Herbert Marion Wassom – Brigadier General, United States Army

“August 23, 1988: United States Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel was buried on a hillside in Arlington National Cemetery amid the graves of fellow Foreign Service Officers, Supreme Court Justices, Generals and Admirals.

“Raphel, 45, was killed in the plane crash last week in which Pakistan President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq and 34 others also died. Among the 750 mourners were Edmund Muskie, former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State; former Secretary of State Alexander Haig; former Senator Charles Percy; CIA Director William Webster and his deputy, Robert Gates; former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Robert Bork, and Philip Habib, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

” Services for Brigadier General Herbert Wassom, who was also killed in the explosion will be held also today. He was the senior Pentagon official in Pakistan. Their bodies arrived in the U.S. on Sunday t Andrews Air Force Base, where Secretary of State George Schultz praised the Americas' work for peace and freedom. Raphel and Wassom died in the explosion of the plane in central Pakistan. Reports from Pakistan have indicated that the plane may have been sabotaged.”

Tuesday, August 23, 1988

WASHINGTON – The United States has informed the Soviet Union and India that U.S. support for Pakistan's security remains strong despite the death of President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq.

Separate messages were sent to both Moscow and New Delhi after Zia was killed in an air crash Wednesday – a crash that could have been caused by sabotage. Also killed were U.S. Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel and Brig. Gen. Herbert M. Wassom, chief of the U.S. military group in Pakistan.

A U.S. official – who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity – said, ”The point is we wanted to reassure them that our policy is unchanged and that we are going to stand by Pakistan.”

The tone of the messages and conversations here and in Moscow with Soviet diplomats was more pointed than the U.S. contacts with India, said a second U.S. official, who also asked to remain anonymous. ”With the Soviets, it was more in terms of cautioning them about Afghanistan.”

A third U.S. official said, ”So far, the behavior is quite correct in each case.”

Pakistan under Zia was the closest U.S. ally in central Asia and the conduit for U.S. and Chinese weapons to Afghan rebels in Afghanistan.

So far, U.S. officials said, there is no indication that the Soviets are slowing the pace of their troop withdrawal from Afghanistan or seizing on the death of Zia to raise tension in the area.

”Their hostility to Pakistan has not ended,” a U.S. official said. ”They haven't backed off. But there is no escalation. I think they understand very clearly our position.”

Ambassador Eulogized

At Fort Meyer, Va., next to Arlington National Cemetery, Ambassador Raphel was eulogized Monday as a star performer of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Assistant Secretary of State John C. Whitehead, former Secretaries of State Edmund S. Muskie and Alexander M. Haig Jr. and several hundred State Department colleagues, foreign diplomats and friends joined Raphel's family for services.

Whitehead credited Raphel with helping to achieve the U.N.-mediated accords under which Soviet forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan.



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