30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Proliferation and Accidents

Feb 26, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 26, 2019 – Prior U.S. administrations from both political parties wrestled intensively with complex security, economic, and diplomatic challenges in trying to rein in successive North Korean dictators’ nuclear ambitions, a review of declassified documentation makes clear. Today, the National Security Archive at The George Washington University presents an array of records from the Nixon, Bush 41, and Clinton administrations that describe the many concerns and tests that have confronted U.S. policymakers and negotiators alike.

Feb 12, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 12, 2019 – The incoming Reagan administration strongly supported Japan’s interest in reprocessing nuclear fuel for producing plutonium and chose to pull back from President Jimmy Carter’s policy of restraint, according to declassified State Department telegrams and other materials posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive. 

Jan 10, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019 – From the late 1960s until the late 1980s, U.S. government officials worried that Taiwanese leaders might make a “fundamental decision” to develop nuclear weapons.  Documents published today for the first time by the National Security Archive illustrate Washington’s efforts to keep tabs on military and scientific research and to intervene when they believed that Taiwan’s nuclear R&D had gone too far.  

Dec 11, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 11, 2018 – In the Fall  of 1966, as part of an ongoing debate about the U.S. troop presence in Western Europe and the role of NATO during the Cold War, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sent an illuminating memo to President Lyndon B. Johnson to explain the political reasons for keeping U.S.

Oct 29, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 29, 2018 — Sixty years ago, in October 1958, Irish Minister of External Affairs Frank Aiken bought before the United Nations the first version of a resolution addressing the dangers of nuclear proliferation. U.S. State Department officials initially found it “potentially dangerous” and “disruptive,” but three years later the U.S. government voted, with the rest of the U.N. General Assembly, in favor of the “Irish Resolution,” which is widely regarded as the forerunner of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Aug 8, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 8, 2018 – U.S. allies from Europe and the Persian Gulf warned the Clinton administration that it would be “very dangerous” and “pose risks for the entire region” if Iran were isolated from the international community through overly burdensome sanctions, according to declassified cables posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive at George Washington University. 

Aug 1, 2018 | News
Washington D.C., August 1, 2018 - On 31 July 2018, the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission announced that “Japan will reduce the size of its plutonium stockpile.” The move marks a potential turning point on an issue that has carried difficult and troubling implications for nuclear nonproliferation policy. For years, the JAEC has been operating reprocessing facilities to turn spent reactor fuel into plutonium for use in fueling reactors.

Mar 21, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 21, 2018 – The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), widely accepted today as a global standard for international nuclear policy, was in fact a source of significant tension between two staunch allies, the United States and West Germany, in the mid-1960s, as illustrated by declassified documents published for the first time today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. 

Feb 2, 2018 | Briefing Book
US Government preoccupation with West German nuclear potential contributed to US nonproliferation policy in 1950s and 1960s

Dec 8, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 8, 2017 – The Clinton administration made plans for war against North Korea during the 1994 nuclear crisis.  While U.S. officials believed they could “undoubtedly win,” however, they also understood “war involves many casualties,” according to documents posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive.

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