229. Backchannel Message Tohak74/WH40189 From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Jerusalem1
Deliver in sealed envelope. Deliver immediately. To Larry Eagleburger for Sec. Kissinger.
January 16, 1974. To: Henry A. Kissinger. From: Brent Scowcroft.
Cromer asked to see me this morning to talk about our agreement to assist on the Super Antelope program and the expansion of facilities on Diego Garcia.
He passed me the following speaking notes:
“1. We are authorized to give the United States Government the assurance that HMG do not anticipate any major problems with regard to the U.S. Government’s request for expanded facilities at Diego Garcia. Certain considerations are set out below.
“2. We recognize that, while HMG’s agreement to the American request will be put into effect by confidential diplomatic exchanges, it is almost inevitable that some knowledge of it will become public. This could lead to adverse reactions from the Russians, the Indian Ocean littoral states and above all the Arabs. There is in particular the danger that the Arabs will conclude that expanded American facilities at Diego Garcia are related to the possibility of the use of force against Arab oil producing states. For this reason HMG attach very great importance to any public presentation of American intentions in regard to Diego Garcia, and to our agreement to the expanded facilities. They would like particularly to emphasize the following points:
(I) The expansion of the Diego Garcia facilities should be related to the long-held policy of safeguarding Western interests in the Indian Ocean as a whole, and not to recent Middle Eastern developments;[Typeset Page 736]
(II) All arrangements in connection with the expansion of facilities should be carried out with a minimum of publicity. Statements which could become public would be jointly agreed;
(III) While the agreement would be confidential, both sides would need to be ready to acknowledge publicly its existence and broadly what it involved, including a provision that HMG’s agreement for its use would be required in the same way as for U.S. bases in the UK.
“3. In addition, HMG would hope that our joint use of Diego Garcia would be accompanied by broad understanding on common goals and activities in the Indian Ocean area. HMG will have some proposals to make in this regard.
“4. We suggest that it would be useful for a small team of British officials to visit Washington in the near future, ideally next week, to explain our views on the points listed above more fully. We also propose that thereafter the US might like to send a team to London to discuss technical details of the expanded facilities.”
“1. HMG’s agreement to the U.S. Government’s request for the expansion of its facilities on Diego Garcia has been given against the background of Secretary Kissinger’s statement to me on 9 January that he was confident that the request in the Prime Minister’s message of 2 January to President Nixon, and the consequences which flow from it, would also be approved.
“2. We hope that it may be possible for the President to reply to the Prime Minister’s message soon, in order that an appropriate passage can be drafted for the Defense White Paper.”
It is interesting to note that the British themselves are doing what Schlesinger wanted to do—linking Diego Garcia with the nuclear programs.
Cromer is seeing the President at noon tomorrow for his farewell call. The package on US response on the Super Antelope Program is in your action folder. If you consider it worthwhile, and approve the package, I can get it into the President in the morning and let him tell Cromer that we were giving our approval.
Summary: Scowcroft forwarded talking points concerning Diego Garcia and Super Antelope left with him by Cromer that morning.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 43, HAK Trip Files, HAK Trip—Europe & Mid East, Dec 8–22, 1973, TOHAK 71–124, January 10–20, 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Kissinger initialed his approval of Scowcroft’s recommendation. During a January 17 meeting in the Oval Office, Nixon notified Cromer of his approval of U.S. assistance to the UK Super Antelope program. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 1028, Presidential/HAK Memoranda of Conversation, Memcons, 1 Mar 1974–8 May 1974, HAK + Presidential (1 of 4))↩