383. Telegram From the British Embassy in Washington to the Department of State1
Please pass following to Iran Task Force, Operations Centre, State Dept. Following received from British Embassy Islamabad.
1. I2 spoke to President Zia at 1710 hours local time. I spoke in strongest terms about British Council destruction in Rawalpindi, lack of extra police at this Embassy, and about the US Embassy, stressing 60 lives at risk in strong room and immediate action required. Army had taken 4 hours to do anything. He needed a battalion on the spot at once.
2. President was full of apologies and assurances that I and my staff would be fully protected. A battalion was being sent at once to clear the area. He blamed the BBC for tendentious report this morning about Shia/Sunni troubles in Mecca.3 I said that I did not see what relevance that had to attack on US Embassy. He said it had inflamed passions but he agreed that whole episode was disgraceful and he would broadcast to nation tonight saying so. Meanwhile he would do everything possible to bring situation under control as quickly as possible.