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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June 17, 1982

    Terry Jones, Office of Nonproliferation and Export Policy, Dept of State, to J. Devine et al., enclosing summaries of State Dept cable traffic during 1981-1982 relating to demarches on attempted purchase of sensitive nuclear-related products

    A summary of U.S. State Department cable traffic regarding Pakistan’s nuclear efforts in 1981-1982. While the Reagan administration was inclined to give Pakistan some leeway in light of their support for anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan, the acquisition of sensitive nuclear technology from abroad was still something that the administration was against. Evidence that Pakistan had made efforts, some successful, to acquire specific technology that suggested a nuclear test was being prepared raised a red flag in the U.S. government

  • July, 1982

    National Intelligence Estimate, NIE-4-82, 'Nuclear Proliferation Trends Through 1987'

    With proliferation becoming a “greater threat to US interests over the next five years,” intelligence analysts believed that the “disruptive aspect of the proliferation phenomenon will constitute the greater threat to the United States.” While the estimators saw “low potential” for terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons, the likelihood of terrorist/extortionist hoaxes was on the upswing. Significant portions of the NIE are excised, especially the estimate of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its impact in the Middle East. Nevertheless, much information remains on the countries of greatest concern: Iraq and Libya in the Near East, India and Pakistan in South Asia, Brazil and Argentina in Latin America, and the Republic of South Africa, as well as those of lesser concern: Iran, Egypt, Taiwan and the two Koreas.

  • July 05, 1982

    US Embassy Pakistan Cable 10239 to State Department, 'My First Meeting with President Zia'

    A report to the State Department from Ambassador General Vernon Walters on his meeting with President Zia, where he confronted the Pakistani President with “incontrovertible evidence” that his country had “transferred designs and specifications for nuclear weapons components to purchasing agents in several countries for the purpose of having these nuclear weapons components fabricated for Pakistan” despite promises not to do so. Zia denied the charge, and Walter later commented, “either he really does not know or is the most superb and patriotic liar I have ever met.”

  • July 06, 1982

    US Embassy Pakistan Cable 10276 to State Department, 'My Final Meeting with President Zia'

    After Ambassador General Vernon Walters’ second day meeting with President Zia, the Pakistani leader verbally acknowledged U.S. evidence that Pakistan sought nuclear weapons components from abroad despite promises not to do so. However, Zia refused to put this in writing, and in a letter to President Reagan claimed the U.S. intelligence was a “total fabrication,” likely in an effort to save face.

  • October 17, 1982

    US Embassy Pakistan Cable 15696 to State Department, 'Pakistan Nuclear Issue: Meeting with General Zia'

    The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan reports to the State Department on a meeting between Ambassador General Vernon Walters and President Zia. Walters returned to Islamabad to warn Pakistani officials that U.S. aid was in “grave jeopardy” after a link between the Pakistani program and Chinese technology was discovered. A U.S. military aid package, which included F-16 fighter-bombers, was also discussed.

  • October 25, 1982

    State Department Cable 299499 to US Embassy Islamabad, 'Pakistan Nuclear Issue: Meeting with General Zia'

    In a follow-up message after his trip to Islamabad, Ambassador General Vernon Walters noted that at the end of the conversation with Zia the Pakistani President had given his “word of honor” that Pakistan “will not develop a nuclear device or a weapon.”

  • November 26, 1982

    Secretary of State George Schultz to President Reagan, 'How Do We Make Use of the Zia Visit to Protect Our Strategic Interests in the Face of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Activities'

    Secretary of State George Shultz’s letter to President Reagan covering the history of US responses to Pakistan’s nuclear program and future courses of action by the United States. While each option will rescind United States’ aid money, the Secretary details three different ways to go about it, with varying political implications for each.

  • 1983

    Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State, 'Pakistan: Security Planning and the Nuclear Option,' Report 83-AR

    A State Department assessment of Pakistan’s security situation, its nuclear program and the future of Pakistani planning. A range of subjects are covered in depth including, Pakistan’s perception of its security situation, major foreign policy dilemmas such as India and Afghanistan, the development of a “nuclear options” and American non-proliferation responses.

  • January 20, 1983

    Special National Intelligence Estimate, SNIE 13/32-83, 'Chinese Policy and Practices Regarding Sensitive Nuclear Transfers'

    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. These concerns did not go away during the Reagan administration. While nuclear proliferation was not a top priority, the administration was apprehensive about the implications of the spread of nuclear capabilities and that China may have been aiding and abetting some potential proliferators by selling unsafeguarded nuclear materials.

  • July 23, 1983

    National Security Council, Memorandum from Shirin Tahir-Kheli to Robert Oakley, 'Dealing with Pakistan’s Nuclear Program: A US Strategy'

    This memorandum by a senior NSC staffer took the Pervez case seriously as a threat to aid to Pakistan that Islamabad needed to avert by making “reliable assurances on enrichment and on illegal procurement activities.”

  • February 17, 1984

    Hugh Montgomery, director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State, to Ambassador Ronald Spiers, Enclosing 'India-Pakistan: Pressures for Nuclear Proliferation,' Report 778-AR

    A memorandum from Hugh Montgomery, The Director of Intelligence and Research at the State Department to Ambassador Ronald Spiers discussing Indian and Pakistani nuclear proliferation. The Director details tensions between Pakistan and India, potential actions by India to stop a Pakistani nuclear program, and the influence of outside actors such as the USSR, China, and the United States.

  • August 13, 1985

    Ciphered Telegram No. 214, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Information on the current status of both Pakistan and India's nuclear programs. The opinion of Indian Vice President Venkataraman is that Pakistan is lying about having already completed an atomic bomb.

  • September 19, 1985

    Department of State Telegram 287763 to Embassy Bonn, 'Export of Uranium Enrichment equipment to Pakistan'

    As these telegrams demonstrate, by the fall of 1986, if not earlier, the U.S. government believed that a Pakistani firm, Multinational Inc., was a “procurement agent” for A.Q. Khan’s secret network. In this case, Pakistani agents operating in West Germany were trying to secure aluminum tubes that could be used for the Khan Laboratory’s gas centrifuge program.

  • November, 1985

    Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence, Research Paper, 'Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Personnel and Organizations'

    This heavily excised report on the “well-educated committed cadre” that managed the Pakistani nuclear program demonstrates how the CIA protects its intelligence on Pakistani nuclear activities. This is the same version of the report that can be found on the Agency’s FOIA Web page; the recent version includes no new information. Details on Khan Research Laboratories and the gas centrifuge program are entirely withheld, but some information is made available on the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission and the Directorate of Nuclear Fuels and Materials. The latter includes details on the status and purpose of major projects, for example, the Kundian Nuclear Complex, also known as the Chasma Reprocessing Plant, which was not completed until 1990. For the purposes of producing plutonium for weapons, the Pakistanis were interested in a heavy water moderated reactor of the NRX (National Research Experimental) type that Canada built at Chalk River. In 1985, the Pakistanis started that project in earnest, with construction beginning in 1987 of what became known as Khushab Chemical Plant II.

  • November 22, 1985

    Embassy Bonn Telegram 35237 to Department of State, 'Export of Uranium Enrichment to Pakistan'

    In response to the State Department's request, the Foreign Office found that the equipment had not been delivered and German firms had been informed that an export license needed to be granted.

  • December 07, 1985

    Defense Intelligence Agency cable to [excised location], 'Pakistan-China: Nuclear Weapons Production and Testing'

    A State Department telegram discussing the possible Chinese-Pakistani nuclear assistance and reports that Pakistan had acquired a nuclear weapon in October of 1985.

  • April 25, 1986

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in India to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Lengthy analysis of relations between the Soviet Union and India, covering diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural relations. Includes discussion of high-level meetings with politicians like Rajiv Gandhi and Ramaswamy Venkataraman; military supplies provided by the Soviet Union to India; and trade agreements between the two countries. Also discusses tensions caused by India's opposition to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • May 29, 1986

    Embassy Islamabad Cable 11791 to Department of State, 'Nuclear: Solarz Conversation with GOP'

    The year after Congress passed the Solarz amendment in August 1985, Rep. Stephen Solarz (D-CA) traveled to Pakistan, a country that would become a major test case for the amendment which cut off U.S. foreign aid to recipients. Solarz confronted General Zia and other top officials with his perception, based on U.S. intelligence, that Pakistan’s Kahuta plant was enriching weapons-grade enriched uranium. The Pakistanis strenuously denied the charge.

  • June 16, 1986

    Kenneth Adelman, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, to Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, 'Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Programs and US Security Assistance'

    A letter from the United States Control and Disarmament Agency assessing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and US security assistance. Three main issues and possible courses of actions are discussed; they include President Reagan’s “red lines,” certification of Pakistani nuclear activity and convincing Congress to continue aid to Pakistan after September 1987.

  • July 15, 1986

    Briefing Book, 'Visit of Prime Minister Junejo of Pakistan, July 15-21, 1986'

    A briefing book for the July 15th-21st visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Junejo to Washington. The book covers a wide range of topics including a summary of the US-Pakistani relationship, US and Pakistani goals, visitation schedules and topics for discussion including Afghanistan, Pakistan’s nuclear program and narcotics