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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 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.

  • June 24, 1974

    Under Secretary Sisco's Principals' and Regionals’ Staff Meeting

    Encourages interest in a close look at nuclear export policy were negotiations, pre-dating the Indian test, over nuclear reactor sales to Israel, Egypt, and Iran. Chairing the meeting in Kissinger’s absence, Under Secretary of State Joseph Sisco expressed dismay that nuclear nonproliferation had lost high-level support during the Nixon administration.

  • 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.

  • July 11, 1974

    Executive Secretary George S. Springsteen to Secretary of State Kissinger, “Analytical Staff Meeting,” enclosing “Discussion Paper on U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy"

    This report provided a comprehensive take on the problem of nuclear proliferation and the state of U.S. nonproliferation policy. Among the specific issues reviewed were the status of the NPT, export control issues, the problem of “peaceful nuclear explosions,” the implications of the Indian test, and long-term steps for controlling the proliferation of nuclear capabilities. Prepared by Jerome Kahan and Charles Van Doren, respectively with the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

  • July 26, 1974

    Rajya Sabha Q&A on Underground Nuclear Tests by the UK and the United States

    Transcript of questions and answers between members of the Rajya Sabha and the Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, Shri Surendra Pal Singh, on the government's reaction to the recent underground tests conducted by the U.K. and U.S.A. in Nevada.

  • July 31, 1974

    Memorandum to the Secretary of State from ACDA Director Fred Ikle and Policy Planning Staff Director Winston Lord, 'Analytical Staff Meeting on Non-Proliferation Strategy'

    To help Kissinger prepare for a follow-up discussion, ACDA and State Department officials prepared a "Non-Proliferation: Strategy and Action Program” to help guide policy. A key proposal was for “high level political approaches to key exporting countries to enlist their support for safeguarding transfers of nuclear materials.” While Washington had to approach a number of nuclear exporters, consultations with France “constitute the most crucial and urgent step to be taken.”

  • 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

    State Department telegram 228213 to U.S. Embassy Moscow, 'Nuclear Safeguards Consultations'

    The State Department took the first step to bringing the Soviets in by sending a telegram about the nuclear suppliers' project to the embassy in Moscow.

  • 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.

  • December 21, 1974

    George H. Springsteen, Jr., Executive Secretary, to Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, 'Briefing Paper on Non-Proliferation'

    In the course of a background paper on the nuclear proliferation problem and policy options, the State Department updated the White House on the state of play of the nuclear suppliers’ initiative: the British, the Canadians, and the Soviets had agreed to attend a meeting; the Germans would agree “if all key suppliers” (France) accepted; and the Japanese, who had also been asked, had not responded. The French had not given an answer and bilateral discussions would take place to go over the issues.

  • January 16, 1975

    Memorandum to the Deputy Secretary from Winston Lord, 'Next Steps for the Nuclear Suppliers’ Conference'

    Memo of suggested issues to be discussed at meeting regarding nuclear suppliers' conference, specifically what to say to other suppliers regarding recent bilateral talks between France and the U.S. and further instructions for the French-U.S. bilateral talks regarding France's participation in the nuclear suppliers' conference.

  • February 24, 1975

    Memorandum of conversation, 'French Participation in the Nuclear Suppliers Conference'

    This memo outlines the process that the French said they would take in order to reach a decision regarding their participation in the nuclear suppliers' group conference. These steps include France presenting a paper on their position, the U.S. responding, and then more bilateral talks before a final decision is reached.

  • March 23, 1975

    State Department telegram 65502 to US Consulate, Jerusalem, 'Action Memorandum: Nuclear Suppliers' Conference'

    This telegram lists the complications that would arise if France does not agree to participate in the nuclear suppliers' meeting or if it delays its decision. Also lists ideas of how to overcome the challenges of the bilateral talks between the U.S. and France, and sends these various options to Paris.

  • March 26, 1975

    State Department memorandum, 'Nuclear Suppliers Conference/French Participation'

    This memo describes the details of the nuclear suppliers' conference, specifically the details of French participation. Cites the need for common understanding regarding nuclear exports is needed and therefore invites Great Britain, the Soviet Union, West Germany, Japan, and France to participate in the conference. Also details the process of trying to persuade France to participate and dissuading their reluctancy.

  • 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.