Letter from General Manager K. D. Nichols, United States by Emilymohar


									    Letter from General Manager K. D. Nichols, United States Atomic Energy
                 Commission, to Dr. Oppenheimer's Attorneys
3 June 1954

              Concerning Procedures in the Matter of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer

Lloyd K. Garrison, Esq.,
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison,
575 Madison Avenue, New York 22, N. Y.

Dear Mr. Garrison:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 1, 1954, in which you refer to my letter of May
28, 1954, to Dr. Oppenheimer.

In your letter you refer to the fact that review by a Personnel Security Review Board would "entail
further delay." As you are fully aware, my letter to Dr. Oppenheimer of December 23, 1953, stated
that Dr. Oppenheimer would have 30 days in which to submit a written answer. In your letter to me
of January 20, 1954, you asked for an extension of this time to and including February 23. In my
letter to you of January 27 this extension was granted. In your letter to me of February 19 you
confirmed your telephone request for an extension of time from February 23 to March 1. In my
letter to you of February 25 this request was granted. In my letter to you of March 3 I confirmed a
telephone conversation with you of the previous day in which the time for your answer was
extended to March 5, 1954. I know of no delays other than those I have referred to above.

The Atomic Energy Commission's published Security Clearance Procedures, a copy of which was
furnished to Dr. Oppenheimer with my letter of December 23, 1953, provide that if the individual
requests a review of his case by the Personnel Security Review Board, he shall have 20 days within
which to submit a brief in support of his contentions. The procedures further prescribe that oral
argument before the Personnel Security Review Board may be had only in the discretion of that
Board. The procedures make no provision for submission of a brief, or for oral argument, when the
case then comes to the General Manager for final determination.

Since Dr. Oppenheimer has waived his right to review by the Personnel Security Review Board, our
procedures do not contemplate any further presentation by Dr. Oppenheimer, either oral or written.
The written brief which you mention in your letter, and which we understand will be received by
the Commission on June 7, will be given very careful consideration. The Commission does not feel
that it can accede to your suggestion that there be oral argument as well.

Your letter states that Dr. Oppenheimer was not given access to material "actually used and
disclosed for the first time at the hearings," I should like to remind you that in my letter to you of
February 12, 1954, 1 stated:
"We have also indicated to you our willingness to make available to you, insofar as our facilities
permit us to do so, documents which you reasonably believe are relevant to the matters in issue.
You will appreciate, however, that the Commission must in fulfillment of its responsibilities for the
maintenance of the common defense and security reserve the right to decide whether particular
documents to which you request access are relevant and whether your access to such documents or
parts thereof would be consistent with the national interest."

In a letter dated February 19, 1954, to you from William Mitchell, our General Counsel, it was

"Furthermore, Dr. Oppenheimer will be given an opportunity to read the minutes of the GAC
meeting of October 1949, by coming to the Commission's offices at his convenience. Arrangements
for this purpose may be made with Mr. Nichols."

Dr. Oppenheimer did not avail himself of this opportunity.

Furthermore, you were given an opportunity by the Commission, prior to the hearings, to request
security clearance for yourself. You will recall that the question of your clearance was discussed
with you on January 18, and that on January 27 I wrote you stating that the Commission was
prepared to process your clearance as expeditiously as possible upon receipt of your personnel
security questionnaire. On February 3, 1954, you wrote me stating that you had decided not to
request clearance. In your letter to me of March 26, 1954, you stated that you had finally decided
that one of Dr. Oppenheimer's counsel should be cleared. The Board first convened on April 5. At
the time your March 26 letter was received, it was not possible to complete the necessary
background investigation, which is a prerequisite to clearance, until after the hearings had been
concluded and the Board's report had been submitted. At the hearings themselves, whenever any
document was introduced which still bore a security classification, Dr. Oppenheimer himself was
permitted to read the document. Since his counsel had not been cleared, they were not, and could
not be, given access to such classified documents. I know of no other material, considered by the
Gray Board, which could be made available to Dr. Oppenheimer at the present time.

Sincerely yours,

K. D. Nichols, General Manager.


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