US helped France go nuclear to keep Europe divided. The government of the United States secretly helped France expand its nuclear arsenal, in order to promote its rivalry with Britain, according to newly declassified documents. The clandestine assistance to France, which tested its first nuclear bomb in Africa in 1960, began during the Richard Nixon administration, and was actively directed by Henry Kissinger, Nixonâ€™s senior National Security Advisor. The documents, which were obtained by researchers at the George Washington University and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, include a 1973 memorandum authored by Kissinger, in which he writes: â€œWe want to keep Europe from developing their unity as a bloc against us. If we keep the French hoping they can get ahead of the British, this would accomplish our objectiveâ€. Toward that goal, the US ought to provide the French with information that will make them â€œdrool but doesnâ€™t give [them] anything but something to study for a whileâ€. By doing so, Washington would be able to force Britain to stop â€œbehaving ****tyâ€ and conform to American foreign policy objectives:.