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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Israeli Nuclear History

Documents on the history of Israeli nuclear development. See also the related collections of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, Dimona research center, NARA, RG 59, Records of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy and Outer Space, General Records Relating to Atomic Energy, 1948-62, box 501, Country File Z1.50 Israel f. Reactors 1960)

  • January 30, 1961

    Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy, 'Your Appointment with Ogden R. Reid, Recently Ambassador to Israel'

    Memorandum and briefing materials for President Kennedy on the discovery of the Israel Dimona nuclear reactor. Given in preparation for a meeting with Ogden Reid, who had just resigned as US ambassador to Israel.

  • January 31, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Ambassador Reid's Review of His Conversation with President Kennedy'

    Days after his inauguration, President Kennedy met with Ogden Reid, who had just resigned as US ambassador to Israel, for a comprehensive briefing on US-Israel relations, including the problem of the Dimona nuclear reactor.

  • February 02, 1961

    Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs to Secretary of State, 'President’s Suggestion re: Israeli Reactor'

    Concerned about a recent visit to Cairo by Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Semenov and the possibility that the Soviets might exploit Egyptian concerns over Dimona, President Kennedy pressed State to arrange an inspection visit at Dimona by a US scientist.

  • February 03, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Israeli Reactor'

    Assistant Secretary of State G. Lewis Jones meets with Israeli Ambassador Harman, to discuss the Dimona reactor Harman explained that the Israeli government was preoccupied with an ongoing domestic political crisis.

  • February 08, 1961

    Memorandum, Secretary of State Rusk for the President, 'Israeli Reactor'

    Rusk informs President Kennedy about the outcome of Assistant Secretary of State G. Lewis Jones's meeting with Israeli Ambassador Harman.

  • February 13, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Inspection of Israel’s New Atomic Reactor'

    Secretary of State Rusk meets with Ambassador Harman to raise the desirability of a US visit to Dimona, noting that Israeli "candor" was important to the state of the US-Israeli relationship.

  • February 16, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Israel’s Security and Other Problems'

    US National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy meets with Ambassador Harman to discuss the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona.

  • February 20, 1961

    US Mission to the United Nations (New York) Telegram No. 2242 to Department of State, 'Eyes Only' from Reid to Secretary

    Departing Ambassador informs told President Kennedy that an American inspection of the Dimona nuclear facility can be arranged.

  • February 26, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'U.S.-Israeli Relations - The Dimona Reactor'

    Assistant Secretary G. Lewish Jones reports on a conversation with Teddy Kollek about arranging a US visit to Dimona.

  • March 03, 1961

    Memorandum by Secretary Rusk to President Kennedy, 'Israeli Reactor'

    Rusk summarizes a meeting between Assistant Secretary Lewis Jones and Teddy Kollek for the president.

  • March 13, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Dimona Reactor'

    Ambassador Harman says there is no news about arranging a US visit to Dimona.

  • March 28, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'Dimona Reactor'

    Assistant Secretary Lewis Jones asks again about arranging a US visit to the Dimona nuclear facility.

  • March 30, 1961

    Memorandum from Secretary Rusk to President Kennedy, 'Dimona Reactor in Israel'

    Rusk updates the President on US requests to Israel to visit the Dimona reactor, and provides a related chronology.

  • April 10, 1961

    Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 'U.S. Visit to Dimona Reactor Site'

    Ambassador Harman informs Jones and Philip Farley, the special assistant to the secretary of state for atomic energy and outer space matters, that Israel is formally inviting a US scientist to visit the Dimona complex during the week of 15 May, but that the visit should be secret.

  • April 11, 1961

    Memorandum by Assistant Secretary Jones to Secretary of State Rusk, 'Your Appointment with Israeli Ambassador Harman'

    Jones informs Rusk that Israel is ready to allow a US visit to Dimona, but it must be kept secret. Jones also informed Rusk that the Atomic Energy Commission had selected two of its scientists to make the visit: Ulysses Staebler, assistant director of reactor development and chief of the Civilian Power Reactors Branch, and Jesse Croach Jr., a heavy water reactor expert with Dupont, the AEC’s principal contractor for heavy water reactor work.

  • April 17, 1961

    Assistant Secretary Jones, Memorandum of Conversation, 'U.S. Visit to Dimona'

    Jones proposes to Israeli Minister Plenipotentiary Mordechai Gazit that the US visit to Dimona be kept "quiet" rather than "secret."

  • April 28, 1961

    State Department Telegram 798 to US Embassy Tel Aviv

    Israelis have been informed of the details of US visit to Dimona.

  • May 01, 1961

    Deputy Assistant Secretary Meyer Memorandum of Conversation, 'Visit to Israeli Reactor'

    Armin H. Meyer discusses the US visit to Dimona with Mordechai Gazit.

  • May 01, 1961

    Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Philips Talbot to Secretary of State, 'Ben--Gurion Visit and Israel’s Reactor'

    Ambassador Harman requests that the US visit to Dimona be delayed until after Prime Minister Ben-Gurion and President Kennedy meet in New York on May 30th.

  • May 05, 1961

    Memorandum by Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy, 'Visit to Israeli Reactor'

    The Israeli Embassy has confirmed the visit by two American observers to the Dimona nuclear facility for May 18.