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Pakistani Nuclear History

Documents on the history of Pakistani nuclear development. See also Nuclear Proliferation, and the related collections in the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, monument to Pakistan's first nuclear tests, Islamabad, Khalid Mahmood)

Popular Documents

May 19, 1979

Letter from Israeli PM Menachem Begin to British PM Margaret Thatcher on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program

Letter from Begin forwarding a memorandum to Thatcher on activities of the Pakistani government to build a nuclear weapon.

May 22, 1979

Memorandum for Margaret Thatcher in Response to a Letter from Menachem Begin

Memorandum with a briefing on both the Pakistani and Israeli nuclear positions and suggestions for a response to the letter from Menachem Begin.

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.

June 6, 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.

May 1999

Report, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Z Division, 'Challenges of Advanced Nuclear Weapon Development in Pakistan'

This study, even more heavily redacted than the Z Division study on India (November 1988), examined the status of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon status, and number of other topics (deleted from the table of contents), and policy implications. The Joint Special Operations Command is among the agencies on the distribution list. As the report is a “Gamma Controlled Item,” some of the excisions relate to communications intelligence information.