Leaked Cables Confirm NATO Tactical Nuke Locations

U.S. State Department memos recently leaked to the transparency organization WikiLeaks confirm for the first time the location of deployed U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Nov. 24).

The United States has long been thought to maintain roughly 200 nuclear-armed B-61 gravity bombs as a holdover from the Cold War at six bases in five nations: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

A leaked cable, which details a conversation between a high-level German official and U.S. officials, confirms that tactical weapons are deployed in at least four of the five suspected NATO states. Italy did not come up in the reported conversation.

The German official was quoted as saying "it made no sense to unilaterally withdraw 'the 20' tactical nuclear weapons still in Germany while Russia maintains 'thousands' of them."

He continued that a "withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany and perhaps from Belgium and the Netherlands could make it very difficult politically for Turkey to maintain its own stockpile."

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on Tuesday condemned the leaking as "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous, regardless of whether the leaked material is diplomatic or military" (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Nov. 30).

December 2, 2010
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U.S. State Department memos recently leaked to the transparency organization WikiLeaks confirm for the first time the location of deployed U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Nov. 24).