U.S. Letter to the Danish Government
Weapons in Greenland
Following the disclosure in 1993-1994 that U.S. nuclear-armed bombers
routinely overflew Greenland during the 1960s, the Danish government initially
admitted to the overflights but insisted that nuclear weapons had not been
deployed on the ground. In July 1995, however, the United States informed
the Danish government that nuclear weapons had also been deployed on the ground.
The letter from the U.S. government explained that an internal investigation had reviewed documents
back as far as 1958 and that the documents disclosed that nuclear weapons were
present at Thule Air Base on two occasions. The first introduction occurred in
February 1958 when four airborne weapons and 15 non-nuclear components were
deployed. The bombs were returned to the United States about eight months later.
The second introduction began in December 1959, and consisted of 48 air defense
weapons. These weapons remained in place until the summer of 1965 when they were
returned to the United States as the U.S. Army canceled its air defense program
at Thule Air Base. After the summer of 1965, the letter explains, the United
States has not deployed nuclear weapons in Greenland.
Mindful of the sensitivity of the matter, the letter warns that disclosure of
the information could seriously affect U.S. foreign relations. "If this
information, or part of it, should be made public," the letter warns, "the U.S.
government will neither confirm nor deny its validity." (Subsequent FOIA
requests to the U.S. government for this letter continue to go unanswered).
Despite the letter's sensitivity, the details were disclosed by
the Danish government in various public statements in 1995 and 1996. Moreover,
the text of the letter was subsequently leaked to the press by a source in the
Danish government. An unofficial version of the letter is available for
downloading in the right-hand bar.
Although the letter does not specify the types of the warheads, the U.S. Air
Force has since disclosed the specific bomb types deployed at Thule (click here).
Hans M. Kristensen |