MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
SUBJECT: USE OF THE ATOMIC BOMB AGAINST JAPAN
Pursuant to your directive, the question of the use of the atomic bomb against Japan as a part of the military campaign against that country has been studied. The compelling issues that affect this decision are related to (1) the technological ability to deliver such a weapon in a timely manner, (2) the extent to which the use of the atomic bomb will advance attainment of the military objectives of the United States, (3) the effect that the use of such a weapon will have on the safety of American military personnel, (4) the extent to which the use of the atomic bomb will enhance the post-war international position of the United States, (5) the effect that use of the atomic bomb will have on American public opinion, and (6) international perceptions of the United States that may derive from use of the atomic bomb against Japan. Each of these issues is addressed in this memorandum prior to the presentation of the decision recommendation.
The prediction of the Director of the Manhattan project in April of this year was that an atomic weapon would be ready for use in the war in early-August 1945 (Truman 419). This prediction has now been confirmed. The scientists involved in the development of the atomic bomb do not believe that a full-scale test of the weapon is required before use in the ear effort (Groves 383-384). General Spaatz, Strategic Air Forces Commanding General, has indicated that the Army Air Forces possess the capability to deliver an atomic bomb on main island Japanese targets. (Truman 420).
The claim has been made that American strategic bombing will lead to an unconditional surrender by the Japanese, thereby precluding the necessity for a land invasion of Japan. In actuality, the strategic bomber offensive in the Pacific was failing when General Curtis LeMay was placed in comm...