Washington, D.C.

December 13 and 14, 1945

(Thursday, December 13, 1945)

W.C. Schroeder. Gentlemen: Exactly a year ago we met in this room to receive our briefing for the proposed trip as members of the Technical Oil Mission. I am pleased to see such a complete turnout for the symposium on the results of the work of the Mission, which we are about to present during the sessions today and tomorrow. As I look about the room, it seems to me that about the only one absent from our group is Dr. Gunther von Elbe, who is still in Germany struggling with the vast volume of documents which you accumulated in the course of your investigations. I do not wish to take any more of your time by making a speech of welcome. I will, therefore, introduce as the first speaker, the man whose initiative and tireless effort is to be credited more than anything else with the success of the Mission in which we participated. Gentlemen, may I introduce Mr. C.S. Snodgrass?

C.S. Snodgrass. Dr. Schroeder and members of the Technical Oil Mission. I am extremely grateful to all of you for the fine work you have done under very difficult conditions in Germany. Just this morning, I happened to run across the minutes of the first briefing session; which was held in this same room, by strange coincidence, on December 13, 1944, exactly one year ago. Instead of making a speech of my own, I think it is fitting to read the closing lines of a speech made by Dr. Delbridge during that meeting: "I think this discussion is perfectly idiotic. I wish to insist again that at least eleven of the men here have been highly recommended as outstanding specialists in their fields. Instead of laying down a rigid prescription for the work they are expected to do, I am sure you will get the best results if you will simply put the men in a position to visit the installations which interest them, and leave the rest to their initiative and resourcefulness. With the help of Dr. Peck and Dr. Schroeder, I know that they cannot fail. When they have done as much as they can do, and if I know the interest of these men they won’t go away until they have completely exhausted the subject and have succeeded in asking questions; which we cannot answer here by looking at a lot of aerial photographs. If you will leave it to the Mission, it is my judgment that you will get the best possible results that we can have." Thank you very much.

W.C. Schroeder. The first subject on the agenda is "Gasification of Fuels for the Production of Synthesis Gas and Hydrogen," by Mr. W.W. Odell.