The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb
Part V: The Atomic Bomb and American Strategy
The Franck Report and Its Critics
Meanwhile the Met Lab was beginning to stir. The Scientific Panel of the Interim Committee was the connection between the scientists and the policy makers, and Compton was convinced that there must be a high level of participation in the decision making process. His June 2 briefing of the Met Lab staff regarding the findings of the Interim Committee led to a flurry of activity. The Met Lab's Committee on the Social and Political Implications of the Atomic Bomb, chaired by James Franck and including Seaborg and Szilard, issued a report advocating international control of atomic power as the only way to stop the arms race that would be inevitable if the United States bombed Japan without first demonstrating the weapon in an uninhabited am.
The Scientific Panel disagreed with the Franck Report, as the Met Lab study was known, and concluded that no technical test would convince Japan to surrender. The Panel concluded that such a military demonstration of the bomb might best further the cause of peace but held that such a demonstration should take place only after the United States informed its allies. On June 21 the Interim Committee sided with the position advanced by the Scientific Panel. The bomb should be used as soon as possible, without warning, and against a war plant surrounded by additional buildings. As to informing allies, the Committee concluded that Truman should mention that the United States was preparing to use a new kind of weapon against Japan when he went to Berlin in July. On July 2, 1945, President Truman listened as Stimson outlined the peace terms for Japan, including demilitarization and prosecution of war criminals in exchange for economic and governmental freedom of choice. Stimson returned on July 3 and suggested that Truman broach the issue of the bomb with Stalin and tell the Soviet leader that it could become a force for peace with proper agreements. 47