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for which appropriated, remain available for expenditure for four years following the expiration of the fiscal year for which appropriated. After such four-year period, the unexpended balances of appropriations shall be carried to the surplus fund and covered into the Treasury.


SEC. 20. If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of this Act or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby.


SEC. 21. This Act may be cited as the “Atomic Energy Act of 1946".
Approved August 1, 1946.

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On August 6, 1945, President Truman announced the first military use of an atomic bomb. Congress was not in session on that date. The House of Representatives pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution 68 had adjourned on July 21 until October 8, 1945. The Senate, on August 1, 1945, adjourned until October 8, 1945, under the terms of the same resolution. On September 1, 1945, “legislative expediency" warranted "reassembly of Congress" on September 5, 1945.

On September 5, 1945, the day the Congress reassembled, the first bill regarding the control of the atomic bomb was introduced by Congressman Bender in the House. It was H.R. 3912, a bill making it a capital offense to disclose information or impart knowledge with respect to the atomic bomb. On the same day, Congressman Ludlow introduced House Resolution 336 which was a "resolution urging action by the United Nations to ban the atomic bomb as an instrument of war."

The first bill introduced in the Senate was introduced on September 6, 1945, by Senator McMahon. It was S. 1359, "a bill to conserve and restrict the use of atomic energy for the national defense, to prohibit its private exploitation, and to preserve the secret and confidential character of information concerning the use and application of atomic energy." On the same day, Senator Vandenberg introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 which had as its purpose "creating a joint ⚫ committee to investigate the matter of the development, control, and use of atomic energy."

Subsequently a variety of legislation regarding atomic energy consisting of bills and resolutions was introduced in both Houses of Congress. They are listed in the tables below.



Bill or resolution No.

H.R. 3912.

H.R. 3997

H.R. 4014.

H.R. 4015.

H.R. 4152.

H.R. 4280.

H.R. 4566.

H. Res. 336.

H. Res. 345.

H. Res. 381

H. Res. 404

H. Con. Res. 83.
H. Con. Res. 115.
H. Con. Res. 117.

H.J. Res. 292.
H.J. Res. 296.

H.R. 5230

H.R. 5364.

H.R. 5365.

H.R. 6197

H. Res. 505.

H. Res. 592.

H. Res. 593.

H. Res. 594

H. Res. 595.
H. Res. 596.

H. Res. 688

H. Res. 697.

H. Res. 708.

H. Con. Res. 124.
H. Con. Res. 146.
H.J. Res. 307.
H.J. Res. 326.

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Ludlow (Indiana).
O'Toole (New York).

Durham (North Carolina)..

Douglas (California).
Harris (Arkansas)-
Douglas (California).
Voorhis (California).
Sabath (Illinois).
Celler (New York).
Douglas (California).
Holifield (California).
Biemiller (Wisconsin).
Vinson (Georgia)..
Voorhis (California).
Holifield (California).
Woodhouse (Michigan).
Douglas (California).
Biemiller (Wisconsin).
Luce (Connecticut).
Douglas (California).
Sabath (Illinois)..
Burgin (North Carolina).
Ludlow (Indiana).
Vinson (Georgia)..
Havenner (California).

Congress and session

79th, 1st.

79th, 2d.


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On October 9, 1945, Senator McMahon introduced Senate Resolution 179, which had as its purpose "creating a special committee to investigate problems relating to the development, use, and control of atomic energy." The resolution was agreed to on October 22, 1945, The resolution, as agreed to, and legislative history index


Senate Resolution 179

Resolved, That a special committee on atomic energy to be composed of eleven Members of the Senate appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, of whom one shall be designated as chairman by the President pro tempore, is authorized and directed to make a full, complete, and continuing study and investigation with respect to problems relating to the development use, and control of atomic energy. All bills and resolutions introduced in the Senate, and all bills and resolutions from the House of Representatives proposing legislation relating to the development, use, and control of atomic energy shall be referred to the special committee. The special committee is authorized to report to the Senate at the earliest practicable date by bill or otherwise with recommendations upon any matters covered by this resolution. The existence of this committee shall terminate at the end of the Seventy-ninth Congress.

For the purposes of this resolution the committee, or any duly authorized subcommittee thereof, is authorized to hold such hearings, to sit and act at such times and places during the sessions, recesses, and adjourned periods of the Senate in the Seventy-ninth Congress, to employ such experts, and such clerical, stenographic, and other assistants, to require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such correspondence, books, papers, and documents, to administer such oaths, to take such testimony, and to make such expenditures, as it deems advisable. The cost of stenographic services to report such hearings shall not be in excess of 25 cents per hundred words. The expenses of the committee, which shall not exceed $25,000, shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate upon vouchers approved by the chairman.

Legislative history index to Senate Resolution 179

(Page numbers refer to Congressional Record, 79th Cong., 1st sess.)

Introduced and referred to Committee on Interstate Commerce, 9472.

Reported with amendments and referred to the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate, 9644.

Reported back, 9759.

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On November 27, 1945, the Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy began "public hearings on the entire question of the atomic bomb and atomic energy."

The public hearings, entitled "Atomic Energy," were published in five parts. They were

Part 1, November 27, 28, 29, and 30, 1945; December 3, 1945.

Part 2, December 5, 6, 10, and 12, 1945.

Part 3, December 13, 14, 19, and 20, 1945.

Part 4, January 24, 1946.

Part 5, February 15, 1946.

Included in legislation referred to the Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy was 8. 1717, introduced by Senator McMahon on December 20, 1945, S. 1717 (companion bill, H.R. 5364) was ultimately passed by the Congress and became Public Law 585, Seventy-ninth Congress, cited as the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The legislative history index of S. 1717 is printed below.

Public Law 585, 79th Cong.-S. 1717

For the development and control of atomic energy

(Page references are to Congressional Record, 79th Cong., 2d sess., unless otherwise indicated)

Introduced December 20, 1945.

Mr. McMahon, from the Special Committee on Atomic Energy, 12406. (79th Cong., 1st sess.)

Reported with amendment (S. Rept. 1211), 4031.

Debated, amended, and passed Senate, 6076-6098.

Referred to House Committee on Military Affairs, 6351.

Reported with amendment (H. Rept. 2478), 8602.

Made special order (H. Res. 708), 9135-9144.

Debated in House, 9249-9275, 9340-9386, 9463-9477, 9478-9493, 9495-9562.
Passed House, 9563.

Senate disagrees to House amendments and asks for a conference, 9611.
Conferees appointed, 9611.

House insists upon its amendments and agrees to a conference, 9663.

Conferees appointed, 9663, 10020.

Conference report submitted in Senate and agreed to, 10167.

Conference report (No. 2670) submitted in House and agreed to, 10189-10199.

Examined and signed, 10329, 10411.

Presented to the President, 10412.

Approved [Public Law 585,] 10619.

(See hearings entitled “Atomic Energy Act of 1946," before Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy, Hearings on S. 1717, a bill for the development and control of atomic energy, pts. 1 to 5, dated as follows:

Pt. 1, January 22 and 23, 1946;

Pt. 2, January 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, and February 1, 1946;

Pt. 3, February 7, 8, 11, 13,and 14, 1946 ;

Pt. 4, February 18, 19, and 27, 1946; and

Pt. 5, April 4 and 5, 1946.)

Public Law 898, 80th Cong.-H.R. 6402

Relating to the terms of office of members of the Atomic Energy Commission

(Page references are to Congressional Record, 80th Cong., 2d sess.)

(Introduced April 30, 1948.)

Mr. Cole of New York; Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, 5166.

Reported back (H. Rept. 1973), 6050.

Minority views (H. Rept. 1973, pt. 2), 6348, 6373.

Passed House, 8953.

Debated in Senate (in lieu of S. 2589), 9034, 9067, 9070.

Passed Senate (in lieu of S. 2589), 9073.

Examined and signed, 9354, 9363.

Presented to the President, 9365.

Approved [Public Law 898], 9368.

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