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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • July 14, 1970

    Memorandum from Melvin R. Laird to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Assistance to the French Ballistic Missile Program'

    Summary of John Foster's exploratory talks with the French. They asked for assistance with both their land-based IRBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

  • May 25, 1971

    Letter from David Packard to Henry A. Kissinger, Possible US Assistance to the French Ballistic Missile Program

    Packard describes Foster and Blancard's meeting to discuss US assistance to the French ballistic missile program, stating that it "went exceedingly well." Blancard was appreciative of the US's assistance and understood the limitations that had been set. The next step would be a visit to France of top level personnel from US nuclear projects.

  • July 27, 1973

    Memorandum of Conversation with Robert Galley, July 27, 1973

    Transcript of a conversation between French Minister of Armed Forces Galley and U.S. officials, including Kissinger and Schlesinger. Galley says that the French are making progress and have benefited from their talks with Foster. Kissinger notes that the U.S. has a “cooperative spirit” with regards to French foreign policy. Galley notes the advances that have been made by the French and asks for aid with modernization of their forces to bring the French to the same level as the U.S., specifically in regards to missile hardening, underground testing, and submarines, among others. Kissinger notes that now that the French have missile technology, it is in the best interest of the U.S. that it be effective and not become irrelevant, but there is strong opposition not only from abroad but at home, as well. Kissinger wants to know how long the French can keep their advances a secret, and Galley notes that many things have already been kept secret and can continue to be kept as such. They end the discussion with talks about meeting again sometime in August.

  • August 31, 1973

    Memorandum of Conversation with Robert Galley, August 31, 1973

    Discussion between Galley and Blancard with Kissinger, Foster and Sonnenfeldt held in secret. Kissigner wishes to give the strategic assessment of France followed by Foster’s specific observances. Kissinger notes that the Soviets are expanding rapidly, and there is a need for a warning system. They discuss the importance of building up a deterrent, and the U.S. thinks it is feasible to assist the French in this regard. The French are asking for clarifications and information on MIRV and MRV. Kissinger discusses how these exchanges are not going through the normal channels, stressing the need for secrecy, though Congressional approval may be needed for some points, and they conclude by setting up a time for Foster to come to France.