A Newly Opened Book

De Klerk discloses the history of South Africa's nuclear bombs

THE QUESTION HAD BEEN HANGING THERE THROUGH years of isolation and sanctions against the apartheid regime: Did South Africa have the Bomb? Last Wednesday in Cape Town, President F.W. de Klerk finally provided an answer, and then some: Yes. But not just one. There were six.

Opening the book on his government's nuclear-weapons program, De Klerk announced that after he became President in 1989, he ordered the dismantling and destruction of the secret "nuclear-fission devices" that had been manufactured in the 1970s. The government's strategy at that time, he said, was to use the weapons' "deterrent capability." If a Soviet-backed onslaught...

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