Department of State Atomic Energy Files

The British Embassy to the Department of State

top secret

Atomic Energy: Sweden

When Sir Edward Appleton1 was in Stockholm recently he was approached by Dr. H. Sterky, Director General of Telegraphs, who [Page 745] is a member of the Swedish Atomic Energy Committee. Dr. Sterky will be visiting the United Kingdom some time in October for official business with the United Kingdom Post Office and asked whether it would be possible for Great Britain and Sweden to exchange information on the two following topics:

Protection of the civil population and troops
Engineering information on piles

2. Dr. Sterky also told Sir Edward Appleton that the Swedes have solved the problem of extraction from their low grade shale deposits, at least in principle.

3. London have simultaneously had under consideration the proposal put forward by the American authorities for an approach to the Swedish Government about their atomic energy programme. They feel that it would be preferable to keep the two matters distinct. If the United Kingdom and the United States were to engage the Swedes in general discussion about the respective atomic energy programmes, the point would very soon be reached where the United States and the United Kingdom would have to withhold information on security grounds. This might make the Swedes reticent about their own programme. London feel, therefore, that a general discussion of this nature should be avoided.

4. They suggest that the proposed approach to the Swedish Government should be proceeded with. Their own preference would be for the United States representative to refer the Swedish requests for the purchase of atomic energy equipment from the United States and to say that it is difficult for the United States authorities to decide whether to permit their export without a general knowledge of the Swedish atomic energy programme. London would like His Majesty’s Ambassador in Stockholm to be kept closely informed and to accompany the United States Ambassador in his approach.

5. As to Dr. Sterky’s request, London propose at the appropriate time to explain that they are unable to exchange information on the engineering of atomic energy piles. As to the protection of the civil population and troops, they would propose to provide such declassified information as is already in fact available from public sources.

6. London would be grateful for the comments of the American authorities on the foregoing.

  1. Secretary, British Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.