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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • February 21, 1962

    Research Memorandum RSB-58 from Roger Hilsman to the Secretary, 'Probable Soviet Reaction to Establishment of Multilateral NATO-Controlled MRBM Force'

    As discussion of a NATO multilateral force (MLF) unfolded, unfolded, one question which had to be addressed was how the Soviet Union would respond to the creation of such a NATO force. Because a NATO force would increase Western military capabilities, Soviet opposition was assumed.

  • February 08, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'NATO Defense Policy'

    These Council of Ministers minutes report on the meeting between Prime Minister De Quay and several of his state secretaries with NATO Secretary-General Stikker, who gave an outline of what was still called a ‘NATO Nuclear Force’. The prime minister responded positively to the plan but indicated the incoming cabinet would have to take a final decision. In the discussion, Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns comments on the attitude of President De Gaulle and points out that NATO and EEC matters ought to be viewed separately.

  • March 15, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Atlantic Nuclear Weapons Plan'

    The Council discusses the danger of the German Federal Republic moving to acquire an independent nuclear force. Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns regrets the American focus on the Germans at the expense of the British. Resistance from the French regarding the plan is not expected.

  • June 05, 1963

    Research Memorandum REU-44 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, 'Evidence of Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction in European NATO Countries with the Lack of a Share in Ownership or Control of Nuclear Weapons'

    Ambassador Livingston Merchant, who was responsible for the U.S. diplomatic effort to win support for the MLF, asked INR to report on the degree to which non-nuclear European members of NATO were satisfied with their “lack of a share in ownership or control of nuclear weapons.” Based on the evidence, mainly various statements made by leading politicians, diplomats, and policymakers, INR experts concluded that most of the countries surveyed (Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Greece) were “relatively satisfied,” while only West Germany was “restive” to the extent that some of its officials were interested in a NATO or European nuclear force.

  • June 07, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'NATO Council in Ottawa and Visit to President Kennedy'

    The Council of Ministers report on the NATO council meeting in Ottawa, which Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns and Minister of Defense Visser attended. Luns spoke privately with President Kennedy about the attitude of the French and the possibility of an independent German nuclear arsenal. Visser visited weapons centers in the United States and emphasizes the need to accept American leadership in the defense of Europe.

  • August 02, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Position Regarding NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns gives the new Marijnen cabinet a sketch of the multilateral NATO nuclear force situation so far. He is now of the opinion that the Netherlands should not join a multilateral NATO nuclear force. Minister of Defense De Jong says the Dutch government will need to take a position near the end of the year.

  • October 02, 1963

    Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Paper Regarding Dutch Participation in Talks Regarding a Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    Paper presented at 4 October 1963 meeting of the Dutch Council of Ministers. The paper lays out the reasons for declining to participate in the Multilateral Force so far, but argues that due to changes in the situation – principally a turn on the part of the British toward participation – the Netherlands now should move to participate in the talks. The paper lists the (political) advantages of such participation.

  • October 04, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Discussion of NATO Nuclear Force'

    State Secretary of Foreign Affairs De Block, standing in for Minister Luns, presents his ministry’s paper on Dutch participation in talks regarding the MLF. The paper lays out the reasons for declining to participate so far, but argues that due to changes in the situation the Netherlands now should move to participate in the talks. Objections from the Ministers of Defense and Finance as well as concerns over resistance in parliament lead most of the discussion to be tabled until the following meeting.

  • October 09, 1963

    Memorandum, Dutch Joint Chiefs of Staff, 'Regarding the Military Desirability of the Creation of a NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force"

    Memorandum presented at 11 October 1963 meeting of the Dutch Council of Ministers. The memorandum is highly critical of the military merits of the proposed NATO Multilateral Nuclear Force, and argues that even if the MLF is created, the Netherlands should decline to participate.

  • October 11, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Dutch Participation in Multilateral Nuclear Force Talks'

    Minister of Defense De Jong presents a memorandum from his joint chiefs of staff, the tenor of which he supports, which serves as the basis for an extended discussion. The memorandum is highly critical of the (military) merits of the MLF, but De Jong takes care to bracket his critique as coming strictly from the point of view of the Ministry of Defense. De Jong stresses that neither troops nor financial means can be made available for participation in the MLF. State Secretary of Foreign Affairs De Block proposes the formula: “to take part in the discussions on the clear understanding that it does not commit them [the Dutch] to participate in such a force.” Prime Minister Marijnen brings up a number of counterarguments to both military arguments against and political arguments in favor of the MLF.

  • November 22, 1963

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Talks Regarding a Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    The Council accepts the proposal of Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns to inform the involved governments that the Netherlands is making preparations for participation in the Multilateral Force talks. The Ministers of Defense and Finance object that the existing defense budget and conventional forces ought not to be slighted as a result.

  • February 14, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    The Council decides to participate in the NATO Multilateral Force test ship (the Mixed-Manning Demonstration, or MMD). Among the arguments that persuade the Minister of Defense is the danger of shifting the center of gravity to the German Federal Republic and the concomitant risk of giving Russia the impression that the whole project is a guise for providing the Germans with nuclear weapons.

  • June 19, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Multilateral Nuclear Force'

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns reports that the Secretary of State Rusk has asked him to explain the American position regarding the Multilateral Force (MLF) to Prime Minister Khrushchev on his impending visit to Russia. The main point is that the MLF is not intended to give Germany control over nuclear weapons.

  • October 30, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Foreign Policy'

    The Council discusses the attitude of the French government regarding the negotiations about a common grain price and the Kennedy Round, which impact considerations regarding the desirability of the Multilateral Force (MLF). In the discussion of the MLF itself, it is increasingly clear that the position of the French and how the other states will deal with it are crucial for the project’s prospects. On the one hand it seems the Americans will push the MLF through regardless, but on the other hand the initiative seems to have lost some of its urgency. The Americans have signaled to the Dutch their irritation with the attitude of the French.

  • November 13, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'Foreign Policy'

    Council of Ministers minutes reports that Minister of Foreign Affairs has met with U.S. Secretary of State Rusk, who was determined to secure Dutch and British participation in the Multilateral Force. The French increase their resisitance to the plan, while anti-German sentiment increases in France.

  • December 04, 1964

    Meeting Minutes, Council of Ministers of the Netherlands, 'European Political Cooperation'

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Luns reports on a discussion he had with Jean Monnet on the EEC and the Multilateral Force (MLF), including topics such as the interconnection between these issues, the risk of a German nuclear force, and transatlantic relations in general. Luns also met with Undersecretary of State Ball, who was keen on moving ahead with the MLF and proposed holding a conference about it in The Hague, which Luns had to decline. Luns furthermore met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Couve de Murville, who put the blame with the Americans for inciting thoughts about nuclear independence on the part of the Germans. Minister of Defense De Jong responds by giving a broad military-strategic analysis, concluding that unity within NATO is essential to prevent American attention from shifting increasingly to Asia.

  • December 30, 1964

    Intelligence Note from Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, 'Soviet Interest in a West German Commitment Not To Manufacture Nuclear Weapons'

    INR estimated that the Soviets wanted to “play upon French concern” that West Germany might acquire nuclear weapons through new NATO nuclear arrangements, such as the MLF.

  • January 20, 1965

    Minutes of the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact Member States, Warsaw

    (Excerpts) Minutes of discussions of the Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee concerning non-proliferation. The Romanian delegation argues against a joint declaration of the Warsaw Pact on non-proliferation for fear that it might be used against China. The other delegations argue that a joint declaration is necessary in order to prevent the creation of the Multilaterall Nuclear Force proposed by NATO.

  • January 20, 1965

    Minutes of the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact Member States, Warsaw

    Romanian meeting minutes of Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee meeting concerning non-proliferation.

  • September 29, 1965

    Research Memorandum RSB-106 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, 'Soviet Conditions about Western Nuclear Arrangements for a Nondissemination Treaty'

    INR looked closely at Soviet positions on an NPT arguing that the Soviets appeared to “attach a higher priority in using the nondissemination issue as a means of attacking possible NATO nuclear arrangements than in concluding an agreement.”