354. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1


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Zia’s Written Assurance Offer: In a reluctant and somewhat equivocal manner, President Zia agreed to provide a written assurance conveying the peaceful purposes of Pakistan’s nuclear program and its intention not to conduct a nuclear explosion.2 After emphasizing that Pakistan’s nuclear program had always been “100 percent peaceful” and that he had repeatedly assured the U.S. of this fact, Zia noted his offer to provide written assurances was a “common Urdu phrase meant to be illustrative.” Zia noted he had not stated that Pakistan’s definition of peaceful purposes excludes a so-called peaceful nuclear explosion. Turning to what form the assurance should take, Zia suggested a letter from himself to you, concluding that the assurance would represent a commitment “for the foreseeable future and particularly during my Presidency.”

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Pakistan.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Daily CIA Brief File, Box 21, 7/24/79–7/31/1979. Secret; Sensitive. Carter initialed “C” in the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum.
  2. Zia made the offer to Constable on June 9. See footnote 2, Document 353. In telegram 185580 to Islamabad, July 18, the Department instructed Hummel to raise with Zia his offer to Constable to give written assurances that Pakistan did not intend to conduct a nuclear explosion. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850040–2008) In telegram 8500 from Islamabad, July 30, Hummel reported his July 29 discussion with Zia, who “somewhat reluctantly and somewhat equivocally agreed to give written assurance emphasizing peaceful purposes of nuclear program and saying Paks do not intend to conduct a nuclear explosion. It remains to be seen whether and how he implements the commitment.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number])