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nuclear weapons production in fourth countries-likelihood and consequences
To estimate the capabilities and intentions of "fourth countries" with respect to the production of nuclear weapons over the next decade, and to estimate thein terms of US national interests.
the next decade upould, by exploiting the potential of their nuclear research and powerproduce atewt) nuclear weapons using only native resources. Several others could do likewise with considerable foreignHowever, only France, Canada, and Sweden could produce nuclearwithin the next few years.
Productioniversified rangeargo annual output of fission weapons would require so large an investment that we believe only France, Canada, Sweden, and possibly West Germany, could by themselves do so over the next decade The pooling of Westernombined effort could result in significant weapons production withinears, or within five years if the UK were included. )
France is on the vergeecision to develop nuclear weapons and willproduce its first weapon in the next year or so. Sweden is also likely toits first weapon inproduction by France would create strong pressures in West Germanyimilar effort, though West Germany would firstegional arrangement to produce and control nuclear weapons. Communist China and Japan willseek to develop weapons production programs within the next decade,of developments in Europe.)
production ofby fourth countries wouldbe deterred, temporarily at least,first step disarmamentthese inhibiting effectstransitory unless continuedevident toward effective controlsof stockpiles. )
by the US toEuropean countriesilateral or commonwould also have an importanteffect. However, suchnot necessarily constitute adeterrent nor would they affect
countries who might be unwilling to accept US weapons, even If offered.)
Unless provided with assistance in the production of nuclear weapons and the development of modem delivery systems, we believe that no individual fourthwill be able within the nextears to develop moreimited nuclear capability. One result of these factors may be to discourage independent efforts in Western Europe and to induce the European powers to seek agreement on common production and control,through the existing structure of EURATOM, or as the continental powers would probably prefer, through WEU, thus including the UK. )
Fourth power production of nuclear weapons over the nextears is not likely to reduce their dependence onalliances, or materially increase the likelihood of general war. However, fourth power possession might lessento Soviet threats and lead such governments to assert greaterwithin the Western alliance which the USSR would exploit. (Paras
The chances of these countrieslocal conflicts would probably not increase materially, and there will bepolitical and psychologicalto the use of nuclear weapons in local situations. Nevertheless, toward the end of the period of this estimate, the possibility cannot be excluded thatof nuclear capabilities by fourth powers might stimulate them to take more vigorous political action or even to use nuclear weapons in critical situations. More importantly, this estimate does not consider the possibility of radical social and political changes which mightorourth country's decision to embarkajor nuclear weapons program. )
It is unlikely that the initiation of fourth power production instates would basically alter Soviet estimates of western intentions or Soviet policies. We believe that West German production would not of itself lead the USSR to attack.
wouldegional nuclear weaponsof Western European countriesseek to exploit any resultingin the ties between the US andgroup.
of fourth countries
the nextmall numbercan develop the capability tonuclear weapons using only nativeMost of these countries possessuranium ores. Others possessores which may become usable asprocessing techniques arcand cooperative Internationalfor establishing research andare developing cadres of competent scientific manpower.ationivilian atomic energy program encompassing fairly large reactors and processing facilities it requires only relatively little Investment in on ordnance laboratory and research Indesign toeapons program. Toingle weapon would requireew kilograms (perhaps lessf plu-tonium such as could be produced in large
research reactors or in nuclear power plants. Nuclear weapons could be producedthrough concealed diversion of pluto-nlum from inspected power plants, but they would almost certainly be low-yield, relatively crude fission weapons.
More substantial weapons programstoarge annual output of fission weapons, the development of arange of such weapons or,urther step, the fabrication of thormonuelearwould require the construction offacilities. These would consist forof large pluionium producing reactors' and isotope separation plantss to be obtained. Extensive weapons fabrication,and testing facilities would also be required. The investment required byubstantial program in terms of money,energy, natural resources, and skills Is so large, particularly for production, that we believeew fourth countries could by themselves achieverogram ever the next decade.
Based on the current status of theirenergy program, we believe that thecountries could produce their firstweapons using only native resources as follows:
plutonlum has been available for several years to produceand production would be possibleearecision toeapon.
In France, plutonlum in weapons quantities ts now beginning to become available and planned production facilities will be developed to the point that nominal weapons in the range ofot could be produced at an annual rate0naking no allowance for use of plutonlumeactor fuel. If completed as presently scheduled, plutonlum production 'acilities In Sweden could support the annual production ofuch weapons5ndurrent Canadianof plutonlum Is sufficient to produce
' In some cases these might be dual-purpose
only one nominal weapon per year but would reach the level to support the production ofer year5 If the present program for reactor construction Is carried out. In each case, the receipt of weapons grade fissionable material from foreign sources would accelerate the developmenteapons stockpile. Receipt of design Information on testedwould permit Canada and France toweapons stockpiling within six months or less*
ithin the next few years no otherwill have the capability for nuclearproduction using only domestic resources. If entirely dependent upon its own supplies of low-grade ores for fissionable materials. West Germany could probably commence weapons production only near the end of theear period of this estimate. However, If givenaccess to high-grade uranium ores, or to the fissionable material output of the planned power reactor. West Germany could commence weapons production within five years from the date of decision, andhorter time If additional facilities areand built under extremely high priorities.
elgium could commence weaponswithout further foreign assistanceapan could also produce weapons withinears if it were given unrestricted access to uranium supplies or if it were able to exploit recently reported uranium deposits to provide reactor fuels. India and Italy could do so only by extraordinary* efforts and bythe highest priorityeaponsCzechoslovakia and East Germany, andomewhat lesser extent Poland, possess the necessary resourcesuclear weapons program but are only In the early experimental stages of nuclear energySwitzerland, Norway, and thewould require unrestricted access to uranium supplies or control of fissionable ma-
'BoUi France and Canada could produce more refined weapons types. However, production figures and Umc lags would vary considerably II large-yield or more efficient weapons were developed.
terial from planned power reactors to develop weapons programs within the nextears.
Compared with countries discussed above. Communist China. Australia, and Israelfewer of the requirementsuccessful program and would require major foreignto produce even the first weapon within the nextears. However, the early stepsuclear energy developmentare already under way in Communist China with Soviet assistance, and In Australia and Israel with assistance from the UK and the US.
None of the countries listed Inbove is likely to have the capability over the nextears to produce enough weapons grade fissionable material to support theof moreew nominal weapons. The time required forroduction capability in weapons grade fissionablecould be reduced two to five years Inevery case If foreign assistance wereIn the following fields over the next few years.
and constructionuclear(forairly large researchor natural uranium power reactor).
supply of the necessary fuel for
and construction of facilitiesof fuel elements and forplutonium.
No Latin American country, left entirely to Its own resources, will be able to produce nuclear weapons within the nextears.
We believe it possible, althoughthat France. Sweden, Canada, and West Germany by making an all-out effort could develop the capability toewor other high-yield0 kt orabove) within lOyears. Production of such weapons would require the attainment of both well rounded weapons development, including testing, and fissionable materials production programs.
A combined effort by the nations making up the EURATOM community would notaccelerate the production of the first few nominal weapons. Production of these first weapons, startingould result primarily from the French effort. However,ombined effort couldIn the nextommon stockpile of nuclear weapons of significant size and variety. The Immediate assets of such awould be the French plutoniumand processing facilities, French and Belgian uranium ores, West Oerman scientific and industrial capabilities, and French, Dutch, and Belgian reactor technology. The pooling of these assets and of financial contributions would permit within two or three years the construction of an isotope separation facility and the expansion of plutonium production fadltties. With both plutonium andavailable In quantity (or weapons use, the numbers and yields of weapons would be dependent largely on the success of the weapons development program and associated testing. West German scientific andcapabilities would be an important factor In Improving the quality of the weapons
The addition of the CK to the aboveeffort, thus encompassingould provide highly significant additional weapons technology and fissionable materials production facilities. Weapons production by the. countries could bewithin the next five years.
A technological breakthrough orespionage could markedly Increase the capabilities of the countries discussed in this paper, but probably would not enlarge the list of those countries able to produce nuclear weapons within the nextears.
In order to translate nucleareaningful military capability, weapons delivery systems must be developed. Ofountryew nominal weapons could deliver them by unorthodox or crude means against an unsuspecting or unprepared enemy. However, the costs ofand producing refined weaponssystems and compatible nuclearappropriate to the varying militaryare high. Unless provided with both nuclear weapons design and assistance in development of delivery systems, we believe
that Individual fourth countries will not be able within the nextears to develop more than limited capabilities In these fields. If the combined resources ol tbe Westernpowers were directed to the development of refined weapons and delivery systems, we believeizable nuclear capability could probably be developed toward* the end of theear period.
ii. probable courses of action in fourth countries in the absence of outside
t the moment France ia on the tbe verge ol deciding touclear weapons production program. Several obstacles stand in the path of this French decision. TheImpediment Is the oppositionarge part of the general public. Some Frenchare also concerned that production by France will Influence other countries, notably West Germany, to follow its example.they are fearfulnilateral French nuclear weapons program might result ineffects on NATO's political solidarity, and on the maintenance of the NATO shield of conventional forces.
owever, support for an Independentweapons program is growing in France. In particular thereelief that independent production of nuclear weapons Is necessary to restore French prestige and to re-establish France's statusreat power. There isesire to be prepared forithdrawal of US forces fromand tbe possibtllty that tbe US, In an age of nuclear parity and ballistic missiles, might foil to stand firmly with Europe againstthreats. Unless other deterrents come Into play, we believe that the French will within the next year or so initiate theof nuclearest Germany is prohibited from the manufacture of nuclear weapons on its own territory under the Paris Agreementsubstantial majority of the German public Is at present opposed to the acquisition or manufacture of atomic weapons, and even to the storage of US weapons on German soil.
ational election campaign underway, the government Is careful not toirm position regarding nuclear weapons which would give the opposition an occasion toit of recklessness. Any attemptest German government to moveInto the manufacture of nuclearwouldrisis, not only within WEU, but in West German politics.
hancellor Adenauer appears to believe that in the absenceisarmamentall NATO defense forces should be armed with nuclear weapons and that theirarmament, and disposition In Western Europe shouldatter of community, rather than purely national concern. His government's position appears to be one which is politically practicableomestic point of view, and oneuccessormight also follow.
owever, In the eventnilateral French decision to produce nuclear weapons, there would almost certainlyrowth of sentiment favoring similar action in West Germany. Nevertheless, the initial reaction of the government would probably be in the direction of increased efforts to securewithin NATO. WEU, or somegrouping for the development of common nuclear capabilitiesnified control. Assuming that extensive efforts in thishad failed, we believe that In time any West German government would probablyto almost Irresistible national pressures to undertake an independent program ofweapons production, despite theto be surmounted in the way of low grade uranium and the restrictions of the Paris Agreements. The delay involved in making this decision would probably be somewhat greater if the government were controlled by the SPD.
n Sweden, there will not be sufficientof plutonlum to startocal minority opposes equipping Sweden's armed forces with nuclear weapons, public opinion In general appears to support the government view that nuclear weapons are essential to Sweden'sThe prestige issue is practically absent
In Sweden, but Swedish leaders believe that maintenance of Sweden's traditional policy of armed neutrality requires that nuclearbe produced In Sweden and not procured through adherence to Western defenseWe believe, therefore, that In theof substantial progress in disarmament. Sweden will Initiate production of nuclear weapons as the necessary materials become available.
SO. French and Swedish decisions to produce nuclear weapons would not necessarily spark immediate nuclear weapons production efforts In other Western European states. However. Italy. Belgium, and the Netherlands, would probably Join West Germanyall for the establishment of some type of common pool which would make nuclear weapons available lo their own forces and in the absence of such an arrangement one or more might go ahead with independent production efforts.might also undertake production In order to enhance respect for Its neutral
Canada has the capability to produceweapons at an early date, but theand the people appear satisfied to depend on the US nuclear stockpile. This situation will probably persist for some time, but the Canadians are likely to becomeinsistent on obtaining nuclear weapons from the US for air defense purposes, particularly If other fourth countries acquire nuclear capabilities. If, under thesethe US was not responsive, Canada would almost certainly undertake domestic production of nuclear weapons.
Japanese policy with respect to theof nuclear weapons is likely to beprimarily by domestic and regional considerations with developments in Europe havingarginal Influence. Because of present popular opposition there is noof an early Japanese effort at production. However, Japan's defense plannersmall but Influential conservative elite viewproduction of nuclear weapons as essential to Japan's defense and to the establishment of Japaneading power in Asia. These views have been circulated In the Diet and are probably supported by Prime Minister Kishl.
While Japanese opponents of nuclear weapons are extremely vocal at present,work Is being done in the area of peaceful uses, which will probably serve in time toess emotional publictoward military uses as well asto the potentialilitaryWe believe Klsbi will be successful in strengthening the overall conservative party position, and that the Japanese government will probably take the initiative in building public support for nuclear weaponsThus the chances now appear at least even that Japan will undertake the initial stepsuclear weapons productionwithin five years.
Chinese Communist leaders almostaspire to the domestic production of nuclear weapons in order to advanceChina's claims to great power status, to enhance Its prestige and power in Asia, and eventually to Lessen dependence on the USSR and toeterrent to the use of USforces in the Far East. Accordingly,evidence on the matter Is lacking, we believe that the Chinese Communistj have already decided that they will eventuallyweapons. To Implement such aCommunist China would need to obtain substantial scientific and technical support from the USSR and the probable desire of Soviet leaders to limit Communist China's power for Independent action may constitute an Initial impediment. We believe, however, that they would not for long deny Chinesefor assistance. Peiping has already announcedoviet-granted nuclearreactorilowatts will bethis year. Soviet assistance inChinese uranium for domestic use ts likely and limited sharing of experience in weapons design and testing Is possible In the future. Even with Sovietuclear weapons program would require diversion of resources urgently needed for basic economic
e believe, that the Chinese Communists will be reluctant to make such diversions, that
they willuclear weapons program only gradually, and that weapons production will not reach significant proportions within the nextears. The Chinese Communis is will almost certainly attempt to gain political advantages in Asia from vocal opposition to the testing, production, and use of nuclear weapons, even though engaged inuclear weapons program.
Nuclear weapons production docs notlikely in any other fourth country within the nextears. However, Israel wouldcertainly attempt to achieve nuclearIf It could obtain fissionable material and the necessary financing. Indianto possession or production of nuclear weapons might decline if Communist China were known to possess nuclear weapons.
Wc believe that the USSR would not give Its consent to Independent nuclear weapons production In East Germany andthe two satellites with the greatestfor production over the nextears. The USSR will almost certainly feel that any requirements for the physical location ofweapons in Eastern Europe can best be satisfied by the stationing of its own nuclear-equipped forces In the area. However, Ifweapons production is undertaken by the Western European community, the USSR mightoint program for members of the Warsaw Pact. If so, It would retain effective control of the use of nuclear weapons by member states.
III. POSSIBLE EXTERNAL DETERRENTS TO NUCLEAR WEAPONSIN FOURTH COUNTRIES
clauses restricting military usecontained In the statute of theAtomic Energy Agency (IAEA) andUK, and Canadian bilaterala will notthe production of nuclear weaponsfourth countries. For exampleFrance nor Sweden is dependent onassistance, and West Germany andbe able to exploit their own suppliesuranium or obtain access toores in other countries. Moreover, the
USSR hasillingness to supply research reactorsilateral basis without apparent restriction on the use of reactor
Effects of Disarmament Agreements on Fourth Countries
The disarmament discussions underway in London, and particularly the Informaltalks between the US and Soviet officials, have touched on the subject ol fourth power possession of atomic weapons. An agreement among the three atomic powers for acurtailment of nuclear tests together with Inspected prohibition of futureof fissionable materials for weaponswould, at least for some time, create formidable popular expectations forand strong public pressures against the Initiation of weapons production in fourth countries.
The country most immediately affected would be France, where popular pressure would probably force the government toa decision to produce. However, unless an agreement were followed fairly quickly by effective Implementation, by agreements to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles, andlear demonstration that the nuclear powers Intended to abide by these agreements in the future. France probably would not renounce its right to nuclear weapons production and. in time, would probably begin to produce its own weapons.
Once such agreements failed to deter France, West Germany would probably also feel compelled to acquire nuclear weapons, preferablyommon pool but by independent efforts, if necessary. In Japan, popular opposition to nuclear weapons Isso great as to induce the government to accept any agreement that imposed no greater restrictions on Japan than on other fourth powers. As the nuclear energyIn Japan progresses, Japan wouldmore reluctant to restrict Its right to make weapons and would probably do so only as part of an arrangement whichrastic reduction of the stockpiles of the major nuclear powers.
the Chinese Communists areto be deterred fromimited disarmamentexcept Insofar aa they may beSoviet adherence andovietassistance from China for developmentweapons program.
Effects of provision of Nuclear Weapons to Fourth Countries in the Absence of Disarmament Agreements
Agreement by the US to supply up-to-date nuclear weapons to Its European allies Insires and In some quantity would probably tend to deter production by these countries at leastime.ove would almost certainly be an effective deterrent If thewere provided without restriction to use. Short of supplying nuclear weapons on an unrestricted Individual country basis, allied desires might be satisfied for some timeS transfer of nuclear weaponsATO pool- if reaching and implementing such an agreementongwe believeFrench would probably undertake toew nominal weapons which would satisfy their desire to demonstrate their capability.
Similar measures would be less effective elsewhere in solving the fourth powerSweden would fear that acceptance of US weapons would compromise its neutral status. The Japanese government probably believes that If nuclear weapons are to be accepted by the Japanese people, they must come at least initiallyurely national program with no direct ties or commitments to the US.eriod of crisis the Chinese Communists might accede to or even request the stationing of Soviet nuclear weapon units in Chinaemporary measure. However, we believe that the Chinese Communists would not regard thisatisfactory long term solution and that they would continue to press the USSR for assistance In developing an independent capability.
While it might be possible to deferproduction in some countries by mak-
SEC lng nuclear weapons available from US, UK, or Soviet stocks, it Is almost certain that over the next decade an Increasing number of countries will obtain possession of nuclear weapons and that effective Internationalwill be Increasingly difficult to achieve. Thereelief that the adoption of nuclear weapons would lead to economies in defense budgets and manpower. Moreover, despite the widespread popular opposition to thepossession, and use of nuclear weapons, governments are Increasingly bent onnuclear weapons In order to modernize their defense systems and to increase their freedom of political action.
IV. CONSEQUENCES OF FOURTH POWER PRODUCTION
Regardless ot fourth countries estimates of their needs for nuclear weapons andsystems, actual production will beby the high costs involved. As Indicated Ine believe that Individual fourth countries will be able to develop only limited nuclear capabilities within the nextears. One consequence of the difficulties and costs of developing refined nuclearmay be to discourage independent efforts In Western Europe. This wouldother motives, such as fear ofrivalries, for cooperative efforts in West-em Europe. Once the ability touclear weapon has been demonstrated and experience obtained with the costs andInvolved, the European powers might accordingly attempt to reach agreement on common productionontfOL
A common approach could be carried out through tho WEU by its seven members. This would involve the support of the UK which would probably viewevelopmentesirable alternative to independent French or German production. Because of intimate US-British defense ties, the UK wouldseek US concurrence before it would envisage undertaking this program with the Continent.
alternative approach might beif ratified, or some other or-
ganizatlon limited to the Six, Although EURATOM was designed to assist Inpeaceful uses of nuclear energy, the EURATOM community could modify itsIn order to produce or coordinate the production of such weapons/ The EURATOM solution would probably be less acceptable politically than one which would include the UK. For one reason, the French especially would prefer UK participation in order topossible German domination of the pool. For another, the French would also resent an arrangement which would submit France, but not the UK, to some measure of community control.
A European community could, as noted inizable nuclearand might hence become somewhat less susceptible to Soviet threats. Itscapability to deter tbe USSR would,remain uncertain for many years. Hence for some time to come the members of tbe community would probably continue to regard alliance with the US as essential. Yet the fact that they had acquired their nuclear capability largelyesult of their own effort, and the experience in cooperation gained In tbe very act of that effort would tend to give them an Increased solidarityeeling of independence which might render them less responsive to US policy. .
Production of nuclear weapons by any of the fourth countries which arc likely to achieve significant nuclear capability over the nextears Is not likely to increasethe chances of general war whether deliberately initiated or resulting from the expansionocal conflict. Such fourth countries will realize that their ability toeither the US or the USSR has notsignificantly and neither Communist China nor any Western power would be more likely toituation which could lead to general war.
The chances of these countrieslocal conflicts also would probably not increase materially, and there will bepolitical and psychological bars to the use of nuclear weapons In local situations. Nevertheless, towards the end of the period of this estimate and as their nuclearIncrease some countries might beto take more vigorous political action in support of individual national interests. As capabilities increase and possession spread, the possibility cannot be excluded that nuclear weapons might be used by fourth countries In critical situations. Whether or not such conflicts would spread would depend in part on the degree to which in teres ta of the great powers were involved and on the restraining effects of the overall nuclear situation.
estimates tn the two precedingcannot, of course take account ofevents such as the acquisitionover nuclear weapons by angovernment. Most Important, Itfrom consideration the possibilitychanges in the social andof the countries with which itthose which might accompanya decision to embark on aweapons program and which couldhave profound effects.
Soviet Reactions to Fourth Power Production
The possible spread to fourth countriesuclear weapons manufacturing capability, has apparently notatter of major concern to the USSR, although Soviet officials in the current London disarmament talks have appeared to show some Interest In the subject. Soviet representatives did not take the initiative In writing the safeguard clauses into the IAEA statute and nave not taken up the US suggestion that tbe bilateraluses program of the US and the USSR adopt IAEA safeguard standards. Moscow's apparent indifference may have derived from estimates that fourth power production lay in the relatively remote future, and that fourth power production when It did occur would hardly be sufficient to alter the general magnitude of the existing threat.
It Is unlikely that the actual initiation of fourth power production in non-Communist states would basically alter Soviet estimates
of Western Intentions or Soviet policies.threats would almost certainly beWest German production wouldcause new and sharper threats but of itself would probably not lead the USSR to attack West Germany. Moreover, the Soviet leaders would probably calculate that neither West Germany nor any other fourth country coulduclear capability of such magnitude as to outweigh the deterrent posed by the USSR's much more formidableThe USSR would probably seek to derive what benefit It could by exploiting any moves these countries might make to assert greater Independence within the Western alliance.
Moscow would probablyegional nuclear weapons program of Western European countries. The USSR would seek to exploit any suspicion that the partners ofegional effort might have of Germany, and it would certainly seek to maximise any loosening in the ties between the US and the European group that might develop from an Independent EuropeanIfegional program left room for control ol weapons by individualparticularly Germany, or If the USSR believed that Germany would be able to use community resources to advance German interests In the East, the Soviet leaders would be made more uneasy but would probably react In much the same way as they would to an independent German program.
The degree of Soviet concern would be heightened If the US and the UK embarkedefinite program either of equipping their allies, particularly European, with nuclear weapons and delivery systems or ofsupporting production efforts.this action alone would probably not lead the USSR to conclude that the West under US direction was planning to launch general war. Among the counter-measures Moscow might take would be the publicly-announced stationing of Soviet nuclear forces In Eastern Europe as wellublicized increase in the
military budget. Such measures would be accompanied by diplomatic and propaganda moves designed to drive home theof Western Europe to Soviet military action and to stimulate public anxieties andto the Western buildup.
Moscow probably would not regard anuclear weapons program as materially affecting its own military position, but would find it difficult to resist Chinese Communist requests for supportimilar weapons program in China.
The acquisition by the Chineseregime of nuclear weapons would not alter Peiping's basic International orientation and policies. Peiping would continue toits fundamental dependence on the USSR for strategic security.
Communist China would probablythat the Intimidating effect oncountries of its military strength had been Increased measurably. With nuclearof Its own. Communist China might be able to look with somewhat greaterupon the prospect that another Asian country, such as Japan or Nationalist China, might acquire nuclear weapons. At the same time, Peiping would probably recognize that Its possession of nuclear weapons mighta serious irritant to relations with other Asian countries, notably India. Peiping might attempt to maintain approximately the present balance in its policies between threat and Intimidation and expression of "peaceful" Intent To the latter end. Communist China would probably join In Soviet disarmament and weapons control proposals, recognizing that with nuclear weapons at its disposal its views on disarmament and control would have considerably more International Impact.
The possession of nuclear weaponswould not of itself lead Peiping to resume Its expansionist military policies In Korea, the Taiwan Straits, or Indochina, since theeffect of the threat of US counteraction would remain.Original document.