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84. Action Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (Schneider) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1


  • Human Rights Reporting

As you know, we are beginning the final chapter of revisions of the human rights country evaluation papers and, at the same time, requesting the bureaus to prepare the unclassified human rights descriptions for submission to the Congress.

With your approval, the attached memorandum will set two specific dates on a timetable which will permit us to meet our Congressional obligations. The human rights descriptions will be the same for the Section 116 and Section 502B requirements.

In addition, this will assure cleared versions of the country evaluation papers available by that same date, since the descriptive portion of those documents will be the basis for the preparation of the report to the Congress.


That you sign the attached memorandum.2

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Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Tarnoff) to All Regional and Functional Assistant Secretaries and the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Lake) 3


  • HA—Ms. Derian
  • EA—Mr. Holbrooke
  • EUR—Mr. Vest
  • NEA—Mr. Atherton
  • ARA—Amb. Todman
  • AF—Mr. Moose
  • S/P—Mr. Lake
  • PM—Mr. Gelb
  • L—Mr. Hansell
  • H—Mr. Bennet
  • EB—Mr. Katz


  • Human Rights Reporting

Section 116 and 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, call for the submission by the Secretary of State to the Congress of reports on human rights conditions in countries for which security assistance programs and economic aid programs are being proposed.

—Section 116(d) (1) calls for submission by January 31 of each year of “a full and complete report regarding . . . the status of internationally recognized human rights . . . in countries that receive assistance . . .”

—Section 502B(b) provides that as part of the presentation materials for security assistance programs proposed for each fiscal year, the Secretary of State shall transmit “a full and complete report, prepared with the assistance of the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, with respect to practices regarding the observance of and respect for internationally recognized human rights” including “(1) the relevant findings of appropriate international organizations, including non-governmental organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross; and (2) the extent of cooperation by such government in permitting an unimpeded investigation by any such organization of alleged violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

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The human rights “country evaluation papers” currently being prepared provide a useful vehicle for developing the reports to Congress required by these statutory provisions. Specifically, Section A of those classified papers should be prepared in an unclassified form suitable for use as the required human rights report to Congress. These reports will form a key part of the Congressional and public perception of the commitment of this Administration both to its human rights policy and to an open foreign policy. They should therefore be as full and complete as possible without revealing classified information.

Currently, HA and S/P are meeting with relevant personnel in your bureaus to review necessary changes in the country evaluation papers. The Deputy Secretary has requested that the revision of those papers and of the unclassified versions of Section A (cleared by P, L, H, S/P and where indicated, PM, EB, and AID) be submitted to HA by November 22. Dissenting views should be stated if necessary. It is important that as many of the papers as possible be submitted to HA well prior to that date, so as not to overburden HA at the last minute.

The final versions of the country evaluation papers and of the unclassified versions of Section A of those papers, with appropriate clearances, should be submitted to S/S by HA no later than December 15. Again, it is important that a significant number of these papers be provided well prior to that date.

Peter Tarnoff
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 15, Human Rights—Country Evaluation Papers. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Schneider.
  2. Oxman initialed the memorandum on behalf of Christopher and indicated that the memorandum had been revised and retyped in D. A stamped notation reads: “4 NOV 1977.”
  3. No classification marking. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Copies were sent to Gilligan, Habib, Benson, and Nimetz.