President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has
allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international
inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.
The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because
they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to
maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu at the White House in May.
Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its
nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which
could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs. . . .
The chief nuclear understanding was reached at a summit between President
Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that began on Sept. 25, 1969.
Avner Cohen, author of "Israel and the Bomb" and the leading authority
outside the Israeli government on the history of Israel's nuclear program,
said the accord amounts to "the United States passively accepting Israel's
nuclear weapons status as long as Israel does not unveil publicly its
capability or test a weapon."
There is no formal record of the agreement nor have Israeli nor American
governments ever publicly acknowledged it. In 2007, however, the Nixon
library declassified a July 19, 1969, memo from national security adviser
Henry Kissinger that comes closest to articulating U.S. policy on the issue.
That memo says, "While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli
possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli
possession from becoming an established international fact."
Mr. Cohen has said the resulting policy was the equivalent of "don't ask,
don't tell." . . .
Weapons," Federation of American Scientists
"The U.S. Is Violating the NPT -- Not
Iran," The Wisdom Fund, September 26, 2009
[Called U212s, the submarines were upgraded in Germany by Israeli
technicians and engineers in order to enable them to carry nuclear
warheads."--Israel get two German
submarines," UPI, September 30, 2009]