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june 1999


Danish Prime Minister Gives Tacit Go-Ahead For U.S. Nuclear Weapons In Greenland

A few months after the Danish government had first annoounced its decision not to accept nuclear weapons on Danish territory, U.S. Ambassdor Val Peterson visited Danish Prime Minister H. C. Hansen. During the meeting, the Ambassador avoided asking directly whether Denmark wanted to be informed if the U.S. should decide to deploy nuclear weapons in Greenland. Spared the situation of having to reject such a request directly, Hansen later sent the Ambassador an informal message in which he observed that Peterson had not asked and added that he therefore had no further comments. This message was interpreted by the U.S. government as a go-ahead. One year later, nuclear weapons were deployed at Thule Air Base.

Obtained from the Danish Foreign Ministry records.
Available at Danish National Archives


FOIA Documents

H. C. Hansen, Danish Prime Minister, ["Informal message from H. C. Hansen to U.S. Ambassador Val Peterson,"], November 16, 1957.

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[Informal message from Danish Prime Minister H. C. Hansen to U.S. Ambassador Val Peterson]

November 11, 1957.

During your visit here some days ago you made some remarks about the possible storing of supplies of munition of a special kind in the defence areas in Greenland.
I gathered that your Government did not see any problem in this matter, which in its opinion was covered by the Agreement of April 27, 1951, according to which

each Government will take such measures as are necessary or appropriate to carry out their responsibilities in Greenland


the U.S. Government is entitled to store supplies, provide for the protection of the area etc.


all materials, supplies etc. shall be permitted entry into Greenland free of inspection.

You did not submit any concrete plan as to such possible storing, nor did you ask questions as to the attitude of the Danish Government to this item.
I do not think that your remarks give rise to any comments from my side.


Source: Danish Foreign Ministry records, File Number 105.D.1.a. Available at the Danish National Archives.

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