Late 60s U.S. Intel on Chinese Nukes

About a month ago, the Nixon Library declassified a bunch of documents. A “selection”: of them is available online.

Most of the attention was directed toward “this memo”: about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. But there are some other intriguing items.

For example, in the middle of a 1969 “Memorandum of Conversation”: regarding talks between Nixon and ROK President Pak, Nixon reveals a US intel assessment of China’s future nuclear arsenal:

bq. President Nixon: According to our intelligence, Communist
China will have *25 to 50 ICBM’s by 1976* which can hit targets in the U.S.

You may have noticed that this didn’t happen by 1976. Nor has it happened 31 years after 1976.

I’m not a Chinese nuke specialist, so I’m not sure how new this is. But a good illustration of the point.

Incidentally, Nixon also explained in the same conversation that China’s arsenal was motivating his decision to deploy a missile-defense network:

bq. Nixon:…without the ABM network a nuclear armed China might be able to use nuclear blackmail against non-nuclear countries in Asia and pose a danger to the U.S. That is why this subject is so important for the defense and security of the Free World.

Fortunately, the Free World is still here.

*Update:* Some related Israel documents can be found “here.”:

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