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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • March 26, 1954

    Molotov's Proposal that the USSR Join NATO, March 1954

    In this memorandum to the Soviet Presidium, Foreign Minister Molotov proposes that the Soviet Union publicly state its willingness to consider joining NATO. He explains that the proposal is intended to disrupt the formation of the European Defense Community and the rearmament of West Germany, and also limit the United State's influence in Europe.

  • July 17, 1954

    Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Anthony Eden

    Eden assures Zhou that the US has no intention of establishing military bases in Indochina, and that although it has not been suggested that Cambodia and Laos join the Southeast Asian Pact, such an agreement would not threaten China. Zhou expresses concern over the pact, and suggests another model for peace in Indochina. The two debate over these issues.

  • July 11, 1960

    Letter from MAE to GA on Polaris Issue

    Note for MD Andreotti concerning deployment of Polaris on Italian ships

  • October 29, 1960

    Ten-Year Strategy Report by the General Staff of Defense (SMD) on Military problems of NATO to Minister of Defense Andreotti

    This ten-year strategy report created by the SMD is about perspectives and problems that NATO should face in developing a military strategy. Topics: French nuclear strategy; NATO tactical and strategic nuclear weapons; the relevance of conventional weapons; possible improvement in the decision to use nuclear weapons; nuclear cooperation and integration in NATO countries.

  • December 21, 1960

    Report to Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Segni

    Praise for Paul-Henri Spaak in helping NATO unify Western Europe and integrate the Allied states’ economic, political, and military objectives in their ongoing struggle against the Soviet Union.

  • March 22, 1961

    Message by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Political Affairs and Security (DGAP), 'American attitude toward NATO - German opinions'

    Letter expressing Germany’s opinion that the defense of Europe is impossible without using nuclear weapons as an intimidation tactic and horror at the United States’ suggestion that Europe can defend itself with conventional weapons alone. Defense of Germany should be NATO’s top priority because if Germany falls, the rest of Europe falls. The letter also references NATO’s difficulty in developing a cohesive strategy because each country is too concerned with protecting its own territories and assets.

  • April 01, 1961

    Memorandum by Admiral Corrado Tagliamonte to the Minister of Defense, 'American attitude toward NATO. President Kennedy's declarations'

    Report submitted to the Italian Minister of Defense regarding President Kennedy’s opinion that NATO should not construct a special nuclear force since the US has already developed a nuclear deterrent. According to the Kennedy, the creation of an additional deterrent would be useless and a waste of resources.

  • April 08, 1961

    Memorandum by the Aeronautical Attaché and the Military Attaché in Washington, 'USA. President Kennedy's message to Congress on the Defense budget 1961-1962'

    Description of NATO’s new directives for the 1961-1962 year, as they were presented by President Kennedy. NATO has decided on a comprehensive defense strategy which includes increasing the nuclear capabilities of submarines, airplanes, and long-range missiles while developing new non-nuclear weapons.

  • April 27, 1961

    Message by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Political Affairs and Security (DGAP), 'NATO strategy. Conversation between our Ambassador in London and Lord Home'

    Letter recounting a meeting between the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the British Foreign Secretary regarding NATO’s weapons development. Nuclear weapons should never be employed unless absolutely necessary and instead serve as an intimidation tactic to deter Soviet aggression. The necessity of increasing NATO’s arsenal of conventional weapons to match that of the Soviets was also stressed.

  • April 28, 1961

    Memorandum by General Staff of Defense (SMD) for Minister of Defense Andreotti, 'Chief of staff's visit to the US'

    Report of the head of the Italian defense department’s recent trip to the United States. Of importance was the discussion of NATO’s long-term plan (ten to fifteen years), the strategic defense of the Balkans, the maintenance of the United States’ NATO forces in Europe, and the need to push development of conventional weapons to avoid having to employ nuclear weapons.

  • May 01, 1961

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Procedure for the decision to use nuclear weapons'

    In the use of nuclear weapons for a purpose other than response to an attack, NATO members must reach a majority agreement rather than a unanimous vote. Furthermore, this majority vote must include the United States.

  • May 01, 1961

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Political consultation'

    This letter outlines the problems NATO faces as relations between member and non-member countries are complicated by conflicting interests. Not only is NATO struggling externally to play the field between free and communist countries in forming its alliances, but also internally to reconcile the different objectives of imperialist and non-imperialist countries and form a cohesive defense strategy.

  • May 01, 1961

    Note, 'US strategic orientations; consequences on NATO strategy'

    The document presents the argument that nuclear weapons can and should be employed even in cases where they are not absolutely necessary because the cost of developing and maintaining conventional weapons is too high. Therefore, NATO should consider raising its ‘nuclear threshold’ to allow more atomic weapons to be developed in Europe and in the United States.

  • May 02, 1961

    Memorandum by General Staff of Defense (SMD) for Minister of Defense Andreotti

    Document announcing the official abandonment of the policy of massive retaliation as a "deterrence" strategy. Opinion of the Italian senior minister of defense regarding the need for a more flexible NATO defense strategy in order to respond to any type of act of aggression is also presented.

  • May 08, 1961

    Department of State Cable 5245 to Embassy United Kingdom, Message from President Kennedy to Prime Minister Macmillan

    President Kennedy writes British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to discuss the implications for NATO and West German security if the US or UK assisted the French nuclear program.

  • May 15, 1961

    Telegram by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Political Affairs and Security (DGAP) to Minister of Defense, 'Opinion sharing between Brosio-Acheson on NATO nuclear weaponry '

    This document is related to Brosi's discussion with Acherson on NATO nuclear weaponry and strategy. Brosio underlines how the American nuclear strategy is rejected by European countries. Most of them are skeptical and take distance from Americans' willingness to use nuclear weapon against their enemies. In this sense, Acherson as representative of the American government, is ready to discuss the topic at a multilateral level.

  • May 15, 1961

    Message by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Political Affairs and Security (DGAP), 'Conversation Brosio-Acheson. NATO's nuclear weapons'

    Report on the United States’ development of nuclear weapons plans without consulting other NATO members and an analysis of the tensions between the United States (particularly Acheson and Herter) and Western Europe in regards to who should lead the nuclear weapons program.

  • June 14, 1961

    Report by Permanent Representative to NATO Alessandrini to Minister of Foreign Affairs Segni

    Alessandrini writes regarding the Minister Of Foreign Affairs speech on the problems of NATO's military, including its nuclear strategy. Despite the assurances of the United States, Europeans fear of having to fight conventional Soviet forces.

  • June 14, 1961

    Report by Permanent Representative to NATO Alessandrini to Minister of Foreign Affairs Segni

    Report on the imbalance between nuclear and conventional weapons in NATO’s defense program. The Allied powers have reduced their production of planes and ships in favor of nuclear weapons development, which worries Alessandrini because conventional weapons have not decreased in importance since the start of the Cold War.

  • September 05, 1961

    Ministry of the Interior Bulletin on Anti-Bulgarian Activity of Greece and Turkey

    The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports its intelligence findings on the military cooperation between the US, Greece and Turkey.