172. Minutes of the Working Group of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control1 2

Ambassador Vance, in the Chair, opened the meeting by reminding members of the Conference of EA Narcotics Coordinators (and SAICs) scheduled to be held in Bangkok March 25-27 and inviting appropriate agencies to send representatives.

He then raised the question with Mr. Bartels as to timing for a follow-up trip for the two of them to Mexico to review the cooperative program there. Mr. Bartels recommended that he and Ambassador Vance should plan a trip fairly soon after the CND meeting.

A number of key items in the international narcotics control program were opened for discussion:

I. Turkish Situation

Ambassador Vance indicated that the Government of Turkey had finally published its decree establishing the straw process for the forthcoming poppy crop, thus presumably committing itself to that method. The UN team has discussed the full range of factors with the Turkish officials, including problems of enforcement, the establishment of a straw processing plant in Turkey, and possible compensation for poppy farmers in the interim. Reference was made to Ambassador Macomber’s view that compensation is the most important issue and that failure of the UN mission in this respect could cause the whole program to cave in. Ambassador Vance pointed out that it was not clear precisely what the Turkish officials wanted, that the Greenfield mission had not thus far been able to pursue the compensation terms adequately, and that we have started discussions with Embassy Ankara, our mission in Geneva, and the Washington agencies to arrive at an agreed formula to he recommended for UN compensation to the Turkish farmers. In the meantime, [Page 2] plans are progressing for UN assistance on the equipment side, including the possibility of a Compass Trip project similar to the one in Mexico. Ambassador Vance stated such a project would yield useful information and also have a beneficial psychological effect. The present estimated cost for the Compass project is $900,000. Other items mentioned were communications equipment and additional vehicles (70 to 80).

Ambassador Vance made the point that the Turkish Government has a tight budgetary situation and that some aspects of their control program could falter because of the inability to fund equipment needs. Thus, the provision of equipment by the UN and the U.S. could be quite effective in preventing leakage to the United States; because of the heavy social costs involved, we must be prepared to take the risk that perhaps not all the equipment will be used as wisely or fully as it should be.

The following points were made in the course of discussion on this matter: That the Government of Turkey might revert to incising if adequate compensation, if needed, to its farmers is not forthcoming. That the situation was further complicated by the Cyprus crisis, the present caretaker status of the Government, and the February 5 Congressional cut-off of U.S. military aid. That for compensation, the thinking is in terms of $1.5 to $3 million, if needed, from UN funds; a Turkish official has mentioned a figure of $15 million. Ambassador Vance indicated he did not think the Turkish Government should be offered a figure, but rather a formula.

Mr. MacDonald wondered if UN farmer compensation in Turkey would constitute a precedent—that other countries might go to poppy straw production and then ask for UN financial help. Ambassador Vance did not envisage it—India was wedded to the gum process. In other countries there was no legal basis.

Mr. Bartels referred to the fact that the relatively small amounts of money involved in compensation and equipment paled when compared to the costs of what they might help us avoid.

Ms. Wampler raised the question of a future shortage of opium. Mr. Johnson, who had been working on the question, said that, with the Turkish crop, there should be a demand/supply balance later this year and that it would continue thereafter.

[Page 3]

Ambassador Vance indicated that at the forthcoming CND meeting in Geneva, we would express our deep concern over the Turkish situation and state our hope for effective controls, that we would continue to follow very closely the UN/GOT negotiations. We expect others to express their concern at Geneva also. We would also look for ways to bolster the transit routes to prevent leakage, and want specific suggestions from DEA as to what steps the transit countries should take to build their defenses.


Ambassador Vance pointed out that Mexico was our single biggest program. The expenditures for Mexico for FY 75 may run as much as $10 million. Cooperation with the Mexican Attorney General was good. The new campaign launched in January had already produced significant results: the eradication of 304 marihuana fields (32 million marihuana plants), 212 poppy fields (19 million poppy plants), and 47 mixed marihuana and poppy fields (7 million mixed plants); 8 narcotics labs found and destroyed; seizures of various amounts of marihuana, cocaine, etc. The program has been impeded somewhat in the past few days because of maintenance problems, which will be looked into. Ambassador Vance commented that all in all this year’s program in Mexico should be a vast improvement over 1974.


Ambassador Vance indicated that the temporary program there—Operation Buccaneer—was quite successful. Between June and December, 717 thousand lbs. of marihuana seized and destroyed, along with 8 thousand lbs. of marihuana seed; aircraft and boats involved in illicit trafficking were seized and destroyed; many arrests. DEA Administrator Bartels visited Jamaica three weeks ago and talked with the Jamaican Minister of Security who is interested in another joint operation for March, although this one would be on a much smaller scale, running about a month, and involving just a few agents, including several to strengthen intelligence capability, and modest financial assistance.

Mr. Bartels noted that, in contrast to Mexico, the farmers growing narcotic plants were relatively passive. Hence, he thought that the eradication efforts if sustained would effectively dissuade them.

[Page 4]

Income Substitution

Copies of the draft guidelines for crop and income substitution programs were distributed. Members were asked to study the paper and provide comments to S/NM. Ambassador Vance stated that the purpose of the guidelines was to provide a reasonable assurance that future USG expenditures in this area were wisely spent and that there would be a definite commitment on the part of recipients to adequate enforcement efforts.
In response to a question as to whether other countries might provide similar assistance, Ambassador Vance reported that during his recent visit to Iran, officials there indicated a willingness to contribute as much as $1 billion each to Afghanistan and Pakistan for effective economic development programs which could involve elimination of opium cultivation, since much opium now moves to Iran from those countries.

Ambassador Vance noted that funds spent on crop substitution were high risk endeavors. However, with enforcement resources capable of interdicting but 10% of the drugs coming to the U.S., income substitution was worth it, and was notably applicable in such countries as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Thailand. Mr. Bartels said he saw no alternative to it.

Mr. Bach feared an “open end situation” with respect to income substitution financing. It was pointed out that the purpose of the guidelines was to prevent just that. Also, the guidelines would be made available to UNFDAC informally. Mr. MacDonald questioned the crop “substitution” concept, stating that there was not an equally lucrative crop. In the ensuing discussion it was emphasized that adequate and appropriate enforcement was an imperative accompaniment to such a program.

Status of Obligations

Ambassador Vance reported that as of December 31, 1974, some $12 million of the $42.5 million appropriation for the international narcotics control programs had been obligated; a tabulation was distributed. Members expressed concern that less than a third of the amount available had been spent. It was pointed out that the $12 million was somewhat on the low side by [Page 5] about $3 million as it did not include certain Washington obligations. Ambassador Vance further stated that the first six-month figure did not include the FY 75 contribution to the UN Fund ($4 million) and indicated that total funds thus far programmed for FY 75 were up to $36 million, leaving an unprogrammed balance of only about $6 million—this much is needed to meet targets of opportunity that may well present themselves in the future.

Licit Opiate Supply

Ambassador Vance outlined the major points to be made by the U.S. for the CND Agenda Item 11 “Poppy Cultivation for Medical Use.” He stressed that the U.S. policy of assuring adequate supplies will continue to go hand in hand with our objective of effective controls. Mr. Shepard raised the question of whether other segments in the country are in agreement with the proposed CND statement, e.g., the Congress, the doctors and importers. Ambassador Vance indicated that our statement to the CND will not contain any surprises to either industry or Congress. Mr. Shepard suggested that a “white paper” be prepared to spell out U.S. policy. Ambassador Vance agreed, and Mr. Johnson said he would undertake such a paper.

Issues for CND Meeting

Ambassador Vance indicated that DEA’s paper on illicit traffic (Agenda Item 9) was in good shape and that most of the other major topics had already been touched upon. On the opium supply question, Mr. Miller made a clarifying statement on preemptive buying, pointing out the United States, as a party to both the 1953 Protocol and the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, could make purchases only from legitimate producers and exporters or of illicit substances genuinely seized by enforcement officials of signatory countries. Thus, the United States was prohibited by international treaties from engaging in preemptive buying of opiates for importation.

Trade Act

Ambassador Vance reported that the section dealing with generalized preferences in the 1974 Trade Act [Page 6] contains a provision which states inter alia that the President shall not designate any country a beneficiary of preferences “if such country does not take adequate steps to cooperate with the United States to prevent narcotic drugs and other controlled substances...produced, processed, or transported in such country from entering the United States unlawfully.” Ambassador Vance stated that in keeping with our policy of not publicly making certifications that certain countries are cooperating with the United States in the field of narcotics, he would like to obtain the concurrence of the CCINC Working Group in a proposal to the President that he make no statement regarding narcotics in his request to Congress for a blanket waiver of the provisions contained in the Trade Act and that in this connection the President may be advised as follows: “there are no countries not now taking adequate steps to cooperate with the United States in the field of the production, processing, or transporting narcotics into the United States unlawfully.” There being no objections, the proposition was approved by the Working Group. (After the meeting, copies of the proposal to the President were requested by Messrs. Shepard, Kennedy, and Bartels. They indicated that if, after further review, they had any objection they would advise S/NM).

Psychotropic Convention

Ambassador Vance gave a progress report on the Administration’s objective of obtaining U.S. ratification of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances which was forwarded to the Senate in mid-1971 for ratification. Hearings on enabling domestic legislation have been held on the Senate side in the last Congress and would be repeated by the new one, and Congressman Rogers last week made a commitment to him to hold House hearings during this session.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 59, INM/P Files, Lot 84D147, Cabinet Committee–Working Group. Confidential. Drafted by Lawrence on February 14. David R. MacDonald was Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Enforcement, Operations, and Tariff Affairs.
  2. The Working Group discussed the situation in Turkey, Mexico, and Jamaica, income substitution programs, the licit opium supply, the upcoming UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting, trade matters, and treaty ratification.