Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Minutes of the Meeting of the Combined Policy Committee, at Blair House, Washington, D.C., January 7, 1948, 4 p. m.

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The Under Secretary of State, Mr. Lovett (in the Chair) as alternate for the Secretary of State

The Secretary of Defense, Mr. Forrestal

The Chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Mr. Lilienthal

The British Ambassador, Lord Inverchapel

The Canadian Ambassador, Mr. Hume Wrong, as alternate for Mr. C. D. Howe1

Sir Gordon Munro2

By Invitation

Mr. Pike3

Mr. Strauss4

Mr. Waymack5

Mr. Kennan6

Mr. Gross7

Mr. Volpe8

Mr. Heeney

Mr. Bateman9

Admiral Sir Henry Moore10

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Mr. Makins11

Mr. Peirson12

Dr. Woodward

Mr. Storke

Mr. Eaton


Mr. Stone13

Mr. Gullion

Mr. Maclean14

I. Minutes.

The Committee approved the minutes of its meetings on December 1015 and December 15.16

II. New basis of tri-partite cooperation.

The Chairman stated that he was authorized to say on behalf of his Government that it intended to proceed on the basis of the modus vivendi which was before the Committee in regard to atomic energy problems of common concern to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. He suggested that, if the Committee agreed, the modus vivendi should be included, as a matter of record, in the minutes of the meeting.

Lord Inverchapel stated that he was authorized by his Government to say that they also intended to proceed on the basis described by the Chairman.

Mr. Wrong stated that he also was authorized by his Government to say that it intended to proceed on this same basis.

The Chairman directed that these statements be recorded in the minutes, together with the modus vivendi. The latter is attached as Annex A.

III. Raw Materials.

On the proposal of the Chairman the Committee approved the report (attached as Annex B) of the Sub-group on raw material making recommendations for allocations in 1948 and 1949.

IV. Technical cooperation.

On the proposal of the Canadian Ambassador the Committee agreed that the report of the Subgroup on Technical Co-operation,17 attached [Page 681]to the minutes of the Committee’s meeting of December 15 as Tab A, should come into effect.

V. Areas of cooperation between members of the British Commonwealth.

The British Ambassador suggested that the statement on this subject put forward by the U.K. Government (attached as Annex C) should be recognized.

Mr. Lilienthal asked whether he was right in thinking that, apart from the provision in para, 9(a) of the tri-partite agreement with the Belgian Government18 and the arrangements proposed for recognition in Annex C, none of the CPC governments had any commitment to furnish information concerning atomic energy to any other country or persons. The Committee agreed that this was so.

The Committee approved the British Ambassador’s proposal.

VI. Standing Subgroup of scientific advisers.

The British Ambassador proposed, that a standing Sub-group of scientific advisers be set up in order to:

Implement the report of the Sub-group on Technical Co-operation which had just been declared to be in effect.
Keep other possible areas of information and experience under review.
Make recommendations from time to time to the CPC on the development of technical cooperation.

Mr. Lilienthal raised in this connection the interpretation of paragraph 6 of the modus vivendi. He pointed out that the subjects on the initial list of subjects for technical cooperation were necessarily rather widely defined and that separate topics in each of these areas would require consideration in the light of the laws of the three countries. It would not therefore be possible to give full discretionary authority to the U.S. member of the proposed standing Sub-group.

Mr. Makins said that it was well understood that the three members of the proposed Sub-group would be guided by the instructions of their respective national authorities, which in the case of the U.S. member would no doubt be the United States Atomic Energy Commission. It was his understanding that the Sub-group would not normally need to refer to the Combined Policy Committee, except in [Page 682]case of disagreement or difficulty in effecting cooperation, or for the purpose of seeking authority to add fresh areas of information and exchange.

The Committee approved the British Ambassador’s proposal.

VII. Concluding remarks.

The British Ambassador said that the declarations made and decisions taken at the meeting inaugurated a new and hopeful chapter in the association of the three countries in atomic energy development. He expressed appreciation of the frank and helpful attitude which had been shown during the discussions and said that the U.K. members were deeply impressed by Mr. Forrestal’s statement at the Committee’s last meeting19 that he regarded the United Kingdom and Canada as partners in the field of atomic energy. This was also their conception of the relationship which had just been established. The United Kingdom expected this partnership to develop and extend rapidly. Lort Inverchapel expressed the belief that, as its programme developed, the United Kingdom would have an increasingly useful contribution to make toward the work of the partnership.

Mr. Lovett expressed the appreciation of the U.S. members and of the United States Government of the parts played by the United Kingdom and Canada in reaching the new basis of understanding, which he believed was in the common cause. He also expressed his personal appreciation of the spiriit and manner in which the discussions had been conducted.

The Canadian Ambassador expressed his belief that the understanding reached represented a considerable accomplishment. He too referred to the spirit in which the discussions had been conducted and expressed thanks to the Chairman for the part which he had played.

The meeting then adjourned.

  • R. Gordon Arneson 20
    for Edmund Gullion
  • J[ohn] N. Henderson 21
    for Donald D. Maclean
  • G[eorge] Ignatieff 22
    for Thomas A. Stone
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[Annex A]

Draft Agreement Between the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada 23

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Mr. Lovett: I am authorized to say on behalf of my government that it intends to proceed on the basis of the modus vivendi which is before us in regard to atomic energy problems of common concern to the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

(here insert attached draft)

Lord Inverchapel: I am authorized by government to say that they also intend to proceed on the basis just described by the Chairman.

Ambassador Wrong: I am also authorized by my government to say that it intends to proceed on this same basis.

Mr. Lovett: I propose therefore that this modus vivendi be included in the minutes of this meeting.

Modus Vivendi

All agreements between the three governments or any two of them in the field of atomic energy shall be regarded as null and, of no effect, with the following exceptions:—
The Patent Memorandum of 1st October 1943 as modified by subsequent agreement on 19th September 1944 and 8th March 1945.24
The Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated 13th June 1944.25
The exchange of letters between the Acting Secretary of State and the British Ambassador of 19th and 24th September 1945.26 concerning Brazil.
The agreed public Declaration by the President of the U.S., the Prime Minister of the U.K., and the Prime Minister of Canada of November 15, 1945.27
The Combined Policy Committee, already established, and subject to the control of the three governments, shall continue as an organ for [Page 684]dealing with atomic energy problems of common concern. The Committee shall consist of three representatives of the U.S., two of the U.K., and one of Canada, unless otherwise agreed.
The Committee shall inter alia:
Allocate raw materials in accordance with such principles as may be determined from time to time by the Committee, taking into account all supplies available to any of the three governments.
Consider general questions arising with respect to cooperation among the three governments.
Supervise the operations and policies of the Combined Development Agency referred to in paragraph 4 below.
The Combined Development Trust, created on the thirteenth of June, 1944, by the Agreement and Declaration of Trust signed by President Roosevelt and Mr. Winston Churchill, shall continue in effect except that it shall henceforward be known as the Combined Development Agency. Of the six persons provided for in Clause 1 (2) of the Declaration of Trust, three shall represent the United States, two the U. K. and one Canada.
The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada will, within the limits of their respective constitutions and statutes, use every effort to acquire control of supplies of uranium and thorium situated within their respective territories. The U. K. will, insofar as need exists, communicate with the Governments of the British Commonwealth for the purpose of ensuring that such Governments exercise control of supplies of uranium and thorium situated in their respective territories. The U. K. will consult with the Commonwealth Governments concerned with a view to encouraging the greatest possible production of uranium and thorium in the British Commonwealth, and with a view to ensuring that as large a quantity as possible of such supplies is made available to the U. S., U. K. and Canada.
It is recognized that there are areas of information and experience in which cooperation would be mutually beneficial to the three countries. They will therefore cooperate in respect of such areas as may from time to time be agreed upon by the CPC and insofar as this is permitted by the laws of the respective countries.
In the interest of mutual security, classified information in the field of atomic energy will not be disclosed to other governments or authorities or persons in other countries without due prior consultation.
Policy with respect to international control of atomic energy remains that set forth in the Three-Nation Agreed Declaration of November 15, 1945. Whenever a plan for the international control of atomic energy with appropriate safeguards which would ensure use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes only shall be agreed upon, and [Page 685]shall become fully effective, the relationship of these countries in atomic energy matters will have to be reconsidered in the light thereof.
[Annex B]

Draft Agreement Between the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada 28

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The agreed objective is the maintenance of the U.S., U.K. and Canadian minimum programs with reasonable pipeline and reserve stocks.
In 1948 and 1949 all supplies available from the Belgian Congo will be allocated to the U.S., subject to Par. 4 below.
In 1948 and 1949, if supplies additional to those which will flow from existing sources are required to maintain the U.S. minimum program, they will be provided, subject to Par. 4 below, from the unprocessed and presently unallocated supplies now in the United Kingdom, according to the following arrangements:
The U.S. requirement is 2547 tons in 1948 and 2547 in 1949, including capital charge of 370 tons for one pile in each year, a pipeline stock of 2800 tons and a reserve stock of 2547 tons throughout 1948, diminishing to 2176 tons at the end of 1949.
The U.K. requirement to the end of 1949 is as follows—capital charge for two piles 600 tons, pipeline stock of 770 tons, reserve stock of 660 tons.
At the end of each quarter a balance will be struck and submitted to the CPC. If the reserve stock in the U.S.A. is below the agreed minimum, an amount equivalent to the deficit will be earmarked from the unallocated and unprocessed stocks in the U.K. At the end of the third quarter in 1948 and 1949, a review of the situation will be made by the CPC in the light of the current position and the prospective shipments in the fourth quarter of each year. In striking this balance supplies will be taken into account which are in transit from the port of shipment. Should stocks at any time before the end of the third quarter fall below seven months supply, emergency shipments to safeguard continued operation will be made.
According to the result of this review a shipment will be made or earmarked supplies will be released as the case may be. A similar arrangement will apply in due course in respect of the U.K. program.
From its allocation during 1948 and 1949, the U.S. will furnish metal to Canada as required for the Canadian program in amounts not to exceed the equivalent of 20 tons of U–308 per year.
It is understood that when depleted sludges are available for reuse the quantities thrown up should be taken into account.
An immediate review of these arrangements may be requested by any of the three governments:
If the total unallocated supplies seem likely to be insufficient to support the agreed programs or alternatively to be materially in excess of the estimates contained in Tab B annexed to the minutes of the Combined Policy Committee meeting of December 15, 1947;29 or
In the event of a state of emergency; or
In the event of a change of circumstances bringing about a substantial alteration in the relationships established at this time by the Combined Policy Committee.
[Annex C]

Statement Submitted by the United Kingdom Members

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Areas of Co-operation Between Members of the British Commonwealth

Apart from the arrangements which already exist between the United Kingdom and Canada, the question has arisen of co-operation between the United Kingdom and other members of the British Commonwealth.

2. As a part of the combined effort during the war years, assistance to the British atomic energy project was given by scientists from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Some of these have worked in Canada and some in United States and from there have moved to Harwell.30 Several of them will shortly be returning to New Zealand and at a later stage—one year or more—there will be a similar return to Australia. It is intended to admit further scientists from these Dominions to work at Harwell.

The three C.P.C. governments are also actively co-operating with the Dominions in the field of raw materials. South Africa in particular is likely to become an important source of raw materials and is carrying out active work on beneficiation of ores. In due course South African interests may be expected to extend.

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3. With a view particularly to making secure the information held by Dominion scientists on their return to their respective countries, and of furthering full co-operation in the field of raw material investigation and supply, it is recommended that the areas of co-operation outlined below should be recognised:

(a) The subjects covered in Sections I and II of the Proposed Declassification Guide which are listed as “Topics for immediate declassification”.31

(b) The field of health and safety, including

1. Experimental work from which radiation tolerances may be established.

(d)32 Detection of a distant nuclear explosion. Operation of recording stations.

(e) Survey methods for source materials.

(f) Beneficiation of ores—co-operation with South Africa and with other Dominions of the work developed there.

(g) Extraction of low grade ores—within the fields defined by the ores locally available.

(h) Design information on research reactors.

Design information on the low power graphite reactor built at Harwell (G.L.E.E.P.) to be communicated by U.K. to New Zealand. It is recognized that this information will be effectively available to the New Zealand Government on the return of its staff in early 1948.

(i) General research experience with the following reactors:

Harwell, G.L.E.E.P., to be communicated by U.K. to New Zealand.

4. Co-operation within the above classified fields will be subject to an understanding between Governments to adopt common standards in holding information secure. Transmission would also be subject to the principle of current usability.

  1. Clarence Decatur Howe, Canadian Minister of Reconstruction and Supply; appointed Minister of Trade and Commerce, January 19, 1948.
  2. Minister, British Embassy.
  3. Sumner T. Pike, Member of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  4. Lewis L. Strauss, Member of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  5. William W. Waymack, Member of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  6. George F. Kennan, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, Department of State.
  7. Ernest A. Gross, Legal Adviser, Department of State.
  8. Joseph Volpe, Jr., of the Office of General Counsel, United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  9. George Bateman, former Canadian Member of the Joint Secretariat of the Combined Policy Committee.
  10. Head of the British Naval Mission in the United States; Member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
  11. Roger M. Makins, Assistant Under Secretary of State, British Foreign Office; former Minister in the United States and member of the Joint Secretariat of the CPC.
  12. David E. H. Peirson, Assistant Secretary in the Headquarters Division of the British Ministry of Supply.
  13. Thomas A. Stone, Minister, Canadian Embassy.
  14. Donald D. Maclean, First Secretary, British Embassy.
  15. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. i, p. 889.
  16. Ibid., p. 897.
  17. Ibid., p. 894.
  18. For the Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium Regarding Control of Uranium, September 26, 1944, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 10291030. Paragraph 9(a) read as follows:

    “In the event of the Governments of the United States of America and of the United Kingdom deciding to utilize as a source of energy for commercial purposes ores obtained under this agreement the said Governments will admit the Belgian Government to participation in such utilization on equitable terms.”

  19. December 15, 1947.
  20. Adviser, United States Delegation to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
  21. Second Secretary, British Embassy.
  22. Alternate Canadian Representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
  23. This proposal was prepared in accordance with decisions taken by the Combined Policy Committee at its meeting of December 15, 1947. The drafting subcommittee consisted of Gullion and Volpe (United States), Peirson and Maclean (United Kingdom), and Ignatieff and Stone (Canada).
  24. The documents under reference, contained in the records of the Combined Policy Committee (Department of State Atomic Energy Files), are not printed.

    In regard to wartime patent arrangements, see Margaret Gowing, Britain and Atomic Energy 1939–1945 (London, St. Martin’s Press, 1964), pp. 244–245.

  25. See footnote 7, paragraph 2, p. 678.
  26. For texts, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 44 and 4748.
  27. For text, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1504, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1479.
  28. This proposal was prepared by a subcommittee established by the Combined Policy Committee at its meeting of December 15, 1947. The subcommittee consisted of Kennan and Carroll Wilson, General Manager of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (United States); Munro and Makins (United Kingdom), and Wrong and Stone (Canada); its discussions are described in Hewlett and Duncan, pp. 281–282.
  29. Tab B is not printed.
  30. Reference is to the British atomic research and experimental establishment at Harwell, England.
  31. The Proposed Declassification Guide was developed during the United States-British-Canadian declassification conference held in Washington, November 14–16, 1947. Sections I and II were included as Appendix A of the report of the Combined Policy Committee’s Subcommittee on Technical Cooperation, December 12, 1947; for the text of the report (Appendix A is not reproduced), see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. i, p. 894.
  32. No paragraph “c” appears in the source text.