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327. Memorandum From Guy Erb of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Secretary Vance’s Letter on North-South Issues (U)

Since receiving your guidance to support a PRC on the North-South issues that Secretary Vance raised in his letter of December 26 (Tab A),2 we have reviewed the State papers within the NSC. I have also had several conversations with Hormats, Lake and others at State. (U)

The State approach focuses on constructive initiatives that could build a record of modest but solid U.S. achievement on North-South developmental issues. Owen, I, and others have reviewed each of these proposed steps and concluded that most of the initiatives are already in motion; a few are new ideas worth exploring. We will continue to monitor each of the useful initiatives, new or old, to insure that they receive needed support. On some issues, we may find that a PRC is necessary to determine an Administration position on specific issues, but a decision on the need for and the timing of such a PRC can be deferred until staff work has been completed. (C)

I have emphasized to State that the initiatives in support of internal LDC development—useful as they might be—do not respond adequately to the political dimension of the North-South dialogue. As the North-South cluster has indicated to you previously (Thornton memo of November 8, #6746)3 we believe that U.S. policy must also include a response to the international reforms that LDCs call for if we are to have a significant impact on our multilateral relations with developing nations. (C)

S/P is drawing up a strategy indicating how and when each of the initiatives might be related to upcoming phases and events in the [Page 1034]North-South dialogue.4 S/P envisages one or more high-level Administration statements this spring on the framework for North-South relations and the direction of U.S. policy. We will be in touch with you about these later, as well as about an idea that Henry and I have been discussing: for a Presidential speech to a U.S. audience that could be beamed via satellite to the Manila UNCTAD. Gerry Rafshoon and Bernie Aronson are mildly encouraging about the possibility of a Presidential speech on North-South relations. (U)

Since we are working closely with State on this matter, there is no need for you to send a written reply to Secretary Vance at this time. (U)

Thornton concurs.5

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 44, North-South: 4/78–2/79. Confidential. Sent for information. Sent through Owen. Brzezinski wrote at the top of the page: “Monitor closely. Don’t let it become a substitute for NSC coordination of policy. ZB.” A separate handwritten notation below Brzezinski’s comment reads: “1–22–79.”
  2. Printed as Document 325.
  3. See Document 320.
  4. Lake and Hormats outlined a work program on North-South issues in a January 2 memorandum to Department of State officials (copies of which were sent to AID, NSC, Treasury, and USDA). (National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Official Working Papers of S/P Director Anthony Lake, 1977–January 1981, Lot 82D298, Box 4, S/P-Lake Papers—1/1–1/15/79)
  5. Thornton initialed above this sentence.