50 Years Later: New Documents Throw Light on Accord Banning Atmospheric Nuclear Testing – Published on The National Security Archive, Electronic Briefing Book No. 433, by William Burr, August 2, 2013:
- State Department Officials Pointed to Soviet “Technical Violations” but “Gentlemen’s Agreement” Spared Both Superpowers Public Criticisms over Possible Breaches
- Secret Pentagon Programs to Monitor French Atmospheric Nuclear Tests Worried State Department about a U.S. Violation of 1963 Treaty
Washington, D.C., August 2, 2013 – The United States and Soviet Union conducted underground testing that sometimes produced significant “venting” of radioactive gases and particles which crossed international borders, even after signing the Limited Test Ban Treaty fifty years ago, in August 1963. That posed potential health hazards, but also created problems for U.S.-Soviet relations, according to documents recently uncovered through archival research. To minimize the problem, both superpowers tacitly agreed to keep their disagreements secret. A State Department document, published today for the first time by the National Security Archive, indicates that both superpowers followed a tacit “gentleman’s agreement against publicizing venting incidents” in order to depoliticize the issue and to avoid public criticisms of nuclear testing in general, although that was more important to Washington than to Moscow. … (full text with many Docs and Notes).