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May 18, 1974

US Embassy India Cable 6598 to State Department, 'India’s Nuclear Explosion: Why Now?'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

Having written off an early test, the day that it took place the Embassy scrambled to come up with an explanation. Deputy Chief of Mission David Schneider signed off on the telegram because Moynihan was in London. While the Embassy had no insight on the decision-making, it saw domestic politics and “psychological” explanations for the test: the need to offset domestic “gloom” and the need for India to “be taken seriously.” According to the telegram, “the decision will appeal to nationalist feeling and will be widely welcomed by the Indian populace.”

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Access to Archival Databases (AAD), National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 59, Central Foreign Policy File, document number 1974NEWDE06598. Obtained and contributed by William Burr and included in NPIHP Research Update #4.


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