262. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Iran/Afghanistan


  • The Vice President*
  • State
  • Secretary Cyrus Vance*
  • Deputy Secretary Christopher
  • Defense
  • Secretary Harold Brown*
  • Deputy Secretary Graham Claytor
  • JCS
  • General David Jones**
  • Lt. General John Pustay***
  • CIA
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner
  • NSC
  • Gary Sick
  • Marshall Brement***
  • White House
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski**
  • David Aaron
  • Lloyd Cutler
  • Hamilton Jordan*
  • Anne Wexler***
  • Hedley Donovan***
  • Joe Onek***
  • Henry Owen***
  • Peter Ueberroth, Executive Director of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics Organizing Committee***
  • David Wolper, Producer of “Roots” and Associate of Ueberroth on LAOOC***
  • *Present for Political-Military Items Only
  • **Departed at 10:00 a.m.
  • ***Present for Olympic item only

[Omitted here are the Political-Military items.]


The SCC then reformed itself into a larger group, including two representatives of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (Messrs. Ueberroth and Wolper), to discuss the possibility of organizing alternative games. Mr. Cutler outlined some of the problems. He thought alternative games would be helpful in persuading other nations to join us in boycotting the Olympics if the alternative games were not seen as destructive of the International Olympic movement. One of the problems is that the West Europeans, Canada, New Zealand and Australia do not have direct governmental control of their respective [Page 754] national Olympic Committees. The Africans, by contrast, can order their committees not to participate. Some nations would probably attend alternative games even if they decide to participate in Moscow. The key nations which will have to be persuaded are France, West Germany, the UK, Kenya, China, Mexico, Japan and Italy. These are the most influential nations in terms of sports competition and participation in the Olympic movement. The West Europeans are the key. We must attempt to persuade them to commit to support alternative games, even if they will not make a firm commitment to stay away from Moscow. That would permit us to proceed with planning for the games. A major factor will be persuading the international sports federations to support these games since their approval is necessary to insure that participating athletes will not be disqualified. (U)

At the present time, we have no offer of any site but Los Angeles, and everyone agrees that we should not make this a solely U.S. alternative. We need 3–4 sites, perhaps including Los Angeles, which could be linked by television worldwide. The LAOOC representatives felt that such an approach was feasible and could be marketed worldwide. Japan, for example, could be the site for volleyball and judo, the UK for equestrian events, etc. It may be necessary for the governments to put in some money to handle the initial costs of organizing the games, although the LAOOC representatives believed strongly that the games would be self-supporting once they had overcome the initial lag and were widely accepted. Once a decision is made, it will be extremely important for the U.S. to convince the networks that this is a major event—perhaps by insuring Presidential attendance at the opening, etc. (U)

The best prospective time for the games to be held was for nine days, spanning two weekends, in the second half of August. That was desirable in terms of maintaining peak training by the athletes, to avoid the national conventions, and to stay ahead of the regular TV season programming. All agreed that was a reasonable planning date. (U)

All agreed that our next step should be to approach the various key governments involved to get them to make a firm commitment that they would send a team to the alternative games, regardless of what decision they may make on attendance at Moscow. This will have to be carefully handled to avoid giving the waverers an excuse to avoid a decision on boycotting Moscow, but we cannot wait for a decision past the end of March if planning for the alternative games is to be a success. The games should be open to all nations, including the Soviets, just as Lake Placid was. (U)

The LAOOC representatives noted the need to establish a private international coordinating committee as well as an advisory committee composed of leading sports and business figures. The LAOOC had [Page 755] demonstrated that a private committee could organize such games without official government (or in their case, city) funding. Each site for the games would also require a local committee—either private or officially sponsored. Mr. Cutler noted that a meeting of all the key governments involved will be held in 10 days to two weeks. All agreed that we must make formal approaches to each government before they arrive at that meeting if it is to get any agreement. The LAOOC representatives stressed that unless we could get firm commitments of participation by at least the top five (France, West Germany, UK, Kenya and China), they would advise not to proceed. France is critical because of its dominant role in the International Olympic movement. However, if those nations are willing to commit, the rest of the world will almost certainly fall in behind them, and there is a strong probability that the Russians would end up cancelling their games entirely, as being largely irrelevant. They warned that the International Olympic Committee and its national components will fight very hard against the notion of alternative games of any kind. (U)

The SCC agreed that we would immediately go to the key foreign governments. We will reiterate our firm decision not to go to Moscow and seek their firm commitment to attend alternative games even if they have not made a final decision about Moscow. Mr. Aaron will meet with Mr. Christopher and Lloyd Cutler to work out the details of how this approach will be made and by whom. Mr. Cutler will also meet today with the Swiss representative of the sports federations to seek their sanction of alternative games. It is generally believed that they will find the potential economic benefits attractive and they are likely to go along if the key countries accept the concept. The LAOOC representatives observed that if a decision is made by the end of March, the logistics would not be a serious problem. (U)

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 32, Meetings—SCC 278: 2/26/80. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The initial “C” is written on the upper right-hand corner of the summary, indicating that Carter saw it.