May 17, 1979
Ciphered Telegram No. 49, Embassy of Hungary in Pakistan to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on the Pakistani nuclear program
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.
June 06, 1979
US Department of State Cable 145139 to US Embassy India [Repeating Cable Sent to Embassy Pakistan], 'Non-Proliferation in South [Asia]'
U.S. State Department cable states that the Carter administration has “reached a dead end” in its efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear technology in South Asia. The State Department is wary of taking too strong an approach to Pakistan’s nuclear endeavors, given the security ties between the two countries and concerns about Pakistan’s stability.
September 08, 1979
Anthony Lake, director, Policy Planning Staff, to Secretary of State Vance, 'The Pakistan strategy and Future Choices'
Anthony Lake, director of the Policy Planning Staff, writes to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance about available options to deter Pakistan’s further proliferation while still maintaining “good relations.” Lake suggests exploring the idea of pressuring groups and countries providing aid to Pakistan, and wonders whether the sale of F-16 fighter-jets could sway Pakistan’s military to scale back their nuclear effort.
Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2013 Release]
This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2013 release (which is currently under appeal) includes some information from a “Secret Test by Others” (Pakistan, India) and the map on page 12 that had not been released before.
Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, US Director of Central Intelligence, NI IIM 79-10028, 'The 22 September 1979 Event' [2004 Release]
This study begins, as the National Security Council requested, by assuming that the September 22, 1979 Vela event was a nuclear detonation. It discusses the possibility that the detonation could have occurred due to an accident, and noted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s suggestion that the Soviet Union might have had reasons to conduct a covert test in violation of its treaty commitments. But most of the study is concerned with other possibilities to explain the incident – a secret test by South Africa or Israel, or India, or Pakistan, or a secret joint test by South Africa and Israel. The 2004 version, in some instances, contains more information through page 10 than the 2013 version.
December 07, 1979
Deputy Director for National Foreign Assessment, Central Intelligence Agency, Enclosing Report, 'A Review of the Evidence of Chinese Involvement in Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program'
With nuclear proliferation a policy priority for the Jimmy Carter administration, and Pakistan already a special concern, the possibility that China and Pakistan were sharing nuclear weapons-related information began was beginning to worry US government officials. They had no hard evidence--and the soft evidence that concerned them is massively excised in the December 1979 report just as Beijing and Washington were normalizing relations—so the “precise nature and extent of this cooperation is uncertain.”
January 31, 1980
Secretary of Defense Harold Brown to Ambassador-at-Large Gerard C. Smith, enclosing excerpts from memoranda of conversations with Geng Biao and Deng Xiaoping.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 had an immediate impact on U.S. policy toward Pakistan and U.S. aid to the anti-Soviet resistance through Islamabad. With these considerations, the U.S. chose to “set [the nuclear issue] aside for the time being.”
April 09, 1981
Special Assistant for NPI, NFAC, CIA, to Resource Management Staff, Office of Program Assessment et al, 'Request for Review of Draft Paper on the Security Dimension of Non-Proliferation'
Just a few months into President Reagan’s first term his administration wanted to make its own mark on nonproliferation policy. The report suggests building “broader bilateral relationship[s]” and offering political and security incentives could persuade states considering developing nuclear weapons to cease these efforts.
June 11, 1981
Lewis A. Dunn, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 'Implications for US Policy of a Pakistani Nuclear Test'
Memorandum from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency suggests that the prospects for dissuading a Pakistani nuclear test were dimming and suggests possible U.S. responses should detonate a device.
June 25, 1981
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State, 'India-Pakistani Views on a Nuclear Weapons Option and Potential Repercussions'
A U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research report offers an overview of the Indian and Pakistani nuclear programs, and speculates how the development of a weapon in one country could strain relations with Washington and lead to a regional nuclear arms race. India is less likely to take preventive action against Pakistan because of the risk of “antagonizing China,” the report suggests.
August 14, 1981
Report on Diplomatic Actions Taken Concerning Foreign, Nuclear-Related Supplies to Pakistan, Richard L. Williamson, Arms Control Disarmament Agency (ACDA)
ACDA report on the lasting effects of the November 1978 demarches on inverters and plutonium reprocessing technology. Describes the objectives of the demarches and the direct effects on the Pakistani nuclear program, including preventing the shipment of equipment from France, West Germany, Norway, and Switzerland. Concludes with an overview of international norms of nuclear commerce.
August 20, 1981
Acting Special Assistant for Nuclear Proliferation Intelligence, National Foreign Assessment Center, to Director and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, 'Warning Report-Nuclear Proliferation'
In response to an IAEA report that Pakistan diverted plutonium from the Karachi nuclear power plant, a CIA analysis suggests that the Pakistanis “were not overly concerned” about these events. Of greater concern to regional security and stability was the discussions of the sale of F-16 fighter-bombers as part of a U.S. aid package to ensure Pakistan’s cooperation in the covert efforts against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
September 21, 1981
John N. McMahon, Deputy Director for National Foreign Assessment, to Ambassador Richard T. Kennedy, Under Secretary of State for Management, 'Special National Intelligence Estimate on Indian Reactions to Nuclear Developments in Pakistan,' 31-32/81
Special National Security Estimate 31-32/81 outlines possible Indian preventative action that could be taken against Pakistan’s nuclear program, and possible responses should Pakistan develop a weapon.
November 21, 1981
Secretary of State Alexander Haig to Senator Mark Hatfield (R-Or)
Secretary of State Haig writes to Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR) to explain possible U.S. courses of action with regards to military and economic aid should Pakistan test a nuclear weapon. A test, Haig said, would “in all probability” lead to an end of economic and military support.
January 19, 1982
Report, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on Indian-Pakistani relations
Report based on information from a Soviet ambassador on India's strategy for dealing with Pakistan. India is concerned about the military support Pakistan is receiving from the United States and China, as well as Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. India is receiving military support from the Soviet Union, modernizing its forces, and seems to be preparing for war with Pakistan.
January 26, 1982
Report, Permanent Mission of Hungary to the International Organizations in Vienna to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry
Report on a conversation with Indian Ambassador Dalal. Topics discussed include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India and Pakistan's nuclear programs, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the upcoming election of a new Executive Director.
June 04, 1982
Note for [name excised] from [name excised], 'State/INR Request for Update of Pak SNIE, and Assessment of Argentine Nuclear Program'
A planned update of the Special National Intelligence Estimate 31-32/81 concluded that Pakistan’s nuclear program was continuing and new evidence suggested a “significant” Chinese role in the design of the weapons. Despite this new evidence, CIA estimates suggest that the required amount of fissile material for weapons production would not be available as early as had been predicted, and that a Pakistani nuclear test was not imminent.