12. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State-Designate (Christopher) to Secretary of State Vance 1


  • Human Rights

At your request, Tony Lake prepared the attached memorandum2 on human rights. Patt Derian and I reviewed the memorandum with Tony. We are in basic agreement with him that the Department should:

—Move rapidly to pull together our best thinking on pending decisions with human rights implications.

—Begin to bring human rights considerations to bear on the full range of foreign policy issues and be prepared to lead a PRM exercise on human rights.

—Establish as orderly a process as possible for dealing with human rights matters.

However, it seems to me that the way to begin this process is for me to call together the ad hoc Departmental group that Tony recom[Page 40]mends we set up, and to involve its members in deciding on next steps, particularly:

—How best to prepare for pending decisions; and,

—The scope and content of the regional strategy papers.

Therefore, my suggestion to you is that you approve Tony’s recommendations.3 I plan to convene the group on Monday, February 14, so that we can move forward promptly on intra-Departmental strategy papers.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Memoranda to the Secretary—1977. No classification marking.
  2. Not attached. Lake’s memorandum is printed as Document 9. According to Borg’s February 9 minutes of the “large assistant secretaries” staff meeting, held on February 8, Vance “stressed the over-arching importance of the human rights question to the new Administration. He said it was one of the most important issues we must face but noted that we have not yet ‘come to grips with the fundamental problem.’ Phil Habib asked about the status of the S/P study on this subject, and Tony Lake confirmed that the memorandum would be coming forward later in the day. He said he would be meeting with Pat Derian, the new Human Rights Coordinator, right after the staff meeting to discuss the content of the memorandum. (Ms. Derian was introduced to the staff meeting at this point.)” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840101–0914)
  3. Vance placed a check mark next to this paragraph and initialed. Cahill added the following handwritten notation: “done 2/11.”