November 30, 1977
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information to the President, 'Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's Visit'
According to a US document left behind by Cyrus Vance, Argentina had agreed to ratify the Treaty of Tlateloco, to accept full scope safeguards and to delay the construction of a reprocessing facility in exchange for US nuclear assistance and Brazil’s acceptance of a moratorium on the construction of a reprocessing facility. Commenting the paper, Foreign Minister Silveira defines US strategy as “irresponsible” and considers it as an encouragement to the rivalry and confrontation between Argentina and Brazil.
January 10, 1978
National Intelligence Daily Cable, NIDC 78/007C, 'Argentina: No Treaty Ratification'
This CIA bulletin notes the failure of U.S.-Argentine nuclear negotiations after Cyrus Vance’s visit to Argentina in December 1977. The U.S. proposed to supply highly enriched uranium for Argentina’s reactor exported to Peru, as well as to approve of a heavy water plant from Canada and asked in exchange for the Argentine ratification of the Tlatelolco Treaty as well as the deferral of their spent-fuel reprocessing plans.
April 05, 1978
Telegram from the Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires to the Foreign Ministry, 'External Policy. Argentina. Nuclear non-proliferation. Issue no. 132.'
This telegram made by the Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires, verifies U.S. pressure on Argentina’s nuclear program, especially through Canada, with whom Argentina had a strategic partnership in the nuclear field. The telegram goes into depth on factors that underlie Argentina's decision not to sign the NPT, and its efforts to import the materials necessary for its nuclear program.
August 20, 1979
Memorandum DEM/89, Luiz Augosto de Castro Neves, Deputy Chief of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, 'Brazil-Argentina. Possibilities for Nuclear Cooperation'
Conversations between Counselor Raul Estrada Oyuela, from the Argentine Embassy in Brasilia, and Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, Deputy Chief of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of Itamaraty, on the possibility of nuclear cooperation between Brazil and Argentina.
August 23, 1979
Memorandum, Héctor A. Subiza, Head of the Latin American Department of the Argentinian Foreign Ministry, 'Cooperation with Brazil in the Nuclear Field.'
In this memo, the Latin American department of the Argentine Foreign Ministry conveys its opinion on the Brazilian interest in including the nuclear issue in the agenda of the Special Brazilian-Argentine Committee on Cooperation (CEBAC), that the issue should be subordinated to the solution of the question of Itaipu.
December 10, 1979
Memorandum DEM/132 by Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, Deputy Chief of Energy and Mineral Resources, for the Head of the Department of Economy, 'Possible Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Cooperation'
The document highlights the possibilities and advantages of a nuclear cooperation agreement between Buenos Aires and Brasília, particularly after the dispute over the Itaipu dam and the visit of the president of CNEA, Castro Madero, to Brazil. In the last two pages of the document, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, João Clemente Baena Soares, Foreign Minister Saraiva Guerreiro and President Figueiredo react positively and they agree to invite Admiral Castro Madero to visit Brazil and to deepen the negotiations on nuclear cooperation.
January 28, 1980
Cable on Meeting Between CNEA President Carlos Madero and Brazilian Ambassador Carlos F. Duarte
A cable received from the Brazilian embassy in Buenos Aires, regarding the visit of Admiral Castro Madero, the president of the National Atomic Energy Commission, to Brazil. Ambassador Duarte and Madero discussed nuclear energy and the importance of an eventual cooperation agreement between Brazil and Argentina.
February 12, 1980
Telegram No. 146 from Brasília to Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires, 'Nuclear Energy. Brazil-Argentina Cooperation. Visit by President of CNEA'
The telegram reports the visit of Admiral Castro Madero to Brazil between 28 and 30 January 1980 and his meetings with the presidents of the National Nuclear Energy Commission, Nuclebrás, and with the representatives of the Ministries of Energy and Foreign Relations. During the meetings, they talked about possible areas of cooperation and the signature of an agreement.
March 23, 1980
Report from the President of Nuclebrás Paulo Nogueira Batista to Foreign Minister Saraiva Guerreiro, 'Trip to Buenos Aires'
The document reports that the presidents of CNEN, Hervásio de Carvalho, and Nuclebrás, Paulo Nogueira Batista, had an unplanned meeting with the Argentine Foreign Minister, Pastor, which said “to consider the Brazilian-Argentine understanding [in the nuclear field] a fundamental issue for a inductive strategy of strengthening political and economic stability in the region to the extent that both countries would be in a stronger position to collaborate with their neighbors”.
April 09, 1981
Special Assistant for NPI, NFAC, CIA, to Resource Management Staff, Office of Program Assessment et al, 'Request for Review of Draft Paper on the Security Dimension of Non-Proliferation'
Just a few months into President Reagan’s first term his administration wanted to make its own mark on nonproliferation policy. The report suggests building “broader bilateral relationship[s]” and offering political and security incentives could persuade states considering developing nuclear weapons to cease these efforts.
Secretary's Talking Points: US-China Relations
This is a document containing talking points for Secretary of State Alexander Haig's meeting with Deng Xiaoping. Topics addressed in the document include: Chinese exportation of uranium and heavy water to South Africa and Argentina; the intention to suspend the prohibition of arm sales to China; greater nuclear and security cooperation; the increase in Chinese arm sales to countries dependent on the Soviet Union; and the desire to open a new consulate in Shenyang.
National Intelligence Estimate, NIE-4-82, 'Nuclear Proliferation Trends Through 1987'
With proliferation becoming a “greater threat to US interests over the next five years,” intelligence analysts believed that the “disruptive aspect of the proliferation phenomenon will constitute the greater threat to the United States.” While the estimators saw “low potential” for terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons, the likelihood of terrorist/extortionist hoaxes was on the upswing. Significant portions of the NIE are excised, especially the estimate of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its impact in the Middle East. Nevertheless, much information remains on the countries of greatest concern: Iraq and Libya in the Near East, India and Pakistan in South Asia, Brazil and Argentina in Latin America, and the Republic of South Africa, as well as those of lesser concern: Iran, Egypt, Taiwan and the two Koreas.
September 01, 1982
Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 91-2-82, 'Argentina’s Nuclear Policies in Light of the Falkland’s Defeat'
Argentina, like its neighbor, Brazil, was determined to develop an “independent nuclear fuel cycle,” with the capacity to reprocess plutonium and enrich uranium. Also like Brazil, Argentina was one of the few Latin American countries to refuse to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Thus, Argentina’s nuclear activities were under routine scrutiny to see if they involved anything that suggested an interest in a weapons capability. US intelligence agencies continued to monitor developments but perspectives shifted as Argentina’s domestic politics evolved. Prepared after the Argentine-British conflict over the Falklands Islands, in which Washington helped London, this special estimate professed “great uncertainty” over Argentina’s nuclear intentions. While “emotionally” the Argentine military leadership was interested in a weapons option, it had “reduced capability to fulfill this desire.”
September 08, 1982
Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 91-2-82, 'Argentina's Nuclear Policies in Light of the Falklands Defeat'
The document reports that Argentina did not have a military component in its nuclear program and evaluates Argentina’s capacity of developing a nuclear program with military purposes.
December 13, 1982
Note from Brazilian Congressman Herbert Levy
This is a letter written by Brazilian Congressman Herbert Levy which reveals the content of his meetings with high U.S. governmental officials regarding his concern about Argentina’s nuclear activities less than a year after the Falklands/Malvinas War. In these conversations, Levy states that Argentina might develop a nuclear artifact.
January 20, 1983
Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 13/32-83, 'Chinese Policy and Practices Regarding Sensitive Nuclear Transfers'
With nuclear proliferation a policy priority for the Jimmy Carter administration, and Pakistan already a special concern, the possibility that China and Pakistan were sharing nuclear weapons-related information began was beginning to worry US government officials. These concerns did not go away during the Reagan administration. While nuclear proliferation was not a top priority, the administration was apprehensive about the implications of the spread of nuclear capabilities and that China may have been aiding and abetting some potential proliferators by selling unsafeguarded nuclear materials.
October 21, 1983
Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 93-83, 'Brazil’s Changing Nuclear Goals: Motives and Constraints'
Brazilian nationalism has often posed a challenge to US official precepts on the way the world should work and these estimates convey the deep Brasilia-Washington gap over nuclear policy during the 1980s. The SNIEs from 1983 and the 1985 update emphasize Brazil’s quest for technological-industrial autonomy which in nuclear terms meant developing an indigenous program to master the fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities. In seeking those objectives, Brazil did not want to face any constraints, and its leaders were unresponsive to U.S. or other pressures for safeguards on nuclear facilities.
July 31, 1984
Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 91/3-84, 'Argentina’s Nuclear Policies Under Alfonsin'
Almost two years after the 1982 SNIE, the military rule had collapsed and a democratically-elected government led by Raul Alfonsin was taking an unambiguous stand on nuclear weapons. In its 1984 assessment, the intelligence community was more certain about Argentina’s nuclear policies: “on the basis of discernible evidence … Argentina does not have a program to develop or test nuclear explosives.” Nevertheless, Alfonsin was unlikely to change “Argentina’s long-term efforts to achieve its goal of acquiring a full range of nuclear-fuel-cycle facilities.”