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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • May 21, 1974

    Report from the Brazilian Foreign Ministry to President Ernesto Geisel, 'Subject: The Indian nuclear test'

    This is a note from the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonio Azeredo da Silveira, to Brazilian President Ernesto Geisel, regarding India’s nuclear test in 1974. It indicates the main consequences of the Indian test to both the world and Brazil, and suggests that Argentina has the necessary incentives to follow India’s path.

  • May 23, 1974

    Telegram No. 113, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Five days after India's first nuclear test, the Hungarian Embassy in New Delhi reports that Indian foreign policy experts speculate that the test could lead to closer Indian-Soviet relations.

  • May 23, 1974

    Telegram No. 118, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Five days after India's 1974 nuclear test, the Hungarian Embassy in New Delhi reports that the Indian government was grateful that the socialist countries had not confronted India on its nuclear explosion.

  • May 23, 1974

    National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 202 on Nuclear Proliferation

    Following India’s nuclear weapon test, the US must reassess its nuclear non-proliferation policy and how best to deal with India in the future. The author of the memo determines that nuclear non-proliferation is still necessary and can be “effectively pursued.” The memo is followed by a series of documents outlining courses of action to help deter further proliferation.

  • May 23, 1974

    Telegram from French Ambassador Jean-Daniel Jurgensen to the French Foreign Ministry in Paris

    Jean-Daniel Jurgensen, the French ambassador to India, describes the Indian response to the negative international reaction to India's first nuclear test in 1974. He reports that the “Indians are particularly pleased because France has abstained from all unfriendly judgments and they believe that France is herself well-placed to understand the Indian position in this domain.”

  • May 27, 1974

    Confidential Note from Pierre Laurent to the French Foreign Minister

    Pierre Laurent of the French Department of Scientific Affairs describes the first Indian nuclear test and the resulting reevaluation of French nuclear cooperation with India. New guarantees are suggested to ensure that French-supplied nuclear technology and materials could not be used in future Indian nuclear explosions.

  • May 28, 1974

    Le Monde, 'Our Neighbors and Other Countries have Nothing to Fear from India, Declares Madam Gandhi'

    Report on Indira Gandhi's response to the negative international reaction to the first Indian nuclear test. In contrast to other countries, André Giraud, the head of the French Commision for Atomic Energy, sent a congratulatory telegram following the successful test.

  • May 31, 1974

    Telegram No. 120, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Discussion of the importance of internal stability and the concept of independence in guiding India's foreign policy following India's first nuclear test.

  • 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, 1974

    Intelligence Community Staff, Post Mortem Report, 'An Examination of the Intelligence Community's Performance Before the Indian Nuclear Test of May 1974'

    This partial release of the July 1974 post-mortem investigation analyzes why the CIA and its sister agencies failed to predict the 1974 Indian nuclear test. Two problems were especially important: 1) the lack of priority given to the Indian nuclear program for intelligence collection (further confirmed by the January 1972 INR report), and 2) the lack of communication between intelligence producers (analysts and estimators) and intelligence collectors (spies, NRO, etc.). The low priority meant that intelligence production “fell off” during the 20 months before the test (from October 1972 to May 1974). Moreover, there may have been a lack of communication between producers, with the “other guy” assuming that someone else was “primarily responsible for producing hard evidence of Indian intentions.” Trying to explain the lack of follow-up on relevant “raw intelligence,” e.g. Pinjanians’s surmises about the Indian nuclear program, the post-mortem saw no “sense of urgency” in the intelligence community, which may have “reflected the attitudes of the policymakers.” Another problem was that the intelligence community focused more on “capabilities” than on “intentions,” which implicitly raised the difficult issue of breaching the nuclear establishment or Indira Gandhi’s small circle of decision-making. The substantive discussion of satellite photography has been excised, but the recommendations were left intact, including the point that “The failure of production elements to ask NPIC [National Photographic Intelligence Center] to exploit photography that had been specifically requested from the National Reconnaissance Office suggests a weakness in the imagery requirements system.” The implication was that NRO satellites had imagery of the Thar Desert that could have been scrutinized for suspect activity, but no one asked NPIC to look into it.

  • July 03, 1974

    Note from CSMD to MD on Italian ratification of the NPT

    Note by CSMD suggesting to postpone ratification of NPT in light of the destabilizing effects generated by the Indian nuclear test.

  • 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.

  • August 14, 1974

    Telegram No. 84, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the U.N. in Geneva to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    A telegram from the Hungarian mission to the UN in Geneva stating that the Indian government had provided the Soviets advance notice of their May 1974 nuclear test and that one of the purposes of the test was to reinforce then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's flagging position.

  • August 21, 1974

    Rajya Sabha extensive debate on India's Peaceful Nuclear Explosion.

    Transcript of questions and answers between members of the Rajya Sabha and other members of government on the peaceful nuclear explosion in Pokhran in 1974, how it relates to Indian military strategy, and India's future plans for nuclear proliferation.

  • August 23, 1974

    Special National Intelligence Estimate SNIE 4-1-74, 'Prospects for Further Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons'

    A few months after the Indian test, the intelligence community prepared an overall estimate of the global nuclear proliferation situation. Such an estimate had not been prepared since the 1960s, no doubt because of the White House’s lack of interest. This estimate, SNIE 4-1-74, has been released before but this version includes more information, mainly a section on the Indian nuclear program, which had previously been withheld. While finding it “likely” that India would launch a covert program to produce a few weapons, the analysts were not sure that such a decision had been made and suggested that Moscow or Washington might be able to persuade the Indians from moving in that direction.

  • September 22, 1974

    Rajya Sabha Q&A on the United Nations Nuclear Weapon Treaty

    Transcript of questions and answers between members of the Rajya Sabha and the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of External Affairs, Shri Bipinpal Das, on India's decision to abstain from voting on the U.N. Nuclear Weapon Treaty in the General Assembly.

  • October 31, 1974

    Memorandum, Hungarian Foreign Ministry, on India's Policy on Nuclear Disarmament

    An extended Hungarian Foreign Ministry memorandum explicating the development of India's policy on nuclear arms and disarmament from the 1960s as well as a discussion on the reasons that the socialist countries--including Hungary--have chosen not to condemn India for its May 1974 nuclear explosion.

  • April 30, 1975

    Telegram from L.L. Mehorta, Charge d’Affaires in Beijing

    China’s stance towards India and Pakistan, and a Pakistani proposal for a nuclear-free zone in South Asia

  • May 05, 1975

    Political Report for the Month of April 1975, K.N. Mohta, Charge d’affaires, 'President Kekkonen’s Foreign Policy'

    President Kekkonen’s foreign policy towards the Soviet Union was more active and vigorous, based on Finland’s geo-political situation.

  • May 05, 1975

    Political Report for the Month of April 1975, L. N. Ray, High Commissioner, 'ANZUS Meeting in 1975 after the victory by the Communist forces in Indo-China'

    Australia and New Zealand stress the importance of closer consultation with them on matters concerning their security and the US strategy in the entire region.