This chapter sets out to shed light on the “birth” of Dutch nuclear nonproliferation policy under Staatssecretaris (Undersecretary of State) Max van der Stoel (1965-1966). The chapter argues that van der Stoel’s relatively brief tenure represented a decisive phase for Dutch nuclear diplomacy. Van der Stoel seized the negotiations on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as an opportunity to assert his strong Atlanticist preferences by using idealist arguments. He firmly rejected the traditional Dutch foreign policy effort which sought to maintain an implicit European nuclear option to hedge against an eventual Euro-American split. His singular orientation on the United States meant a departure from the traditional Dutch line. While van der Stoel’s Atlanticism was largely motivated by regional politico-strategic concerns, he sought to present it as global idealism. Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) he used the arguments of internationalism to exacerbate already existing tensions. He co-opted the “up and coming” progressive forces of Directie Internationale Organisaties (Directorate International Organizations, DIO) to overcome the entrenched position of the more conservative Directie NAVO en WEU Zaken (Directorate NATO and WEU Affairs, DNW) which formed the traditional core of the Dutch foreign security policy establishment. Van der Stoel’s arrival at the MFA resulted in the intensification of an already ongoing bureaucratic struggle between DNW’s strategists and DIO’s internationalists. The main bone of contention was that the MFA’s security policy establishment did not want to altogether discard the European nuclear option, as a hedge against an American departure from Europe in the future. This shows that Dutch “Atlanticism” was perhaps less deep-rooted than generally assumed. Van der Stoel, however, rejected this European option both as an obstacle to a nonproliferation agreement and as a potential wedge within the Alliance. This contribution seeks to deepen our general understanding of Dutch nuclear nonproliferation policy by tracing these internal discussions which presented a clash between two strains of thought about the dynamics and relevance of nuclear nonproliferation. The rhetoric of nuclear nonproliferation policy is often presented with strong idealistic overtones, potentially hiding politicostrategic motives. But what is actual internationalist idealism and where lie the

politico-strategic interests? Where do the two overlap, where do they clash, and to what extent can they mutually coexist? To what extent did, and still do, internationalist approaches, often expressed in legal and multilateral terms, serve strategic objectives? Or, perhaps less commonly, to what extent are the instruments of security policy serving internationalist goals? And how often have instruments and methods become ends in themselves? The negotiations over a nonproliferation agreement were intertwined with discussions within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) about the establishment of a Multilateral Force (MLF ). The Soviet Union had rejected nonproliferation negotiations with the United States as long as the latter considered transferring additional control over nuclear weapons to its NATO allies. Early 1965, as US enthusiasm for the MLF began to wither and in the wake of the PRC’s October 1964 nuclear test, US-Soviet nonproliferation discussions were renewed.2 The stage was set after the introduction of a US-inspired Irish resolution in the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC) in late January 1965.3 Under van der Stoel’s aegis, the Netherlands attempted to limit the scope for multilateral nuclear sharing arrangements within NATO. This policy served two objectives: First, it was intended to prevent the development of a European nuclear force. Second, it aimed to underwrite US-Soviet nonproliferation negotiations which threatened to become deadlocked because of Soviet objections to the MLF. It might well be asked whether van der Stoel’s mix of pro-US Atlanticist “realism” and his rhetoric of internationalist “idealism,” both inspired by his faith in the power of international institutions, can be considered as truly “strategic.” Van der Stoel’s most ardent adversaries, clustered around the security policy establishment within the MFA, took a more sceptical view: they had less faith in international law and the US role in the Atlantic alliance: it was better to keep all options open, especially the European nuclear option. This had actually been the essence of Dutch foreign policy up until that moment. Unfortunately, very little has been written on the history of Dutch political and strategic considerations pertaining to nuclear policy, and the existing literature has no solid empirical basis due to restricted access to most of the relevant archives.4 It is usually assumed that The Hague was a most faithful ally of Washington. Dutch fears of Franco-German dominance of the continent would have created the need for a strong tie to the United States. This account contests this thesis. Key policy-makers in The Hague never fully trusted Washington. Dutch passivity in European politics had served the implicit objective to keep Dutch options, nuclear and non-nuclear, open.