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March 23, 1979

Cabinet Ministerial Group on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, 'Pakistan's Nuclear Programme: Pressures and Inducements'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

This report, created in March 1979 by the Ministerial Group on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, explores the state of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The document also explores topics like Pakistan’s political status among its neighbors in the Arab world, as well as possible ways Pakistan could be induced to terminate its nuclear activities.

In the face of alarmists such as Arthur Hummel in the US and Anthony Parsons in the UK, the influential British analysts on the Ministerial Group on Nuclear Non-proliferation thought it unlikely that Arab countries would knowingly fund Pakistan's nuclear programme, even though it was suggested many Muslim states might welcome a co-religionist achieving the ‘ultimate technological feat’. For nations such as Saudi Arabia, relations with the West were situated as far more significant than connections with Islamabad, despite Pakistan's position as a bulwark between the Muslim world and the USSR. The group suggested enlisting Arab governments in order to put pan-Islamic pressure on Pakistan, arguing that security concerns related to India – and not a desire to equip the Muslim world with a ‘nuclear sword’ – were the nuclear programme's main drivers. Addressing Islamabad’s security issues – a constant in British and American discussions about Pakistan – represented the surest way of achieving positive results. Where the pan-Islamic issue might come into play – analysts suggested – was after any Pakistani nuclear test, where Islamabad might enlist Muslim countries to help resist Western pressure to give up ‘the first nuclear weapon to be developed in a Moslem country.'

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The National Archives of the UK, CAB 130/1073. Contributed by Malcolm Craig.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)