811.2423/4–849: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State


1454. During my four and a half years here no question has been put to me so often by people in all walks of life as “in case of war with USSR will you use atomic bomb.” President’s statement1 making it unquestionably clear that we will has had enormously heartening effect.

  1. In the course of addressing a group of new Democratic Senators and Representatives in Washington on the evening of April 6, President Truman stated the following:

    “In the history of the world there has never been a republic, a monarchy, or a totalitarian state that has met the situation as we have: we have offered to give up the greatest weapon in the history of the world for the welfare of mankind. We have offered to surrender the most powerful thing we have under our control, if the world will come in and set up a control of that weapon which will prevent its use for the destruction of mankind.

    “I had to make a decision back in July 1945, and I had to make that decision on the basis of the welfare not only of this country but of our enemy country. And I made that decision because I thought 200,000 of our young men would be saved by making that decision, and some 3 or 400,000 of the enemy would be saved by making that decision.

    “Now I believe that we are in a position where we will never have to make that decision again, but if it has to be made for the welfare of the United States, and the democracies of the world are at stake, I woudn’t hesitate to make it again.

    “I hope and pray that that will never be necessary.”

    For the full text of the President’s address, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1949 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1964), p. 197.