General Leslie R. Groves informs J. Robert Oppenheimer of the Hiroshima bombing. Transcript of telephone conversation, August 6, 1945.
Groves recorded many of his phone conversations, and the recordings were then transcribed by his secretary Jean O’Leary. Whether Oppenheimer knew that his words were being recorded on this occasion is unknown.
Images of all three pages of this document are included below the transcription.
6 August 45
General Groves call Dr. Oppenheimer, Santa Fe at 2:00 pm
Gen G: I’m very proud of you and all of your people.
Dr. O: It went alright?
Gen G: Apparently it went with a tremendous bang.
Dr. O: When was this, was it after sundown?
Gen G: No, unfortunately it had to be in the daytime on account of security of the plane and that was left in the hands of the Commanding General over there and he knew what the advantages were of doing it after sundown and he was told just all about that and I said it was up to him; that it was not paramount but that it was very desireable.
Dr. O: Right. Everybody is feeling reasonably good about it and I extend my heartiest congratulations. It’s been a long road.
Gen G: Yes, it has been a long road and I think one of the wisest things I ever did was when I selected the director of Los Alamos.
Dr. O: Well, I have my doubts, General Groves.
Gen G: Well, you know I’ve never concurred with those doubts at anytime.
Dr. O: Mr. Shiekster (?) called up from Mutual and we told him to get in touch with your office.
Gen G: Yes.
Dr. O: I don't know just what he had in mind.
Gen G: Well, he wants a broadcast with people being interviewed and we are unable to comply with his wishes.
Dr. O: That would be my feeling.
Gen G: Now as far as we can, as far as I can see, Security as a rule as a whole stays on as it has always been.
Dr. O: That’s the assumption that we’ve been making and I put out a little note to that effect a couple of days ago; that is, I prepared it for release today. It says all the things I think you would wish to say.
Gen G: Yes. And the main thing we want is that we’re going to, of course, relax things just as fast to the best interest of the United States to relax in.
Dr. O: How did the discussion that Uncle Jim was involved in come out?
Gen G: That awaits the decision of the President. The pros and cons are to be presented to him because there are certain things that he will more or less be affected by in both directions and we’re not making any decision that affects him.
Dr. O: Well, it doesn’t affect us either but I was just curious.
Gen G: Now as soon as he gets back, that will be presented and I think its only a question of a decision waiting for a few days.
Dr. O: Right. Are you going to be out all day or when are you going to be free to travel?
Gen G: Well, I don’t know - we’ll know a little more - certainly now any distance the rest of this week. But I think it would be most desireable if you could arrange things -
Dr. O: I will do that. I have the feeling that there are some questions which we need to get clear before too long.
Gen G: I think that there a lot of them and I would suggest that you consider making plans to come East in a comfortable manner and meet me somewhere. I would like very much to go to Schenectady with you.
Dr. O: That would be fine.
Gen G: And I don’t know whether I could get away or not but my thought would be to come up there and bring Uncle Richard along with me.
Dr. O: Well, I have all these people coming here for the week-end but on Monday night I could leave.
Gen G: Yes - I think that it would be just as well to plan it and I will accomodate my plans with yours so that I will see you.
Dr. O: Good - Good. You understand that we are having a little trouble getting our plans made here and the less we have to delay in ---
Gen G: Col Seeman leaves here tonight to be out there tomorrow.
Dr. O: Fine. Will he let Col. Heiflen know - I think Col. H. is planning to come tomorrow.
Gen G: Heiflen knows, he says.
Dr. O: Col. Seeman will be here at that time?
Gen G: Yes, Seeman says he talked to Heiflen and Heiflen knows. We’re also sending out there, I don’t know if he’s there or not - one of the finest officers that we’ve been able to locate - a Major Parker. And I think - what job he’s going to be assigned to - I don’t know but I think its going to fit into more or less your bailiwick - possibly at Albuquerque, possibly somewhere else.
Dr. O: Good, we’ll be awfully glad to see him.
Gen G: Now he’s reporting to Tyler and it’s up to Tyler as to what he wants to do with him as Tyler has a great many problems that he’s got to get straightened out in a hurry.
Dr. O: Thank you for calling and I appreciate your kind words. I hope things will be a little easier for you from now on in.
Gen G: Now we are also sending you a sort of resume of certain messages that come from Parsons and Farrell. I’d like to have those very carefully preserved as regards to wide distribution. But I have no objection on the whole to their being seen by quite a few of your top flight.
Dr. O: Well, there may be some questions on that --
Gen G: Some questions you might want and the messages that I’ve gotten wind up with this statement: “Every effort is being devoted to their next objective.”
Dr. O: Good.
Gen G: And as soon as they take their next objective it will be devoted to the one beyond that.
Dr. O: Good. We won’t be behind schedule on that.
Gen G: Now you may get pestered by newspapers and the like but whatever you get, I think you know the general idea.
Dr. O: I won’t be pestered very much. I’ve got a lot of censors between them and me.
Gen G: Okay.
Copyright © 1995-2015 Gene Dannen
Created May 29, 1995 Last modified August 2, 2015
Gene Dannen / email@example.com