30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Soviet-U.S. Relations

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.

Aug 15, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 15, 2019 – Documents from the highest levels of the Soviet Union, including notes, protocols and diaries of Politburo sessions in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, detail a sequence of cover-up, revelation, shock, mobilization, individual bravery, and bureaucratic turf battles in the Soviet reaction, according to the “Top Secret Chernobyl” e-book published today by the National Security Archive.

Aug 9, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 9, 2019 – Several previously unknown Henry Kissinger memoranda of telephone conversations – or telcons – from October 1973, uncovered by the National Security Archive, provide blunt and fascinating vignettes from a significant moment during the Nixon presidency. 

Aug 2, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., August 2, 2019 – The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty negotiated by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 not only eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons but also broke new ground in arms control verification, according to declassified documents on INF negotiations published today by the National Security Archive.

Jun 11, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 11, 2019 – “Launch-on-warning,” a feature of U.S. nuclear warfighting strategy since the late 1970s, has frequently faced intensive criticism because of the high risk of accidental launches and uncontrollable outcomes, including massive casualties, according to recently declassified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

Feb 27, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 27, 2019 – The Soviet Union withdrew its military forces from Afghanistan 30 years ago this month without achieving demilitarization there or the national reconciliation, including free elections, that they sought during negotiations with the U.S., according to the declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive.

Feb 1, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 1, 2019 – Two U.S. ambassadors in the late 1980s warned the U.S.

Jan 29, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 28, 2019 – President Trump’s claim that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to get rid of terrorists who were coming over the border is false, according to declassified U.S. and Soviet documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Dec 7, 2018 | Briefing Book
The U.S. and NATO allies worried about losing control of the public narrative of the Cold War in December 1988 after Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer of an arms race in reverse in his famous United Nations speech, according to declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive.  Senior Italian officials, for example, complained to U.S. envoy Paul Nitze that the public’s sense of a diminishing Soviet threat would undercut their ability to maintain defense spending – even as the Soviet leader was announcing unilateral troop withdrawals from Eastern Europe.

Nov 19, 2018 | Briefing Book
The National Security Archive is publishing a set of documents to commemorate the life and achievements of Llewellyn Thompson and highlight the publication of a biography of him written by his daughters, Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson (The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, America's Man in Cold War Moscow (Johns Hopkins Nuclear History and Contemporary Affairs, 2018).  The posting contains never before published translations of Russian memcons with Khrushchev and Thompson’s cables from Moscow. 

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