Memorandum to Chief of Staff, August 10, 1945

Author:  Leslie R. Groves
Date: August 10, 1945

Subjects: World War II

When I handed this memorandum to the Chief of Staff, I recommended orally that I be authorized to delay the shipment of the fissionable material for the third bomb from the United States in order that the Japanese would have an opportunity to surrender. I did not want future anti-American propagandists to accuse us of wanting to inflict unnecessary punishment on the Japanese. A delay until noon of 13 August was approved by General Marshall, who then added his written note at the bottom of my memorandum.

When the deadline came there was still no Japanese surrender. Neither General Marshall nor Secretary Stimson was available. I discussed the problem with the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Handy. Neither of us felt that he could authorize me to further delay the shipment. I then made my decision. I asked General Handy to inform General Marshall that I was exceeding my instructions and in the absence of any word from him would not ship any fissionable material for the third bomb until I could see him.

Some days later General Marshall told me how glad he was that I had taken the action I had.

Memorandum to Chief of Staff, August 10, 1945


Location: Vault
Call No. Box 1

Language: english