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Israeli Nuclear History

Documents on the history of Israeli nuclear development. See also the related collections of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, Dimona research center, NARA, RG 59, Records of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy and Outer Space, General Records Relating to Atomic Energy, 1948-62, box 501, Country File Z1.50 Israel f. Reactors 1960)

Popular Documents

April 11, 1969

National Security Study Memorandum [NSSM] No. 40, Memorandum from Henry Kissinger to Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of Central Intelligence, 'Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program'

Kissinger initiated a formal bureaucratic process to address how the U.S. government should respond to the emergence of a nuclear Israel, a review process managed by Kissinger’s NSC staff, known as NSSM 40. Through the NSSM Henry Kissinger tasked the DCI, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense to prepare a report for the President that included the latest intelligence findings on the Israeli nuclear program and policy options with recommendations that the President could use in making decisions.

November 8, 2019

The VELA Incident: A Statement Written by Dr. Alan Berman

A statement written by Dr. Alan Berman about the 1979 VELA Incident.

May 19, 1979

Letter from Israeli PM Menachem Begin to British PM Margaret Thatcher on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program

Letter from Begin forwarding a memorandum to Thatcher on activities of the Pakistani government to build a nuclear weapon.

October 5, 1961

National Intelligence Estimate, NIE 35-61, 'The Outlook for Israel'

National Intelligence Estimate on Israel concluded that "Israel may have decided to undertake a nuclear weapons program. At a minimum, we believe it has decided to develop its nuclear facilities in such a way as to put it into a position to develop nuclear weapons promptly should it decide to do."

November 22, 2019

Leonard Weiss, 'My Involvement with the 1979 Vela Satellite (6911) Event'

Statement made by Leonard Weiss about his memories of the 1979 VELA Incident.