258. Briefing Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance (Maw) to Secretary of State Kissinger1 2

Human Rights Provisions of International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976

House-Senate conferees reached agreement on March 30 on the 1975 security assistance bill which authorizes security assistance programs for FY 1976. The bill significantly strengthens the human rights provisions of Section 502B of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, as amended. These provisions are at Tab 1.

Salient features of the legislation include the following:

  • A human rights policy is set forth in which a principal goal of U.S. foreign policy is stated to be the promotion of “increased observance of internationally recognized human rights by all countries.”
  • The bill directs the President to formulate and conduct security assistance programs “in a manner which will promote and advance human rights and avoid identification of the United States through such programs with governments which deny to their people internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, in violation of international law or in contravention of the policy of the United States as expressed in this section or otherwise.”
  • —Except under circumstances specified in the legislation, security assistance is prohibited to any country whose government engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
  • “Full and complete” reports to Congress on human rights observance are made mandatory for all proposed security assistance recipients as a part of the congressional presentation document (CPD). Submission of such reports is to begin with the FY 1977 CPD.
  • In addition to the country-by-country human rights reports to be submitted with the CPD, further, more detailed, “statements” on a country must be submitted, within 30 days of a congressional request or “no security assistance shall be delivered to such country except as may be specifically authorized by law for such country unless and until such statement is authorized.”
  • The statement is to include A) “All the available information” on human rights observance by that country including a “detailed description” of practices by the recipient government with respect thereto;
  • —B) Steps the U.S. has taken to discourage practices in the country inimical to human rights and “publicly or privately” call attention to and “disassociate the United States and any assistance provided under the Act from, such practices;”
  • —C) Whether, “in the opinion of the Secretary of State, notwithstanding any such practices” extraordinary circumstances exist, including a description of circumstances, which necessitate a continuation of assistance.
  • —D) Such other information as the Congress may request.
  • The Congress may within 90 days of continuous session after transmittal of an Executive Branch “statement” adopt a concurrent resolution “terminating, restricting, or continuing the provision of security assistance to such country.”
  • All forms of security assistance, as well as commercial arms sales, are covered by the human rights provisions.
  • The legislation also mandates organizational changes in the Department including the designation of a Coordinator for Human Rights for matters pertaining to human rights in the conduct of foreign policy. These provisions are the subject of a separate memorandum.

The Conference Report was issued on April 6 and passage of the legislation should take place soon.

Our FY 1977 CPD is already before Congress. In light of the requirement in the bill for human rights observance reports by security assistance recipients to be made as a part of the FY 1977 CPD, we can expect early pressure to submit such reports. In anticipation of this development we sent an instruction to the field on February 25 asking for reporting keyed to the requirement of the pending legislation and those reports are nearly all in. In the meantime, by my memorandum of March 8 (Tab 2) I alerted the regional bureaus to the reporting requirements and suggested a two-stage approach in which the COD “reports” would be UNCLASSIFIED and as straightforward and factual as classification procedures permit. Any subsequent “statements” on security assistance recipients we shall have to submit at Congress’ specific requests, will obviously have to be more detailed. We urgently need to develop some ground rules with Congress about these “statements”, particularly with regard to the use of classified material. Kennedy and Fraser have already served notice they intend to ask for such a statement on South Korea as soon as the new bill becomes law.

At Tab 3 is a D/HA memorandum setting forth the recommended context and format of CPD human rights observance “reports” on which the regional bureaus are currently working.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P760062–1700. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Palmer; and cleared in D/HA, L, L/PM, L/HR, PM, H, S/P, AF, ARA, EA, NEA, EUR, AID/GC, and T. Attached but not published at Tab 1, undated, is quoted the Section 502B of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act as amended. Attached but not published at Tab 2 is a March 8 memorandum from Maw to AF, ARA, EA, EUR, and NEA, which urged development of a standardized format for human rights reports. Attached but not published at Tab 3 is a March 16 memorandum from Palmer to AF, ARA, EA, EUR, and NEA, which provided a draft outline for standardizing submission of country human rights reports.
  2. Maw updated Kissinger on the impact that congressional action would have on Department of State human rights reporting.