21 March 2018 — National Security Archive
West German Conservatives Feared Signing NPT Would Leave the Federal Republic “Defenseless” against Moscow
But with U.S. Nuclear Weapons Deployments, the FRG was “Actually the Third Largest Nuclear Country in the World” – Ambassador George McGhee
A 1966 National Intelligence Estimate Declared West Germany Could Produce Enough Fissile Material within Two Years to Produce a Nuclear Weapon
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 622
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.
Washington’s urging that Bonn support the NPT faced opposition from many conservatives in the ruling West German coalition who saw it as discriminatory and liable to leave Bonn “defenseless” against possible Soviet “threats or blackmail.” Such concerns were unlikely to find much sympathy in Washington, Moscow, London, Paris, Warsaw, and elsewhere, where memories of German aggression were still fresh.
It would take new elections to bring a government to power, under Chancellor Willy Brandt, that would eventually sign off on the treaty in November 1969.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the NPT’s approval by the United Nations General Assembly, today’s posting concludes a two-part series on U.S.-West German interactions on nonproliferation from the late 1950s to 1969.
Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive
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