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Digital Archive International History Declassified


  • February 11, 1977

    Letter, South African Ambassador to the United States, 'The House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa'

    The South African Ambassador to the United States writes about the reorganization of Congressional committees in Washington. The Ambassador is concerned with the new Subcommittee on Africa that is to travel to South Africa soon. It contains a number of vocal opponents to the Pretoria regime and three black members, most prominently Charles Diggs.

  • June 02, 1977

    Letter, South African Ambassador to the United States, 'US Policy on Foreign Military Sales'

    The South African Ambassador to the United States analyzes the new arms control policies under the Carter Administration.

  • June 18, 1977

    SWAPO Press Statement, Delivered by D.T. Tjongarero at an Impromptu Press Conference in Windhoek

    Press statement by SWAPO accusing the West of stalling the UN resolution for Namibian independence, and of working with South Africa to exploit Namibia. Questions whether some aspects of the resolution have been ignored or discussed without consultation of Namibia.

  • August, 1977

    Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence, Office of Scientific Intelligence, 'South African Uranium Enrichment Program'

    With South Africa’s status as a pariah state, its nuclear program was a thorny problem for a series of U.S. presidents. In August 1977, the Carter administration, working with the Soviet Union, lodged protests against South Africa’s apparent preparations for a nuclear test, forcing a shut-down of the Kalahari test site if not the entire nuclear program itself. Indeed the CIA’s analysis of South Africa’s innovative “aerodynamic” uranium enrichment plant at Valindaba brought it to the conclusion that South Africa would be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium “to make several nuclear devices per year.”

  • August 10, 1977

    Letter, Warren Christopher to William Hyland, 'Response to Soviet Message on South Africa'

    This draft reply to Leonid Brezhnev's August 1977 message to Jimmy Carter on the suspicious site in the Kalahari Desert includes a number of interesting points, among them a request for the "geographic coordinates, size, configuration, and exact nature of the facility." Presumably this information would be used by the US to better target its reconnaissance satellites on the site.

  • August 18, 1977

    Letter, US Ambassador Bowlder to South African Foreign Minister Botha

    Message from U.S. Ambassador Bowdler to the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Botha in which President Carter’s warning that the detonation of a South African nuclear device would have “most serious consequences” for U.S.-South African relations was conveyed.

  • August 18, 1977

    South African Ambassador to France, 'Unofficial Translation of French Aide-Memoire'

    Statement from the French embassy in South Africa reaffirming their position that South Africa not pursue a nuclear weapon. Specifically, France sought a clear statement from the South African government that they not "endow [themselves] with means of proceeding with nuclear explosions” or risk continued French-South African cooperation in several areas.

  • August 19, 1977

    Letter, US Secretary of State Vance to South African Foreign Minister Botha

    US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance explains the evidence which lead the US to suspect that South Africa was developing nuclear weapons and developing a testing site in the Kalahari Desert.

  • August 22, 1977

    World Conference for Action Against Apartheid, Lagos, 22-26 August 1977, Supplement to Brief No. A7 (Nuclear Questions): Soviet Allegations About South African Nuclear Weapons Development

    Memorandum on UK position at Lagos Conference on Apartheid about Soviet allegations of South African nuclear weapons development.

  • August 23, 1977

    Telegram from South African Embassy in the US on President Carter’s Press Conference on the Kalahari Nuclear Test Site

    The South African Embassy in the US reports to the South African Foreign Ministry on President Carter’s press conference on the kalahari nuclear test site and related US media coverage. Carter called on the South African government to place their nuclear programs under international safeguards and monitoring and cease attempts to develop and explosive device.

  • August 24, 1977

    Extract from Speech by the South African Prime Minister at Congress of the National Party of Cape Province

    Extract from a speech during which South African Prime Minister Vorster discusses Soviet allegations that South Africa has developed a nuclear bomb.

  • August 24, 1977

    Telegram from South African Mission in New York to Department of Foreign Affairs on the New York Times Editorial 'Rumors, Not Bombs in South Africa'

    Summary of New York Times editorial regarding Carter's press conference on South Africa's alleged development of nuclear weapons.

  • August 26, 1977

    Cable, South African Department of Foreign Affairs, 'South Africa: Nuclear Bomb Charges'

    South African department of Foreign Affairs cable to its embassies addressing the Soviet charge that South Africa is on the precipice of developing a nuclear bomb. The message states that South Africa has no intentions of developing a weapon, that the Kalahari facility is not being used to test explosives, and that “there will not be any nuclear explosive testing of any kind in South Africa.” Attached is a copy of the Prime Ministers’ 24 August 1977 speech in Cape Town.

  • August 30, 1977

    Telegram, Statement by South African Finance Minister O.P.F. Horwood on South Africa's Nuclear Intentions

    In a statement Horwood said that South Africa's nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, but that if it choose to, the country would make the decision to develop weapons "according to its own needs and it alone would make the decision."

  • August 31, 1977

    Cable from South African Embassy in the US to the South African Secretary for Foreign Affairs on South Africa and the Bomb

    Telegram from the South African embassy in Washington to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Pretoria in response to a Washington Post article which alleged that South African had developed an untested nuclear weapon and became "the seventh nuclear power even though it will not be recognized as such." The conclusion drawn is that the article will lead to a watershed moment in South Africa’s international relations.

  • September, 1977

    Draft Letter to B. Cardledge on Conversation with US Deputy Undersecretary of State Joseph Nye on South African Nuclear Intentions

    Nye stated that at present the United States preferred to "concentrate on pressing South Africa to adhere to the NPT rather than continuing to enquire about the nature of the Kalahari facility." The State Department assessment was that while South Africa was capable of building a bomb at short notice, they did not actually plan to test one at this time.

  • September, 1977

    Report, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Special Projects Division, 'South Africa: Motivations and Capabilities for Nuclear Proliferation'

    This report for the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) pointed to downsides of US and international pressures against pariah or otherwise beleaguered states such as South Africa and Israel and against would-be nuclear proliferants. They might cooperate to advance their goals.

  • September 08, 1977

    Letter from J.S. Wall to Bryan Cartledge, 'South African Nuclear Intentions'

    J.S. Wall of the UK Foreign and Commonweath Office reports on a conversation with David Aaron of the US National Security Council on concerns about South Africa's possible nuclear testing facility in the Kalahari desert.

  • September 13, 1977

    Memorandum from C.L.G. Mallaby of the UK Arms Control and Disarmament Department, 'South Africa and the Non-Proliferation Treat'

    Mallaby outlines the UK position on South African accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • September 19, 1977

    Telegram from South African Embassy in Washington to the Department of Foreign Affairs Summarizing a Washington Star Newspaper Article on 'South Africa and the Bomb'

    Summary of Washington Star newspaper article on Carter administration concerns that South Africa was developing nuclear weapons.