30 Nov 2010

Wikileaks: US nuclear weapon sites in Europe revealed

More leaked cables from Wikileaks appear to confirm, for the first time, where the US has deployed its tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Wikileaks cables reveal location of US nuclear weapons in Europe (Getty)

The WikiLeaks cables suggest that most of the roughly 200 bombs still left in Europe are based in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey.

While the international community is aware that the US has warheads remaining in Europe, the locations of the bombs have never been revealed – until now.

The cable, sent from Berlin to the US Secretary of State in November last year, details a conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon and German foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen.

The cable says: “Heusgen said that from his perspective, it made no sense to unilaterally withdraw ‘the 20’ tactical nuclear weapons still in Germany while Russia maintains ‘thousands’ of them.”

The German government, particularly foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, has pledged to remove all remaining nuclear weapons from Germany.

Potential consequences

The cable adds that Mr Gordon “noted that it was important to think through all the potential consequences” of withdrawing the weapons from Germany – “for example, a withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany and perhaps from Belgium and the Netherlands could make it very difficult politically for Turkey to maintain its own stockpile, even though it was still convinced of the need to do so.”

Nato condemned the publication of the locations of the weapons as “illegal and dangerous”, according to The Times.

The weapons remain in strategic locations across Europe, placed there after the Second World War to demonstrate the US commitment to NATO during the Cold War.

Ministers across Europe have recently called for their removal, saying they are obsolete, particularly in light of Russia joining Nato’s missile shield, the closest co-operation between Nato and Russia since before the Cold War.