Abstract The helicity amplitudes of the nucleon-nucleon one-photon exchange interaction are calculated. The anomalous magnetic moments of the proton and neutron are included in the calculations. The formalism is especially suitable for the small angle proton-proton interaction at intermediate energies. The electromagnetic phase shifts in the Born approximation are defined and calculated. The three cases of the proton-proton, the neutron-proton and the neutron-neutron interactions are dealt with separately. Analytic expressions are given for sums defined by divergent partial waves. We indicate the pecularities of the neutron-proton interaction: the singlet-triplet transitions and the t −1 singularity in the differential cross section. These peculiarities require an improved treatment of the neutron-proton interaction. A modified formalism is suggested.