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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • December 07, 1959

    C. L. Marshall, Director, Division of Classification, to A. A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, 'Cooperation in the Field of Gas Centrifuge'

    US Atomic Energy Commission classification director C. L. Marshall explains to international affairs director A. A. Wells that the design for the gas centrifuge must be classified for fear of providing an “unfriendly nation” a low-energy consuming method for “the separation of heavy isotopes…an important part of a [nuclear] weapons program.”

  • February 19, 1960

    A.A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, to Philip J. Farley, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Disarmament and Atomic Energy, 'Control of and Cooperation in Gas Centrifuge Research and Development Program'

    The development of the gas centrifuge method, according to this report, would make production of U-235 (and by extension, nuclear weapons) possible for as many as 20-30 foreign countries. The U.S. is thus forced to consider its strategy for how to limit proliferation despite this new, cheap technology.

  • March 23, 1960

    Philip J. Farley, special Assistant to the Secretary of State, to Algie A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, Atomic Energy Commission, 'Control of and Cooperation in Gas Centrifuge Research and Development Program'

    As West Germany and The Netherlands developed ultra-centrifuges without a classification policy, the AEC discuss ways to keep the technology under wraps without arousing suspicion from the other members of Euratom.

  • June 11, 1963

    A.A. Wells, Director of Office of International Affairs, AEC, to Dr. Ragnar Rollefson, Director, Office of International Scientific Affairs, 'Reported Franco-German Cooperation in Development of the French Gaseous Diffusion Efforts'

    In this memorandum, Wells reported on comments that West German Minister for Scientific Research Hans Lenz made during a meeting at the Atomic Energy Convention. Noting that West Germany had been holding talks with the French and EURATOM about building a reprocessing plant at Karlsruhe, Lenz “implied that this proposal quite likely had resulted in reports that Germany might be undertaking a cooperative program with France in the development of their gaseous diffusion plant at Pierrelatte.” Lenz then reaffirmed West Germany's commitment to the 1955 Brussels Treaty pledge, declaring that West Germany would not initiate action to develop military applications of atomic energy.