15. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger1 2

[Page 1]

SUBJECT:

  • Sidewinder Missiles to Africa

At Tab A is the draft of a memorandum to you from Assistant Secretary Newsom recommending a change in present U.S. policy of not furnishing Sidewinders to African countries. Basically he recommends exceptions in case of cash sales. (The possibility of sales to Nigeria of F–5Es with sidewinders is pending.)

We understand the memorandum is to be tabled at your noon meeting at State Monday, January 7th.

There are implications for such a decision in the decision you are presenting to the President concerning Hawk ground-to-air missiles for Portugal’s African Territories, which, of course, are not reflected in Newsom’s memorandum. For example, should the President decide not to provide Hawks we may wish not to provide Nigeria Sidewinders. On the other hand, should we provide Nigeria Sidewinders and it later discovered we have provided Portugal with Hawks there could be serious problems in our relations with Nigeria.

Consequently, I recommend you delay a decision on Newsom’s memo for a few days pending resolution of the Hawk issue.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 747, Country Files, Africa, Africa General. Secret; Sensitive. A handwritten notation reads: “HAK has seen.” The draft at Tab A is attached but is not published. The final version is Document 16.
  2. Scowcroft transmitted Assistant Secretary Newsom’s draft memorandum, providing background on U.S. policy against furnishing Sidewinder missiles to Africa. Newsom recommended a selective relaxation of the policy. Scowcroft recommended delaying a decision on Newsom’s recommendation.