|Description||This was a Sub-Committee of the Chiefs of Staff committee, instructed 'to proceed with the revision of Sir Henry Tizard's Ad Hoc Committee's report on the future development of weapons of war in the light of later knowledge about atomic energy which will be made available to them'.|
The material consists mainly of Blackett's own notes, drafts and background research for papers or for discussion at meetings. It also includes similar documents sent to him by colleagues or interested parties. Some correspondence, with scientific, Service government colleagues has been left in the folders, itemised and indexed.
The official invitation to serve on the Committee 'to consider this important topic' is dated 6 October 1945 (D.161), but Blackett had already assembled material and drafted short papers on various relevant aspects, and continued to do so. Items D.162-166 are papers and notes of this kind on the implications of atomic warfare, brought together by Blackett August-September 1945 before the Committee was formally set up. Some of the larger notes are headed 'TWC 46' and 'ACAE' 9Advisor Committee on Atomic Energy, see D.184-205) and represent Blackett's reflections prompted by papers or discussions at these committees.
Problems of atomic (later nuclear) weapons became the principal subject of concern, and on two occasions Blackett openly took a dissenting view from official decisions on the manufacture of an atomic bomb by Britain, and on international control of atomic weapons.
The minority papers which he wrote and circulated on both these occasions are documented in the following folders. The drafts and notes, and the correspondence which accompanies them, help to elucidate the dates of composition and circulation of the papers, and the comments they evoked at the time.
D.167, D.168 refer to Blackett's memorandum of November 1945 'Atomic Energy. An Immediate policy for Great Britain', which was reproduced in M.M. Gowing, Independence and Deterrence, London 1974, Vol. 1, pp.194-206.
D.174-181 refer to the paper on international control of atomic energy, which Blackett considered impractical and indeed undesirable in view of American superiority in atomic weaponry at the time. This paper was presented to the Prime Minister (C.R. Attlee) and was subsequently circulated as a 'Gen 75' Committee paper. In particular, the correspondence in D.174 makes it clear that the paper was submitted to the Prime Minister in November 1946 (see Gowing, op cit, pp115, 183).
See also J.3, correspondence with C.R. Attlee, and D.201, Blackett's letter to Stafford Cripps, referring to another meeting he had had with the prime Minister to discuss atomic energy policy in February 1947.
For Blackett's later writings and lectures on the subject, see Section F, Nuclear Weapons and Disarmament.