329. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

1. Pakistan—Chris met with the Pakistan Ambassador this afternoon and recapitulated his discussions in Islamabad with President Zia and others.2

Chris made clear that Zia had not denied Pakistan’s nuclear intentions and sensitive programs and that we consider this a virtual acknowledgement of such activities. Chris reaffirmed our desire for a closer and more supportive relationship with Pakistan, but noted that we must comply with the law (Symington Amendment). A cut-off of aid would inevitably become public, whether we wish it or not, and would have severe repercussions on our overall relationship.3

The Pakistan Ambassador indicated he hoped that any damage to our relationship could be limited. He affirmed that Pakistan’s with [Page 766] drawal from CENTO in no way detracts from the importance Pakistan attaches to its US ties, including the 1959 bilateral agreement.4

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Pakistan.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, Box 39, State Department Evening Reports, 3/79. Secret. Carter wrote “Cy, J” in the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum.
  2. Telegram 65294 to Islamabad, March 16, relayed a full account of Christopher’s meeting with Pakistan’s Ambassador, Sultan Mohammad Khan. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850027–2685)
  3. In the left-hand margin next to the this paragraph, Carter wrote: “Cy—I would hate to lose Pakistan or India. I’ll help as needed.”
  4. In telegram 3021 from Islamabad, March 13, the Embassy reported Shahnawaz’s announcement that Pakistan—per formal procedures—intended to submit its withdrawal notification from CENTO on August 22 and formally sever its links with the organization in February 1980. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790116–1167) For the Embassy’s analysis of Pakistan’s withdrawal from CENTO, see Document 330.