August 9, 1945


The Secretary of War, the Honorable Henry L. Stimson, today made the following statement:

The press conference this morning was cancelled owing to an engagement which I had at the White House. I had expected to make some general reflections at the conference in reference to the atomic bomb, and certain specific comment in reference to questions which had been asked. My general reflections were as follows:

Great events have happened. The world is changed and it is time for sober thought. It is natural that we should take satisfaction in the achievements of our science, our industry, and our Army in creating the atomic bomb, but any satisfaction we may feel must be overshadowed by deeper emotions.

The result of the bomb is so terrific that the responsibility of its possession and its use must weigh heavily on our minds and on our hearts. We believe that its use will save the lives of American soldiers and bring more quickly to an end the horror of this war which the Japanese leaders deliberately started. Therefore, the bomb is being used.

No American can contemplate what Mr. Churchill has referred to as "this terrible means of maintaining the rule of law in the world" without a determination that after this war is over this great force shall be used for the welfare and not the destruction of mankind.

My specific statement is as follows:

A great many questions have been asked about the effect of the Atomic Bomb and the Declaration of War by Russia [on Japan on Aug. 8] on our military strategy and the size of the Army.

The War Department will, of course, appraise the military situation and the size of the Army in the light of the successful use of the bomb and the new Declaration of War [by Russia]. These possibilities have been in our minds for many months. We shall also give heed to any new factors which may develop from day to day. But we shall not do our duty if we plan for the reduction of the Army by even one man below the number which we believe may be needed for the complete defeat of Japan with the least possible loss of American lives.

My further comments on this subject will be found in a reply on the same subject which I have sent to Senator [Hiram] Johnson.

The above press release is from the Henry Lewis Stimson Diaries, reel 9, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, Conn.

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