207. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Munitions Control (Margrave) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (Kitchen)1


  • Finnish Interest in the Falcon Missile System

On December 29, I received a copy of a memorandum from Bill Tyler to you on the above subject.2 After expressing his strong support for meeting Finnish interest in Falcon-equipped Drakens, he asks several questions concerning the Falcon missile system which, as you know, is of U.S. origin.

I have now been able to obtain the following information which addresses points raised by Mr. Tyler on the equipment itself:

The Falcon missile system provided to the Swedish Government is a modified version of the U.S. Air Force air-to-air missile, the GAR–11. The modification as furnished, however, continues to provide a capability in excess of that of any known foreign system, including that provided to NATO. The classification of components is Secret and “Very Sensitive” Confidential. The Air Force advises, in addition, that further modification of the system is not technically feasible without negating the basic capability of the equipment.
Air Force intelligence advises, moreover, that the Soviet Union utilizes an air-to-air missile system which is inferior to that provided to the Swedes. Accordingly, compromise of this equipment would contribute to Soviet air defense state-of-the-art. Access to its componentry and technical data would, as well, provide the Soviets with the means for devising a system to counter current U.S. Air Force air-to-air missile capabilities. The Air Force conclusion that release of the Falcon missile to Finland would be harmful to U.S. interests is inter alia predicated on the fact that both the Swedish HM–55 and the U.S. GAR–11 contain advanced technology currently unique to Western equipment.

Although the above solely seeks to address equipment sensitivity, necessarily, concern with respect to the Finnish security system has the most direct relevance in the premises. Should the Department consider it to be sufficiently worthwhile, I can arrange for the US–MICC to assess the capability of the Finnish security program to protect U.S.-origin classified equipment and information.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12–5 FIN–SWE. Secret.
  2. A copy of the memorandum is ibid.