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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • September 29, 1977

    One Hundred and Ninety-Eighth Plenary Meeting of the Twenty First International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna (Statement by South African Rep. to the IAEA von Schirnding)

    Record of the 198th Plenary Meeting of the 21st International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference held in Vienna, including a statement by South African Representative to the IAEA, von Schirnding. Von Schirnding discusses the Agency's achievements and failutres over its twenty years of existence. He also discusses South Africa's own nuclear energy program, stating that the country does not intend to develop nuclear weapons.

  • January 21, 1979

    US Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, 'The 22 September 1979 Event'

    Forwarded to Ralph Earle, Director of US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The Interagency Intelligence Memorandum on the 22 September 1979 explosion, or Vela Incident, concludes that it was a nuclear explosion.

  • November 26, 1979

    International Technology Office, Los Alamos National Laboratory, ITO-79-155, '22 September 1979 Event Report Draft'

    This Los Alamos study is another in the series of report and studies of the Vela event performed by US intelligence agencies, the national labs, and contractors.

  • December, 1979

    Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2013 Release]

    This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2013 release (which is currently under appeal) includes some information from a “Secret Test by Others” (Pakistan, India) and the map on page 12 that had not been released before.

  • December, 1979

    Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2004 Release]

    This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2004 version, in some instances, contains more information through page 10 than the 2013 version.

  • December 11, 1980

    Letter from US Naval Research Lab Director Alan Berman on Hydroacoustic Evidence on the Vela incident

    Alan Berman writes to US Office of Science and Technology Policy senior advisor John Marcum on hydroacoustic evidence on the Vela incident. Based on sounds recorded, it appeared that a large explosion occurred south of Ascension Island.

  • March 20, 1981

    Report, South African Department of Foreign Affairs, 'South African-United States' Nuclear Relations'

    Background on US-South African nuclear relations and uranium cooperation from the end of the Second World War to the early 1980s. Also addressed is the Vela incident of September 1979 and the international community’s backlash against the South African government.

  • November 08, 2019

    The VELA Incident: A Statement Written by Dr. Alan Berman

    A statement written by Dr. Alan Berman about the 1979 VELA Incident.

  • November 21, 2019

    Richard L. Garwin, 'More from a Ruina-panel Member'

    Accounts and memories of the 1979 VELA Incident and the Ruina Panel put together by Richard L. Garwin.

  • November 22, 2019

    Leonard Weiss, 'My Involvement with the 1979 Vela Satellite (6911) Event'

    Statement made by Leonard Weiss about his memories of the 1979 VELA Incident.