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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • April 20, 1964

    National Security Action Memorandum, NSAM 294, McGeorge Bundy to Secretary of State, 'US Nuclear and Strategic Delivery System Assistance to France'

    Bundy explains that, according to policy, the U.S. is opposed to the development of nuclear forces by other states except those approved by NATO. Thus, the U.S. is not to aid French nuclear development, and this document calls for specific technical guidelines to be developed for the agencies in the government to prevent France from receiving any such aid.

  • April 15, 1969

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to President Nixon, 'Guidance to State and Defense Department on Our Attitude Toward Military Cooperation with the French'

    Kissinger informs Nixon of a discussion he had with British Defense Minister Denis Healey about French/U.S. military cooperation. Kissinger has told Healey that the French have not approached the U.S., and that any decision to aid France would have to be heavily weighed beforehand. Kissinger and Healey have agreed to inform one another should he be approached for such assistance by France in the future.

  • April 22, 1969

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to William P. Rogers, US-French Military Relations

    This is a follow up of a memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon that was sent on April 15, 1969, where Nixon approved Kissinger to tell the Secretary of State the same points that were discussed in the original memorandum. Such points were that Kissinger has told Healey, British Defense Minister, that the French have not approached the U.S. for military assistance, and that any decision to aid France would have to be heavily weighed beforehand. The necessity for secrecy on these topics is stressed by Kissinger.

  • June 27, 1969

    Memorandum of Conversation between Ambassador Shriver and the National Security Council, 'Conversation with Schriver on Pompidou Visit, Military Cooperation with France, and Middle East'

    Ambassador Shriver and Kissinger discuss wanting President Pompidou to visit the U.S. soon, and the former states that he will ask President Nixon to give his opinion on this and to approve it soon. Kissinger further states that he does not know if the President wants to aid France, either militarily or by nuclear means, though he does not think it is out of the question that the President may want to do so. Finally, Kissinger notes that the U.S. does not need French aid in negotiations with the Soviets but would not be opposed to their help in talks with the Israelis.

  • January 23, 1970

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Memo from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense on Assistance to France on Ballistic Missiles'

    Helmut Sonnenfeldt informs Kissinger that France has made a direct request to the Pentagon for technical assistance with their ballistic missile program. Attached to the memo is a series of correspondence between Deputy Secretary of Defense Packard and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, John S. Foster. Foster proposed that he meet with the French Minister of Armaments.

  • February 18, 1970

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'French-US Military Relations'

    Kissinger briefs the president before his visit with Pompidou stating why the French may want a military alliance, as well as the problems associated with such an alliance due to the French attitude regarding NATO and nuclear forces. He then states the reasons why the U.S. should encourage French entry into the NPG and issues concerning joint targeting with the French. He further discusses issues of French/U.S. and French/British alliances that would be of possible interest of discussion when Pompidou visits the U.S. soon.

  • February 23, 1970

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to President Nixon, 'Summary of My Conversation with President Pompidou'

    Kissinger briefs President Nixon on his initial meeting with President Pompidou during his visit to the U.S. Pompidou told Kissinger that he wanted to discuss issues relating to the Soviets, Germany, and other defense matters. Financial issues and the establishment of a private channel of communication were other topics of interest.

  • February 24, 1970

    Memorandum of Conversation, Nixon and Pompidou

    Minutes of a conversation between President Nixon and President Pompidou during the latter's visit to the United States. Nixon states that he wants there to be good relations between the U.S. and France because, despite differences in approach, both countries share the same goals. The two countries were allies and should find common grounds for cooperation even though France wanted to maintain its independence from NATO. Pompidou points out differences with the U.S. in terms of military and nuclear capabilities, and Nixon recognizes the highly secretive nature of such talks which might lead to a better military cooperation between both countries. Next, they discussed how the Soviet Union presented problems for both countries, and that the Soviets must not be allowed to gain an advantage because of any agreements between France and the U.S. It concludes with an overview of the state of affairs with China, the U.S., and an independent France in a world that is progressing forward at a rapid pace since the end of the last war.

  • February 28, 1970

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Military Cooperation with the French'

    Sonnenfeldt writes to Kissinger concerning military issues that arouse from the talks between Nixon and Pompidou during the latter’s visit to the U.S. He proposes actions for approval concerning Laird on French requests for assistance and the U.S.-French R&D Steering Group, a rescission of NSAM-294, Goodpaster and naval force cooperation, and a back channel to Wilson. Sonnenfeldt seeks Kissinger’s approval on these points before they are to be sent to Nixon.

  • March 10, 1970

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to President Nixon, 'Follow-up Actions on Military Cooperation with the French'

    Kissinger seeks Nixon’s approval on certain points regarding military cooperation with France. He seeks and receives approval to convey a message to Goodpaster to increase theatrical and naval cooperation with France; to rescind the U.S.-French R&D Steering Committee dealing with military technology; to deal with specific French requests for military assistance via Laird; and to convey a message to Prime Minister Wilson about U.S.-French military cooperation. The end of the document is the memorandum itself to Goodpaster from Kissinger on the points approved by Nixon to be sent to him.

  • March 16, 1970

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to the Secretary of Defense, 'French Requests for Assistance in Connection with their Missile Program'

    Memorandum from Kissinger to Laird instructing the latter to draft a memorandum for the President outlining French requests for aid, keeping in mind the President’s desire to improve relations with France.

  • April 16, 1970

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Assistance to the French Ballistic Missile Program'

    Sonnenfeldt summarizes a memorandum from Secretary of Defense Laird. He lists the specific information requests the French have made, and expresses concerns about their requests for star-tracker navigation equipment and US contractor support. He recommends an exploratory meeting between John Foster and Jean Blancard, the French Ministerial Delegate for Armaments.

  • December, 1970

    Report of the National Security Council Staff, 'NSSM 100 – Military Cooperation with France (Analytical Summary)'

    A summary and critical commentary on National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 100, an issue paper on potential US military aid to France's ballistic missile program. The report describes the specific French requests for assistance, current US policy restricting such assistance, and outlines options for future cooperation. The options are subdivided into three "approaches" based on the actors involved: 1) Bilateral US-French approaches, 2) NATO-oriented approaches, 3) Anglo-French or European-oriented approaches.

  • January 09, 1971

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Interim Report on NSSM 100: US–French Military Relations'

    Sonnenfeldt describes and criticizes National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 100, an issue paper on potential US military aid to France's ballistic missile program. He states that the current version of the study "does not adequately explore" the broader policy implications of such aid, especially in regards to "the direction we wish to take in Europe in the 1970s."

  • March 19, 1971

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Decisions on Military Cooperation with France'

    Sonnenfeldt summarizes the options for providing France with more advanced computers and missile assistance, recommending "a minimal response."

  • March 25, 1971

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to President Nixon, 'Military Cooperation with France'

    Kissinger summarizes the issues and options involved in three areas of potential aid to the French: 1) advanced computers, 2) technical assistance for their ballistic missile program, and 3) nuclear safety. He makes recommendations for each of the three areas, suggesting limited assistance for the first two.

  • March 29, 1971

    National Security Decision Memorandum 103, 'Military Cooperation with France'

    Outlines President Nixon's decisions regarding France's request for military aid with their nuclear program. The restrictions on exporting advanced computers will be loosened, allowing France to import more powerful models. Limited technical assistance for their ballistic missile program will be offered, but only in areas that won't jeopardize US security or "provide France with a distinct new capability."

  • April 08, 1971

    Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry A. Kissinger, 'Follow-up on Military Cooperation with France'

    Sonnenfeldt reports on issues with implementing the decisions made in NSDM 103 and 104 to offer military aid to France. Information was leaked to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy about the offer of more advanced computers and technical assistance with France's ballistic missile program. The Department of State had not yet informed the French and was waiting on various decision to be made. The issues of whether or not to inform the British was also raised.

  • April 15, 1971

    Memorandum from Henry A. Kissinger to Melvin R. Laird and William P. Rogers, 'Military Cooperation with France, NSDM’s 103 and 104'

    Kissinger sends a follow up memorandum to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense regarding NSDM 103 and 104, on military assistance to the French nuclear program. Kissinger reiterates the classified nature of these decisions to offer aid and instructs them to inform the French "as soon as possible." They must also prepare guidelines for use in the event that the assistance becomes public.

  • April 27, 1971

    Letter from Henry A. Kissinger to John S. Foster Jr., Memos and Letters on Offers to French of Military Cooperation

    Memorandum and letters confirming that the French have been informed of the United States' offers of military assistance with their nuclear program.