A physicist would be best out of it

Tim Sherratt, ‘“A physicist would be best out of it”: George Briggs at the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission’, Voices, Autumn 1993.


A physicist would be best out of it
A physicist would be best out of it

A tall, thin man in his early sixties was led into the recently remodelled Darlinghurst courtroom. Interest in the current proceedings was so great that extra seating had been provided to accommodate 200 members of the public, as well as 100 officials and 60 journalists. However, this session was to be heard in private, so the witness entered and was sworn before a strangely quiet and empty court.

‘What is your full name Doctor?’ asked W.J.V. Windeyer, the senior counsel, noted especially for his thorough but tedious manner.

George Henry Briggs‘ replied the witness.

‘And what is your doctorate?’


George Briggs was an unassuming and conservative man. His skills as an experimental physicist had been attested to by no-one less that Ernest Rutherford, yet he was inclined to keep ‘in the background’.1 Despite this natural reticence, Briggs had ably led the Physics Section of CSIR’s National Standards Laboratory since its establishment in 1938, helping it to establish a reputation ‘as one of the major standards organizations in the world’.

Briggs’s own research was aimed at obtaining precise measurements of some of the smallest physical quantities imaginable. His work on the determination of the energies of alpha particles emitted by radioactive substances was, according to Mark Oliphant, ‘of a different order of precision than any other’.2 His pursued this research with ‘real flair’ and was able to make precision measurements ‘really interesting and exciting’ to his colleagues.3 Nonetheless, this was hardly the sort of science that captured the public imagination. All the more strange then was this appearance – for here he was, George Briggs, physicist, about to give evidence in a spy trial.

It was December 1954 and the Royal Commission on Espionage (the Petrov Commission) was well advanced in its investigations. Gone were the days of high drama when the Leader of the Opposition, H.V. Evatt, had clashed heatedly with the Commissioners over his allegations of a right-wing conspiracy. The Commission had settled down to a methodical examination of the documents that Vladimir Petrov had handed over upon his defection to ASIO. These documents gave names and brief details of certain individuals whom Soviet intelligence (the MVD) believed to be of potential value. As the Commission itself recognized, to be included in these lists was no evidence of wrong-doing, but still it did not hesitate to call many of those named before the enquiry, opening their private beliefs and associations to public scrutiny.

Included amongst these scraps of information were two references to a ‘Don Woods’, described as ‘Secretary of the adviser of Doctor E. on “Enormaz”. One of the entries added the words ‘of BRIGGS’. ‘Woods’ was identified as Donald Woodward, technical secretary of CSIRO’s Division of Physics, headed by Briggs. But what was ‘Enormaz’? Petrov himself had failed to identify the code word, even after the insightful prompting of the deputy director-general of ASIO, G.R. Richards, who suggested: ‘The nearest I can think of ENORMAZ is big’. It was Edvokia Petrov who recognized ‘Enormaz’ as a special, top-secret code ‘used for the MVD interest in the matter of research and testing of the atom bomb in Australia’.4

Woodward was called before the Commissioners in November and questioned, in camera, about his former, brief membership of the Communist Party. Windeyer, drawing on information obtained from Woodward’s divorce proceedings, also directed attention to his change of name from ‘Adams’, even though it had occurred some twenty years previously. The hapless Woodward could only offer what Windeyer arrogantly dismissed as a ‘silly’ motive – his desire to put behind him childhood taunts based on some popular rhyme.5

There was no evidence that Woodward had ever had access to secret information on atomic energy, but the Commission decided to investigate further by calling Briggs to give evidence. Of particular interest was his stint as scientific adviser to the Australian delegation, originally led by Evatt (the mysterious ‘Doctor E.’), to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission in 1946 and 1947.6

‘What was the title of it – the United Nations –?’ asked the Commission’s Chairman Mr Justice Owen.

‘Atomic Energy Commission’, answered Briggs.

‘Those conferences, I take it, were concerned with ways and means of international control of atomic energy?’


‘For both peace and war?’ piped up Mr Justice Ligertwood.


As George Briggs sat in the near-empty courtroom answering these facile questions he may well have wondered how different it could have been. If the mission that had taken him to New York had been successful – if some system for the international control had been hammered out – the course of the Cold War would have been radically different. Would there have been a Cold War at all? Where there had been hope for co-operation, plans for the free interchange of scientific information, there were now jealously guarded secrets, persecution and spy trials.

In May 1946, George Briggs farewelled his wife Edna and their two daughters and left for New York, via London, to play his part in ‘one of the most responsible tasks ever placed upon a group of nations’.7 Establishing some system for the international control of atomic energy was recognised as a matter of ‘vital urgency’, for what was at stake was nothing less than the future of humankind itself.8 The destructive power of the atomic bomb, so horrifically demonstrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had raised the threat of global annihilation. At the same time, the liberation of the energy contained within the atom was an immense scientific achievement that promised untold peaceful applications. The United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, set up by agreement between the great powers, was thus charged with a ‘dual obligation’ to ensure ‘both the banning of the new energy as a weapon and the development of it for peaceful purposes’.9

Briggs was not an enthusiastic air traveller, but with a little nembutal to help him sleep, he arrived in London feeling well and ready for work.10 Here he met up with Evatt and also Mark Oliphant, who, like Briggs, was to provide the Australian delegation with scientific advice. Oliphant had closely followed Briggs as a research student at the Cavendish Laboratory under the direction of Rutherford. Hardly the retiring type, Oliphant had become widely known through his research in atomic physics as one of Australia’s most prominent scientists.

Evatt swept Briggs along to a high-level meeting of Dominion ministers at which some aspects of the atomic energy question were discussed, though rather inconclusively. It was an exciting time for Australia in international affairs, with Evatt pursuing a vigorous and independent foreign policy. His important role in the establishment of the UN was well known, but now he had a new challenge. Australians were urged to take ‘justifiable pride’ in the fact that Evatt was to lead the UNAEC through its initial meetings as the inaugural chairman.11

Everything was happening so quickly. It was barely three weeks since Fred White, CSIR’s Chief Executive, had told Briggs that he had been nominated as the Council’s first choice to assist the Australian delegation at the atomic energy talks.12 He had had so little time to reflect on the nature of the task that lay ahead. How could he contribute? Although he was present as a scientific adviser, he had little knowledge of the wartime developments in atomic energy. How could he? Australia had not been made privy to the secrets of the Manhattan Project. It was Oliphant who had leaked the first news of the atomic bomb to the Australian government. Atomic energy seemed likely to offer great benefits to Australia, and CSIR was keen to undertake some sort of research programme, but first it needed information.

By the end of May the Australian contingent had arrived in New York. There was no time to lose. The chairmanship, allocated alphabetically, provided the Australian delegation with a ‘special opportunity’ to set the UNAEC upon its urgent task.13 In the weeks before the first scheduled meeting, Briggs, Evatt and Oliphant set about developing their strategies.

‘Evatt wants to take a “strong line” – ie. no delay in arriving at decisions. Hence the need to get over here early’, Briggs wrote to Edna.14 He and Oliphant pored over the Acheson-Lilienthal report which, it was believed, would be the basis of US policy at the UNAEC. They found much to admire in the report, but were concerned about the effect that prolonging the US atomic monopoly might have on international relations. This point was emphasised in a statement the delegation prepared, outlining their policy towards the UNAEC. Any delay in the carrying out of the UNAEC’s work, it argued, would ‘aggravate existing tension between nations’ and ‘arouse the suspicions of the peoples of the world’.15 However, this was not simply a crusade to set the world to rights, for Australia was no disinterested do-gooder. The UNAEC provided both a ‘responsibility’ and an ‘opportunity’, for as soon as some system of control was established, Australia could expect to benefit from the free interchange of information on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Both hope and fear propelled the Australians’ enthusiasm.

But not all nations saw the need for rapid progress. Briggs and Oliphant were dismayed by the attitude of the English physicist James Chadwick, a fellow Cavendish alumnus renowned as the discoverer of the neutron:

‘Chadwick in his usual lugubrious way said that the AEC business is very difficult & when O[liphant] said that if anyone was likely to get something done it was Evatt, C. said he was afraid that was so. Apparently their line is to delay things – not press US to indicate its policy. US policy may be to use AE as a bargaining power in discussions with Russia.’16

The signs were not promising. The US had appointed elderly financier Bernard Baruch and his coterie of ‘Wall Street thugs’ as its representatives to the UNAEC.17 Russia was becoming increasingly suspicious of US intentions. What chance had Australia’s hopes for prompt action?

A month later, after the first round of UNAEC meetings, it was clear to Briggs that there could be no quick and easy answers:

There is little doubt that the AEC is faced with a problem which is probably insoluble unless the great powers can agree to give up war as a means of settling problems.18

A deadlock had developed with the rival plans put forward by the USA and the USSR opposed on a number of fundamental points. Whereas the Baruch Plan sought the establishment of a wide-ranging system of inspection and control as a first step in the banning of atomic weapons, the Russian alternative proposed that such weapons be outlawed immediately. The Americans were unwilling to give up their atomic monopoly until sufficient safeguards had been formulated to prevent the secret development of atomic weapons. The USSR did not want to open its laboratories and mines to outside inspection while their super-power adversary maintained such a decisive advantage. There seemed little room for negotiation.

Briggs’s time was hardly wasted, however, for within those first few weeks, he had held discussions with such major atomic age figures as General Leslie Groves, James Chadwick, Ernest Lawrence and Robert Oppenheimer. He was also investigating the possibility of sending Australian scientists to Canada or Britain to work on atomic energy projects there.19 CSIR wanted information, and Briggs was in a position to gather it. With typical diligence he pursued this, his ‘CSIR work’, wholly to the satisfaction of his superiors, collecting ‘much valuable information’.20 Not that they had expected any less – Fred White had written to the Queensland physicist Hugh Webster on the eve of Briggs’s departure commenting, ‘it is a very good thing that we will have in Briggs someone who will return here and be able to tell us all that happened’.21

This was no cloak-and-dagger operation. George Briggs was no spy, operating under diplomatic cover. Such pretence would have been impossible for this conscientious scientist. His presence at the UNAEC provided CSIR with a valuable opportunity, but this did not over-ride his responsibility as a scientific adviser. Why should it? There was no conflict of interest between his two roles, for they simply reflected the two sides of the one atomic coin. Managed properly, atomic energy offered not peace or development, but peace and development. This rationale underlay the policy development of the Australian delegation, and offered them some hope of progress even after the initial deadlock. Disagreement between the superpowers had centred on the banning of the atomic bomb, but this was only half of the picture. The Australians hoped that a way could be found through the political impasse by refocussing attention on the ‘dual obligation’ of the UNAEC, by treating the problem of atomic energy as ‘one integrated whole’. In attempting to reconcile the approaches of the USA and the USSR, Evatt stressed that any working plan for the control of atomic energy had to give ‘special consideration’ to the atom’s ‘beneficial uses as well as to its destructive power’. By accelerating the development of the peaceful uses of atomic energy the UNAEC could create the sort of trust that was necessary ‘to simultaneously remove the dangers and grasp the benefits presented by this new discovery’.22

The logic seemed clear enough, but despite Evatt’s impatient, hard-driving efforts as chairman, it failed to draw out agreement. By the end of July, Australia’s term in the chair had passed and Evatt and Oliphant had left New York. Their best efforts having been thwarted, these two flamboyant idealists moved on to continue the struggle elsewhere. George Briggs, however, stayed on. His CSIR division was struggling to map out its postwar research priorities, and his family was being forced to deal with his extended absence, yet he remained, not just for a month or two, but until the end of the year. He continued to collect information of course, visiting various laboratories around North America, but this was only as his timetable at the UNAEC allowed. It was his work towards the control of atomic energy that consumed most of his time, energy and concern. He could not leave the job unfinished.

There are different kinds of idealism. George Briggs was not inclined towards the grand gesture or the public pronouncement. Not for him the role of a high-profile activist. He admired Evatt and the new life he had brought to Australian foreign policy, but was unsure about his methods. It seemed that it would ‘take considerable time’ to encourage the Russians to accept some form of international atomic agency.23 Evatt wanted immediate results, but this was impossible. Patience was required, and in this regard Briggs was extremely well qualified. He held no illusions about the rate of progress, but what was the alternative?:

If the powers will not at this stage agree to find some adequate solution then it is best to go on thrashing the thing out for if the powers agree to disagree then there is no hope of a solution.24

A reconciliation between the opposing views was not likely, but nor was it impossible. Even though he was keen to return to Australia, he could not dismiss the continued importance of the discussions: ‘I think the work has got to continue and Australia play her part’.25 Despite the pleas of CSIR, the External Affairs Department were equally reluctant for Briggs to return, emphasizing ‘the importance of the work on which he is engaged’.26 Finally, in late November, Briggs was recalled, but even then he did not consider it possible to depart until there was a suitable break in the deliberations:

I am convinced the work now is at a more important stage than ever before and what I have to say in the Committee meetings does carry considerable weight.27

It was not until 29 December that George Briggs flew out of New York.

Six months! Six months away from his family, away from his laboratory. Who would have believed that this steady, painstaking scientist could have become so caught up in the hurly-burly of international politics. Back in June, Briggs and Oliphant had met with Australian Defence Force representatives in Washington to discuss the atomic energy situation. Reporting to his superiors, the RAAF representative described Oliphant as a ‘brilliant man who has a great perception of the responsibilities of the scientists and the requirements of the Services’. This was in contrast to Briggs, who presented ‘a narrow view’.28 Yet it was Briggs who sacrificed his scientific work because he believed he could make a worthwhile contribution to the UNAEC. There are different kinds of idealism.

At various points during the year, Briggs had hoped that another scientist from Australia might be able to take his place. ‘They should be good committee men, able to present their views on the scientific aspect of the problem’, he recommended.29 Briggs’s ability to work as part of team was an important factor in his appointment to the National Standards Laboratory. It also proved valuable at the UNAEC, where political tensions made committee work frustrating at best. Briggs was particularly proud of his work on the Scientific and Technical Committee, which was set up, at Evatt’s suggestion, as a way of circumventing the initial deadlock. Its role was to report on the technical feasibility of control systems, steering away from any broader ‘political’ questions. By holding a number of informal working group meetings, the scientists were able to avoid much of the parochialism that had dogged the early stages of the UNAEC. As a result they succeeded in producing a report that was acceptable to all the member countries. ‘I can claim to have taken a considerable part in determining the form + a good part of the details of the report’, Briggs wrote, obviously chuffed.30 Of course, the report did little to overcome the fundamental conflict between the USA and the USSR, but it provided a solid basis for the discussions, and served as an example of what could be achieved by an impartial approach to the issues at hand. George Briggs never saw himself as a diplomat, nor a policy-maker. He was a scientist, and it was as a scientist that he believed he was able to make a useful contribution to the UNAEC’s work. The success of the Scientific and Technical Committee was testament to the important role that scientists could play if let off the political leash.

Even after he had returned to Australia, Briggs maintained an interest in developments at the UNAEC. He was concerned that no replacement for him had been arranged, and contacted the Department of External Affairs to brief them fully on the work of the scientific and technical advisers at the Commission. ‘Although the deadlock shows very little sign of being resolved’, he wrote to CSIR Chairman, David Rivett, ‘I am very strongly of the opinion that work at the technical level should continue’.31 He could hardly have been surprised by the result of this prodding. At the end of March 1947, the Department contacted CSIR asking if they would consider releasing Briggs to return to New York. At the behest of the Security Council, the UNAEC was attempting to develop specific proposals for the organization of an international control agency, and External Affairs felt that Briggs’s past experience ‘would be of tremendous value’.32 Briggs was pleased that the UNAEC was moving on to consider the details of the proposed control system, and could not shirk his responsibility as a scientist. Even though he admitted he would not have a lot of time to visit laboratories and gather information, he felt he must go. Rivett reluctantly concurred, adding, with a touch of his superb, dry wit, ‘I must confess that we do want you back with the Division as soon as the condition of the world permits’.33

The George Briggs who arrived back in New York towards the end of May 1947, was much more confident and determined than he had been in 1946. With no Evatt or Oliphant to lead the way, Briggs knew that he would have to take on more responsibility in the UNAEC discussions. The UNAEC was no longer front page news, but there was still work to do – detailed technical work to discover just what sort of control system would be possible should the superpowers eventually come to some agreement. It was a challenge that appealed to the methodical physicist, for it offered clear-cut, practical results. Briggs wasted no time in getting down to business.

In an attempt to emulate the success of the Scientific and Technical Committee the previous year, the UNAEC had established a number of working groups to report on specific aspects of the proposed system of control. These groups held informal meetings to encourage free discussion among members, but Briggs was not impressed by the progress they had made. ‘I must say I feel there is a sense of unreality about the proceedings’, he remarked, there was much activity, but little of substance had been produced.34 The reports being prepared by the working groups were, in many cases, based on papers submitted by the US delegation which were often ‘very bad’ – ‘the old story of very superficial arguments’.35 But what shocked Briggs most of all was the way that such patent nonsense was being allowed to pass by the people who should know better:

Kaworski (France) told me today he thinks most of the technical people are behaving as if they are bewitched by the US people. I had come to the conclusion that many who have been on the job a long time are either stale, or the US propaganda has completely stopped impartial thinking. It is the same thing.36

The Australian delegation received very little direction from Canberra, however, it was understood that they would generally follow the US line. Briggs interpreted this policy fairly broadly, using the informal discussion sessions to launch attacks on the faulty arguments contained within the working papers, much to the US delegation’s chagrin. The scientist whose working life was dedicated to precision measurement and the determination of standards railed against the imprecise posturings and low intellectual standards of the UNAEC deliberations. He cabled Canberra outlining the direction of his thoughts, expecting censure, but determined to stay true to his scientific ideals – ‘if I have to follow US blindly I shall jibe’.37 No censure came, but neither was there affirmation – the instructions from Canberra remained vague.

Perhaps the problem was that there were not enough physicists at the UNAEC, Briggs mused, for they currently made ‘a poor team’.38 The USA, in particular, lacked adequate representation, probably because the US physicists realized ‘that the whole business is not being played strictly on the level’.39 Although the USSR had given some indication that it was prepared to compromise, the attitude of the US delegation had hardened – they did not want an agreement.

Briggs became more and more pessimistic about the eventual outcome of the deliberations, but his dedication to the task at hand did not waver. As the UNAEC began to draw together the papers produced by the working groups into a comprehensive report, he continued to strive for accuracy – ‘the report I think should be technically sound when this is over’.40 Of the forty amendments to the report proposed, fifteen came from the Australian delegation. In most cases they had previously secured the agreement of the US, but some conflicts remained. One Polish amendment sought to change an occurrence of the word ‘decision’ to ‘consideration’. This was a matter that Briggs had already raised with the US delegation, and so when the moment came he voted with the Poles. Much to the surprise of all concerned the amendment was carried. The US representative, Osborne, was not impressed:

Out came a subdued damn… + he turned to me (we were side by side) and in a rather angry tone said You don’t know what you are doing! The vote was written up in the press as a Polish-Soviet victory.41

For Briggs this was not a matter of politics, but of intellectual integrity. Despite all the pressures to the contrary he was attempting to maintain the impartiality that properly befitted his role as a syocientist. He knew he was fighting a losing battle. ‘Power politics’ were coming to dominate the UNAEC discussions, and the time was rapidly approaching when ‘a physicist would be best out of it’.42

‘A physicist would be best out of it.’ Perhaps the words came back to him that day, years later, in the Darlinghurst courtroom. This was not a venue for the impartiality he so highly valued. Politics was again intruding on science, but then the boundaries between the two had become so blurred. When did it start? In the war? The Manhattan Project represented a new way of doing science, the innocence was lost. Even as Briggs had held on to the scientific faith at the UNAEC, his organization, the CSIR, had been under attack for harbouring communists. These attacks gained in intensity and hysteria as the conservative parties sought to portray the Labor Government as incapable of dealing with the ‘red menace’. David Rivett, a staunch defender of the freedom of scientific inquiry was smeared as a ‘fellow traveller’. Finally in 1949 the CSIR fell, to be replaced by the more tightly-controlled CSIRO. Science’s relationship with the state had changed. Those halcyon days at the Cavendish would never come again.

‘Did you, when you were at any of these conferences, learn any of the secrets of the Western world in relation to nuclear physics?’ Mr Justice Philp was attempting to discern what potentially dangerous material might have been lurking in Briggs’s office safe. Briggs’s evidence was being heard in camera, not to protect his reputation, but just in case a secret might be let slip.

‘Is nuclear fission still secret,’ asked Mr Justice Ligertwood, ‘or does the average scientist know about it these days?’ The preoccupation with secrets was overwhelming – but what were secrets to a scientist? Physical laws could not be locked in a safe. The UNAEC had stood momentarily against the tide of secrecy, but now all was awash.

The Royal Commissioners found Briggs to be ‘a man of high character and integrity’. No secrets had been lost, though Woodward was deemed an ‘unsatisfactory witness’.43 A few years later, 1n 1958, Briggs retired as head of CSIRO’s Division of Physics. For another decade he continued as an Honorary Research Fellow, attempting to finish up his work on the redetermination of the gyro-magnetic ratio of the proton. This research was seen as being so important that the new head of the Division arranged for Briggs to receive a regular honorarium.

Looking back in his eighties, Briggs marvelled at the way the world had changed within his lifetime:

When I was a boy there were no aeroplanes, radioactivity had not been discovered, we knew little about the nature of the Universe in which we live, and we are finding out more about this Universe at a greater rate than ever.44

The world remained a source of wonder, and there were challenges still. In his later life he became concerned about damage to the natural environment. There was much work left to do.

George Briggs was a scientist. He made no stunning break-throughs, no discoveries. He did not seek controversy or fame. But for a time he was a player on the world stage, and was, in his own way, the most dangerous of revolutionaries. For George Briggs, physicist, dared to remain true to his calling. There are different kinds of idealism.

  1. Quote by Rutherford included in notes on applicants for National Standards Laboratory positions by the selection committee, November 1938, CSIRO Archives Series 3, File PG/730/1/2. []
  2. Testimonial by Oliphant, 6 September 1938, MS8255, File 3/1; CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File PH/BRI/3. []
  3. Testimonial by C.D. Ellis, MS8255, File 3/1; CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File PH/BRI/3. []
  4. Australian Archives, Series A6122/XR, File 58; Report of the Royal Commission on Espionage, 22 August 1955, Sydney, 1955, pp. 138-139, pp. 219-220. []
  5. Royal Commission on Espionage, Official Transcript of Proceedings, 11 November 1954 , Sydney, 1955, pp. 2813-2826. []
  6. Royal Commission on Espionage, Official Transcript of Proceedings, 1 December 1954 , Sydney, 1955, pp. 2829-2832. []
  7. Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates , vol. 188, 1 August 1946, p. 3485. []
  8. Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates , vol. 187, 12 July 1946, p. 2476. []
  9. Sydney Morning Herald , 16 July 1946, p. 2. []
  10. Briggs to Sir David Rivett, 25 May 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/5/7. []
  11. Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates , vol. 187, 12 July 1946, p. 2476. []
  12. F.W.G. White to Briggs, 6 May 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/5/7. []
  13. Cable from Australian Delegation, UN, New York, `Atomic 10′, 14 June 1946, Australian Archives, Series A816, File 3/301/433 Part 1. []
  14. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 27 May 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  15. Cable from Australian delegation, UN, New York, `Atomic 6′, 30 May 1946, Australian Archives, Series A816, File 3/301/433 Part l. []
  16. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 27 May 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  17. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, May-June 1947 (letter undated), and 21 July 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  18. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 21 July 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  19. Briggs to Sir David Rivett and F.W.G. White, 26 June 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/5/12/3. []
  20. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 11 July 1946, MS8255, File 4/1; Memo from G.A. Cook (Secretary, CSIR) to Secretary, Department of External Affairs, 31 October 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2. []
  21. F.W.G. White to H.C. Webster, 15 May 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/5/7. []
  22. UNAEC Official Records , Third Meeting, 25 June 1946, p. 55; also included in Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 188, 1 August 1946, pp. 3489-3492. []
  23. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 21 July 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  24. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 2 November 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  25. Briggs to F.W.G. White, 6 November 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2. []
  26. Memo from Secretary, Department of External Affairs to Secretary, CSIR, 11 November 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2. []
  27. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 7-8 December 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  28. Report by Group Captain W.H. Garing, 7 June 1946, Australian Archives, Series A1196, File 2/501/266 Part 1. []
  29. Briggs to F.W.G. White, 9 October 1946, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2 []
  30. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 1 September 1946, MS8255, File 4/1. []
  31. Briggs to Rivett, 27 March 1947, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2. []
  32. Memo from Secretary, Department of External Affairs, to Chief Executive Officer, CSIR, 29 March 1947, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, KA/12/2. []
  33. Rivett to Briggs, 1 April 1947, CSIRO Archives, Series 3, File KA/12/2. []
  34. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 28 May 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  35. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 7 June 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  36. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 19-24 June 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  37. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 30 June 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  38. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 30 June 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  39. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, late July 1947 (letter undated), MS8255, File 4/2. []
  40. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 6 September 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  41. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 9 September 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  42. George Briggs to Edna Briggs, 30 June 1947, MS8255, File 4/2. []
  43. Report of the Royal Commission on Espionage, 22 August 1955 , Sydney, 1955, pp. 139, 220. []
  44. George Henry Briggs, 2 April 1979, National Library of Australia, De Berg Tapes no. 1120. []

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I'm a historian and hacker who researches the possibilities and politics of digital cultural collections.

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  1. […] An unofficial history, Frank Cass, Ilford, 1994, chapters 2 & 3. [↩]Tim Sherratt, ‘”A physicist would be best out of it”: George Briggs and the United Nations Atomi…, Voices, III, 1, Autumn 1993, pp. 17-30. [↩]For more information on the British atomic tests […]

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