Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

US lobbied to stop Pakistan nuclear drive: documents

The United States waged a secret diplomatic campaign in the 1970s to prevent Pakistan from developing nuclear weapons by pressing countries to control exports, declassified documents said.

In remarks with striking parallels to current US debates, officials in President Jimmy Carter's administration voiced fear about Pakistan's trajectory and tried both pressure and aid incentives to seek a change in its behavior.

In a secret November 1978 memo, then secretary of state Cyrus Vance instructed US diplomats in Western Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan to warn governments that Pakistan or its covert agents were seeking nuclear material.

Vance acknowledged that Pakistan was motivated by concerns over historic rival India. But he voiced alarm that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, before being deposed as prime minister in a coup, said that Pakistan would share nuclear weapons around the Islamic world.

"We believe it is critical to stability in the region and to our non-proliferation objectives to inhibit Pakistan from moving closer to the threshold of nuclear explosive capability," Vance wrote, the year before the overthrow of Iran's pro-Western shah and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (more)