17. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Warnke) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Leddy)1

Dear John:

This is in reply to your letter of April 17, 1968,2 in which you propose a compromise classified reply to the Danish note of February 26 on nuclear storage in and overflights of Greenland.3 We concur in your proposed reply if, as you suggest in your letter, you reiterate to the Danish Ambassador the possible requirement for US overflights with nuclear weapons in a serious crisis without advance notification or approval, and if you furnish him a memorandum of your conversation with him to this effect, which would serve as a record that this important point had been discussed with him. We hope that, in accordance with your own expressed expectation, this compromise reply will serve to prevent this nuclear weapons issue from jeopardizing the important 1951 Defense of Greenland Agreement.

You make no mention in your April 17 letter of the earlier Danish request for the United States Government’s association with a public statement on the subject of nuclear overflights of or storage of nuclear weapons in Greenland. Our position continues to be that no such statement should be made, that we hope the Danes will make no such statement, and that we could not confirm any such statement if they do choose to make one.


Paul C. Warnke
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 17-1 US. Secret.
  2. Document 16.
  3. Document 11.