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March 24, 1972

State Department Cable 50634 to US Embassy Canada, 'Indian Nuclear Intentions'

Further discussions with the Canadian embassy counselor disclosed Ottawa’s view that it had no evidence of Indian intentions to test a nuclear weapon or a PNE. The Indians were “leaving their options open.” If they decided to test, however, it would be “impossible” for them to move forward “without revealing some indication of their intentions.”

March 14, 1972

US Embassy Canada Cable 430 to State Department, 'India’s Nuclear Intentions on South Asia Situation'

Elaborating on his earlier cable and responding to the general issues raised by the Department’s 9 March message, science attaché Hudson questioned Lauren Gray’s evaluation of Sethna, suggesting that by combining “guile” and “technical proficiency,” the latter could easily have “easily misled” the Canadian. Based on consultations with a variety of Canadian insiders with knowledge of and experience with the Indian nuclear program, the Embassy saw no technical or fiscal barriers to an Indian test. Moreover, any pressure on India not to test would increase the “likelihood” of that happening.

March 9, 1972

State Department cable 40378 to US Embassy Ottawa, 'Indian Nuclear Intentions'

During a discussion with the Canadian embassy counselor, U.S. country desk director David Schneider opined that Indian was unlikely to test a device in the “near future” but he wanted Ottawa’s prognosis. Schneider was also interested in whether the Soviets, with their close relationship with India, might be able to use their influence to “deter” a test. If India tested, the U.S. could respond with a “strong statement,” but whether “punitive” measures would be taken would depend on whether the test “violated existing agreements.” In October 1970, the State Department had cautioned the Indians that a “peaceful nuclear explosion” was indistinguishable from a weapons test and that the test of a nuclear device would be incompatible with U.S.-Indian nuclear assistance agreements.

March 7, 1972

US Embassy Canada cable 391 to State Department, 'India’s Nuclear Intentions'

U.S. embassy officials report on an interview with Lauren Gray, the chairman of Canada’s Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB), who had recently visited India. Having spoken with Homi Nusserwanji Sethna, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and other officials, Gray believed that Sethna opposed a test and that as long as Sethna and Indira Gandhi were in office “there was no chance” that India would test a nuclear device, which would take three to four years to prepare. Other officials with the AECB disagreed with Gray's estimates - based on their assessment of Indian’s ability to produce weapons grade plutonium, they argued that it would take no more than a year to produce a device. They also pointed out that about 18 months earlier there had been a “blackout” of statistical information on plutonium production in India.

November 7, 1978

'US Demarche on Pakistani Reprocessing Plant,' US Embassy Canada cable 5446 to State Department

Canadian response to U.S. demarche on Pakistani nuclear development, agreeing to cooperate fully and expressing surprise that Pakistan was attempting to complete the reprocessing plant.