385. Memorandum From Thomas Thornton of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • Evening Report (U)

Pakistan. The situation is now calm. Some at State are speculating that Zia may have gotten such a black eye from this incident that his military colleagues will use it as an excuse to remove him. I wouldn’t go that far yet; it could all blow over. Hummel successfully (and correctly) resisted Vance’s efforts to have all Americans evacuated. Dependents and non-essential personnel will, however, be evacuated on Friday. We should keep in mind that the Pak performance in this was far from stellar. Although there is a major military base within 10–15 miles, it took them 4–5 hours to get adequate force on the scene and the rescue was in the nick of time. (100–150 people crowded into a small vault; rioters firing through ventilators in the roof and pounding on the door, and the carpet on the floor beginning to singe from the heat of the burning building.) Our Consul General in Lahore reports that it seemed that the security forces there were under orders to give way rather than risk a confrontation with the mob. (C)

Radios. As far as we can tell, the Indians did not broadcast anything inflammatory. BBC juxtaposed two news items (Mecca, U.S. reinforce[Page 869]ment in Indian Ocean) that could have led fevered minds to the wrong conclusion. VOA carried an item blaming the Mecca incident on Shias; this was badly received among, at least, the Shias in Pakistan. This may have been what Zia was referring to as “malicious attempts to split Islamic sects” during his talk with the President, although he mentioned only BBC and All-India Radio. (C)

Bangladesh. Ambassador Schneider is concerned about the situation there, where mob action could break out with little warning. The Government would do all that it could—but that isn’t very much. (C)

Press Contacts. DiCola of NBC, at David’s2 request, for details on the death of the Marine Guard.3 (U)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Thornton Subject File, Box 100, Evening Reports: 9–12/79. Confidential.
  2. David Aaron.
  3. See Document 377.