``They certainly didn't convey to us a wish list of things which, if we did them, they would then not test,'' he added.
Clinton administration officials said Pakistan had not informed them that a decision had been made whether to respond to nuclear tests by India with tests of its own. But Pakistan's foreign minister said yesterday that the country had decided to conduct the tests.
``It's a matter of when, not if, Pakistan will test,'' Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub told the Associated Press.
Other Pakistani officials provided muddier appraisals, but none ruled out the possibility the country would set off underground explosions.
Some of the leaders at the Birmingham summit of the eight major industrial nations said they had reports that Pakistan had already set off an explosion yesterday, but President Clinton's deputy national security adviser, James Steinberg, said the White House had no information to confirm that.
The White House had been trying to assuage Pakistan's security concerns by suggesting the country would be better off if it refrained from testing. The administration fears that if Pakistan follows India's lead, it will escalate an arms race in an especially tumultuous region of the world.
Clinton said he still held out hope Pakistani leaders would resist intense public pressure to conduct the tests. He said he believed the United States and other countries `` can work with them in a way that meets their security interests without the test.''
Talbott, who briefed Clinton yesterday morning, said it was clear that the Pakistanis were facing a hard decision. Pakistani officials gave the American entourage a ``fair hearing,'' he said, and promised to take the administration's arguments into account.
``They see this as a problem for them as a result of their geographical position and because of the differences that exist between Pakistan and India,'' Talbott said.
Pakistan's minister of information, Mushahid Hussain, told CNN that Pakistan was ``not having a tit-for-tat response to India.'' At the same time, he criticized the leaders meeting here for failing to endorse the kind of tough economic sanctions imposed on India by the United States. The leaders did condemn India for testing.
``It shows there is no price tag for bad behavior,'' Hussain said.
And Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Reuters that Pakistan ``will be forced to test'' if the international response to India's action was weak.
The administration tried to impress on Pakistan that not testing could yield significant rewards, such as military aid. But that may not be an easy sell. Having fought three wars with India in the last half century, Pakistan views New Delhi's show of nuclear power as a direct threat.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee boasted last week that India now had the capacity to build the ``big bomb.'' White House officials said yesterday that the administration still hoped India would choose not to become a ``nuclear weapons state'' by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear explosions.
Clinton said after a meeting yesterday with Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin that India's actions make it even more urgent for the Russian Duma to ratify a treaty that would reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. The Senate has ratified the treaty, called START II, and Clinton expressed optimism yesterday that the Duma soon would do the same.
Yeltsin said he would not only push for the treaty's ratification, Clinton reported, ``but argue that it ought to be considered in an even more timely fashion now because of the Indian test.''
At the end of Yeltsin's first meeting as a full member of the G-8 summit, he and Clinton confirmed they would like to convene their own summit soon, though White House officials did not commit to a date. Clinton has said he would like to go to Moscow this year to begin work on the third phase of a series of treaties intended to significantly reduce the world's supply of nuclear weapons.