Mench: I am John Mench and sixty years ago I was a young man with a wife and a baby girl, a good job in industrial deferment, a brand new home and a mortgage. Inside of a week or two, I had in my hand a ticket to a camp, an Army camp, an industrial deferment that was cancelled. I still had a wife and a baby daughter but they were now living with my wife’s sister, and my home was rented. The only thing that hadn’t changed was the mortgage.
*[Please note that General Groves - Part 10 could not be found in the Groueff Collection. The interview was either mislabeled, misplaced, or does not exist.]
Richard Groves: I’m Richard Hulbert Groves, G-R-O-V-E-S.
Paul Williams: What memories do you have of family life, at least when you were at home?
Val Fitch: My name is Val Logsdon Fitch. It’s V-A-L L-O-G-S-D-O-N F-I-T-C-H. And the Logsdon is my mother’s maiden name. Where Val comes from, I have no idea. Except it was a favorite name of my mother’s.
Cindy Kelly: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you happened to end up at Los Alamos during the war.
Stephane Groueff: Mr. James Stowers.
James Stowers: We had a responsibility of procurement, which was not generally—it was not generally known. Going into this job, the Kellogg Company wanted to be well protected. They didn’t want to lose any money, it’s understandable. And they did not want to get entangled in having to defend a lot of actions, which they knew would have to be taken fast and furiously during this period.
Raemer Schreiber: Yes, there was at least one [bomb core], and people back here worked furiously taking the plutonium as it arrived and converting it into another core. I don’t know the answer to it. I have heard stories another core was on its way out at the time of the surrender.
Richard Rhodes: Groves decided not to ship it. I’ve seen the document.
Sir Hugh Taylor: I had been requested by the British Government to find out certain things. They wanted, for example, to know whether they could use this thing and the General Electric Company made it available to them on the condition that their affiliate in England was entrusted with the responsibility of supplying it. It was the British Thomson-Houston Company [in] Rugby.
Then another job that I did for them, I got the Shell Oil Company in California to give me—
Stephane Groueff: Shell Oil.
Groueff: And so you have the tank. You have all these military things. And then you finally got the atomic bomb.
Groueff: What date did [General Leslie] Groves come to you?
Keller: That is all in the book.
Groueff: That was in ’43.
Keller: You will get that all out of the book.
[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for misspellings and other errors.]