War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Munir Khan, 1987
Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.
Dr. Munir Ahmad Khan was a nuclear engineer, who chaired the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission from 1972-1991. The interview opens with his background and the early years of Pakistans nuclear program. He recalls the period around the Atoms for Peace speech and the 1950s generally as an era of great expectations. Proliferation, he notes, was not an issue then or in the early 1960s, until the Chinese test. Even more significant was Indias test in 1974, which came as a shock and which, he remarks, destroyed the trust between suppliers and recipient states. This had a major impact on the Pakistani program because suppliers began to renege on existing agreements. Further pressure came in 1976 when Kissinger and Ford prevailed on France to cut off its agreement to assist Pakistans program. Canada also decided to curtail its assistance. International entities such as the London Suppliers Group and the International Fuel Cycle Evaluation Group made their mark on Pakistan, as did Jimmy Carters non-proliferation policy. The last, in his view, was wholly counterproductive. He denies there has been any nuclear cooperation with Libya or with any other Moslem state, calling the concept of an Islamic bomb a pure fabrication. He describes the uranium enrichment project as part of an effort to gain a measure of self-sufficiency, noting that Pakistan remains dependent on outside countries for assistance in certain areas. There has been no cooperation with China, he states, commenting that China is not very advanced in the field. He insists Pakistan has no interest in acquiring a bomb.
- War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
- Haves and Have-Nots
- Program Number
Interview with Munir Khan, 1987
- Series Description
The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.
In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989
- Program Description
A case study of the dynamics of nuclear proliferation: China triggers India and India triggers Pakistan in the competition to have their own nuclear weapons.
In 1953 President Eisenhower announced the Atoms for Peace program. This marked a total reversal of American foreign policy. Americans would give material to allow countries to build reactors. “So overnight we passed from nuclear middle age to nuclear renaissance,” recalls French atomic scientist Bertrand Goldschmidt. The Soviet Union started its own program and helped China learn to build a bomb. The first Chinese nuclear blast was in 1964. Indian defense expert K. Subrahmanyam recalls that a nuclear China prompted India to set off a “peaceful” nuclear explosion in 1974. “There is no such thing as a peaceful nuclear explosion,” responds General A. I. Akram of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. “’74 was a watershed. It brought the shadow of the bomb to South Asia, and that shadow is still there.”
- Asset Type
- Media Type
- Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968)
- Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006
- Nuclear energy
- International Atomic Energy Agency
- Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
- Nuclear-weapon-free zones
- International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation
- United States. Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978
- Nuclear nonproliferation
- Soviet Union
- Nuclear Suppliers Group
- United States
- Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali
- Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
- Nuclear weapons
- Global Affairs
- War and Conflict
- Khan, Munir Ahmad, 1926-1999 (Interviewee)
- Publication Information
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Munir Khan, 1987,” 02/08/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1175E1745C064863991A8B1F632F2C05.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Munir Khan, 1987.” 02/08/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1175E1745C064863991A8B1F632F2C05>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Haves and Have-Nots; Interview with Munir Khan, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1175E1745C064863991A8B1F632F2C05