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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • October 20, 1965

    US Embassy to West Germany, Memorandum, 'German Attitudes on Nuclear Defense Questions'

    In this memorandum, an unnamed official at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn analyzed various West German nuclear and non-nuclear alternatives in the event of failure of the proposals for collective nuclear defense arrangements. An independent nuclear capability was ruled out as an alternative because “no responsible political leader in Germany of any party, any known private group, or any discernible body of Garman opinion … considers it desirable.”

  • October 23, 1965

    Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Rusk and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jozef Winiewicz, 'Security, Non-Proliferation and the German Problem'

    This wide-ranging discussion between Rusk and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Jozef Winiewicz on European security, nuclear weapons, and the problem of German reunification illuminated U.S. and Polish concerns about the future of Germany.

  • October 27, 1965

    'The Danger from a Psychotic Germany,' Appendix to 'The Case for a Strong American Lead to Establish a Collective Nuclear System That Would Help the Western World from Repeating an Old Mistake,' attached to George W. Ball to Secretary Rusk, et al.

    Under Secretary George W. Ball signed off on a fervent expression of his apprehensions about the direction of West German policy should the West fail to establish an MLF leading Bonn to feel “rejection and discrimination.” Ball saw three bad possibilities: a national nuclear program, a French-German nuclear deal, or “the real danger, a German political adventure.”

  • November 01, 1965

    Thomas L. Hughes, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to the Secretary, 'Dobrynin’s October 29 Oral Statement on Nonproliferation'

    In this report, the INR commented on Soviet policy language regarding nuclear proliferation. They called Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's criticism of MLF proposals "absurd," telling Secretary Rusk that “in no way can we be blamed for taking steps which even with a most fault-finding approach would look like disseminating nuclear weapons."

  • March 09, 1966

    Department of State Airgram A-168 to US Embassy West Germany, 'NIE 23-66: West German Capabilities and Intentions to Produce and Deploy Nuclear Weapons'

    At the request of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, the agencies that belonged to the U.S. Intelligence Board began work on a National Intelligence Estimate to provide a “comprehensive analysis” of West German nuclear “capabilities and intentions.” In this Airgram, the State Department requested input from the Bonn embassy on the upcoming NIE.

  • April 28, 1966

    National Intelligence Estimate 23-66, 'West German Capabilities and Intentions to Produce and Deploy Nuclear Weapons,' excised copy

    This NIE estimated that within two years Bonn could produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon, but only by violating safeguards on its nuclear facilities.The estimators, nevertheless, believed that Bonn “will probably want to keep open what options it has for the eventual production of nuclear weapons.”

  • July 01, 1966

    Memorandum of Conversation between William C. Foster, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Karl Carstens, State Secretary at the West German Foreign Office, 'Disarmament and Related Problems'

    In this conversation, West German State Secretary Karl Carstens told ACDA director William C. Foster that Bonn was still committed to a “hardware” solution, “if not in the form of an MLF than in some form.” Refraining from making any commitment, Foster wanted to leave the question “open.”

  • October 17, 1966

    US Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Harlan Cleveland, 'Notes on Washington Trip'

    In the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Harlen Cleveland's notes on his meeting with Secretary Rusk, Cleveland details Rusk's thoughts about Soviet interest in the NPT. According to the Secretary, the “Soviets should have no real difficulty in finding a common interest with us in signing a treaty which enshrines [the] two self-denying provisions” of no-transfer to non-nuclear weapons states and “no relinquishment of control by the US over US warheads.”

  • March 01, 1967

    Research Memorandum REU-13 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, 'Reasons for West German Opposition to the Non-Proliferation Treaty'

    By the late winter/early spring of 1967, controversy over the NPT was hurting US-West German relations, placing them at perhaps their lowest point during the Cold War. While this report suggested that West Germany would ultimately sign the Treaty, despite objections, only weeks later the INR issued another report wondering whether Bonn was trying to wreck the NPT.

  • March 21, 1967

    US Department of State Airgram CA-6579 to US Embassy Moscow, 'Kosygin's Remarks on Non-Proliferation in London'

    In this Airgram, the U.S. embassy in Bonn sent a translation of Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin's tough statement on the NPT at a press conference in London. Kosygin stated (of West Germany) "whether she wants this or not, such a document should be signed, because we will not allow the Federal Republic of Germany to possess nuclear weapons."

  • April 08, 1967

    Intelligence Note 273 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Acting Secretary, 'Has West Germany Decided to Try to Scuttle the Non-Proliferation Treaty?'

    By the late winter/early spring of 1967, controversy over the NPT was hurting U.S.-West German relations, placing them at perhaps their lowest point during the Cold War. While an earlier report suggested that West Germany would ultimately sign the Treaty, despite objections, only weeks late INR this report was issued wondering whether Bonn was trying to wreck the NPT.

  • April 12, 1967

    Memorandum of Conversation between Norwegian Ambassador Arne Gunneng and ACDA Director Foster, 'Non-Proliferation Treaty'

    In this conversation, Director Foster and Norwegian Ambassador Gunneng discussed the state of the NPT negotiations and the U.S. consultations with West Germany. Foster made comments about Italy and West Germany being inflexible, and Gunneng stated that it would cost the country "a great deal internationally" if they continued to block progress.

  • April 20, 1967

    US Embassy Bonn Telegram 12582 to State Department, 'NPT—Duration,' partly garbled transmission

    A message from the Bonn embassy highlighted an issue that had been raised by West German diplomats and which Ambassador McGhee correctly believed represented thinking at the top: Chancellor Kiesinger’s objection to an NPT “of unlimited duration.”

  • April 21, 1967

    'The President’s Trip to Germany (Chancellor Adenauer's Funeral), April 1967, Background Paper, The Non-Proliferation Treaty and Germany'

    This document detailed West German suggestions which Washington incorporated into the NPT draft.The cover memorandum reviewed the sources of West German discontent with the NPT.

  • April 21, 1967

    Research Memorandum RSB-46 from Thomas L. Hughes to the Secretary, 'Soviet Policy on Nonproliferation Moves in Two Directions'

    Not altogether sure whether the Soviets were really committed to the NPT, the fact that the Soviets had been discussing security assurances with the Indians was seen as evidence that Moscow was interested in having a treaty. India was one of the countries that was especially resistant to the NPT and the Soviets were only one of a number of governments, e.g. Canada, which vainly tried to persuade Indira Gandhi to sign on.

  • April 26, 1967

    Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Foreign Minister Willie Brandt, 'Non-Proliferation Treaty'

    During this meeting, Brandt and Rusk discussed the French attitude toward a West German signature on the NPT, thew problem of "duration", and suggestions for mitigating the West German concerns. Brandt said that De Gaulle “expected” Bonn to sign but if that de Gaulle was asked for advice, he would recommend that Germany not sign.

  • May 10, 1967

    Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Dean Rusk and State Secretary Baron Guttenberg, 'German Views on NPT and NATO'

    This conversation between Rusk and Baron Guttenberg, a top official on Kiesinger’s staff and the CDU foreign policy spokesperson, demonstrated that accepting Bonn’s suggestions for the NPT draft had not made it more acceptable to the West Germans. Guttenberg emphasized the importance of a limited duration clause and the need for the Soviet Union to make a “counter-concession” in exchange for a West German signature on an NPT.

  • January 23, 1968

    US Embassy Bonn Telegram 7557 to State Department, 'FRG Defense Council Meeting on NPT'

    This telegram detailed an FRG Defense Council Meeting on the NPT. While recognizing that the agreement on Article III was “progress,” Kiesinger continued to criticize the treaty’s “inflexibility,” which he saw as a danger to West Germany’s “longer term” security interests. Kiesinger, however, professed willingness to consider signing the Treaty, even to be an early signer, if Washington could comply with a few basic “requests,” such as “safeguards against Soviet pressure” and some improvements in Article III.

  • April 09, 1968

    Excerpts from Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev’s speech at the April 1968 Plenum of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party

    Brezhnev discusses negotiations with the United States over the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • July 10, 1969

    Cable No. 2124, Ambassador Shimoda to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 'Issues concerning the Signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Opinion Statement)

    Ambassador Shimoda cautions that Japan's signing of the NPT still "requires further consideration from a long-term perspective."