5 December 2008
SMYTH, Henry DeWolf (b. 1898). A general Account of the Development of Methods of using Atomic Enery for Military Purposes under the auspices of the United States Government 1940-1945. Washington: For the War Department, 1945.
4o (263 x 197 mm). Lithoprint version, diagrams in text. Original plain wrappers, stapled (upper cover detached). Provenance: William Weldon Watson, member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee on Atomic Energy from 1954-1963 (signature on upper cover); Haskell F. Norman (bookplate; his sale Christie's New York, 29 October 1998, lot 1302).
ADVANCE PRINTING. "'Nothing in [the Smyth] report discloses the necessary military secrets as to the manufacture or production of the [atomic bomb]. It does provide a summary of generally known scientific facts and gives an account of the history of the work, and of the role payed in the development by different scientific and industrial organizations. The best interests of the United States require the utmost cooperation by all concerned in keeping secret now and for all time in the future all scientific and technical information not given in this report or other official releases of information by the War Department' (War Department press release, 11 August 1945).
"Released to the public on 12 August 1945, only six days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the advance printing of the Smyth report contained a full account of the development work carried out between 1940 and 1945 by the Manhattan Project, which culminated in the production of the first atomic bomb. Before its publication in book form by the Princeton University Press in September 1945, the Smyth report was circulated in three different versions, each reproduced from typescript: [the first was] a mimeographed version (identifiable by its rubber-stamped 'Secret' on every page). These copies were hand-delivered by military messenger, and recipients were required to read the material immediately and return it to the waiting messenger. These mimeographed copies were presumably destroyed for security reasons, as no copies, either in whole or in parts, have been recorded as remaining in existence except for Smyth's master copy now at Princeton.
"After the distribution and return of the mimeographed chapters, Smyth made his final revisions and turned over the final draft to General Groves on August 2. 1,000 copies were then lithoprinted from typescript in the facility for reproducing secret documents in the Adjutant General's Office in the Pentagon. Smyth, in his article describing the genesis of his report, appears to state that all copies of the first lithoprint version were distributed to the press in press packets on 11 August..." (Norman). PMM 422e; Norman 1962.
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