2. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • U.S. Air Force Routes


  • Ambassador Torben Ronne, Embassy of Denmark
  • Mr. Per Fergo, Minister-Counselor, Embassy of Denmark
  • Assistant Secretary John M. Leddy, EUR
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., EUR
  • Mr. David H. McKillop, Country Director, SCAN
  • Mr. Eugene Klebenov, Country Desk Officer, SCAN
[Page 3]

Mr. Leddy said that the statements by Danish Government leaders on nuclear storage and overflights2 had come as a surprise to us. Ambassador Ronne said that Prime Minister Krag and Foreign Minister Tabor had merely re-stated Danish nuclear policy. Mr. Leddy said that we did not want to go any further into this question; that we saw no utility in pursuing the matter. Ambassador Ronne said that Danish nuclear policy covers Greenland, as the Krag and Tabor statements had pointed out. Mr. Leddy replied that we had not contradicted these statements, but that we do not want to get into a public discussion on the matter of routes; that we believe it would be most unwise to open such a discussion. Therefore, we could not add to the statement (attachment B)3 a reference to overflights. Under the circumstances, it would probably be just as well to have no statement at all.

Ambassador Ronne said that Premier Krag would, the following day, be questioned on Danish nuclear policy. The Ambassador added that Mr. Leddy was familiar with Denmark’s policy in this area. Mr. Leddy said that he felt that statement could create more problems than it solved but that he would accede to its release. He added that we did not want to set off another round of routes discussion and that we could not go any further than the present statement.

Ambassador Ronne said that lack of further U.S. comment could indicate that the U.S. does not accept Denmark’s foreign policy on nuclear matters. Mr. Leddy sad that it was simply that we do not comment in a way that could lead people to speculate on alert flight routes. Ambassador Ronne said that the lack of U.S. Government comment left him in a very difficult situation. Mr. Leddy pointed out that the Danish Government had made its policy statements; that we did not challenge these statements but will not comment further on this subject. Ambassador Ronne said that he was very unhappy with the situation, and that he would be informing his Government.

Ambassador Ronne said that he would call later in the evening and let us know if the Danish Government concurred in the two press statements. Mr. Leddy said that, on receiving concurrence from the Danes, we would notify the Department of Defense for an 8:00 am release, January 27.

[Since the Danish Government found the shorter statement (attachment B) inadequate, the USG did not release it.]4

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 17 US. Secret. Drafted by Klebenov. The memorandum is Part III of III. According to a memorandum of conversation marked Part I of III, the group first discussed a proposed Department of Defense press release that described the findings of the ground survey team that visited the crash site. (Ibid.) The meeting was held in Leddy’s office.
  2. See Document 1.
  3. Attached is the text of a proposed Department of Defense press release, which was transmitted to Copenhagen in telegram 103632, January 23. The press release stated that news stories claiming that the B-52 was scheduled to land at Thule Airfield were wrong; the B-52 was scheduled to return to Plattsburgh Air Force Base after completing its mission without any intervening landings elsewhere; furthermore, there were not “scheduled landings of B-52’s at Thule at any time.”
  4. Brackets in the source text.