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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • July 19, 1960

    Confidential Telegram from South African Ambassador in Vienna D.B. Sole to South African Department of Foreign Affairs Official M.I. Botha on sale of Uranium to Israel.

    The South African Ambassador in Vienna Donald B. Sole responds to a message concerning the Israeli interest in purchasing uranium from South Africa. He does not think that the Israeli Minister's statement that Israeli would obey IAEA safeguards "should be taken seriously" and thus he does not believe it would be in South Africa's best interest to complete the sale.

  • July 20, 1960

    Letter from South African Ambassador A.G. Dunn to South African Department for Foreign Affairs Official M.I. Botha on the Sale of Uranium to Israel

    South African Ambassador to the United States A.G. Dunn states that the United States would not approve of South Africa selling uranium to Israel even if the contract specified that they would obey IAEA safeguards once they were implemented worldwide.

  • July 21, 1960

    Letter from South African Department for Foreign Affairs Official M.I. Botha on Sale of Uranium to Israel (excerpt)

  • March 18, 1964

    Memorandum, Executive Secretary Benjamin Read, US Department of State, 'Israel's Assurances Concerning Use of Atomic Energy'

    This memorandum from Executive Secretary Benjamin Read of the Department of State to National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy provides a valuable chronology of the US discovery of the nuclear reactor project at Dimona and the pledges made by the Israelis in response to requests from the United States. Included in the chronology is an item about a meeting on 25 May 1963 where senior French diplomat Charles Lucet told CIA director John McCone that even though the French had helped build the Dimona reactor, “there might be a nuclear complex not known the French.” Lucet further stated that the Israelis had tried to purchase “safeguard-free” uranium from Gabon but that the French government stopped the sale through preemptive purchases.

  • October 08, 1964

    Report, Canadian Defence Research Board, 'Possible Israeli Military Nuclear Program'

    After analyzing photographs taken of the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona, J. Koop, a career intelligence analyst at Canada's Defence Research Board, concluded in March 1964 that Dimona had all of the "prerequisites for commencing a modest nuclear weapons development project." When the Dimona reactor went critical, it could produce enough plutonium for at least one implosion device by the end of 1965 and increase its operating level to produce one to two per year by 1966. Arthur Kellas, a British diplomat in Israel, wrote in his forwarding letter that they were highly impressed by the analysis.

  • February 01, 1965

    Request from Department of the Prime Minister for Presidential Approval for a Bilateral Agreement on the Sale of South African Uranium to Israel

  • February 01, 1965

    Draft Agreement Between South Africa and Israel on the Application of Safeguards to the Sale of Uranium

    Contract between the governments of Israel and South Africa with terms outlining the safeguards that would be used for the sale of South African uranium to Israel. The safeguards intended to ensure that the material would be used for peaceful purposes only and none would be used "for atomic weapons or for research on or devleopment of atomic weapons or for any other military pruposes."

  • March 09, 1982

    Conversation between Erich Honecker and Yasser Arafat (Excerpt)

    This is an excerpt of a conversation which appears in full at BA-SAPMO J IV 2/201/1416. The conversation opens with the issue of French-Israeli relations. France plans to deliver a nuclear reactor to Israel to the opposition of the Arab world. Also mentioned are the deliveries of arms from the GDR to the PLO. Arafat reports on the use of chemical weapons by Israel in Lebanon. These weapons were reportedly delivered by the FRG. Israel also seems to use biological weapons. Final topics of discussion are the role of the Pope in Poland, the question of Jerusalem, and the Islamic movement in Afghanistan.

  • January 20, 1994

    Phone Interview with Edwin Kintner by Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller

    Transcript of a phone interview with Edwin Kintner by Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller. Edwin Kintner (1920-2010) was a distinguished nuclear engineer and senior staff member of the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) through the 1960s and 70s who participated in at least two US inspection teams sent to the Dimona nuclear facility. Kintner recounts how thoroughly he and his partners searched the Dimona site for evidence of plutonium reprocessing activities and expresses shock upon learning that he and his team had been fooled all along.