Department of State Atomic Energy Files

Memorandum by Mr. R. Gordon Arneson, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State (Webb)

top secret

Tripartite Negotiations Chronology 1

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August 2, 1949

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Late in the afternoon the Secretary called Kennan, Rusk and myself in to talk with him about the President’s letter to Souers2 concerning [Page 507]Defense’s proposal for an expanded production program. It was agreed that Mr. Webb should be the principal representative on the working group with me as his assistant. In Webb’s absence, however, Kennan Would go to the meeting the next day. Fisher and I were to accompany him. There was some discussion as to the substance of the proposal, Kennan putting forth the view that since State had been asked to participate in preparing recommendations to the President on this matter it might be appropriate for State, if it were agreed, to raise some question about the size of the program particularly in terms of the psychological impact it would have both at home and abroad. Kennan said his concern on this did not represent strong conviction but rather an uneasy feeling that we were traveling down the atomic road rather too fast. He went on to state his own personal feeling that it perhaps would be best for this country if it were decided that atomic bombs would never be used. He for one was glad that no final decision to use the weapon had as yet been made. Both the Secretary and Rusk stated that it would be difficult to justify any such approach particularly if our failure to use atomic weapons meant a great loss of lives or a defeat in war.

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  1. This 35-page document describes the development of the United States position on tripartite negotiations and other aspects of atomic energy policy from June 23 to September 1, 1949.
  2. Dated July 26, p. 501.