3. Telegram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Denmark 1

106058. Personal for the Ambassador from Leddy.

I called in Ambassador Ronne on the afternoon of January 21 and handed him an informal record of remarks on the background of our understandings with Denmark on the questions of storage and overflights with respect to nuclear weapons.2 The text is being sent you by separate telegram.3 I suggested that he communicate this record personally to Prime Minister Krag only.
I also showed Ronne, but did not leave with him, the texts of Embtel 406 of November 18, 19674 and Embtel 519 of February 6, 1964.5
In making this information available to him I explained that we had done so because it had appeared to us that the public statements of Prime Minister Krag and Foreign Minister Tabor on the questions of storage and overflights seemed to us to be inconsistent with the tacit understandings between the two governments; that we had realized that these understandings had been closely held within the Danish Government; and that in view of the delicacy of the matter we had delayed reminding the Danish Government of these understandings in the hope that the Danish leaders themselves would become aware of them from their own sources within the Danish Government.
Ronne said that he personally had been completely familiar with Denmark’s NATO files on this subject up to 1962 (he was chief of NATO and military affairs in FonOff 1957-62) and had never heard of these understandings. However, he raised no question about them nor did he seem surprised. He concentrated instead on the inadequacy of the public statement suggested in paragraph four6 and on the need for the US to make some statement of its own which would reassure the Danish people. We should at least say that there have been no nuclear overflights since the accident. I replied that it would be unwise to attempt to work out at this point any statement going beyond the one proposed in Deptel 1036327 which we have not used because it did not [Page 5] fully meet the desires of the Danish Government. I said that it seemed to me the only sensible course was for him first to report to Prime Minister Krag the informal record of the remarks which I had made so that he could view the matter in perspective. If the Danish Government then wished to raise with us the question of an additional public statement by the U.S. we would, of course, be willing to look at their suggestions. I reminded him, however, of the language in paragraph four of my remarks that the “U.S. Government must continue to stand by its policy of not confirming or denying publicly the presence of nuclear weapons on its aircraft or bases anywhere in the world”. Ronne agreed with this course of action.
Ronne then said that since we have caused all the trouble we should make some public statement expressing regret and our understanding for the concern of the Danish people. I undertook to explore the possibility of releasing a statement along these lines at the earliest suitable occasion.
Ronne did not explicitly press for assurances for the future (carefully omitted from the record of my remarks), but indicated that the Danish Government was greatly concerned over the nuclear question in general and would no doubt wish to pursue it further. I said that we wanted to be sure that the outgoing government, which had been in power when our understandings had been reached, was fully informed and would of course always be willing to discuss these questions with the incoming government.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Denmark, Vol. 1. Top Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Leddy, cleared by McKillop, and approved by Leddy.
  2. Document 4.
  3. Telegram 106059 to Copenhagen, January 27. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Denmark, Vol. 1)
  4. This reference is incorrect. Presumably Leddy is referring to telegram 419 from Copenhagen, November 18, 1957. See footnote 4, Document 4.
  5. See footnote 6, Document 4.
  6. Paragraph 4 of Document 4.
  7. See footnote 3, Document 2.