agreed upon by the three Governments public in any event.

The Committee decided:—

That, having regard to the obligations of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, the question of the form of any revised arrangements should be referred for consideration to the appropriate legal authorities of the three Governments.
That the three Governments would also consider the desirability of making public in any event any revised arrangements which might be concluded.

It was suggested that the draft exchange of letters proposed by the Sub-Committee to deal with the Fourth Provision of the Quebec Agreement might require revision in the light of the discussion.

The Secretariat was instructed to submit a revised draft29 at the next meeting of the Committee.

An inquiry was made whether cooperation could not proceed on [Page 1215] on the basis of existing agreements until an international scheme was developed by the Atomic Energy Commission.

It was pointed out that since the existing agreements had been concluded before the coming into force of the Charter, they did not require to be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations.

Lord Halifax said that the Quebec Agreement provided for full and effective collaboration between the two countries “in bringing the project”, that is to say, the development of the Atomic Bomb, “to fruition”. It did not, as at present interpreted, provide a sufficient basis for cooperation in present circumstances particularly in the field of exchange of information. He referred to the Memorandum signed by the President and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and Canada on November 16th, which represented the decision on which His Majesty’s Government had been basing their policy and programme.

The Chairman said that he would discuss this matter further with the President.

III. Programme of Research and Development in the United Kingdom.

Lord Halifax made a statement on this subject, the text of which is contained in Tab OO.30

The Committee:—took note of this statement.

IV. The Combined Development Trust.

The Committee was informed that Sir Charles Hambro, Deputy Chairman of the Trust, had resigned. The appointment of Mr. Roger Makins to succeed to this vacancy was approved.

The Committee then adjourned.

L. R. Groves

Major General, U.S.A.
Joint Secretaries
Roger Makins
  1. British Ambassador in the United States.
  2. Canadian Member, Combined Policy Committee.
  3. Under Secretary of State.
  4. Scientific Adviser to the British Members of the Combined Policy Committee.
  5. For extracts from the minutes in the form ultimately approved, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 86.
  6. Supra.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Infra.