Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Memorandum by the Commanding General, Manhattan Engineer District (Groves), to the Under Secretary of State (Acheson)

top secret

In view of Ambassador Kirk’s recent cables63 concerning the feasibility of timely disclosure of our arrangements with the Belgium Government, I discussed the matter fully with Mr. Edgar Sengier, President of African Metals Corporation and Director of Union Minière du Haut Katanga.

As you know, Mr. Sengier participated in the arrangements which have been made between the Belgium Government and the United States and United Kingdom Governments. In large measure, he has been an influencing factor with respect to the policy followed by Mr. Spaak and other Belgian officials. For this reason, great weight should be placed on his recommendations. He feels that full disclosure at this time would be a mistake since such action would probably be followed by a movement to abrogate existing agreements both political and commercial. He further believes that any friction or conflict over such matters at this time will jeopardize our proposed action within the United Nations Organization. In view of these considerations, Mr. Sengier is convinced that Mr. Spaak will not wish to make any statement which will “muddy the waters” during the critical period of the next few months. I am in full agreement with Mr. Sengier. I suggest [Page 1238] that a statement of the general tenor of that given below be transmitted to Ambassador Kirk for discussion with Mr. Spaak.

The United States Government like that of Belgium is vitally concerned with the success of the United Nations Organization. The question of atomic energy is being seriously considered at present by the American, British and Canadian Governments. The proposals which will be submitted for consideration by the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission depend to a great extent on existing circumstances. Belgium should not take at the present time an attitude which might upset the proposed plan for an Atomic Development Authority under the United Nations.

The United States delegate to the United Nations Organization Atomic Energy Commission, Mr. Bernard Baruch, is presently studying this matter for the United States Government. The Congress is taking steps to enact domestic legislation consistent with international cooperation in this field. The cooperation of the Belgium Government is necessary to the fulfillment of these objectives. Mr. Sengier is acquainted with this matter and will be in Brussels on or about 12 May 1946.

L. R. Groves
  1. See telegram 481, April 18, from Brussels, p. 1233.