Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


R. Gordon Arneson Papers

Dates: 1943-1994.

Secretary to the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy, 1945; Staff Member, U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission, 1946-1948; Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State, 1948-1950; Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, 1950-1954.

The papers of R. Gordon Arneson include notes of the meetings of the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy, which advised the Secretary of War regarding use of the atomic bomb in 1945; a biographical manuscript; an Atomic Energy Commission report on the development of the thermonuclear weapons program; transcripts of interviews conducted with Mr. Arneson; and correspondence, printed materials, photographs, handwritten notes, and unpublished articles relating to Arneson and the U.S. atomic energy program.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 5 linear inches (about 800 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Nancy Long Arneson retained copyright interest in the book R. Gordon Arneson: Memories of the State Department's 'Mr. Atom', which is included in the collection. She donated her copyright interest in other writings in this collection to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in this collection presumably remains with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis Bilger and Randy Sowell (1999, 2012).


[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1916 (May 24)Born Reuben Gordon Arneson, Osnabrock, North Dakota
1938B.S., North Dakota State College
1945Secretary to the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy
1946-1948Staff Member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission
1948-1950Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Atomic Energy Affairs
1950-1954Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy Affairs
1954Deputy Science Adviser, State Department
1992 (March 16)Died, Arlington, Virginia

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of R. Gordon Arneson consist mostly of materials relating to the U.S. atomic energy program and Arneson's involvement with that program from 1945 to 1954. While a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1945, Arneson served as secretary to the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy, a special body appointed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson to provide advice on the use of the atomic bomb and the future development of atomic energy. Later, Arneson served in the State Department as a special assistant (first to the Under Secretary of State, and subsequently to the Secretary of State) dealing with atomic energy matters. In this position, he worked during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations with Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Acheson's successor, John Foster Dulles.

Among the significant documents in this collection are notes of the meetings of the Interim Committee on Atomic Energy from May 9 to July 19, 1945; these notes were prepared by Lieutenant Arneson in his capacity as the committee's secretary. Also of interest is R. Gordon Arneson: Memories of the State Department's 'Mr. Atom', a biographical memoir written by Arneson's widow, Nancy Long Arneson, which appears in the collection as both a typewritten manuscript and in its completed, published form. Other materials in the collection include a lengthy report by the Atomic Energy Commission examining the background of President Truman's decision to proceed with the development of a thermonuclear weapons program in 1950; transcripts of interviews conducted with Mr. Arneson; and correspondence, printed materials, handwritten notes, and unpublished articles relating to Arneson's career, President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, and the geopolitical aspects of developments in the field of atomic energy after World War II. The collection does not include Arneson's official correspondence from his years in the State Department. The Arneson papers are organized into a single series, a Subject File, which is arranged in alphabetical order by folder title.

A small accretion, mostly consisting of photographs and printed materials, was added to the collection in 2012. The accretion was filed under "Atomic Energy Program and R. Gordon Arneson . . . ."

Other relevant materials at the Truman Library include the transcript of an oral history interview with R. Gordon Arneson.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1SUBJECT FILE, 1943-1994
Notes of meetings, the manuscript and published version of a biographical memoir, reports, transcripts of interviews, correspondence, printed materials, handwritten notes, unpublished articles, photographs, and other items relating to R. Gordon Arneson and the U.S. atomic energy program. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • Atomic Energy Commission--Thermonuclear Weapons program Chronology
  • Atomic Energy Program and R. Gordon Arneson--Correspondence, Printed Materials, Interviews, Articles, Etc.
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Interim Committee on Atomic Energy--Notes of Meetings (May 9 to July 19, 1945) and Log (May 9 to November 16, 1945)
  • R. Gordon Arneson: Memories of the State Department's 'Mr. Atom'-Manuscript
  • R. Gordon Arneson: Memories of the State Department's 'Mr. Atom' by R. Gordon Arneson and Nancy Long Arneson
  • R. Gordon Arneson--Tape Recording of Interview Conducted by the Smithsonian Institution [cross reference sheet for an item transferred to the audiovisual collection]

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]