JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 188
Secretary of War Henry Stimson's Diary Entry for 1 August 1945, centering on the publication of Henry DeWolf Smyth's history of the Manhattan Project (bold is by me as are any statements made between [ ] ):
August 1, 1945
"As soon as I arrived at the Department I called in General Marshall and asked him whether he had received my message through McCarthy and he told me that he had and that the speech had been changed and made in an entirely different form."
"I then took up with Harrison, Bundy and Groves the third paper to be issued in S-1, namely that of the scientists. The draft of this paper [Henry DeWolf Smyth’s A general account of the development of methods of using atomic energy for military purposes, which would be known later in the year as Atomic Energy for Military Purposes, 1945, and then more generally and unofficially as the Smyth Report] is about two hundred pages long - manifestly so big that I cannot possibly read it now, and I therefore went over the skeleton of it and the pros and cons of making any speech (as to which I am very doubtful) with my three consultants. The aim of the paper is to backfire reckless statements by independent scientists after the demonstration of the bomb. If we could be sure that these could be controlled and avoided, all of us would much prefer not to issue such a paper. But under the circumstances of the entire independence of action of scientists and the certainty that there would be a tremendous amount of excitement and reckless statement, Groves, who is a very conservative man, had reached the conclusion that the lesser evil would be for us to make a statement carefully prepared so as not to give away anything vital and thus try to take the stage away from the others. We debated long over the situation for it is a very difficult question and all of us recognize its difficulty. Rules have been drawn under which this present paper has been formulated. I went over those rules and then postponed the matter until tomorrow when I shall have a talk with Conant, Groves, Bundy, and some of Groves' assistants on the whole matter. I am of course much influenced by the fact that Groves has reached a decision in favor of the statement."
(General Groves I believe recognized the expediency of the report as well in spite of his expectedly ferocious adherence to security protocol—the report, while revealing a lot of data, would also establish the limit of publication of information on the Project and on the bomb. Overall, it was a smart thing to do, establishing the control of the dialog on the subject of the bomb. It was after all Groves (in 1944) who appointed Smyth to the Richard C. Tolman Committee to make recommendations for the post-war development of atomic energy; Smyth recommended publishing a report on the making of the bomb that would be published soon after it was no longer a secret; Groves concurred. The report was officially released (in 160,000 copies) on 12 August 1945.)
S-1 Executive Committee, Manhattan Project,
September 14, 1942
l. to r.: Thomas Crenshaw, Robert Oppenheimer, Harold C. Urey, Ernest O. Lawrence, James B. Conant, Lyman J. Briggs, E. V. Murphree, Arthur Compton, Robert Thornton, K. D. Nichols.
Picture at top is of Smyth with what looks like the advance copy (the famous "lithoprint" edition).
Following are the opening paragraphs of the Smyth report from the Preface and Introduction:
"The ultimate responsibility for our nation's policy rests on its citizens and they can discharge such responsibilities wisely only if they are informed. The average citizen cannot be expected to understand clearly how an atomic bomb is constructed or how it works but there is in this country a substantial group of engineers and scientists who can understand such things and who can explain their potentialities of atomic bombs to their fellow citizens. The present report is written for this professional group and is a matter-of-fact, general account of work in the USA since 1939 aimed at the production of such bombs. It is neither a documented official history nor a technical treatise for experts. Secrecy requirements have affected both the detailed content and general emphasis so that many interesting developments have been omitted..."
First Paragraph of the Introduction:
"1.1. The purpose of this report is to describe the scientific and technical developments in this country since 1940 directed toward the military use of energy from atomic nuclei. Although not written as a "popular" account of the subject, this report is intended to be intelligible to scientists and engineers generally and to other college graduates with a good grounding in physics and chemistry. The equivalence of mass and energy is chosen as the guiding principle in the presentation of the background material of the "Introduction.""
The full text of the report is located HERE.