Department of State Atomic Energy Files 2

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Edmund A. Gullion, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State ( Lovett )3

top secret
Participants: Senator Vandenberg,4 Senator Hickenlooper,5
The Under Secretary Mr. Lovett; Mr. John Derry of AEC,6 and U: Mr. Gullion.

The Under Secretary reported, at the Senator’s request, on the conclusion of negotiations with the British and Canadians with respect to the basis of cooperation among the U.S., the U.K., and Canada on atomic energy matters. The Under Secretary recalled that we had had the following objectives: (a) to terminate the secret wartime agreements7 which appeared to place unwarranted restraints on our course of actions; (b) to secure a distribution of uranium ore more favorable to us; (c) to increase uranium supplies available to the U.S. in the [Page 678] future; (d) to remove misunderstandings among ourselves and the U.K. and Canada.

The State Department had been chiefly concerned from its point of view with winding up the ambiguous agreements; the Atomic Energy Commission had wished to ease a raw material shortage which threatened to curtail its operations.

Mr. Lovett showed to the senators the text of a draft minute of the Combined Policy Committee,8 agreed among the U.S.-U.K. and Canada representatives, together with Combined Policy Committee documents establishing a formula for allocation of raw materials and for interchange of information of mutual benefit. The wartime agreements, except as they relate to requirement and other necessary functions, are terminated by mutual consent; the U.S. gets all production from the principal source for next two years; U.S. operating needs in future are assured; the U.K. stockpile in excess of minimum operating requirement will be progressively reduced to almost a fifth of its present size.

Senator Vandenberg expressed relief that the wartime agreements had been rescinded. He believed the State Department negotiations represented a considerable accomplishment, and that more had been obtained than he thought possible. He offered his congratulations to the Department. Senator Hickenlooper expressed a similar opinion and said he believed that the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy would be satisfied with the arrangements.

[Page 679]

Mr. Derry said that, from the point of view of the Commission, the arrangement on raw materials was a good one, and that if it had not been obtained some of the operations of the AEC would have had to close down.9

  1. Lot 57D688, the Department of State consolidated lot file on atomic energy policy, 1944–1962.
  2. The formulation and execution of Department of State policy with respect to atomic energy was centralized in the Office of the Under Secretary under the direction of Gullion.
  3. Arthur H. Vandenberg, United States Senator from Michigan; Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
  4. Bourke B. Hickenlooper, United States Senator from Iowa; Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy; Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  5. John A. Derry, Assistant to the General Manager of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  6. The agreements under reference were the following:

    1) The “Articles of Agreement governing collaboration between the Authorities of the U.S.A. and U.K. in the matter of Tube Alloys [atomic energy research and development],” signed at Quebec by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, August 19, 1943. This document, which is known as the Quebec Agreement, inter alia established the Combined Policy Committee for the coordination of United States, United Kingdom, and Canadian policy with respect to atomic energy. For text, See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, p. 1117.

    2) The Agreement and Declaration of Trust, signed by Roosevelt and Churchill, June 13, 1944; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 10261028. This agreement established the Combined Development Trust, which operated under the direction of the Combined Policy Committee. Its main function was to secure control and insure development of uranium and thorium supplies located outside the jurisdiction of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Dominions, India and Burma.

    3) The aide-mémoire of conversation between Roosevelt and Churchill, September 18, 1944, known as the Hyde Park Agreement, which inter alia provided for continued cooperation after the war. For text, see Foreign Relations, The Conference at Quebec, 1944, p. 492.

    4) The Memorandum signed by President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister Clement R. Attlee, and Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Washington, November 16, 1945, reaffirming the principle of full and effective United States-United Kingdom-Canadian cooperation in atomic energy matters. This document was known as the Memorandum of Intention; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 75.

    5) The Memorandum by Leslie R. Groves, Commanding General, Manhattan Engineer District (the United States atomic energy development program) and Sir John Anderson, Chairman of the British Advisory Committee on Atomic Energy, to Robert P. Patterson; Chairman of the Combined Policy Committee (and United States Secretary of War), Washington, November 16, 1945. This document, known as the Heads of Agreement memorandum, recommended points for consideration by the Combined Policy Committee in preparation of a new document to replace the Quebec Agreement; for text, see ibid., pp. 7576.

  7. Of January 6, p. 683.
  8. The AEC Commissioners met shortly after noon to consider the draft agreements discussed at the present meeting. The Commissioners’ deliberations, culminating in approval after some two hours of discussion, are described in Hewlett and Duncan, pp. 283–284.