85. Memorandum From Samuel Huntington of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Human Rights Agency

1. I attach a draft memo from you to the President proposing the creation of a human rights agency.2

[Page 280]

2. This follows on a series of steps relating to this issue, including:

(a) our discussion in July of the desirability of proceeding with something along this line;

(b) my memo to you and Jessica of September 17th, on “The Next Phase in Human Rights”, discussing the need for and alternative ways of organizing such an agency;3

(c) Jessica’s memo to you of October 11th, which included this along with other human rights initiatives and where you again endorsed this initiative as a “good idea”.4

3. I submitted a draft of the attached memo to Jessica. She had one specific reaction to point (1) on page two which I have attempted to meet with a change in language.5

4. Jessica is, I understand, working on a broader range of human rights initiatives, including this one, in accordance with your response to her October 11th memo. Given your consistent positive endorsement of this idea dating back to our discussion in July, as well as its current timeliness, it nonetheless seemed to me worthwhile to suggest the enclosed memo as one way of promptly moving ahead with this critical initiative, without prejudice to other desirable ones in this area.

Recommendation: That you sign the enclosed memorandum to the President.6

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Defense/Security—Huntington, Box 38, Human Rights: 10–12/77. Confidential. Sent for action. A copy was sent to Tuchman.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. The September 17 memorandum is an earlier draft of Huntington’s October 5 paper, which is printed as an attachment to Document 81. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Europe/USSR/and East/West—Putnam Subject File, Box 31, Human Rights Agency: 9/77–1/78)
  4. Tuchman’s October 10 memorandum, sent to Brzezinski on October 11, is printed as Document 80.
  5. Huntington submitted a copy of the draft Presidential memorandum to Tuchman under cover of an October 25 memorandum, to which Tuchman responded in an October 26 note, indicating her preference for a “corporate structure that maximizes the distance between this entity [the proposed human rights foundation] and the Government.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Defense/Security—Huntington, Box 38, Human Rights: 10–12/77)
  6. There is no indication whether Brzezinski approved or disapproved the recommendation.