Eisenhower Library, Whitman file, “Bermuda State Dept Rpt”

Notes Prepared by Admiral Strauss 1
top secret

The session had been arranged to discuss atomic energy matters of mutual interest.

Sir Winston referred to his concern at the cessation of full scale cooperation between the US and UK which had prevailed during the war. He made a case for its resumption.

The President explained the situation with respect to existing law, stated his personal sympathy, in principle, with the views of the Prime Minister and mentioned that steps were being taken to ameliorate the [Page 1768]condition so far as possible by seeking amendment to the McMahon Act at the next session of the Congress. He pointed out that he under stood from Mr. Strauss that certain exchanges had recently been arranged for, within the present statute, but that more would probably have to await legislative action.

Sir Winston then referred to fact that UK planes were being designed and built with no proper knowledge of characteristics of our atomic weapons if they might ever be called upon to deliver them, and, as a minimum, he hoped that weight, dimensions and ballistics of our weapons could be supplied to them.…

Sir Winston stated that the UK having concluded successfully weapons tests were now embarked upon weapon production, that their first weapon had recently been delivered to the RAF, and that they expected to have__________2 by 1957 and__________2 by 1960. He volunteered their estimate of our present production as__________2 per annum and our current stockpile as__________.2

Lord Cherwell here stated that they were not intending to do any work on hydrogen bombs—that they felt able to get one megaton or possibly two from boosted fission weapons and that in their view few targets needed a larger yield.

At this point the President touched upon his belief that atomic weapons were now coming to be regarded as a proper part of conventional armament and that he thought this a sound concept. Sir Winston concurred.

There followed a lengthy discussion of the effect of a resumption of hostilities in Korea. Sir Winston referred to his public utterances in this respect but twice during the ensuing discussion mentioned that Mr. Eden was more fully informed and that he did not wish anything he said in this area to be considered as a commitment until Mr. Eden was brought into the talks.…

Sir Winston next referred to the specific exchange of information under the modus vivendi mentioning first the agreement between the two countries arranged by Cherwell and Strauss in November (exchange of data on weapons effects).3 He expressed his gratification at this. He said, however, that he also felt that there should be more freedom of information between the two countries on discussion of intelligence concerning enemy weapons and capabilities. The President expressed himself as sympathetic to this idea. He asked Mr. Strauss what the situation was and was told that while intelligence findings were exchanged the evaluation of such data was not exchanged—on the theory that evaluation being in terms of our existing weapons, it was considered a violation of the specific prohibition in the statute to [Page 1769]do so: The President directed Mr. Strauss to review the validity of this assumption.

Sir Winston then produced a photostat of the original signed copy of the Quebec Agreement of 1943 between himself and F. D. Roosevelt and read from it to the President4 (It was the first time Mr. Strauss had ever seen a photostat. No signed counterpart is in the files of the State Department.) Sir Winston stated that in his opinion the time had now come to publish it and related documents. Mr. Strauss informed the President at this point that the Quebec Agreement had been formally superseded by the Blair House Agreement of January 8, 1948.5 It was agreed, after some discussion, that the climate for closer working relations might be facilitated by publication of these and related documents and the President requested Mr. Strauss to prepare a White Paper on the subject. Lord Cherwell will collaborate on this.

Sir Winston briefly mentioned the President’s proposed speech.6 He said that he had some reservations as to the wisdom of delivering it. It was understood that his points would be discussed between Lord Cherwell and Mr. Strauss. He proposed a meeting on tomorrow (Sunday) morning. The President explained that he had filled his morning calendar and a meeting on Monday morning was tentatively set.7

The meeting ended at 12:59 p.m.

  1. An introductory note at the beginning of the source text gives the time, place of and the participants in this meeting. It also states that the notes had been written in longhand by Admiral Strauss and were “returned to him for destroying”.
  2. Omissions in the source text.
  3. Omissions in the source text.
  4. Omissions in the source text.
  5. Omissions in the source text.
  6. Documentation on the exchange of information between the United States and the United Kingdom on the effects of atomic weapons is presented in volume ii .
  7. Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, p. 1117.
  8. Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 683.
  9. Documentation on President Eisenhower’s speech, given at the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 8, is presented in volume ii .
  10. No record of a ChurchillEisenhower meeting on Monday, Dec. 7, to discuss the President’s proposed speech has been found in Department of State files.