22. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Human Rights PRM Meeting, 28 February, 4:00 PM

The following issues were discussed:

1. Procedure—Ms. Tuchman stated that she is committed to providing Brzezinski with a PRM draft on Friday, 4 March, and that the PRM would be distributed in final form next week to member agencies. She will attempt to get her final draft to us by 2 March but hopes to avoid further changes.

2. NSC Draft vs State Department Draft—The two State Representatives, Derian and Vogelgesang, attempted to persuade Ms. Tuchman to substitute the State draft (see attachment) for the NSC version.2 They took the position that we should avoid trying to define human rights, but rather outline a general approach and an action program. Tuchman took the position that some definition of the basic human rights involved was necessary and she made it clear that she was not prepared to accept the State draft, but would make changes in the NSC draft based on the discussion at this meeting.

3. Third World ReactionBaker of State and Birnbaum of AID emphasized that third world countries are more concerned with economic rights than they are with civil rights and that our approach would have to take their point of view into account. Birnbaum went on to stress that cutting off economic aid was not necessarily the best way of improving [Page 61] human rights performance and he used as an example of what could be done the progress that has been made by quiet persuasion on the population problem.

4. Problem of Conflicting InterestsErb of Treasury made the point that in a number of cases our own national security interests might be in conflict with pressure to improve human rights performance of individual countries and he urged that some consideration of this problem be included in the redraft. He specifically called for the establishment of some procedure whereby the issue of human rights could be introduced into the decision-making process so that a conscious decision could be made between competing U.S. interests.

5. Existing Human Rights Agreement, Charters and ConventionsGoldklang of Justice stressed that the U.S. is a party to a number of overlapping international agreements affecting human rights, including the UN Charter, the Genocide Treaty, the OAS Agreement on Human Rights, the Helsinki Declaration, etc. He pointed out that the legal basis for taking action in a specific case would depend upon what agreements have been ratified by the country in question.

6. Communist vs Non-Communist Countries—There was an inconclusive discussion of the need for making a distinction between Communist and non-Communist countries in our policy approach. Derian argued strongly against such a distinction but Tuchman and the majority seem to feel that it was necessary to draw this line.

7. Intelligence Contribution—Tuchman felt that a section of the PRM should specifically call for an intelligence contribution and she indicated she would introduce such a paragraph into the redraft. Baker of State and I pointed out that the CIA Stations did contribute to the Embassy reporting to Congress on the human rights situation as required by law.

8. Belgrade Conference—There was general agreement that there was need for clarifying U.S. policy towards the Belgrade Conference3 and this item will be covered in Tuchman’s redraft.

9. At the end of the meeting I had a chance to chat briefly with Tuchman and suggested that we get together to review the present status of Agency production in this field and she indicated that she very much wanted to do so and would be in touch with me.4

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Cord Meyer, Jr.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Council, Job 91M00696R: Subject Policy Files, Box 5, Folder 12: Human Rights. Confidential. Drafted by Meyer on March 1. Attached but not printed are a list of attendees and agenda items, a routing slip, and a copy of Knoche’s February 15 memorandum to Brzezinski (see Document 7 and footnote 1 thereto).
  2. The State Department draft is attached but not printed. The undated draft lists five discussion items: objectives of U.S. policy on human rights; general guidelines for U.S. policy; specific factors to consider in individual cases/countries; tactics and initiatives; and questions and proposals requiring further study. Also attached are Defense and USIA responses in the form of memoranda to Tuchman, both February 28, to the draft PRM. The NSC draft was not found.
  3. Reference is to the CSCE Review Conference, scheduled to take place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in October 1977.
  4. According to Lake’s March 25 memorandum to Vance (Document 29), the NSC cancelled the human rights PRM. Tuchman, during a May 24 Interagency Working Group meeting, indicated that the NSC had rejected her draft PRM outline in March (see Document 50). The final version of the PRM, as approved by the President, is printed as Document 46.