In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer
The "Chevalier incident"

(Page references to the transcript of the Personnel Security Board hearing appear in parentheses in the text.)

Sometime in January or February of 1943, Haakon Chevalier and his wife had dinner with Oppenheimer and his wife at the Oppenheimer's home in Berkeley. Oppenheimer and Chevalier were alone in the kitchen mixing drinks, and Chevalier apparently mentioned off-handedly that a man named George Eltenton, whom they both knew and who worked for the Shell Development Corporation in Berkeley, had told him that he had means of getting technical information to the Russians. Oppenheimer reacted strongly and said that he would have no part in this. The matter dropped, but Oppenheimer did not mention the conversation to the security officers until eight months later, and when he did, he lied about it. These lies some would later interpret as evidence of "fundamental defects of character."

The "Chevalier incident" first came to light in August 1943, after a meeting in Los Alamos with Col. John Lansdale, the security aide to Gen. Leslie Groves, who was in charge of the Manhattan Project. Lansdale was worried about espionage in Berkeley, and in particular about a recently-formed union called FAECT -- the Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians. Oppenheimer knew that George Eltenton was active in the union, and so on August 25 he told Lt. Lyall Johnson, the security officer in Berkeley, that Eltenton was worth watching. Johnson suggested that Oppenheimer should explain the matter to Lt. Col. Boris Pash, and so the next day Oppenheimer and Johnson met in Pash's office. Unknown to Oppenheimer, the interview was recorded.

Pash explained that he was concerned about groups that might be after secret information at Berkeley's Radiation Laboratory. Oppenheimer said that he understood that "a man, whose name I never heard, who was attached to the Soviet consul, had indicated indirectly through intermediary people concerned in this project that he was in a position to transmit, without any danger of leak, or scandal, or anything of that kind, information, which they might supply" (Transcript, p. 845). Pash was understandably very interested, and pressed Oppenheimer for more information. Oppenheimer was reluctant to mention the "intermediary people" he'd fabricated: "to give more than one name would be to implicate people whose attitude was one of bewilderment rather than cooperation" (845). But he did mention Eltenton: "There is a man whose name was mentioned to me a couple of times -- I don't know of my own knowledge that he was involved as an intermediary. It seems, however, not impossible and if you wanted to watch him it might be the appropriate thing to do. He spent quite a number of years in the Soviet Union. He's an English... I think he's a chemical engineer. He was -- he may not be here now -- at the time I was with him here, employed by the Shell development. His name is Eltenton" (846). It was Eltenton who had "talked to a friend of his who is also an acquaintance of one of the men on the project, and that was one of the channels by which this thing went. Now I think that to go beyond that would be to put a lot of names down, of people who are not only innocent but whose attitude was 100-percent cooperative" (845-46).

Obviously this raised red flags for Pash -- it was important to know the identity of the "friend of [Eltenton's]" and that of "one of the men on the project" -- but Oppenheimer refused to identify them. He did, however, further embellish the story: Eltenton knew "a man from the embassy attached to the consulate who was a very reliable guy (that's his story) and who had a lot of experience in microfilm work, or whatever the hell" (846). Pash pressed Oppenheimer for the identity of the person through whom Eltenton had made this contact, but Oppenheimer refused: "I think it would be a mistake. That is, I think I have told you where the initiative came from and that the other things were almost purely accident and that it would involve people who ought not to be involved in this" (846). He did reveal, however, that Eltenton's intermediary was "a member of the faculty" (847). Pash, understandably, wasn't satisfied, and kept pressing: "I want to again sort of explore the possibility of getting the name of the person on the faculty... Not for the purpose of taking him to task in any way... but to try to see Eltenton's method of approach" (847). Oppenheimer further embellished his account: Eltenton's intermediary had approached three people, two at Los Alamos and one at Berkeley who was slated to join the Oak Ridge laboratory (848). The interview ended with a frustrated Pash complaining about Oppenheimer's unwillingness to cooperate: "We could work a hundred years and never get this information" (852).

The head of security at Los Alamos, Capt. Peer de Silva, interpreted Oppenheimer's reluctance to identify the other parties as evidence "that J.R. Oppenheimer is playing a key part in the attempts of the Soviet Union to secure, by espionage, highly secret information which is vital to the security of the United States." A few weeks later, Oppenheimer, Groves, and Lansdale were together for a sixteen-hour train ride to Chicago. They discussed the interview with Pash, and Oppenheimer tried to explain his reluctance to reveal the identity of Eltenton's intermediary but said that he would if Groves ordered him to do so. Groves did not press the matter.

Lansdale returned to Washington, but during Oppenheimer's next visit he asked to talk with him, and on September 12 they met in Groves' office for another interview about the Chevalier incident. Once again, unknown to Oppenheimer, the interview was recorded. Lansdale wanted to know the identity of the man whom Eltenton had contacted. Again Oppenheimer refused: he had given the important name (Eltenton); and "it would be wrong" for him to give the intermediary's name: "It's my overwhelming jusgment that this guy isn't involved. That isn't judgment which is based on hope but his character" (875). Lansdale altered his course. Could Oppenheimer say which people working on the project were current or past members of the Communist Party? Oppenheimer could name several people who had been members: Joseph Weinberg and Rossi Lomanitz (his students); Charlotte Serber (the wife of a good friend and fellow Los Alamos physicist); Oppenheimer's wife Kitty. Lansdale then asked about various others: Rudy Lambert, Steve Nelson, Isaac Folkoff (all known Communists with whom Oppenheimer had had "associations" in the early 1940s); Jean Tatlock (Oppenheimer's former fiancee). Lansdale asked, "What about Haakon Chevalier?" Oppenheimer parried, "Is he a member of the party? ... He is a member of the faculty, and I know him well. I wouldn't be surprised if he were a member, he is quite a Red" (877). When Lansdale asked again later in the interview for the name of Eltenton's intermediary, Oppenheimer put him off yet again: "It is a question of some past loyalties... I would regard it as a low trick to involve someone where I would bet dollars to doughnuts he wasn't involved" (886).

Oppenheimer's evasive stonewalling understandably frustrated the security officers, and on September 12 Groves ordered Oppenheimer to reveal the identity of Eltenton's intermediary. Oppenheimer identified Haakon Chevalier as the unknown member of the faculty. But did Oppenheimer identify himself as the person Chevalier had approached? And what about the three people Oppenheimer had mentioned to Boris Pash?

Oppenheimer's recollection, set out in the hearing (889), was that at this point he told Groves (a) that Chevalier was the intermediary, (b) that he, Oppenheimer, was the person Chevalier had approached, and (c) that there were no other approaches -- in other words, that he retracted all of the significant lies he'd told when reporting the Chevalier incident to Pash and Lansdale. But telegrams sent to the security offices of the Manhattan Project suggest otherwise:

LANSDALE ADVISES THAT ACCORDING TO OPPENHEIMER PROFESSOR CONTACT OF ELTENTON IS HAAKON CHEVALIER. OPPENHEIMER STATES IN HIS OPINION CHEVALIER ENGAGED IN NO FURTHER ACTIVITY OTHER THAN THREE ORIGINAL ATTEMPTS. (K.D. Nichols to Lyall Johnson in Berkeley)

HAAKON CHEVALIER TO BE REPORTED BY OPPENHEIMER TO BE PROFESSOR AT RADLAB WHO MADE THREE CONTACTS FOR ELTENTON. CLASSIFIED SECRET. OPPENHEIMER BELIEVED CHEVALIER ENGAGED IN NO FURTHER ACTIVITY OTHER THAN THREE ORIGINAL ATTEMPTS (Nichols to de Silva in Santa Fe)

ACCORDING TO OPPENHEIMER PROFESSOR CONTACT OF ELTENTON IS HAAKON CHEVALIER. OPPY STATES IN HIS OPINION BEYOND ORIGINAL THREE ATTEMPTS CHEVALIER ENGAGED IN NO FURTHER ACTIVITY. FROM LANSDALE. DE SILVA AND JOHNSON TO BE NOTIFIED BY YOU. (Nichols to Oak Ridge security office)

These telegrams must have originated with Groves, and they suggest that Oppenheimer's account of his interview with Groves is mistaken at best, and dishonest at worst: that he may have come clean on (a), but he did nothing to retract (b) and (c).

A few years later, in June 1946, Chevalier was interviewed at length -- for ten hours! -- in the San Francisco office of the FBI. The agents began by asking about George Eltenton. Then they asked about Robert Oppenheimer. Then, according to Chevalier, one the agents told him, "I have here three affadavits from three scientists on the atomic bomb project. Each of them testifies that you approached him on three separate occasions for the purposes of obtaining secret information on the atomic bomb on behalf of Russian agents." Chevalier asked who these three people were, but he was not told. Confused and frightened, he told the agents about his conversation in Oppenheimer's kitchen in 1943.

Chevalier recalled that the telephone rang repeatedly during his interview. Some time later he ran into George Eltenton and mentioned that he had been interviewed by the FBI. Eltenton had, too -- and they figured out that their interviews were at the same time. Eltenton also recalled repeated telephone interruptions, and he and Chevalier concluded that the agents were checking their accounts, looking for inconsistencies. Both men wondered how the FBI had learned of the matter.

Oppenheimer was questioned by the FBI a few months later, on September 5. In the course of this interview he made it clear that the business of three attempts was a fabrication, and that he had been the only person Chevalier had approached. The agents also asked him about a couple pre-war meetings in San Francisco -- could he identify people who had attended, could he tell the purpose of the meetings, etc. Oppenheimer refused to answer these questions, and the agents did not press him.

Oppenheimer's behavior in the Chevalier incident is stupidly dishonest, and there is certainly no plausible reading of it that doesn't make him look very bad. So it is not surprising that it looms large in the case against him. Consider this exchange between the AEC's attorney, Roger Robb, and Oppenheimer on Wednesday, April 14, the third day of the hearing (137-38):

Q: Now, let us go back to your interview with Colonel Pash. Did you tell Pash the truth about this thing?

A: No.

Q: You lied to him?

A: Yes.

Q: What did you tell Pash that wasn't true?

A: That Eltenton had attempted to approach members of the project -- three members of the project -- through intermediaries.

Q: What else did you tell him that wasn't true?

A: That is all I really remember...

Q: So that we may be clear, did you discuss with or disclose to Pash the identity of Chevalier?

A: No.

Q: Let us refer, then, for the time being, to Chevalier as X.

A: All right.

Q: Did you tell Pash that X had approached three persons on the project?

A: I am not clear whether I said there were 3 Xs or that X approached 3 people.

Q: Didn't you say that X had approached three people?

A: Probably.

Q: Why did you do that, Doctor?

A: Because I was an idiot.

Q: Is that your only explanation, Doctor?

A: I was reluctant to mention Chevalier.

Q: Yes.

A: No doubt somewhat reluctant to mention myself.

Q: Yes. But why would you tell him that Chevalier had gone to 3 people?

A: I have no explanation for that except the one already offered.

Q: Didn't that make it all the worse for Chevalier?

A: I didn't mention Chevalier.

Q: No, but X.

A: It would have.

Q: Certainly. In other words, if X had gone to 3 people that would have shown, would it not--

A: That he was deeply involved.

Q: That he was deeply involved. That it was not just a casual conversation.

A: Right.

Q: And you knew that, didn't you?

A: Yes.

Robb returns again and again to the Chevalier incident in his cross-examination of Oppenheimer, and from various angles he elicits the admission that Oppenheimer lied (about the three contacts, about microfilm, about the Soviet Consulate, etc.), and Oppenheimer several times admits that "This whole thing was a pure fabrication except for the name Eltenton" (146), "This whole thing, except for the single reference to Eltenton I believe to be pure fabrication" (147). Later in the cross-examination:

Q: Why did you go into such great circumstantial detail about this thing if you were telling a cock and bull story?

A: I fear that this whole thing is a piece of idiocy. I am afraid I can't explain why there was a consul, why there was microfilm, why there were three people on the project, why two of them were at Los Alamos. All of them seems wholly false to me [sic].

Q: You will agree, would you not, sir, that if the story you told to Colonel Pash was true, it made things look very bad for Mr. Chevalier?

A: For anyone involved in it, yes.

Q: Including you?

A: Right.

Q: Isn't it a fair statement today, Dr. Oppenheimer, that according to your testimony now you told not one lie to Colonel Pash, but a whole fabrication and tissue of lies?

A: Right.

Q: In great circumstantial detail, is that correct?

A: Yes.

That phrase, "a whole fabrication and tissue of lies," would be repeated many times throughout the hearings, often in devious ways. Consider this exchange between Robb and witness Gordon Dean, an AEC Commissioner from 1949-1953, who had testified that Oppenheimer "is not a security risk" (308):

Q: Mr. Dean, Dr. Oppenheimer has testified before this board in substance that in 1943 he became aware of an attempt at Russian espionage against the atomic bomb project. He has further testified that when interviewed about this matter by intelligence officers of the United States Army, he told these officers a fabrication and tissue of lies. He has also testified --

A: May I ask, are you quoting from some testimony?

At this point Oppenheimer's attorney Lloyd Garrison objects -- "the question gives an utterly false summation of what actually happened in the total Chevalier incident" -- but Robb is undaunted:

Mr. ROBB: Mr. Chairman, there is not the slightest doubt that Mr. Oppenheimer did testify that he lied to Colonel Pash and Colonel Lansdale, not once, but many times, and that his statements to those officers consituted a fabrication and tissue of lies, and he knew when he was lying, that he was impeding the investigation in progress. There is no question in the world that the record shows that.

Mr. GARRISON: Mr. Chairman, this whole business of the so-called lies over and over again was in fact nothing but one story. He told this story to Colonel Pash. He told part of it, that we have reference to here, to Colonel Lansdale. By breaking up the component parts of that story into separate questions, counsel in his cross-examination made this appear as if one lie after another had been told.

It lies heavy on my conscience that I did not at the time object to the impression that was trying to be conveyed to the board of a whole series of lies when in fact there was one story which was told.

After further discussion, Robb returns to his cross-examination of Dean:

Q: Mr. Dean, I am going to ask you to assume that Dr. Oppenheimer testified before this board that in 1943 he became aware of an attempt at Russian espionage against the atomic energy project, and assume that he further testified that when interviewed about this matter by intelligence officers of the United States Army, he told these officers a fabrication and tissue of lies, and assume that he further testified that when he told these lies, he knew that by telling them, he was impeding the investigation of Russian espionage.

Now, if Dr. Oppenheimer so testified in substance, would that cause you to change your opinion of him?

A: As a security risk, then, or a security risk today?

Q: Now.

A: None. There must have been some reason for it.

Several witnesses who know Oppenheimer well react this way to the Chevalier incident. Consider this exchange between Gordon Gray and Isidore Rabi, who had known Oppenheimer since the late 1920s when they were students in Germany, and who at the time of the hearing was the chairman of the AEC's General Advisory Committee (465):

Mr. GRAY: You are familiar, if you have read the Nichols letter and read the summary of a file which Chariman Strauss handed you, with the Chevalier episode to some extent, I take it.

The WITNESS: I know of the episode, yes.

Mr. GRAY: Would you expect Dr. Oppenheimer today to follow the course of action he followed at the time in 1943?

The WITNESS: You mean refuse to give information? Is that what you mean?

Mr. GRAY: Yes.

The WITNESS: I certainly do. At the present time I think he would clamp him into jail if he asked such a question.

Mr. GRAY: I am sorry.

The WITNESS: At the present time if a man came to him with a proposal like that, he would see to it that he goes to jail. At least that is my opinion of what he would do in answer to this hypothetical question.

Mr. GRAY: Do you feel that security is relative, that something that was all right in 1943, would not be all right in 1954?

The WITNESS: If a man in 1954 came with such a proposal, my God -- it would be horrifying.

Mr. GRAY: Supposing a man came to you in 1943.

The WITNESS: I would have thrown him out.

Mr. GRAY: Would you have done anything more about it?

The WITNESS: I don't think so. Unless I thought he was just a poor jackass that didn't know what he was doing. But I would try to find out what motivated him and what was behind it...

Mr. GRAY: There have been those who have testified, men of character and standing and loyalty, that this episode shouild simply be disregarded... Do you feel that this is just a matter that is of no consequence?

The WITNESS: I do not think any of it is of no consequence. I think you have to take the matter in its whole context...

Rabi was a close friend, and so perhaps his willingness to cut Oppenheimer some slack can be attributed to his friendship with him. The same could not be said of John von Neumann, a mathematician at the Institute of Advanced Study and a staunch foe of Oppenheimer's on the hydrogen bomb. Consider this excerpt of Robb's cross-examination (647-48):

Q: I want you to assume now, Dr. von Neumann, that Dr. Oppenheimer reported and discussed this incident with two security officers, one named Colonel Pash and one named Colonel Lansdale, and will you please assume that Dr. Oppenheimer has testified before the board that the story of the Chevalier incident which he told to Colonel Pash on August 26, 1943, and affirmed to Colonel Lansdale on September 12, 1943 was false in certain material respects.

Assume that he has testified here that the story he told to Pash and Lansdale was a cock and bull story, that the whole thing was a pure fabrication, except for the one name Eltenton; that he told a story in great detail that was fabricated, that he told not one lie but a whole fabrication and tissue of lies in great circumstantial detail.

Assume that he has further testified here that his only explanation for lying was that he was an idiot, and that he was reluctant to name Dr. Chevalier and no doubt somewhat reluctant to name himself.

Assume that he has further testified here that if the story he told to Colonel Pash had been true, that it showed that Dr. Chevalier was deeply involved in a conspiracy; that the conversation or the remarks of Dr. Chevalier were not just a casual conversation and it was not just an innocent contact, but that it was a criminal conspiracy on the part of Dr. Chevalier.

Assume that he testified further that if the story that Dr. Oppenheimer told to Colonel Pash was true -- if it was true -- then it made things look very bad for both Dr. Chevalier and Dr. Oppenheimer.

At this point Garrison objects to Robb's characterization of the testimony: "I want it clearly understood that the question that was put involved asking the witness [whether] if the false story which he had been told had been true, there would have been a criminal conspiracy, and make it clear that even if the false story was true there was no suggestion by Dr. Oppenheimer that he was involved in espionage" (648-49). Robb continues:

Mr. ROBB: Dr. von Neumann, my question is, assuming that Dr. Oppenheimer testified before this board as I have indicated to you, would that shake your confidence in his honesty?

Von Neumann, unsure of the question, asks about the upshot of Robb's summation of Oppeneheimer's testimony:

The WITNESS: In other words, the hypothetical testimony is that his conduct was first of all due to a desire to make things easier for Chevalier and possibly for himself, but on the other hand, it actually made it much worse. Is this the idea?

Q: I think it is clear to say that part of the assumption is that Dr. Oppenheimer testified that one of his explanations for this conduct was that he was reluctant to mention Dr. Chevalier and somewhat reluctant to mention himself.

A: But at the same time, he now realized that his statements if true would actually be much worse for Chevalier.

Q: I think that is a fair statement, yes, sir.

A: So this was an attempt to achieve something of which it actually achieved the opposite, is that the idea?

Q: That might be inferred, yes.

A: Look, you have to view the performance and the character of a man as a whole. This episode, if true, would make me think that in the course of the year 1943... he was not emotionally and intellectually prepared to handle this kind of job; that he subsequently learned how to handle it, and handled it very well, I know. I would say that all of us in the war years, and by all of us I mean all people in scientific technical occupations, got suddenly in contact with a universe we had not known before. I mean this peculiar problem of security, the fact that people who looked all right might be conspirators and might be spies. They are all things which do not enter one's normal experience in ordinary times. While we are now most of us quite prepared to discover such things in our entourage, we were not prepared to discover these things in 1943. So I must say that this had on anyone a shock effect, and any one of us may have behaved foolishly and ineffectively and untruthfully, so this condition is something ten years later, I would not consider too serious. This would affect me the same way as if I would suddenly hear about somebody that he has had some extraordinary escapade in his adolescence.

I know that neither of us were adolescents at the time, but of course we were all little children with respect to the situation which had developed, namely, that we suddenly were dealing with something with which one could blow up the world. Furthermore, we were involved in a triangular war with two of our enemies who had suddenly done the nice thing of fighting each other. But after all, they were still enemies. This was a very peculiar situation. None of us had been educated or conditioned to exist in this situation, and we had to make our rationalization and our code of conduct as we went along.

For some people it took 2 months, for some 2 years, and for some 1 year. I am quite sure that all of us by now have developed the necessary code of ethics and the necessary resistance.

So if this story is true, that would just give me a piece of information on how long it took Dr. Oppenheimer to get adjusted to this Buck Rogers universe, but no more. I have no slightest doubt that he was not adjusted to it in 1944 or 1945. (649-50)

Robb and Garrison spar repeatedly over Robb's presentation to witnesses of Oppenheimer's testimony about the Chevalier incident. For example, in his cross-examination of Air Force General James McCormack, he asks,

I will ask you to assume that when questioned before this board about [the Chevalier affair] and his interview with Colonel Pash, he was asked if he lied to Pash and he said yes. When asked why he did that he said "Because I was an idiot." He said "I was also reluctant to mention Chevalier" and somewhat reluctant to mention himself... Assume further that he was asked whether or not if the story he told to Colonel Pash had been true, it would have shown that both Dr. Oppenheimer and Chevalier were deeply involved in an espionage conspiracy. He agreed that was so. (638)

Garrison objects: "Mr. Chairman, he [Oppenheimer] said that the story was an invention, and the implication here to the witness is that he lied about something which would have implicated him in espionage" (639). As Oppenheimer has said several times, the whole story, other than the name Eltenton, was made up -- it isn't that there was an attempt at espionage that Oppenheimer was involved in and that he lied to conceal his role in it, or Chevalier's role in it.

But it is in Gordon Gray's questioning of Oppenheimer that the really damaging interpretation of the Chevalier incident comes out (887-88):

Q: You said that Chevalier was your friend in whom you had confidence, and that you were convinced that his remarks about passing information to the Russians were innocent. For these reasons, you testified, it did not occur to you for a long time that you should report this incident to the security officers, and when you did tell them about it, you declined to name Chevalier, because you were convinced that he was innocent, and in effect wanted to protect him from the harrassment of an investigation because of your belief in his innocence.

You testified on the other hand that the story of the Chevalier incident which you told to Colonel Pash in August 1943, and reaffirmed to Colonel Lansdale in September 1943, was false in certain material respects. I believe you testified that this story was a cock and bull story, and that the whole thing was a pure fabrication except for the name Eltenton, and that this fabrication was in some very considerable circumstantial detail, and your testimony here as to your explanation for this fabrication was that you were an idiot, and that you were reluctant to mention Chevalier and no doubt somewhat reluctant to mention yourself.

However, I believe that your testimony indicated that you were agreed that if the story you had told Pash had been true, it showed that Chevalier was deeply involved, that it was not just a casual conversation, that it would not under those circumstances just have been an innocent and meaningless contact, and that it was a criminal conspiracy.

In short, with respect to that portion of your testimony I believe you led the board to believe that you thought that if your story to Colonel Pash had been true it looked like a very unsavory situation, to say the very best about it.

Now, here is my question: If Chevalier was your friend and you believed him to be innocent and wanted to protect him, then why did you tell a complicated false story that on the face of it would show that the individual was not innocent, but on the contrary, was rather deeply involved with several people in what might have been a criminal espionage conspiracy?

Or to put the question in another way, I ask you whether it is not a fair inference from your testimony that your story to Pash and Lansdale as far as it went was a true story, and that the fabrication may have been with respect to the current version.

In other words, Gray wonders, perhaps Oppenheimer is lying now -- trying to protect himself and Chevalier -- and that the story he told to Pash and Lansdale was the truth. Oppenheimer tries to explain:

A: Let me take the second part of your question first.

Q: Yes.

A: The story I told to Pash was not a true story. There were not three or more people involved on the project. There was one person involved. That was me. I was at Los Alamos. There was no one else at Los Alamos involved. There was no one at Berkeley involved. When I heard the microfilm or what the hell, it didn't sound to me as if this were reporting anything that Chevalier had said, or at the time the unknown professor had said. I am certain that was not mentioned. I testified that the Soviet consulate had not been mentioned by Chevalier. That is the very best of my recollection. It is conceivable that I knew of Eltenton's connection with the consulate, but I believe I can do no more than say the story told in circumstantial detail, and which was elicited from me in greater and greater detail during this [hearing] was a false story. It is not easy to say that.

Now, when you ask for a more persuasive argument as to why I did this than that I was an idiot, I am going to have more trouble being understandable.

I think I was compelled by 2 or 3 concerns at that time. One was the feeling that I must get across the fact that if there was, as Lansdale indicated, trouble at the Radiation Laboratory, Eltenton was the guy that might very well be involved and it was serious. Whether I embroidered the story in order to underline that seriousness or whether I embroidered it to make it more tolerable that I would not tell the simple facts, namely, Chevalier had talked to me about it, I don't know. There were no other people involved, the conversation with Chevalier was brief, it was in the nature of things not utterly casual, but I think the tone of it and his own sense of not wishing to have anything to do with it, I have correctly communicated.

I think I need to say that it was essential that I tell this story, that I should have told it at once and I should have told it completely accurately, but that it was a matter of conflict for me and I found myself, I believe, trying to give a tip to the intelligence people without realizing that when you give a tip you must tell the whole story. When I was asked to elaborate, I started off on a false pattern...

Q: Of course, the point I am trying to make with you, and that is the reason for the question I asked, is the inference to be drawn from your motive at the time, as I think you have testified, was the protection of an innocent person, because the story you told was certainly not calculated to lead to the conclusion of innocence on Chevalier's part. These inferences necessarily present themselves.

The inference that perhaps Oppenheimer was telling the truth in his 1943 version of the Chevalier incident, and that his subsequent accounts (1946 and now 1954) are false, did not surface in the findings and recommendations of the Gray board. But it did figure in the the "Recommendations" sent by General Manager Kenneth D. Nichols to the five AEC Commissioners, and in the Commissioners' majority decision.