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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Euromissiles Crisis

This is a collection of primary source documents dating from 1979 to 1983 – during a period of confrontation and building tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. The documents in the collection come from Dutch, German, and Italian archives. They include correspondence and negotiations between the leaders of NATO member countries. The majority of the documents are from 1979, an eventful year which included the conclusion of SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), the Soviet Union's deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles targeting Western Europe, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The rest of the documents dating from 1980 to 1983 deal with security policy and the increased hostility between the Soviet Union and the West. See also the related collections in the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, protesters in Lyon, France)

  • April 04, 1984

    Constraints on the foreign policy of the Netherlands

    A memo to Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi from his foreign policy advisor Antonio Badini about the domestic constraints on Dutch foreign policy.

  • April 24, 1985

    Address by Willy Brandt before the Council on Foreign Relations

    Willy Brandt speaks about East-West relations, specifically focusing on what he views as U.S. misconceptions about nuclear arms, and the concept of Common Security.

  • September 29, 1985

    Statement of Willy Brandt, Former Chancellor of West Germany, before the United States Congress

  • February 17, 1986

    Washington, DC to Department of External Affairs (Canada), 'Alliance Problems Over INF'

    In a flurry of cables from February 1986, Canadian assessments focused on a chronic issue within NATO: in consultation within the alliance. The Special Consultative Group was used as a forum to “air views of allies,” hold briefings on the current state of negotiations, and to share a new negotiating position right before it was tabled. Canadian officials also warned of disagreement to come between the Europeans and the Americans over the “zero option,” the longstanding proposal to reduce both US and Soviet INF to zero.

  • February 19, 1986

    Brussels–NATO (BNATO) to Department of External Affairs (Canada), 'Alliance Problems Over INF'

    In a flurry of cables from February 1986, Canadian assessments focused on a chronic issue within NATO: consultation within the alliance. As this dispatch from Brussels concluded, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, “NATO nuclear collective consultation is the worst form, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

  • February 27, 1986

    Brussels to Department of External Affairs (Canada), 'Zero Option and the Europeans'

    Canadian officials warned of disagreement to come between the Europeans and the Americans over the “zero option,” the longstanding proposal to reduce both US and Soviet INF to zero. This dispatch from Brussels reported “substantial unhappiness” amongst the Europeans that the United States and the Soviet Union would discuss disarmament “even if neither of them believed in it.” Nuclear deterrence had prevented war in Europe for the preceding four decades, and US-Soviet discussions of disarmament only made it even more difficult to convince public opinion of deterrence’s continued importance