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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Nuclear Proliferation

Documents on the history of nuclear proliferation, the arms race, and disarmament efforts. See also the related collections in the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, US Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missile, US Army)

  • November 09, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Netherlands cable 6352 to State Department

    Dutch response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear development, agreeing to cooperate fully. Foreign Minister van der Klaauw also express concern about less developed countries ("LDCs") that consider non-proliferation discriminatory.

  • November 09, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Japan cable 19874 to State Department

    Japanese response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear development, describing recent discussions between Pakistan and Japan that touched on nuclear issues.

  • November 09, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Austria cable 10233 to State Department

    Austrian response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear development, agreeing to cooperate fully.

  • November 13, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistan Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Spain Cable 13257 to State Department

    British ambassador's meeting with Spanish Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs to discuss the UK demarche on inverter exports. Under Secretary agrees to cooperate and block all loopholes.

  • November 13, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Belgium cable 21508 to State Department

    Belgian response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear developement, agreeing to cooperate fully.

  • November 14, 1978

    'Achieving USG Nonproliferation Objectives in Pakistan,' US Embassy Pakistan Cable 1119 to State Department

    U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan advises against informing the Indian government about U.S. concerns over Pakistan's nuclear program. It would have an "adverse impact" for the U.S. government to be seen colluding with India by Pakistan.

  • November 17, 1978

    'Achieving USG Nonproliferation Objectives in Pakistan,' US Embassy India Cable 17682

    U.S. Ambassador to India reports that the Indian government is aware that the U.S. believes Pakistan seeks nuclear weapons capability. An Indian diplomat informed him that Pakistan was two to three years away from nuclear capability.

  • November 17, 1978

    'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Switzerland cable 5836 to State Department

    Swiss response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear development, agreeing to cooperate fully.

  • November 18, 1978

    'Pakistan Proliferation Problem,' Department of State Cable 292469 to US Embassy United Kingdom

    Discussion of a British list of countries that were actual or potential manufacturers of inverters. The U.S. does not want to approach any "nuclear threshold states" yet because some might not cooperate or might inform Pakistan. Also discusses strategies for approaching the Soviet Union and China in the future.

  • November 21, 1978

    US Embassy Stockholm Cable 4662 to State Department, 'UK Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant'

    Cable from U.S. Embassy in Stockholm debating Swedish responsiveness to U.S. and British demarches on inverters and reprocessing technology. It was an open question whether the Swedes were putting inverters on their trigger list and the U.S. would stay in touch with their British colleagues.

  • November 22, 1978

    'Pakistan Reprocessing Plant,' Department of State Cable 285178 to US Embassy Paris

    French officials hope to avoid a confrontation with Pakistan and want to maintain dialogue until it is clear whether Bhutto will be executed. French civil engineers are working at the Chasma plant site and keeping the French government informed of the situation.

  • November 24, 1978

    'Pakistan Proliferation Problem,' US Embassy United Kingdom Cable 19322 to Department of State

    Britain agrees with U.S. thinking on the matter of State Department cable 292469, except on its approach to the Soviet Union. Britain decided not to approach the Soviets because they were unsure whether Moscow’s “commitment to nonproliferation outweighs their special political interests vis-à-vis Pakistan.”

  • December 14, 1978

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'The autumn sessions of NATO Ministers of Defense meetings (Eurogroup: 4th December; DPC 5th-6th December 1978)'

    The 1978 fall sessions of the Eurogroup and the Defense Planning Committee discussed the Alliance's reaction to new nuclear capabilities of the Soviet Union and conventional build up of the Warsaw Pact. Even though the NATO states acknowledge that the Soviet Union will not be able to maintain its current efforts due to its economic problems, 1980s are seen as posing risks to the current peace.

  • May 17, 1979

    Ciphered Telegram No. 49, Embassy of Hungary in Pakistan to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on the Pakistani nuclear program

    The Hungarian Embassy in Pakistan reports that according to the Soviet Ambassador in Pakistan, the Pakistani government was able, in 1979, to build a nuclear explosive device within one and a half years. In the view of the Soviet ambassador, because of the perceived inevitability of a Pakistani test, the socialist bloc must consider means of stopping the Pakistani nuclear program.

  • October, 1979

    Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI-IIM 79-100213, 'Iraq’s Nuclear Interests, Programs, and Options'

    This report found “no hard evidence” that Iraq was intent on a nuclear weapons capability. Nevertheless, considering the scope of Iraq’s “ambitious” nuclear program, intelligence analysts concluded that the Baath regime was covertly seeking a weapons capability to support its pursuit of regional hegemony and to match the perceived Israeli nuclear threat.

  • November 16, 1979

    Rinaldo Petrignani, NATO Deputy Secretary General), Speech to the Atlantic Council's Seminar of Study, Cini Foundation; Venezia, 15th-17th November 1970, 'NATO, Western Europe's security and the issue of SS-20 missiles'

    Vice Secretary General of NATO Rinaldo Petrignani sends PM Giulio Andreotti a report from the meeting of the Italian Atlatic Committee regarding Western European security situation and the threat posed by political and military modernization in the Soviet Union, and in particular, the introduction of SS20 missiles.

  • December, 1979

    Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2013 Release]

    This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2013 release (which is currently under appeal) includes some information from a “Secret Test by Others” (Pakistan, India) and the map on page 12 that had not been released before.

  • December, 1979

    Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2004 Release]

    This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2004 version, in some instances, contains more information through page 10 than the 2013 version.

  • February, 1980

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Special Project Division, 'Proliferation Analysis and International Assessments'

    This issue of Proliferation Analysis and International Assessments includes a heavily excised article on Iraq, a piece on South Africa’s security prospects, and a apparently a third essay that has been wholly exempted. The essay on South Africa’s nuclear aims suggests that the arguments pro and con for a nuclear capability to deal with regional security threats are so powerful that “internal political and bureaucratic” consideration are probably more relevant for nuclear decisions.

  • April 30, 1980

    Ciphered Telegram No. 68, Embassy of Hungary in Pakistan to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Short analysis of Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq's upcoming visits to China and North Korea, with discussion of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Pakistan's nuclear program.