Documents show US help for French nuclear program

By DESMOND BUTLER | May 26, 2011 | 6:29 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly declassified U.S. documents show that U.S. efforts to aid France's nuclear weapons program in the 1970s began three years earlier than previously documented.

The documents published by the National Security Archive and the Wilson Center also show that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sought to use cooperation to get France to support U.S. diplomatic goals.

France first approached the United States about help for their ballistic missile program in late 1969, but the documents show that the U.S. and French presidents at the time, Richard Nixon And Georges Pompidou, reached a tacit agreement in early 1970.

As cooperation progressed, Kissinger sought to slow down the U.S. help so as to keep France interested.