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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June 07, 1981

    NSC Discussion Paper: Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Cooperation

    On 7 June 1981, the day of the Osirak raid, a policy paper composed by the ‘Senior Interagency Group on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Cooperation’ (SIG) was submitted to the NSC. The discussion paper crowned the administration’s nonproliferation efforts as a “key foreign policy objective” and called to revise the 1978 NNPA.

  • June 07, 1981

    "Attack on the Iraqi Nuclear Research Centre"

    After the raid Israel initiated a PR campaign, explaining its reasoning behind the attack. Following this campaign, the second causality of the raid, in addition to Iraq’s reactor, was the credibility of the IAEA. And its officials staged their own counter campaign.

  • June 09, 1981

    Memo to Richard V. Allen from Raymond Tanter, Subject: Israel's air strike on Iraq's nuclear facility

    The NSC’s Raymond Tanter recommended a “middle course of action,” one which would distance Washington from the strike “while avoiding extreme measures designed to punish Israel.”

  • June 09, 1981

    Memo for Richard V. Allen from Douglas J. Feith subject the Israeli raid on Iraqi nuclear facility

    NSC staffer Douglas J. Feith took the internal debate on the legitimacy of the raid a step further, stating that “no rebuke of Israel’s raid against Iraq should be issued without an equally emphatic rebuke of Iraq.” Feith’s argument was based on the fact that Iraq had continuously refused to acknowledge Israel’s existence and was officially at war with it.

  • June 09, 1981

    Telegram from Washington Embassay to Foreign Office, Subject: administration response

    Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who maintained close ties with the Israeli diplomats, told the Israeli ambassador in a phone conversation on 9 June 1981 that Israel’s action in Baghdad caused a serious complication for the U.S., reiterating that “President Reagan thinks the same”.

  • June 11, 1981

    Memo from Eugene Rostow to National Security Council meeting, Subject: Additional comment on NSC discussion paper: Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Cooperation

    ACDA Director-Designate Eugene Rostow explains his pro-Israel stance, and argues that Israel should be given an exemption from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

  • June 12, 1981

    Memo fron Walter J. Stoessel Jr to the President "Subject: U.S. strategy for UN Security Councul Meeting on the Israeli Raid on the Iraqi Nuclear Facility"

    This document outlines Haig's proposed political strategy, which was approved by Reagan on 12 June, and was constructed around the notion of red lines: Washington would harshly condemn Israel but would also “draw the line on punishment” by Israel.

  • June 15, 1981

    Memo from Walter J. Stoessel, Subject: Political Strategy for Responding to Israeli attack

    Following Lewis’ cable, and the realization that the raid should have been at least somewhat anticipated, the administration opted to develop a more restrained, sober approach towards Israel, constructing what was termed a “political strategy for responding to Israeli attack”.

  • September 15, 1981

    Memorandum for the president from Alexander M. Haig, "Subject: Secretary Haig's Evening Report"

    Instructions for the U.S. delegation to the IAEA's annual General Conference (GC) which told them to anticipate a “severe attack” against Israel by objecting “vigorously [to] suspension of technical aid.” Later on, this instruction would change, and the delegation would be instructed to leave the building should the Israeli credentials be rejected.