30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Nov 10, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 10, 2020 — After Harvard professor Henry Kissinger met with top Israeli officials in January 1965, he told U.S. diplomats at the Embassy in Tel Aviv of his near certainty that Israel had begun a nuclear weapons project, according to a record of the meeting, which has recently been declassified and is published here for the first time by the National Security Archive. Kissinger added that Israeli scientists were “very certain that such weapons were necessary and that they knew how to make them.”

Sep 16, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 16, 2020 – The NATO nuclear stockpile arrangements that have persisted since the Cold War were initially negotiated during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, facilitating the controversial nuclear sharing arrangements with the allies. The deployments, begun in part as a deterrent against East-West conflict, involved the assignment of hundreds and then thousands of nuclear weapons, and currently some 150 weapons, to NATO allies.

Aug 4, 2020 | Briefing Book
To mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the National Security Archive is updating and reposting one of its most popular e-books of the past 25 years.

Jul 21, 2020 | Briefing Book
Recent debates over U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles in Western Europe make it worth looking at how those forces got there in the first place. In the 1950s, when fear of Soviet military power was at its height, NATO allies like Italy and West Germany were remarkably compliant to U.S. wishes regarding the storage of nuclear weapons on their soil – and ultimately their potential use in a European war – according to newly released State Department and Defense Department records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.  The governments in Bonn and Rome made no objections when Washington came calling and did not even pose questions about when or how the weapons might be used. 

May 22, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 22, 2020 – Seventy-five years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic era, questions about the value, danger, and morality of nuclear weapons continue to present a huge challenge for politicians, military strategists, and ordinary citizens.

Feb 5, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 5, 2020 – In the eyes of U.S. intelligence and the military services, the greatest threat to American national security during the early Cold War was the emerging Soviet missile program with its ability to deliver nuclear weapons to targets across the United States.  Before the era of satellite surveillance, the U.S.

Jan 22, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 22, 2020 - On 24 February 1972 Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird’s inbox included a Joint Chiefs of Staff message concerning the ongoing efforts by military planners to develop a “Communist Chinese Nuclear Package” for the Single Integrated Operational Plan, the Pentagon’s nuclear war plan. Laird’s office was mistakenly included in the message’s routing.

Nov 20, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 20, 2019 – In the late 1950s, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles worried about the hit to America’s global political standing if the U.S. stationed nuclear weapons, some of which were huge, in South Korea while senior Defense Department officials pointed to the fiscal  benefits of these deployments, according to declassified records posted today by the National Security Archive.   Dulles, who had presided over U.S.

Oct 30, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 30, 2019 – The current crisis with Turkey over Syria has raised questions, yet to be resolved, about the security of 50 U.S. nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik Air Base. These questions have been posed before, going back almost to the start of nuclear deployments in Turkey in 1959.  How the United States responds carries implications for the region, for U.S.-Turkey relations, and for NATO.

Sep 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 9, 2019 – Seventy years ago, on 9 September 1949, Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter handed President Harry Truman a carefully worded report of “an abnormal radio-active contamination" in the Northern Pacific that greatly exceeded normal levels in the atmosphere.  While uncertain as to the cause, the DCI’s first hypothesis was “An atomic explosion on the continent of Asia.”  This proved to be accurate – it was the first Soviet test of a nuclear device.

Pages