NPIHP Research Updates

NPIHP Research Updates cast an analytical spotlight upon new accessions to the NPIHP Digital Archive. By showcasing and contextualizing new archival research through the NPIHP Research Updates series we aim to make leading-edge research on nuclear history available and accessible to a broad audience.

Issues in this Series

Portrait of R.F. "Pik" Botha

Advance Warning: Reagan and South Africa's Nuclear Testing Promise

Or Rabinowitz
Or Rabinowitz explores the nuclear understanding between Ronald Reagan and South African Foreign Minister R.F. "Pik" Botha on South African Nuclear testing.

"To the people of Israel, this could, one day, become a mortal danger"

Or Rabinowitz
Or Rabinowitz examines Israeli PM Menachem Begin's 1979 letter to Margaret Thatcher regarding Pakistan's nuclear program.

The Making of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, 1974-1976

William Burr
Declassified Documents Show Henry Kissinger’s Major Role in the 1974 Initiative That Created the Nuclear Suppliers Group
Undated photo of the South African nuclear test site taken by a U.S. reconnaissance satellite during 1977 or 1977. See document 3 for the image in context.

Proliferation Watch: US Intelligence Assessments of Potential Nuclear Powers, 1977–2001

William Burr and Jeffrey T. Richelson
This research update co-published with the National Security Archive includes the publication of recently declassified satellite photographs of the South African Nuclear Test site from 1977, a new release of a CIA report on the September 1979 South Atlantic Mystery Flash, and Department of Energy and Defense Intelligence Agency Reports illuminating pre-war controversy over the Iraqi procurement of aluminum tubes for an alleged gas centrifuge program

The Pervez Case, Pakistani Nuclear Procurement, and Reagan Administration Nonproliferation Policy, 1987

William Burr
The arrest of a Pakistani national, Arshed Pervez in July 1987 on charges of illegal nuclear procurement roiled U.S.-Pakistan relations and sharpened divisions within the Reagan administration, according to recently declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.

Present at the Undoing: The Netherlands and the Multilateral Force

Bastiaan Bouwman
New records from the Dutch National Archives illuminate the negotiations around the MLF, a failed U.S. attempt to develop an integrated NATO nuclear navy.

The Avner Cohen Collection

Avner Cohen
The Avner Cohen Collection features exciting new materials regarding the development of the Israeli nuclear program, including interviews with key policymakers and scientists from Israel, the United States, and France that shed new light on the development of the Israeli nuclear program.

Resolving the Dilemma of Nuclear Mistrust: From Foz do Iguacu to the Constitution of ABACC (1985-1991)

Rodrigo Mallea
Nuclear relations between Argentina and Brazil immediately following re-democratization were not simple. Both countries still kept open the possibility of developing peaceful nuclear devices and had sensitive components of their respective programs outside the international safeguards regime, which presented a dilemma to be resolved in order to advance in other areas of the bilateral relationship.

Brazil's 1975 Nuclear Agreement with West Germany

Dani K. Nedal and Tatiana Coutto
As it developed its own domestic nuclear program, Brazil was defining its diplomatic stance on proliferation: signing but not implementing the Treaty of Tlatelolco and refusing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Brazilian Nuclear Cooperation with the People's Republic of China

Dani K. Nedal
In the early 1980s, Brazilian nuclear activities were facing stark challenges. The 1975 Brazil-West German nuclear cooperation agreement had inspired strong opposition from the US and elsewhere. The landmark agreement provided for reactor construction and the transfer of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities that would give Brazil mastery of the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Officials in Washington viewed the agreement as a major proliferation risk.

Brazil-Iraq Nuclear Cooperation

Dani K. Nedal
Brazil clandestinely purchased crucial materials and know-how in the nuclear black market and proliferating countries such as China. But Brazil was also on the giving end of international nuclear cooperation. Specifically, new documents and interviews confirm that cooperation with Iraq was more extensive than previously acknowledged by officials.

The Brazilian Proposal to Renounce Peaceful Nuclear Explosions and the Argentine Response (1983-1985)

Rodrigo Mallea
In early 1980's, Argentina and Brazil—both ruled by military dictatorships—were making significant advances in nuclear technology while undergoing radical domestic political transformations, which ultimately led to democratization in both Argentina in 1983 and Brazil in 1985.

From the Indian Bomb to the Establishment of the First Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Agreement (1974-1980)

Rodrigo Mallea
India’s first nuclear explosive test in May 1974 had deep consequences for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The establishment of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1975 added to the safeguards requirements that were imposed on countries seeking nuclear technology—even those that were outside the NPT. This tightening of the nuclear technology transfer regime as a result of India’s 1974 test would have a considerable effect on the Brazilian and Argentine programs.

The First Attempt at Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Cooperation and the Argentine Response, 1967-1972

Rodrigo Mallea
With the aim of creating effective nuclear cooperation with Buenos Aires, Brazilian President Arthur da Costa e Silva approved the “start of preliminary conversations with a view to putting into motion the formal negotiating process for the future signature with Argentina of an Agreement on Cooperation for Nuclear Development with Peaceful Purposes.”

Brazil-South Africa Nuclear Relations

Carlo Patti
This dossier deals with a little known episode in the history of Brazil’s nuclear program: South Africa’s attempt to cooperate with Brazil.

Israel's Quest for Yellowcake: The Secret Argentina-Israel Connection, 1963-1966

William Burr and Avner Cohen
Previously secret documents show that Canadian intelligence uncovered Israel purchases of yellowcake from Argentina between 1963-1964.

Intelligence Reports and Estimates of Nuclear Proliferation History Since 1966

William Burr
China was exporting nuclear materials to Third World countries without safeguards beginning in the early 1980s, and may have given Pakistan weapons design information in the early years of its clandestine program, according to recently declassified CIA records.

The Clinton Administration and the Indian Nuclear Test That Did Not Happen - 1995-1996

William Burr
In the last months of 1995, U.S intelligence agencies detected signs of nuclear test preparations at India’s test site in Pokhran, but the satellite photos that analysts studied were “as clear as mud,” according to declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.

Origins and Evolution of the Brazilian Nuclear Program (1947-2011)

Carlo Patti
New documents released by Fundacao Getulio Vargas trace the evolution of the Brazilian nuclear program, from its early beginnings in 1947, to the establishment of its top secret civilian-military program in 1978, and up to the modern day.

Declassified 1964 National Intelligence Estimate Predicts India’s Bomb But Not Israel’s

William Burr
The US intelligence community predicted India’s nuclear bomb in 1964 but mistakenly concluded Israel had “not yet decided” to go nuclear, according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.

US Diplomatic Efforts Stalled Brazil's Nuclear Program in 1970s

Dani K. Nedal
Brazil's nuclear program in the 1970s faced opposition from the US as the Carter administration sought to make nuclear non-proliferation a top priority, according to new documents released by Fundacao Getulio Vargas.

New Documents Show US Feared Proliferation of Nuclear Technology in 1960s

William Burr
American officials worried that without classification and export controls "unfriendly" countries could acquire gas centrifuges and begin production of fissile materials.

New Documents Spotlight Reagan-era Tensions over Pakistani Nuclear Program

William Burr
Findings that General Zia Had “Lied” About Pakistani Nuclear Activities Conflicted with U.S. Afghanistan Priority

Whither Pax Atomica? - The Euromissiles Crisis and the Peace Movement of the early 1980s

Jayita Sarkar
As the failure of Pax Atomica seemed more and more imminent, the soaring anxiety, alarm, apprehension and mistrust of the national governments across Europe contributed to the success of the 1980s peace movement.

The Nixon Administration and the Indian Nuclear Program, 1972-1974

William Burr
U.S. Post-Mortem on 1974 Indian Test Criticized Intelligence Community Performance for "Waffling Judgments" and Not Following Up Leads

U.S. and British Combined to Delay Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Program in 1978-1981, Declassified Documents Show

William Burr
Early Phase of Campaign Brought U.S.-Pakistani Relations to Their “Lowest EBB,” said General Zia

U.S. Secret Assistance to the French Nuclear Program, 1969-1975: From "Fourth Country" to Strategic Partner

William Burr
Sixty-four new documents on U.S. assistance to the French Nuclear Program

Explaining Dutch Reservations About NATO's 1979 Dual-Track Decision

Ruud van Dijk
Sixteen new Documents on the Euromissiles Crisis from Dutch Archives

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Leopoldo Nuti // Co-Director, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project; Public Policy Scholar
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant