May 18, 1974
State Department cable 104613 to Consulate, Jerusalem, 'India Nuclear Explosion'
The day of the test, State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) rushed to update Kissinger. INR provided background on what had happened, how the United States and Canada had inadvertently helped India produce plutonium for the test device, earlier U.S. and Canadian demarches against “peaceful nuclear explosions,” and India’s capabilities to produce and deliver nuclear weapons. The report did not state whether India had made a decision to produce weapons, but it forecast that two large unsafeguarded reactors under construction could eventually “produce enough plutonium for 50-70 nuclear weapons.”
June 03, 1974
National Security Decision Memorandum 255, Henry Kissinger to Secretary of Defense et al., 'Security and Other Aspects of the Growth and Dissemination of Nuclear Power Industries'
This memo states that the President has read the report by the NSC Under Secretaries Committee and approved the recommended consultations with other countries. In the memo, Henry Kissinger endorsed consultations with suppliers to establish “common principles regarding the supply of sensitive enrichment technology or equipment” and encouraging multinational frameworks for “enrichment, fuel fabrication, and reprocessing facilities,” among other measures.
June 18, 1974
Memorandum of Conversation, 'Indian Nuclear Explosion; World Food Conference; Pacific Coast Tankers; NATO Declaration; Middle East; Trade Bill'
Canada’s safeguards had failed to prevent India from converting spent fuel from the CANDU reactor into plutonium. Kissinger acknowledged to Canadian Foreign Minister Mitchell Sharp that U.S. safeguards had also proven to be “lousy,” failing to prevent India from using U.S.-supplied heavy water for its nuclear activities. Sharp asked Kissinger how the proliferation of nuclear technology could be prevented and what should be said to the Argentines and the Egyptians, who were also seeking to use nuclear energy. But Kissinger evidently had no answer.
July 04, 1974
Memorandum from Helmut Sonnenfeldt to Henry Kissinger, 'US-French Military Cooperation'
Sonnenfeldt describes for Secretary Kissinger the state of US-French relations after a schism developed in the wake of the 1973 October War, and what impact this would have on the two countries' nuclear cooperation.
July 07, 1974
Memorandum of Conversation Energy; North Sea Oil; Foreign Assistance; Nuclear Non-Proliferation; CSCE; Trade Bill
Near the end of a discussion with British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan, Kissinger realized he needed to tackle the problem of nuclear exports and asked his aide, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, to arrange a staff meeting.
August 02, 1974
The Secretary's Analytical Staff Meeting on Non-Proliferation
Kissinger presided over an important staff meeting in early August where he made a decision to go ahead with the suppliers’ project, beginning with approaches to Moscow and Paris. While noting that the U.S., as a sponsor of the NPT, had a “special responsibility” to curb nuclear proliferation, Kissinger did not believe that it had a unique responsibility
August 26, 1974
Memorandum to the Secretary of State from Fred Ikle and Winston Lord, 'U.S. Policy on Nuclear Proliferation'
While U.S. nonproliferation strategy focused on several problems, such as ratification of the NPT by key countries, interest in a conference of major nuclear suppliers solidified. According to Kissinger’s advisers, “A conference of nuclear industrial states offers an opportunity for realizing a coordinated approach in placing effective controls, including safeguards and security measures, over transfers of commercial nuclear equipment and materials.”
September 18, 1974
Memorandum to the Secretary of State from Lord and Ikle, 'Consultations with the Soviets on Non-Proliferation Strategy'
This memo consists of an analysis of an approach to the Soviets regarding multilateral nuclear safe guards, along with talking points which include greater supplier coordination and a suppliers' conference.
October 05, 1974
Memorandum to the Secretary of State from 'Talks on Reactor Safeguards and Related Matters with the Soviets on October 15'
Once Kissinger approved an approach, State Department officials prepared the substance of communications with Moscow, which included a basic five-point paper constituting proposed “undertakings” for a suppliers’ group. The proposed guidelines for nuclear exporters included no “peaceful nuclear explosives” for non-nuclear states, IAEA safeguards for nuclear supplies, and “special restraints” over exports of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies, including comprehensive safeguards and multinational plants.
October 17, 1974
Memorandum from Winston Lord, Fred Iklé, and Helmut Sonnenfeldt to the Secretary, 'Follow-up with French on Nuclear Export Controls'
With an approach to the Soviets already in the works, Kissinger’s top advisers emphasized the importance of a parallel approach to the French, given their centrality to the prospects for a suppliers’ group. While no one could be sure whether the French would abandon their “case-by-case” approach to nuclear exports, the advisers believed that the French disliked nuclear proliferation and wished to remain the only nuclear weapons state in Western Europe.
October 22, 1974
Memorandum from William H. Luers, Executive Secretariat, to Winston Lord and Fred Iklé
Kissinger agreed that in his absence Acting Secretary of State Robert Ingersoll and ACDA Director Fred Iklé should meet with French Ambassador Kosciusko-Morizet and that the British, Germans, and Canadians should receive copies of the five-point paper, and also be informed of the approaches to the French and the Soviets.
April 09, 1975
Memorandum from George S. Vest, Bureau of European Affairs, to Secretary of State, 'French Foreign Minister's Response on Nuclear Suppliers Meeting'
This memo includes a response from the French Foreign Minister Sauvagnargues regarding the nuclear suppliers' meeting. The French said that they will participate based on certain conditions. The memo also includes the U.S.'s reactions to these various conditions, which the U.S. believes it can fulfill.
April 19, 1975
State Department telegram 90533 to US Embassy Paris, 'Exploratory Meeting of Nuclear Suppliers'
Kissinger met with the French ambassador and provided the necessary assurances. Agreements would be based on consensus, decisions would not be retroactive, and the suppliers meetings would be “informal and confidential.” This arrangement assured that the suppliers’ group would operate on a lowest-common-denominator basis, but there was no choice because French participation was vital.
June 14, 1975
Memorandum from Thomas O. Enders to the Secretary, 'Draft Letter to Sauvagnargues'
This memorandum describes Henry Kissinger's response to French Foreign Minister Sauvagnargues who requested a 27 member group to meet on issues similar to the previous nuclear suppliers' group meeting. Kissinger lists the complications that could arise from this and suggests not doing so. Document also includes another letter from Kissinger to Sauvagnargues regarding the important of nuclear export issues, as well as Kissinger's advisers suggestions to not send the letters to France just yet.
June 23, 1975
National Security Decision Memorandum 299, 'Cooperation with France'
Directive from President Ford expanding nuclear safety cooperation with France to include assistance with improving the safety of underground testing. This would involve only information sharing, and "no French nuclear explosive devices of any type may be accepted for test by the US."