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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 17, 1979

CIPHERED TELEGRAM NO. 49, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN PAKISTAN TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE PAKISTANI NUCLEAR PROGRAM

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    The Hungarian Embassy in Pakistan reports that according to the Soviet Ambassador in Pakistan, the Pakistani government was able, in 1979, to build a nuclear explosive device within one and a half years. In the view of the Soviet ambassador, because of the perceived inevitability of a Pakistani test, the socialist bloc must consider means of stopping the Pakistani nuclear program.
    "Ciphered Telegram No. 49, Embassy of Hungary in Pakistan to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on the Pakistani nuclear program ," May 17, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL). XIX-J-1-j Pakistan, 1979, 108. doboz, 119-4, 003411/1979. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112881
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Azimov, the Soviet ambassador over here, informed the heads of the diplomatic missions of the closely cooperating socialist countries about the situation of the Pakistani nuclear program, sharing the information he had obtained.

According to this information, Pakistan already possesses both the material and the intellectual capabilities to carry out nuclear explosions, and thus such a device can be manufactured within no more than one year and a half. The execution of the program is being accelerated by the recent discovery of uranium of a favorable composition near Dera Ghazi Khan. They began to set up the already available enrichment facility in the vicinity of the quarry.

In the view of the ambassador, due to political and prestige considerations it can be taken for granted that the explosion will be carried out sooner or later. Its timing will depend on how they evaluate the situation. Actively supported by Saudi Arabia and Libya, the Pakistani nuclear program is proceeding at an accelerated pace. According to the Soviet evaluation, it would pose a serious danger to peace and security if the Arabs could lay their hands on nuclear weapons [emphasis in the original].

For this reason, it is becoming less and less interesting whether we might be able to slow down the execution of the program. Instead, we should rather look for means to prevent its successful completion [emphasis in the original]. At the same time, however, one should be extremely cautious in this question because of the “Indian factor,” Comrade Azimov emphasized.

– 49 – K. ȓ