Skip to content

Results:

1 - 10 of 124

Documents

December 10, 1992

Michael Reilly (First Political Secretary, UK Embassy in Seoul) to Ian Bond (FCO Security Policy Department), '1992 US Burden Sharing Report'

This document dates from the “lame duck” period of the George H.W. Bush administration, and centers on the renegotiating of the US defense position in on the peninsula. Amid pending changes in the early Clinton administration to burden sharing, the British were trying to pin down on what basis estimates of cost were being made on US Forces in Korea.

December 5, 1961

Report from Seán Ronan to Con Cremin (Dublin), ‘Irish Resolution on Preventing the Spread of Nuclear Weapons’ (Confidential), New York [Excerpt]

Aiken drafted in additional personnel to the Irish Mission to the UN in the run-in to the XVIth UN Session. Seán Ronan, the head of the political and information divisions at headquarters in Dublin, was sent as a delegate to the First Committee of the UN, involving him intensely in Aiken’s non-dissemination efforts. His insider account reveals some of the dynamics and calculations at play in the building, as Ireland managed a balancing act of engineering consensus between East and West. In large part, the Irish Mission crafted the resolution’s language to skirt the issue of alliance nuclear sharing in a bid to manufacture unanimity. The Irish had pondered co-sponsoring a Swedish draft resolution but anticipated that it would face resistance from NATO comparable to earlier iterations of the Irish resolution. Similarly, Ireland neglected to mention a proposed new disarmament committee in the draft resolution – there was no guarantee that it would form and report expeditiously. Finally, by drawing on the instrument of acclamation, the Irish sidestepped French objections and gained universal approval for Resolution 1665 (1961), wrapping the resolution in universal legitimacy. 

October 17, 1958

Press Release containing a Speech by Minister of External Affairs Frank Aiken and Draft Resolutions on Nuclear Disarmament

Aiken’s first step was a modest paragraph calling for the formation of a UN commission to recommend measures to the next session. However, global attentions were focused on nuclear tests and their health effects, so Aiken linked his initiative with the American-led seventeen-power resolution requesting all states to suspend testing voluntarily. Aiken proposed an amendment to that motion that included the notion of brokering an understanding between nuclear weapons powers and non-nuclear powers.  He submitted that the former voluntarily desist from supplying nuclear weapons to other countries, while non-nuclear powers reciprocated and volunteered not to develop such weapons during a test suspension. This proposed quid pro quo became a staple in the Irish resolutions subsequently and eventually be inscribed into the NPT.

Aiken’s speech invoked recognizable tropes such as a ‘geometric’ increase in nuclear powers, creating an urgent need to halt the spread. His speech was seminal in identifying themes he and international opinion would rehearse in future years. He conjured up fears about small states and revolutionary groups with a bomb acting as ‘the detonator for world-wide thermonuclear war’. Aiken was perceptive – he expected criticisms about institutionalized equality between states (nuclear “haves” and “have nots”), harms to alliances, the sufficiency of test bans, and the absence of monitoring. He sought to disprove the validity of such critiques, and these issues were worked through gradually, eventually leading to the finalization of the NPT ten years later.  

October 2, 1957

Memorandum by Frank Aiken [on an Interview with Scott McCleod and the Taoiseach]

Aiken made an immediate impression on his arrival in the Twelfth Session of the UN General Assembly in September 1957. He adopted an impartial posture of assessing each issue on its merits and campaigning to remodel international politics around self-determination, humanitarianism, and peace. His exhortation was that only the UN had the moral authority and political legitimacy to put forward global solutions. While he did not propose nuclear disarmament measures specifically, his intent was signaled by his recommendation for a mutual drawback of foreign forces (including their nuclear weapons) in central Europe and his endorsement of a proposal to discuss the representation of China in the United Nations. The Eisenhower administration was hostile to Aiken’s course as outlined in the U.S. ambassador’s audience with Taoiseach Eamon de Valera and Aiken in Dublin on 2 October. The record underlines the Irish concerns about accidental nuclear war due to the proximity of opposing U.S. and Soviet forces in central Europe.  

January 16, 1963

Memorandum of Conversation between Aminitore Fanfani, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, and the President [John F. Kenndy], 'Modernization of Nuclear Missiles in Italy and the Miditerranean'

Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani’s visit to the U.S. was an opportunity for he and President Kennedy to reach “a meeting of the minds” on the Jupiter-Polaris problem. The two had several conversations during the next two days on East-West relations, NATO nuclear issues, and the developing world, among other topics.  During this conversation, with only the U.S. translator present, Kennedy explained to Fanfani that Polaris/Sergeant missiles as a replacement for Jupiter/Corporals, along with Italian participation in an eventual MLF, should be announced as “whole package” rather than to have “the different points of decision simply leak out, without coherence and possibly at the wrong moment.” He believed that the main elements of the agreement would find “general approval” among most political groupings in Italy. When Fanfani brought up the possibility of announcing the U.S. request on Jupiters and Polaris and then taking it to his government, Kennedy emphasized the need for quick action, adding that it would “not be desirable to allow for prolonged discussion” of the package.

At Fanfani’s request, Kennedy explained the arrangements for Polaris missions in the Mediterranean, which operated out of a base in the Iberian Peninsula (Rota, Spain), and the various options for an MLF, either surface or submarine ships. Such an approach, Kennedy believed, was a way to improve the “position of the West.” Accepting Kennedy’s assertions about the dangers of the Jupiter missiles, Fanfani nevertheless saw a “psychological” problem involving the “prestige and strength” of Italy’s armed forces. Kennedy “indicated lively interest” in Fanfani’s question as to whether the Jupiter bases could be used for “cooperative peaceful space efforts.”

At the meeting’s conclusion, Kennedy “stressed that by the following morning they should be able to combine four or five points into a proposal that would strengthen the Italian and American position within the framework of the Alliance, thus making this meeting a gain in its cohesiveness and hence political strength.”

October 26, 1962

American Embassy Rome Telegram 436 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

On October 26, 1962, as the Cuban Missile Crisis is unfolding, U.S. Ambassador G. Frederick Reinhardt replied to a State Department inquiry about possible Italian reactions to withdrawal of the Jupiters, stating that they “would probably be manageable,” but also recommending early consultations with the Italian government if they were to “form part of negotiated settlement.” In particular, Reinhardt suggested offsetting the withdrawal with gestures to appeal to the Italian government’s craving for status, such as (a) presenting the removal as an Italian contribution to the relaxation of East-West tensions, (b) some kind of “big power consultation” between the U.S. and Italy, coupled with assurances on “the presence of Polaris submarines in the Mediterranean,” (c) “public emphasis on Italy’s role in NATO in order to counter-balance loss of value which missiles have for Italy in calling attention to its role and position in alliance,” and (d) a promise to halt further reductions of U.S. military commitments in Italy. In short, Reinhardt saw a phase-out as a possibility but something to be “be very carefully handled.”

October 15, 2020

Interview with Eran Lerman

Eran Lerman is a former Israeli intelligence officer. He served as a member of the Israeli delegation to ACRS. 

August 25, 2021

Interview with Piet de Klerk

Piet de Klerk is a former Dutch diplomat. He served as a member of the Netherlands delegation to ACRS. 

November 2, 2020

Interview with Ariel Levite

Dr. Ariel Levite is a former Israeli senior official. He served as a member of the Israeli delegation to ACRS and the inter-ministerial committee on arms control. 

October 6, 2020

Interview with Hesham Youssef

Hesham Youssef is an Egyptian diplomat. He served on the Egyptian team, working on the Steering Committee and in three working groups (REDWG, water, and the environment).

Pagination