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Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945)

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HARTECK: They have managed it either with mass-spectrographs on a large scale or else they have been successful with a photo-chemical process.

WIRTZ: Well I would say photo-chemistry or diffusion. Ordinary diffusion. They irradiate it with a particular wave-length. – (all talking together).

HARTECK: Or using mass-spectrographs in enormous quantities. It is perhaps possible for a mass-spectrograph to make one milligram in one day – say of '235'. They could make quite a cheap mass-spectrograph which, in very large quantities, might cost a hundred dollars. You could do it with a hundred thousand mass-spectrographs.

HEISENBERG: Yes, of course, if you do it like that; and they seem to have worked on that scale. 180,000 people were working on it.

HARTECK: Which is a hundred times more than we had.

BAGGE: GOUDSMIT led us up the garden path.

HEISENBERG: Yes, he did that very cleverly.


HARTECK: And SIMON too. He is the low temperature man.

KORSHING: That shows at any rate that the Americans are capable of real cooperation on a tremendous scale. That would have been impossible in Germany. Each one said that the other was unimportant.

GERLACH: You really can't say that as far as the uranium group is concerned. You can't imagine any greater cooperation and trust than there was in that group. You can't say that any one of them said that the other was unimportant.

KORSHING: Not officially of course.

GERLACH: (Shouting). Not unofficially either. Don't contradict me. There are far too many other people here who know.

HAHN: Of course we were unable to work on that scale.

HEISENBERG: One can say that the first time large funds were made available in Germany was in the spring of 1942 after that meeting with RUST when we convinced him that we had absolutely definite proof that it could be done.

BAGGE: It wasn't much earlier here either.

HARTECK: We really knew earlier that it could be done if we could get enough material. Take the heavy water. There were three methods, the most expensive of which cost 2 marks per gram and the cheapest perhaps 50 pfennigs. And then they kept on arguing as to what to do because no one was prepared to spend 10 million if it could be done for three million.

HEISENBERG: On the other hand, the whole heavy water business which I did everything I could to further cannot produce an explosive.

HARTECK: Not until the engine is running.

HAHN: They seem to have made an explosive before making the engine and now they say: "in future we will build engines".

HARTECK: If it is a fact that an explosive can be produced either by means of the mass spectrograph we would never have done it as we could never have employed 56,000 workmen. For instance, when we considered the CLUSIUS – LINDE business combined with our exchange cycle we would have needed to employ 50 workmen continuously in order to produce two tons a year. If we wanted to make ten tons we would have had to employ 250 men. We couldn't do that.

WEIZSÄCKER: How many people were working on V 1 and V 2?

DIEBNER: Thousands worked on that.

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