Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Souers) to President Truman

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The enclosed report on “Atomic Energy Policy With Respect to the United Kingdom and Canada” is submitted herewith for your consideration by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who were designated by you on February 10, 1949 as a Special Committee of the National Security Council.

The Special Committee recommends that you approve the conclusions contained in the enclosed report.

Sidney W. Souers

A Report to the President by the Special Committee of the National Security Council on Atomic Energy Policy With Respect to the United Kingdom and Canada 1

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I. The Problem

To decide upon a course of action regarding the special relationship among the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in the field [Page 444]of atomic energy which will provide maximum security for the United States and, in particular, will take into account:

The absence of agreement on international control;
The difficulties encountered in the present United States-United Kingdom-Canadian arrangements:
The existing United Kingdom program for plutonium and weapons production and the United Kingdom request to the United States for information relating thereto;
Considerations of raw materials supply;
The development of atomic energy programs in non-CPC countries;
Present and prospective collective security arrangements in which the United States, United Kingdom and Canada participate.

II. Analysis of the Problem


un impasse

In the field of atomic energy the policy of the United States is to seek the maximum of security. The United States is convinced that the greatest possible United States security in this field can be obtained by establishing a universal, effective, enforceable system of international control as outlined in considerable detail in the First and Second Reports of the UNAEC.2 This conclusion is still valid, and the United States Government must stand ready to move ahead with such a plan whenever there is a real indication that the USSR is genuinely willing to accept, and to participate in, such a control plan.

However, the complete unwillingness of the Soviet Union to respond to the realities of the problem make the prospects for international control in the foreseeable future exceedingly dim. There is no disposition on the part of this Government to settle for anything less than fully effective enforceable control as set forth in the UNAEC’s Reports.

The continuous barrage of vituperative attack by the Soviet Union on the whole concept of control as favored by the majority and Soviet intransigence across the board in international relations tends only to confirm the conclusions of the Third Report of the UNAEC 3 which [Page 445]states that agreement is likely only when the Soviet Union is prepared to become a cooperating member of the community of nations.

The impasse in atomic energy negotiations is but a symptom of a basic East–West cleavage, and agreement on atomic energy control does not appear possible in the foreseeable future.

While the United States offer first made by Mr. Baruch on June 14, 1946,4 still stands, this Government has made it increasingly clear that in the absence of the collective security guarantees provided by an effective international control, and until such a plan is universally accepted and established, it must look elsewhere for security.

The problem is how best to achieve the maximum strength and security in the present world situation. In recent months, the President, the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Commission’s Semi-Annual Reports to the Congress have stated that the United States has no alternative but to maintain and increase its strength in all phases of atomic energy, including atomic weapons. This Government needs to determine whether such a policy in the field of atomic energy will in itself provide maximum security; and, within the framework of an over-all foreign policy in this field, the course it should follow in the field of atomic energy with regard to other friendly nations.

Even as negotiations were being carried on in the UNAEC, arrangements with certain friendly countries initiated during the war period were being continued, revamped, and strengthened. Certain understandings in the Quebec Agreement, under which the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada carried on war-time collaboration in the field of atomic weapons were recast under the modus vivendi of January 7, 1948. Agreements with other countries with respect to raw materials have been continued and renewed. Negotiations are being carried on either by ourselves or the United Kingdom to the end of increasing our collective strength in the field of raw material supply, nearly all of which comes from other countries, notably the Belgian Congo. The cardinal principle in all of these actions has been to increase our raw materials position and to deprive the Soviets of supplies from outside the USSR.

Meanwhile a number of nations are demonstrating an interest in making a beginning in the field of atomic energy. Nearly 20 countries have atomic energy legislation on the books. More than a dozen countries have atomic energy commissions or their equivalent. Scientists of many nationalities are working to increase their knowledge of [Page 446]nuclear phenomena and to set up modest research and development programs. For example, France now has a small heavy water-uranium oxide reactor in operation. Sweden and Norway show every intention of working to the same end. In the absence of any understanding with these countries on the direction and scope that their atomic energy efforts might usefully have, there is a welter of confusion, lack of direction, and inefficiency. There is discernible a tendency, potentially dangerous, for the small countries of Europe to band together and exchange with each other their meager knowledge. It may well be, for example, that France will become a center of information, research experience, and development for the “have not” countries.

[Here follow Section B, “Relations with the United Kingdom and Canada,” and Section C, “Non-CPC Countries.”]


present and prospective collective security arrangements in which the united states, united kingdom and canada participate

The special relationship among the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in the field of atomic energy should be considered also in the light of other security arrangements—past, present, and prospective—of great importance to all three countries.

There was extremely close cooperation and a very high degree of pooling of resources among the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in their joint effort during World War II. This applied to the whole complex of political, economic, and military problems. It would be of great value to all three countries to encourage the survival and strengthening of their cooperation. To do so would be to utilize again a force which proved its worth under the severest trials.

National Security Council decisions, opinions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the records of the North Atlantic Security Pact negotiations and of the Foreign Assistance Correlation Committee, all furnish evidence of the interdependence and mutual trust which mark United States-United Kingdom–Canadian relations.

There is the 1940 agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom regarding the lease by the United States for a period of 99 years of naval and air bases, and the operation and protection thereof, on various British island possessions in the West Indies and Caribbean area.5 There are common United States–United Kingdom security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. There is the “Combined Chiefs of Staff” group established by the United States and United Kingdom during the war. United States military commitments now in effect through the organization of the [Page 447]United States Chiefs of Staff and the British Joint Services Mission relate to planning, exchange of information, intelligence, and matters pertaining to the combined military forces in Trieste.

United States–Canadian collaborations on military problems concerning the security of the Western Hemisphere is provided through a Permanent Joint Board on Defense (Ogdensburg Agreement6). A joint Canadian–United States basic security plan has been prepared. Under this plan the two governments work out on an annual basis specific commitments to implement the program.

Special and well tested relations have existed and still exist among the three countries as far as security measures involving conventional weapons are concerned. Joint strategic plans are being worked out among them, and are based on the assumption that atomic weapons may play a vital role in the early phases of a possible war. Moreover, the United Kingdom will soon have atomic weapons of its own. (see page 357) It does not appear logical, therefore, to exclude atomic weapons production from the close collaboration among the three countries.

This point of view is given support by developments relating to regional collective security arrangements. Many nations are turning to such arrangements due to the failure to achieve security on a universal basis through the United Nations. The Rio Treaty is an inter-American regional defense pact adapted to the United Nations Charter. The Marshall Plan, designed to establish the firm economic basis necessary for collective security, is regional in character. The most recent regional approach is the proposed North Atlantic Security Pact.

The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada would occupy the principal roles in the North Atlantic Security Pact, at least during the first year or two. There will be even closer association among them as they work with other members of the Pact to increase their collective strength. Military representatives of the United States and Canada now are participating on a non-member basis in the military planning of the Brussels Treaty countries, all of whom will be members of the North Atlantic Pact.

The United States view is that a North Atlantic collective defense organization would strengthen the military position of the United States, that the British Islands are important to our security and that the United States should support such a North Atlantic organization [Page 448]to the maximum extent short of serious impairment of our ability to defend ourselves. United States Air Force units are operating from bases in Great Britain.

It is contemplated that a proposed United States military assistance program may include finished armaments, munitions and implements of war; and technical assistance and information to, and training of, armed forces of countries cooperating with the United States. The production and exchange of military products, equipment and technological information is envisaged as among military commitments under the North Atlantic Security Pact.

The situation outlined in the foregoing paragraphs should be kept in mind in considering the problem of cooperation in the field of atomic energy. If collective security arrangements are to be pursued energetically by the United States, United Kingdom and Canada among themselves and in association with other countries, it would not seem in keeping with a liberal interpretation of the spirit of confidence and good faith for the United States to refuse full collaboration with the United Kingdom and Canada on atomic weapons.

Serious questions do arise as to relations with other members of the Pact, particularly France. If it becomes known that the United States and United Kingdom are collaborating in the production of atomic weapons, will not France press for inclusion in the partnership?

A proposed draft multilateral mutual aid agreement among parties to the North Atlantic Security Pact provides that each contracting government will transfer to the other contracting governments such articles, information or other military assistance as it may authorize and upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the contracting governments concerned. There are no provisions in the Pact which would give France or any other country the right to request participation with the United States in atomic or any other weapons. Collaboration among the United States, United Kingdom and Canada on atomic weapons, if it is to exist, would be based on grounds other than the terms of the Pact. Such collaboration would add to the collective security of the Pact members through the increased power of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada; but it would not create claims by any other country for possession of atomic weapons.


specific factors involved in considering future relationships with the united kingdom and canada

In determining upon a course of action regarding the special relationship among the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in the field of atomic energy which will provide maximum security for [Page 449]the United States the following considerations must be taken into account:

1. The Nature of the Weapon.

The atomic bomb should neither be considered an absolute weapon which can win wars by itself nor “just another weapon” which should be treated as all others. The importance of the atomic bomb can best be evaluated in the light of the predominant position it has been given in the strategic war plans of this Government and the United Kingdom Government as well. The common war plans are built around the concept that atomic bombs will form the central core of our offensive capabilities in the case of the outbreak of war. It is considered that the bomb will provide immediate means of counter attack and retaliation; it will provide our only offensive in the early months of conflict; and it will accomplish in a short space of time what conventional weapons could accomplish only over a much longer period. Moreover, the initial paralyzing impact of atomic bombs will, at minimum, furnish the time required to mount an offensive combined with more conventional means of warfare. It is in this sense that the atomic bomb, while neither absolute nor ordinary, must be considered a unique weapon. This evaluation of the nature of the bomb is reinforced by the fact that as of the present the United States alone possesses them. Once the Soviet Union has atomic bombs a critical reexamination of our war plans will probably be required.

2. Raw Materials Supply Position.

The principal current source of uranium is the Belgian Congo. (In 1948 more than 90 percent of United States supplies came from the Congo.) The principal future source of uranium appears to be South Africa. In both instances our efforts are joined with the United Kingdom. Belgian ores are made available to the two countries under a tri-partite agreement with Belgium. Such arrangements as may be made with South Africa for uranium will be made under the aegis of the Combined Development Agency on which the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada are represented. The cooperative arrangements instituted during the war for the procurement of raw materials give the United Kingdom and Canada a unique relationship to the United States in the atomic energy field. Termination of these arrangements might very well have the most serious consequences in terms of jeopardizing the availability of raw materials presently received from the Congo and potentially to be received from South Africa.

Present allocation arrangements entered into in the modus vivendi of January 7, 1948 run through calendar year 1949. By its terms the United States is presently receiving the total current output of the Belgian Congo with the right to draw down stocks in the United [Page 450]Kingdom should Belgian supplies prove insufficient for current United States programs. During 1949 the United States will probably have to draw down United Kingdom stocks by an amount from 600 to 1,000 tons. The supply position for 1950 and 1951 will also be tight. It may be necessary for the United States to seek to supplement Belgian production for those years from other sources if presently planned programs are to be maintained. The most likely additional source is United Kingdom stocks.

The raw material supplies foreseeable through 1951 will be sufficient for the programs of the two countries only if neither country expands its present program in such a way as to increase raw material needs and only if the United States continues to have call upon United Kingdom stocks in excess of the requirements of the present United Kingdom program. Processes whereby partially depleted feed materials can be recycled and used again is expected to be in use in the United States program by 1952. After these processes are realized, raw materials available to the two countries through 1955 (and probably beyond) will satisfy the presently planned programs and allow expansion.

3. Relation of United States–United Kingdom Cooperation to the Rate of Soviet Progress.

In general, the more widely-spread information becomes, the greater is the danger of breaches in security. It has, therefore, been argued that exchange of information with the United Kingdom would increase the danger that vital information would become more readily available to the Soviet Union. At best, it is difficult to evaluate the strength of this argument. The British already possess a great deal of information as to the production methods and weapon fabrication which would be of potential value to the Soviet Union. Hence, it is not possible to keep “restricted data” wholly within the United States. Furthermore, information is being developed in this field by the United Kingdom under their announced program for the production of plutonium and weapons.

While it is not felt that security of information is an affirmative reason for extending areas of cooperation with the United Kingdom neither is it an important argument against such cooperation. For example, through such cooperation the United States would be in a better position to bring about control of information possessed by or given to the United Kingdom. The greatest threat to proper control of “restricted data” is breach of security, not through deliberate action of personnel, but through inadvertence or differences of policies and practice. United States experience with the United Kingdom and Canada with respect to coordination of declassification policies and practices to be applied to information shared during the wartime [Page 451]period has definitely established that such cooperation will result in a considerable increase in the security of information which is jointly held by the three governments. Through cooperation of the kind proposed it should be possible to bring about tighter controls over fields other than security of information which will contribute to over-all security of the atomic energy programs of the three countries.

4. Effect of United States Cooperation on the Rate of Progress of the Present United Kingdom Program.

. . . . . . .

It is considered that the principal effects of United States assistance would be to increase the reliability of the production of fissionable material and bring about greater economy in the use of raw materials and effort. Lacking full United States information the United Kingdom might run into snags which would cause some delay but which are not considered to be more than temporary, although expensive, obstacles.

5. Belief as to the Reasons for the United Kingdom Program.

The production of plutonium on a sufficient scale to produce considerable numbers of atomic weapons is expensive. Only fragmentary data are presently available to this Government concerning United Kingdom expenditures on atomic energy research and development. In May 1946 the British Government stated that an expenditure on the order of £30,000,000 could then be foreseen. It is not unlikely that a current figure would be larger. It might be assumed that a nation would seek to avoid so large an outlay when its economy is so weak that it must be bolstered by American dollars.

Countervailing this line of argument are the following factors:

It is natural to expect a sovereign nation, anxious to bolster its position in the world, which possesses the necessary knowledge and know-how, to go ahead with the production of a weapon which will greatly enhance its national prestige and security and which, in terms of value received, is in all probability one of the most economical forms of military armament.
While the British are less optimistic now than heretofore concerning the realization of power from atomic energy, they still entertain hope that atomic power may one day play an important role in the national economy. Against the day that atomic power is feasible it is important for a nation to build up a program for the production of fissionable material and for reactor development.
The history of United States–United Kingdom relations in the field of atomic energy has been subject to considerable fluctuation and uncertainty. Past collaboration does not provide the United Kingdom with any reason to assume any consistency of United States attitude.

For at least these reasons, the United Kingdom is proceeding with its own program of plutonium and weapons production and intends to continue with it.

[Page 452]

6. United States Objections to the Existence of a United Kingdom Program for Plutonium and Weapons Production.

At the present time, only the United States possesses operating production plants and weapons. Ideally the United States would like to retain its present position in the field of atomic weapons. This seems no longer possible. While it might be possible for the United States to exert such extreme pressure on those nations friendly to our cause as would bring about a cessation of programs for weapons production, such a line of action would create such resentment as to alienate all of our friends. Even if this were done, there is no pressure that could be brought to bear on the Soviet Union sufficient to cause her to stop her program for the production of atomic energy and atomic weapons. When the USSR succeeds in making atomic weapons the unique position of the United States will be lost and the United States advantage will be reduced to the numerical and qualitative superiority of its weapons and those of its friends.

Apart from the United States desire to retain its present position, there are other objections that can be lodged against a United Kingdom program for plutonium and weapons production.

In the event of war United Kingdom installations would be more vulnerable to destruction than installations situated in the Western Hemisphere. If United Kingdom installations were destroyed there would be some loss in the over-all productive capacity in terms of our common defense. The presently planned United Kingdom program however, is not of such magnitude that its destruction in time of war would have an important effect on the total output of weapons. The possibility of the seizure of installations intact is considered remote.
In terms of joint raw materials supply it is thought that the United States can make a somewhat more efficient conversion of U3O8 to weapons than would be the case in United Kingdom plants. Again this point loses some of its force when one considers that the presently projected United Kingdom program is not large relative to the United States program.
It is argued that United Kingdom efforts to produce atomic weapons is an inefficient diversion of United Kingdom technical and economic resources. If there were, or had been, an all-out joint United States–United Kingdom effort, this would probably be a sound argument. In terms of an all-out joint effort in this field and considering the present capabilities of the two countries, it might be more efficient for the United States, on the one hand, to undertake full responsibility for the production of all atomic weapons necessary for the joint atomic defense of the British Empire, the United States and its allies; and for the United Kingdom, on the other hand, to concentrate more of its energies on the general rehabilitation of its economy and on defensive strength, such as aircraft to protect United Kingdom bases. However, from the United Kingdom point of view and in the absence of such an all-out joint effort, common prudence has required a building up of military strength on a broader basis and, in terms of general military outlay, it may well be that expenditures for atomic weapons represent an economical use of funds and resources. In working out [Page 453]future arrangements both of these points of view should be taken into account.

7. Technical Benefits Accruing to the United States from the United Kingdom Effort.

It can hardly be doubted that the United States program in atomic energy would be benefited in some degree by full, immediate knowledge of technical discoveries and ideas originating in the United Kingdom. The nature and importance of future United Kingdom technical contributions cannot be estimated quantitatively, but it is known that they have very able scientists engaged in their program—men who made important contributions to our common effort during the war.

Specifically in the field of atomic weapons, there is fragmentary information that United Kingdom scientists since the war have been studying the base surge phenomenon (an important effect in underwater explosions, which was first recognized in the Bikini Baker shot8 and may have found how this effect varies with depth of the body of water. It is known that they are looking into the possibilities of thermonuclear reactions. With extensive knowledge of how our first atomic weapons were fabricated (from their participation in the development of these weapons at Los Alamos) and with several years to think up new ideas, there is a possibility that they may have conceived improvements in weapon design different from those we have developed and tested.

On the other hand, it has to be recognized that in applied research, process development, and the industrial technology of atomic energy the United States is farther advanced than the United Kingdom, and will presumably remain in the lead. Accordingly, in a fully cooperative effort the United States will presumably contribute a greater proportion of technical know-how than the United Kingdom. In the field of discoveries and new ideas the relative contributions cannot be readily estimated in advance. British research has been remarkably productive in the past, in nuclear science as well as other sciences, and it may be presumed that findings of potential value to the United States program will continue to be made in the United Kingdom. It is, of course, impossible to predict the nature of such discoveries and ideas, or when they will occur. In any case, as compared with the immediate usefulness of United States know-how to the United Kingdom program, the technical benefits which will accrue to the United States will be realized only over a relatively long period.

[Here follows Section E, Item 8, “Experience Under Technical Cooperation Program.”]

9. Objectives of the United States in Regard to Atomic Weapons.

The foregoing considerations find their proper perspective only if read in the light of United States objectives in the field of atomic [Page 454]weapons. These objectives, in turn, follow from United States policy with regard to the Soviet Union which has been established on some detail in the National Security Council document (NSC 20/49).

Within the context of United States policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union the following are considered United States objectives in the field of atomic weapons.

To obstruct Soviet progress as much as possible both as to the time of securing the first bomb and the subsequent rate of production.
To strengthen the position of the United States as much as possible vis-à-vis the Soviet position.
To reduce vulnerability of production capacity and stockpiles to destruction by Soviet action.
To improve the means of delivering atomic bombs against Soviet targets in the event of war.
To have our policy in this field consistent with our general foreign policy both as it relates to our allies and to the Soviet Union.

As to (a) above, one of the important means of delaying Soviet progress is to prevent export to the Soviet Union and its satellites of equipment useful in atomic energy. Efforts are already concerted among the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada on such a program. In addition the United States has been pressing with some success for the establishment of parallel export control policies in other Western European countries.

As to (b) above, the most important factor to be taken into account is perhaps raw materials for which the United States is heavily dependent on foreign sources. To the extent that appropriate arrangements with the United Kingdom will improve our raw materials supply position, objective (b) will have been advanced. To the extent that the arrangements will make available to the United States program technical discoveries and new technical ideas originating in the United Kingdom (see page 3910), objective (b) will also have been advanced.

The location of installations in the United Kingdom does not advance objective (c). The percentage of United Kingdom effort to the total United States–United Kingdom effort, however, will of course make an important difference in the seriousness of vulnerability to destruction. If in connection with joint strategic planning, rights to United Kingdom bases from which atomic bombs can be delivered are secured, objective (d) would be advanced.

As to (e) above, our general foreign policy is to strengthen those countries friendly to our cause as a counterpoise against Soviet aggressiveness. [Page 455]A program of cooperation with the United Kingdom on weapons production would appear to be consistent with that policy as exemplified by the North Atlantic Security Pact and the joint strategic planning that is being conducted between the military representatives of the two countries.


alternative courses of action with respect to the united kingdom and canada

There are three main alternative lines of action that must be examined:

Continuing Present Arrangements Under the Modus Vivendi.
Attempting to Stop the United Kingdom Program by United States Pressure.
Expanding Interchange to Include all Fields of Atomic Energy Including Weapons.

The first alternative has certain superficial attractions. It may be argued that present arrangements, although not ideal, are at least in being and have thus far assured us of adequate supplies of raw materials to feed our production program. The difficulties, however, of continuing along the present lines are many.

Administrative delays and inconsistencies of interpretation of the areas in the present program of technical cooperation have presumably suggested to the United Kingdom that the United States and the United Kingdom hold somewhat different understandings of the intent of the modus vivendi. The modus vivendi provides for the addition of other areas from time to time by agreement within the Combined Policy Committee. Several proposals for such additional areas (plutonium metallurgy and fabrication, diffusion plants, reactor programs, etc.) are now pending before the Sub-Group of Scientific Advisers. If these are denied or further delayed, the United Kingdom may well ask for reconsideration of the whole question. At best, continuation of the present arrangements (without adding areas as requested) will hardly be of advantage to the United States in the negotiations which should occur soon for allocations of raw materials needed by the United States after 1949.
The present arrangements, by excluding exchange of information useful in the production of plutonium and atomic weapons, provide no means whereby the most efficient use of joint resources and effort can be brought about. Under the present arrangements the United Kingdom is going ahead on its own to produce both plutonium and weapons with resultant inefficiency and uneconomical use of materials and resources. Such inefficiency as springs from lack of knowledge could be mitigated by all-out cooperation.

The present arrangements under the modus vivendi represent a kind of dead center from which the United States must move in one direction or another. It does not seem feasible or desirable to continue the present arrangements indefinitely without change.

[Page 456]

A second alternative is to bring to bear all possible pressure in an attempt to force the United Kingdom to stop its program. It must seriously be doubted whether any pressure, however severe, would be successful. For example, if faced with the alternative of giving up its program or losing United States assistance under ERP, the United Kingdom would probably consider it necessary to forego ERP aid. Such an approach would be contrary to the fundmental spirit of ERP and could only mean a collapse of the European Recovery Program and a resultant victory for the Communist forces.

Moreover, such an approach would run counter to the pattern of United States–United Kingdom relationships which are already established and are being constantly strengthened in other military fields (see sec. D). The growth of these relationships have resulted in the establishment of common war plans. The United Kingdom and the United States (together with Canada) will be at the core of any military arrangements that follow upon the North Atlantic Security Pact. This pattern which the United States has striven to establish in the interests of the common defense and security would be gravely jeopardized by attempting to halt the presently laid down United Kingdom program.

It can hardly be doubted but that any British Government which sought to accede to United States pressure to halt the present United Kingdom atomic energy program would be forced out of office with resultant jeopardy to the building-up of the collective strength, both economic and military, of the North Atlantic Community.

The third alternative appears to be the soundest. The United Kingdom will have plutonium and atomic weapons with or without our help. Moreover, without our help the United Kingdom will retain complete freedom of action and may indeed become a serious competitor with us for scarce raw materials. Her influence with the Belgians and the South Africans in such a contingency must not be under-rated. Full and effective collaboration with the United Kingdom in all fields of atomic energy, including weapons, would provide the opportunity for the United States to secure certain safeguards and an economical distribution of effort in the common security. This alternative would be consistent with the main lines of our foreign policy both as relates to our posture toward the Soviet Union and toward our allies.

If full and effective cooperation with the United Kingdom and Canada in all fields of atomic energy, including weapons, is decided upon, the necessary arrangements between the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada should be for a long, rather than a short, period of time. One of the advantages to the United Kingdom and Canada of such an arrangement is the immediate technical assistance and information that they would receive. During the initial period the [Page 457]United Kingdom and Canada probably would derive from the standpoint of information and technical assistance greater benefit from such exchange than would the United States. The United States probably would gain greater initial advantage in the field of allocation of ore. Advantages to be derived from cooperation in regard to strategic location of facilities and critical materials and in regard to bases and delivery of atomic weapons are long-time as well as short-time. Moreover, the need for cooperation with respect to bases necessary for delivery of atomic weapons may increase when the Soviet Union has a supply of atomic weapons. A long-time arrangement would permit the three countries to participate in full cooperation more effectively and with greater assurance. It is suggested, therefore, that the term of these arrangements should be of the order of twenty years.

Consideration has been given to the question whether the arrangements that may be arrived at should include Canada. For a number of reasons, some of which are evident in Part III below, it is felt that the arrangements should be tri-partite.


a joint program of action (united states, united kingdom, and canada) with regard to other countries

If alternative 3 is adopted with respect to the United Kingdom and Canada there remains the problem of what policy should be adopted by the three governments with respect to other countries. In negotiating with the United Kingdom and Canada it is quite certain that the United Kingdom will raise the question of relationships with other members of the British Commonwealth. The problem of information exchange with New Zealand has already arisen. The modus vivendi provides that information concerning the Harwell Gleep 11 will be made available to New Zealand scientists. The United Kingdom has indicated a willingness to accede to the request of Norway for a small quantity of uranium oxide for use in building a small research reactor. As a result of our objections to the proposal the British have not given the Norwegians a favorable reply.

Countries from which the United States and the United Kingdom obtain uranium (notably Belgium), and hope to obtain uranium (notably South Africa and eventually Sweden), will not long be content to be without modest research programs of their own.

The French have already in operation a small uranium oxide heavy water research reactor, the first to be built outside the CPC countries. Other countries will doubtless in due course have such research reactors of their own. A common line of action must be agreed upon by the CPC countries which will take into account these realities.

[Page 458]

It is evident that a line of policy with respect to other countries will necessarily be essentially a rear guard action. There is little likelihood that the CPC countries would be either willing or able to stop the aspirations of the other countries to explore the research and experimental possibilities of atomic energy, nor in the long run, to preclude other countries from activity leading toward power production.

Nevertheless it is difficult to see how the three countries could take any initiative in providing assistance to other countries which would make any real contribution to the development of atomic energy programs for the production of fissionable materials.

In terms of good will and the orientation of the scientific community of Western Europe to the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, it would be desirable to make certain general scientific assistance available to other nations when such assistance does not advance in any significant way the production of atomic energy in other countries. The limits beyond which such assistance should not go should be clearly understood and agreed among the three countries.

III. Conclusion

The United States should enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom and Canada with a view to achieving substantially the results set forth below.

Taking into account that (a) the United States desires to secure an arrangement that is mutually advantageous, and (b) the United States has not discussed such an arrangement with the United Kingdom and Canada and cannot, therefore, at this time appraise their reactions, the following outcome of negotiation would offer the greatest assurance of serving the common defense and security from the United States point of view.


with respect to the united kingdom and canada

To establish full cooperation among the three parties in all fields of atomic energy including atomic weapons. Information and assistance shall be made available among the three countries for programs established in accordance with the general principles agreed in 2 below. Such information and assistance shall be made available by the recipient country only to such persons and agencies having specific need therefor.
To establish freedom of action among the parties with regard to their respective atomic energy programs consistent with the following general principles to which the parties should agree.
Production and storage facilities should be located with due regard for strategic considerations. Specifically:
To the fullest extent practicable fissionable material, production plants, large-scale atomic energy developments and supplies [Page 459]of strategic material should be located either in the United States or in Canada.
All portions of any expanded production program should be located either in the United States or in Canada and present plans for such work in the United Kingdom should be modified to include only that portion for which appreciable commitments in the line of construction have been made.
To the fullest extent practicable production facilities for fabrication of atomic weapons should be located in Canada or in the United States not only to provide for better strategic location but also to supplement United States facilities in case of emergency.
Nuclear components of atomic weapons should be stored in the United Kingdom only to the extent required by common war plans. All other nuclear components normally should be stored in the United States or in Canada.
The programs of the parties should be coordinated in such a way as to make the most effective use of joint resources, specifically raw materials and effort:
It is recognized that the United States will make the major effort of production of atomic weapons as required for joint defense.
For the next five years it is expected that the United Kingdom-Canadian effort should be on such a scale as not to require more than 10 percent of the raw material available, and allocation of raw material will be made accordingly.
Planning of programs of research, development, and production should be such as to make the most effective use of joint resources of technical personnel and facilities.
Establish effective coordination with respect to the disclosure to other governments, including the other dominions, in accord with the policy enunciated under B below.
To provide for the establishment of effective cooperation among the three parties with respect to all defense measures against the effects of attack from atomic weapons.
To provide for continuation of the Combined Policy Committee with its present ratio of membership from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, to carry out and supervise (a) these arrangements and (b) the work of the CDA which will be continued, it being recognized that modification of the principles enunciated in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall require the unanimous consent of the three countries.
To establish cooperation among the three parties with respect to bases necessary for delivery of atomic weapons. Bases should be established with due regard for strategic considerations. The three parties should cooperate in acquiring necessary base rights. For bases required in United Kingdom by common war plans, the necessary advance preparations should be made at these bases including the construction [Page 460]of special buildings and installation of special equipment, and the practice and training of the necessary military combat teams should be permitted. The three parties should cooperate in the training of the special military units required for the delivery of atomic weapons. (Item 5 should be supervised by the military and not the Combined Policy Committee. If made a subject of separate negotiations, such negotiations should be coordinated with 1, 2 and 3 above.)
To provide for an arrangement which will continue effective over a relatively long period of time.

It is suggested that the term of these arrangements should be of the order of twenty years, with provision for withdrawal thereafter upon appropriate notification. Provisions for the allocation of raw materials (2b(2) above) should be subject for reconsideration at the end of 5 years.


with respect to united states-united kingdom-canadian relationships with friendly non-cpc countries

1. To welcome and facilitate study by scientists of such nations so that they might work in universities and unclassified scientific laboratories in three countries.

2. To encourage interest in, and assist in connection with, the development of accelerator projects and other activities in nuclear science not related to atomic energy programs for making fissionable materials or weapons.

3. To establish that the foregoing would be the extent of assistance given to other nations in general. Beyond this the three nations should agree to the principle that they are opposed to the development of atomic energy at this time outside the three nations, with due consideration being given to the following:

Special problems may arise with respect to certain countries, particularly those from which the CPC countries hope to obtain raw materials. The three countries should agree to deal and act jointly with special cases on their merits with the objective that assistance rendered should be kept to a minimum consistent with general foreign policy objectives, particularly raw materials desiderata.

The question of the extent and content of assistance that may safely be given to other countries must be re-examined from time to time to determine whether the march of events may not make feasible some expansion of the areas of assistance such as, for example, making available certain standard designs for small research reactors of the French heavy water type. A basic question is whether assistance should be rendered of a modest sort to other countries at such time as will reap good-will without making any significant contribution to the production of atomic energy in any other country. If it can be shown [Page 461]that a given type of assistance does not advance in any significant way the production of atomic energy in any country, then it would appear to be a real advantage to our cause to make such assistance available. It also should be recognized that partial assistance, while gaining good-will initially, may react more unfavorably than a clearly enunciated policy of minimum assistance.

  1. Approved by President Truman on March 31.
  2. For the First Report, see United Nations, Official Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, First Year, Special Supplement, Report to the Security Council (1946) (hereafter cited as AEC, 1st yr., Special Suppl.), or Department of State Publication 2737 (1947). The Second Report is published as United Nations, Official Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, Second Year, Special Supplement, The Second Report of the Atomic Energy Commission to the Security Council, September 11, 1947 (hereafter cited as AEC, 2nd yr., Special Suppl.), or Department of State Publication 2932 (1947).
  3. For the Third Report, see United Nations, Official Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, Third Year, Special Supplement, The Third Report of the Atomic Energy Commission to the Security Council, May 17, 1948 (hereafter cited as AEC, 3rd yr., Special Suppl.), or Department of State Publication 3179 (1948).
  4. For the text of the statement by Bernard M. Baruch, United States Representative, at the First Meeting of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, June 14, 1946, see United Nations, Official Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, First Year, Plenary Meetings, p. 4 (hereafter cited as AEC, 1st yr., Plenary), or Department of State Bulletin, June 23, 1946, p. 1057. For documentation on the United States proposal, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, pp. 1197 ff.
  5. For the exchange of notes between the British Ambassador, Lord Lothian, and the Secretary of State, September 2, 1940, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iii, p. 73.
  6. For the text of the Ogdensburg Declaration, August 18, 1940, issued jointly by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King, see the Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1940, p. 154. For information on wartime cooperation between the two nations, see Stanley W. Dziuban, Military Relations Between the United States and Canada, 1939–1945, in the official Army history United States Army in World War II: Special Studies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1959).
  7. Section E, Item 4, p. 451.
  8. Reference is to the second atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll, July 25, 1946.
  9. A report to the President by the National Security Council, titled “U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security,” November 23, 1948 for text, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 662.
  10. Section E, Item 7, p. 453.
  11. An experimental reactor at Britain’s atomic energy laboratories, Harwell, England.