TO: J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
FROM: SAIC Jeffrey Morton, Salt Lake City, Utah.
DATE: 10 January 1953.
RE: Possible loss of plutonium from Hanford Works.
Bureau agents conducted a wide-ranging investigation following the derailment of the UP freight train near Nampa, Idaho on 24 December 1952.
Bureau agents discovered the following facts:
- Mr. Kenneth Hashimoto observed six men in the dining room of the Dewey Palace Hotel on the evening of 24 December 1952.
- Mr. Hashimoto is a prosperous potato farmer in the Nampa area and a deacon of the Methodist church. He had brought his family to the hotel dining room before attending Christmas evening services.
- Mr. Hashimoto approvingly noticed the men because they were quiet and were not drinking, which was out of character for the other male patrons of the restaurant on this occasion. In retrospect, he believed that they were not members of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). This judgement is based solely on their physical appearance. The men “didn’t look Mormon.”
- Examination of the Dewey Palace Hotel records revealed that six men had occupied three rooms in the hotel from 23 to 25 December 1952, although the clerk did not recall seeing any of the men on 25 December. The group paid in cash in advance. The ledger reveals only that the rooms were booked to a “Tom Smith and party.”
- Hotel parking records reveal that two vehicles were parked at the hotel for the same 23-25 December 1952 period.
- The parking attendant believes that one of the vehicles was a Buick sedan and the other a General Motors “deuce-and-a-half” truck. He also recalls that both vehicles had Nevada license plates. (The attendant is a disabled military veteran previously stationed at the Nevada Proving Grounds.) The parking attendant kept no record of the plate numbers.
- Idaho Highway 51 and Nevada Highway 11 provide the most direct route between Nampa and Nevada. Bureau agents thoroughly questioned gas station operators and hotel managers along this route. No one recalled the party of six or the pair of vehicles. None recalled fueling a GM 2.5 ton truck. These trucks have a 40-gallon fuel tank, so fueling them would have been both a time-consuming experience and a significant pay-off for a gas station operator.
- We can only conclude that if the Buick sedan. GM truck, and the six men from the hotel were involved in the derailment of the UP freight train, then they did not go to Nevada by the most direct route.
- Investigation continues pending further orders.