White House Statement on the Continuation of Military Aid to Pakistan

 

January 15, 1988

 

The President today signed and sent to Congress waivers to the law that would require a cutoff in aid to Pakistan under the Symington and the Solarz amendments because of activities in the nuclear weapons development area. This waiver action was based on the recognition that disrupting one of the pillars of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan would be counterproductive for the strategic interests of the United States, destabilizing for South Asia, and unlikely to achieve the nonproliferation objectives sought by the sponsors.

 

The Government of Pakistan is aware of our continuing concern over certain aspects of its nuclear program. Despite these problem areas, there are crucial nonproliferation criteria which Pakistan continues to honor. The United States will insist on the maintenance of these restraints even as we work with Pakistan on progress in the areas of concern.

 

The President's action is preceded by months of extensive consultations with Congress. We have achieved an understanding on the general approach which is reflected in approval by Congress of a 30-month waiver of the Symington amendment and near-full funding for Pakistan for FY '88. The administration pledged to continue pressing Pakistan away from a nuclear weapons option and is obliged to certify annually that Pakistan does not possess nuclear weapons.

 

The reasons which convinced the administration to waive the Symington amendment also apply to the Solarz amendment, where the waiver applies only retroactively. The Government of Pakistan has pledged that procedures will be tightened to ensure an end to procurement activities in the United States. We will continue to monitor procurement activities in this country to ensure compliance with Pakistan's new procedures.

 

There is no diminution in the President's commitment to restraining the spread of nuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent or elsewhere. We will continue to urge Pakistan and India to discuss measures which might be taken to reduce the threat of a nuclear arms race in South Asia. As arms control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union begin to bear fruit and set an example, the administration will be seeking still further ways to make this commitment effective.