311. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Ford, Washington, July 24, 1975.1 2


July 24, 1975


SUBJECT: Presidential Determination to Make Fiji Eligible to Purchase Defense Articles and Defense services Under the Foreign Military Sales Act, as Amended

Deputy Secretary of State Ingersoll recommends that you make the necessary finding under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Act to establish the eligibility of Fiji for cash sales of defense articles and defense services (Tab B) . The Department of Defense concurs in this recommendation.

With the exception of American Samoa, Fiji is the only island state or territory in the South Pacific area with existing well-developed airport, harbor, and communications facilities. Moreover, Fiji lies astride the main sea and air routes between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Fiji’s location also makes it an excellent vantage point for scientific/military observations, and access for these purposes could prove to be advantageous in the future as it was during World War II. It is, therefore, in the United States Government’s interest to maintain a relationship with Fiji that would facilitate our military access to its transportation and communications facilities in an emergency and, conversely, to reduce the possibility of any potential enemy acquiring bases or other access to Fiji which could enhance their ability to interdict lines of communication between the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The Government of Fiji has expressed interest in the purchase of three excess patrol craft to be de-commissioned by the U.S. Navy. These vessels were built in 1954-1955 and would represent a total acquisition cost of $250,000 including overhaul/rehabilitation. The necessary crew training would cost about $255,000. These craft would be operated by the Royal Fiji Military Forces, which have not had a naval capability, to patrol the waters surrounding Fiji territory as well as for disaster relief and rescue operations.

Our overall relationship with Fiji has been friendly. Fiji has been supportive of U.S. interests in the United Nations and in the Law of the Sea negotiations. Fiji could also be helpful to us in the Committee of 24 particularly when that Committee [Page 2] concerns itself with our Pacific territories and Puerto Rico. It would, therefore, be of political benefit to the United States to promote our overall friendly relationship with Fiji.

Section 3(a) (1) of the FMS Act prohibits the sale of defense articles or defense services by the United States Government unless the President finds such sales will “strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace.” By Executive Order 11501, this authority is reserved to the President.

The Department of State advises that after consideration of Section 502 (b) of the Foreign Assistance Act regarding human rights in Fiji, there appears to be no reason not to proceed with the proposed determination.

Based on past experience, there may be some Congressional opposition to increasing the number of countries eligible for Foreign Military Sales. However, given the friendly state of U.S.-Fiji relations and the reasonableness of the Fijian request, any such opposition is not expected to be significant.

A memorandum for the Department of State forwarding your finding that FMS sales to Fiji will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace is at Tab A. Attached to the Determination is a justification for this finding. In accordance with established procedures, the Determination and the justification will be furnished to Congress. The Determination alone will be published in the Federal al Register.

Mr. Lynn concurs in this finding (Tab C), as does Max Friedersdorf.


That you sign the memorandum at Tab A.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Subject File, Box 16, Presidential Determinations, FY 1976 (1). Confidential. Sent for action. Attached but not published is Tab A, a memorandum, August 5, from Ford to the Secretary of State making Fiji eligible to purchase defense articles and services. Tab B, Ingersoll’s June 24 memorandum to Ford, is attached but not published. Tab C, a memorandum, July 6, from James Lynn of the Office of Management and Budget to Ford, is also attached but not published.
  2. Kissinger recommended that Ford make Fiji eligible to make defense purchases from the U.S.