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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June 15, 1947

    New York Herald Tribune, European edition, 'Joliot-Curie Rips America for Atomic Energy Report'

    French High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, Joliot-Curie, criticizes Henry DeWolf Smyth of Princeton University for omitting from his report the “vital contributions of French science to the discoveries leading to the making of atomic bombs.”

  • October 21, 1956

    Proposal of the Euratom Experts Concerning the Dissemination of Military Knowledge

    This proposal from the French delegation describes the potential military uses for atomic energy.

  • November 09, 1956

    Note by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Economic Cooperation

    This note describes panel discussions, which took place on the visit of Chancellor Adenauer to Paris, helping to reach an agreement on outstanding issues regarding Euratom.

  • February 21, 1957

    Telegram from Couve de Murville

  • March 23, 1957

    Memorandum of Conversation between John Foster Dulles and Selwyn Lloyd, 'Atomic Energy Items: (1) French Request (2) Test Limitation'

    US-UK discussion of French nuclear weapons potential and efforts that could be undertaken to hinder or advance the their program. The French request for technical assistance from these two governments was also covered.

  • May 31, 1957

    Department of State Office of Intelligence Research, 'OIR Contribution to NIE 100-6-57: Nuclear Weapons Production by Fourth Countries – Likelihood and Consequences'

    This lengthy report was State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's contribution to the first National Intelligence Estimate on the nuclear proliferation, NIE 100-6-57. Written at a time when the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom were the only nuclear weapons states, the “Fourth Country” problem referred to the probability that some unspecified country, whether France or China, was likely to be the next nuclear weapons state. Enclosed with letter from Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Division of Research for USSR and Western Europe, to Roger Mateson, 4 June 1957, Secret

  • May 13, 1959

    Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Intelligence Information Brief No. 139, 'Disarmament Negotiations: The Fourth Power Problem: France'

    According to intelligence reports, the French were trying to acquire from US firms the diagnostic technology needed to measure a nuclear explosion. INR did not believe that France had identified a specific test site and noted that France was under pressure to hold a test somewhere other than North Africa; nevertheless it went ahead with one in Algeria in early 1960.

  • August 24, 1960

    Memorandum of Conversation, 'Nuclear Sharing'

    Secretary of Defense Gates, Acting-Secretary of State Dillon and the Atomic Energy Commissions' McCone discuss nuclear sharing with France. The French had offered full cooperation and participation in NATO in return for US Polaris submarine-launched missiles (without warhead).

  • May 08, 1961

    Department of State Cable 5245 to Embassy United Kingdom, Message from President Kennedy to Prime Minister Macmillan

    President Kennedy writes British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to discuss the implications for NATO and West German security if the US or UK assisted the French nuclear program.

  • January 31, 1962

    Research Memorandum REU-25 from Roger Hilsman to Mr. Kohler, 'European Attitudes on Independent Nuclear Capability'

    Concerns about the credibility of US nuclear deterrence generated Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Lauris Norstad’s proposal for a NATO-controlled medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) force. This lengthy report represented INR’s assessment of “present and future European interest in national or multinational nuclear weapons capabilities,” including the MRBM proposal, and the extent to which an “enhancement of NATO's nuclear role” could “deter national or multinational European nuclear weapons programs.”

  • March 01, 1962

    Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Foy Kohler, 'Secretary McNamara’s Views on Nuclear Sharing'

    Secretary of Defense McNamara and his Deputy Gilpatric discuss whether assisting the French with missile technology would advance their nuclear weapons program. They speculate that it will help indirectly, missile aid would reduce the cost of the French missile research program and those saving could be directed to warhead production.

  • March 09, 1962

    Memorandum of Telephone Message from Foy D. Kohler to Paul H. Nitze and Roswell L. Gilpatric

    Instructions for Roswell Gilpatric and Paul Nitze from Secretary of State Rusk for negotiations with the French. Among the topics which the US representatives should not discuss are missile sharing and a common Western nuclear force.

  • May 28, 1962

    Memorandum by Edward Biegel, Bureau of Western European Affairs, 'WE Answers to the Ball Questionnaire'

    Edward Biegel of the Bureau of Western European Affairs answers Undersecretary Ball's questions on French nuclear ambitions and Western European collective security. He makes the arguments against nuclear sharing, and also mentions the fact that a Baltimore Sun article likely alerted the Soviets to the fact that the US deployed tactical nuclear weapons on the German front.

  • May 22, 1963

    Research Memorandum RFE-40 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Acting Secretary, 'A French Nuclear Testing Site in the Pacific? – Plans and Repercussions'

    France’s staging of atmospheric and underground tests in Algeria became increasingly untenable when neighboring African countries protested and even temporarily broke diplomatic relations with Paris. Once Algeria became independent in 1962, French authorities made plans to develop a test site in Polynesia.

  • 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.

  • August 08, 1963

    Memorandum from Under Secretary of State George W. Ball to President Kennedy, 'A Further Nuclear Offer to General De Gaulle'

    Undersecretary Ball outlines for President Kennedy the reasons why assisting the French nuclear program is not in America's interests. It suggests that De Gaulle would only accept assistance if there were no political conditions attached, and to do so would jeopardize US interests in Europe and NATO.

  • April 20, 1964

    National Security Action Memorandum, NSAM 294, McGeorge Bundy to Secretary of State, 'US Nuclear and Strategic Delivery System Assistance to France'

    Bundy explains that, according to policy, the U.S. is opposed to the development of nuclear forces by other states except those approved by NATO. Thus, the U.S. is not to aid French nuclear development, and this document calls for specific technical guidelines to be developed for the agencies in the government to prevent France from receiving any such aid.

  • December 31, 1968

    National Intelligence Estimate, NIE 22-68, 'French Nuclear Weapons and Delivery Capabilities'

    The French nuclear program had been of great concern to US presidents during the 1960s because Paris had defied US pressure and was also suspected of supporting proliferation by aiding the Israeli nuclear program. This recently declassified estimate, prepared at the close of the Johnson administration, gives a picture of a program that was slowing down because of internal financial and economic problems, in part by the impact of the May 1968 student and worker uprising.

  • April 15, 1969

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to President Nixon, 'Guidance to State and Defense Department on Our Attitude Toward Military Cooperation with the French'

    Kissinger informs Nixon of a discussion he had with British Defense Minister Denis Healey about French/U.S. military cooperation. Kissinger has told Healey that the French have not approached the U.S., and that any decision to aid France would have to be heavily weighed beforehand. Kissinger and Healey have agreed to inform one another should he be approached for such assistance by France in the future.

  • May 15, 1969

    Rajya Sabha Q&A on Indo-French talks regarding nuclear collaboration.

    Transcript of questions and answers between members of the Rajya Sabha and the Minister of Atomic Energy, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, on the New Delhi talks with French Minister of Atomic and Space Research on the peaceful use of atomic energy.