150. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Secretary of Energy
  • The Director, Office of Management and Budget
  • The Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
  • The Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Policy
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Long-term National Security Strategy on Oil Prices

1. The President needs a paper on long-term policy (including 1979) on imported oil prices for PRC consideration.

2. The paper should be prepared by an inter-agency task force, and should address the question at Tab I, among others.

3. In preparing this paper, the task force should take into account the contingency planning being done as to what action the Executive Branch should take on domestic oil prices if the crude oil equalization tax is not passed by Congress.

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4. The task force should be chaired by the Secretary of Energy and composed of the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, OMB, CEA, DPS and NSC.

5. A preliminary report should be made by June 30, for consideration at a meeting of the Policy Review Committee.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Tab I

Terms of Reference for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Long-term Strategy on Imported Oil Prices

1. What is the best estimate of the extent to which the prices of imported oil are likely to increase over the next ten years?

2. What problems will major countries have in adjusting over this period to the estimated price increases (a) if these are arrived at gradually, whether in regular preannounced steps or otherwise; (b) if they are arrived at suddenly in one or two large leaps?

3. In light of the above and of the implications for national security, what are the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies with regard to the rate of increase of imported oil prices? Among the strategies to be considered are:

—Trying to persuade the OPEC countries to keep any oil price increases as small and as infrequent as possible. (In appraising this alternative, the task force should assess the risk of large, abrupt price increases following several years of no or small increases.)

—Attempting to get OPEC agreement to publish a ten-year schedule of small, annual price increases. (In studying this possibility, the task force should consider the merits and feasibility of getting a firm ten-year supply commitment.)

4. In evaluating these strategies, account should be taken of the probable reaction of OPEC and other countries to the possible imposition of import fees or quotas on imported oil, and the national security implications of these reactions.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 72, PRC 80: Oil Pricing, 12–1–78. Secret.