263. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Iran/Afghanistan


  • State
  • David Newsom
  • George Vest
  • Dean Hinton
  • Nelson Ledsky*
  • OSD
  • W. Graham Claytor
  • Frank Kramer
  • JCS
  • Lt. Gen. John Pustay
  • CIA
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner
  • Justice
  • John Shenefield
  • Commerce
  • Secretary Philip Klutznick
  • Homer Moyer
  • Treasury
  • Robert Carswell
  • Robert Mundheim
  • STR
  • Robert Cassidy
  • White House
  • David Aaron
  • Lloyd Cutler
  • Hedley Donovan
  • Henry Owen
  • NSC
  • Colonel William Odom
  • Gary Sick
  • *Present only for discussion of Olympics

1. Olympics. Mr. Cutler summarized what has happened since the discussion at the last SCC.2 It had been decided that it was important to go quickly to the key Olympic countries and get their commitment to support alternative games, irrespective of a decision on their attendance at the Moscow games. At the strong recommendation of Secretary Vance, letters are being prepared for dispatch today to the Foreign Ministers of the key states urging their commitment. Mr. Cutler has independently talked to the German representative and the ANZUS group during their visits to Washington, and the President will see [Page 757] Schmidt next week. The Australians were particularly concerned that we move on this since public opinion in their country is slipping. (C)

Mr. Cutler had met with Mr. Keller, the Swiss head of the International Sports Federations, to request their support, which will be essential. Mr. Keller had not said flatly no, but he had not been encouraging about the likelihood that the federations would back the idea of alternative games. Mr. Cutler had given him a one-page memo outlining our position. Keller will take this back with him for a meeting of the Federation heads in Lausanne in early April. We will probably hear nothing from them until that meeting is over.3 (U)

Thirdly, Mr. Cutler thought it important that a promotional group be formed, and he strongly favored asking Messrs. Ueberroth and Wolper to take on the job as informal consultants looking toward the eventual formation of an International Committee. We have received offers of financial support from a number of industry and other sources, and a tax-exempt non-profit group was being put together to receive donations. (U)

Mr. Cutler said that we will go after Schmidt early next week and that would be crucial. The letters were intended to prepare the way for a group decision when the Steering Committee meets on March 10. We could hope for a decision at that time if the various national delegations were instructed in advance. The position of Germany will be critical to that process. All agreed that it would not be advisable to start with a letter to the French Foreign Minister. We also want to use the Germans to approach the French. However, the British were already in discussions with their Olympic Committee, and it was important to get to them as quickly as possible, by telephone to Ambassador Brewster4 if necessary. (C)

Mr. Aaron wondered about the advisability of forming committees at this point when we still do not have commitments from the key countries. The advice at the last meeting had been that if we cannot get those commitments, we should not proceed, and an existing infrastructure could be an embarrassment if that occurs. Mr. Cutler noted that his proposals to lay the groundwork for an organizing committee and a non-profit organization to receive donations were merely preparatory. Messrs. Ueberroth and Wolper would be coming on as consultants initially. The non-profit organization would be sponsored by a private law firm and would merely be a recipient of early donations. Neither would be public and neither would commit us to a course of action. (C)

[Page 758]

With regard to the blocking of shipment of goods to the Soviet Olympics, Mr. Cutler noted that he had worked on a draft public statement with Secretary Klutznick and Henry Owen.5 All of them had doubts about the advisability of such a statement since it risked making the President appear foolish. They believed it would be better simply to contact the key companies privately. Also, Levi Strauss was insisting that they needed a formal order in order to escape their contractual obligations. State noted that, based on the President’s decision to proceed with a public announcement, a cable had been sent to 20 countries notifying them that such a statement would be forthcoming last Monday,6 and we are now beginning to get requests for the text. Henry Owen suggested it would be better to tell them we had changed our mind rather than look foolish. Secretary Klutznick expressed concern that the White House would be besieged by small operators wondering whether or not they should proceed and the whole thing would turn into a mess. (C)

Mr. Aaron expressed surprise at this development since the subject had been discussed rather exhaustively at the previous meeting and the President had made his decision on the basis of that discussion. There appeared to be no new issue here except a drafting problem. He wondered if the problem could not be taken care of by Secretary Klutznick privately contacting the key companies, urging them strongly to respect a boycott, and then posting an announcement at the White House that this step had been taken at the President’s direction, without pumping it up into a matter of major importance. All agreed that this would be an acceptable way to proceed. (C)

Approve _____7 Other _____

Mr. Cutler reported that NBC is scheduled to make another progress payment on April 1 relative to their contract.8 NBC is firmly committed to provide no T.V. coverage of the Moscow games if there is no U.S. participation, and they would prefer not to make this next payment. Among other things, $6 million of the payment will go to the International Olympic Committee, and the absence of that money might make a significant impression. The SCC discussed various methods available to us to provide the legal basis on which NBC can refuse to make the payment. It was agreed that Mr. Cutler would get together with Treasury, Justice and Commerce to prepare options about how [Page 759] this might best be accomplished. This will be reviewed at a subsequent meeting for a decision well in advance of April 1. (C)

2. COCOM. Secretary Klutznick reported that the internal U.S. review process is complete except for specific decisions concerning such difficult items as computers, software and technical data packages. Mr. Newsom agreed that this is the problem. The allies are aware of our policy in broad terms, and we have made clear decisions on certain specific cases, but the allies are now asking for greater detail on these complex and difficult areas of definition. At the present time, the U.S. effort is stalled awaiting a recommendation from the Department of Defense on how to handle these complex definitional problems. Mr. Claytor said that DOD was working on this; however, the complexity of the problem must not be underestimated. DOD will have a proposal available for interagency consideration by next Friday, March 7. State cautioned that the process would begin once the DOD proposal is submitted. Mr. Hinton drew attention to the fact that the computer paper for COCOM consists of 53 pages of highly complex and technical details. It will not be a simple process to revise this. (C)

Mr. Hinton pointed out that we have made a number of significant decisions establishing policy in the area of oil and gas technology, Kama River, phosphates, and non-exceptions to the COCOM list. He thought that we should be prepared to begin approving some licenses for exports in those areas where policy is well established, rather than keeping all export licenses frozen. Henry Owen and Mr. Aaron remarked that it was their understanding that Congress is looking for us to take an even harder position on punishing the Soviets, and our own announcements indicate that we would have completed our policy review before now. They did not believe this was the moment to begin approving exports. (C)

Henry Owen suggested that it might be useful to have Secretary Klutznick report to the Congress or in some other forum on those areas where decisions have been made—which are considerable—and note that some of the more complex issues remain under consideration. Secretary Klutznick agreed that it was important to make people understand the reasons for delay on certain issues were not just stalling or lack of decisiveness. Mr. Aaron agreed with this approach: Secretary Klutznick would prepare a report to the President9 which could, after approval, then10 be used to brief the Congress and the press. Once this had been accomplished and we had some reading on the public and [Page 760] Congressional reaction, then we might consider moving to approve certain licenses which are consistent with policy. The SCC agreed on this phased approach. (C)

Approve _____11 Other _____

3. Credits. Mr. Newsom had talked to Richard Cooper12 in Europe just prior to the meeting and reported that he was getting nowhere with the allies on restricting the granting of export credits to the USSR. The prospects for progress in this area were extremely dim, and he wondered whether it was worth the effort of continuing to push. Mr. Aaron said it would be useful to get at least some measure of agreement with the allies—even if limited in scope—which could be reported as progress. Mr. Newsom said we could push the approach Mr. Aaron had suggested previously: identify two or three major projects in the USSR and get agreement that credits or bids would not be extended for those. Commerce, Treasury and State all agreed that we are up against the simple fact that the Europeans want the jobs and the exports. (C)

Mr. Aaron said that the allies have done nothing, despite the difficult and painful decisions which the President has taken on grain and trade.13 He wondered if they were aware that this would have significant political implications for America’s view of the alliance. State said that indeed the allies were getting the message and they were worried. They have slowed down on their contracting with the USSR and they have not undercut us on major deals such as ARMCO and ALCOA—at least not yet. However, they all say that they are afraid to act so long as there is the likelihood that the French will take advantage of their decision. The Japanese have generally been cooperative, but they are complaining that they may be undercut by the European allies to the detriment of their own business community. (C)

All agreed that the Germans were the key nation, if economic sanctions are to hold and be made effective. It was agreed that several key projects with the Soviets would be identified which the President could raise with Schmidt. We could also continue to press the Europeans to change the date of maturity of credits, which would cost the Soviets something by raising the price. Commerce and Treasury pointed out, however, that even the denial of all official export credits to the USSR would not prevent them from getting the development projects they want. They did not feel that this was an area which was promising if [Page 761] our intent was really to punish the Soviets. In their view, it was worth no more in practical terms than a ringing denunciation. (C)

Mr. Aaron said that it would have the value of the allies taking some concrete action painful to themselves and then make clear that all the allies were making some sacrifice. He would report these views to the President, but all of the agencies should be aware that the President’s position to this point had been to do what was right and to continue pushing, even if the prospects of allied cooperation were not good. (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 32, Meetings—SCC 282: 2/82/80. Confidential. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Carter wrote, “Zbig. J.” in the upper right-hand corner of the summary.
  2. For the summary of conclusions of the February 26 SCC meeting, see Docu-ment 262.
  3. Carter wrote in the left margin adjacent to this paragraph, “a) We will have alternative games even if zero, fifty or 100 other nations participate. b) It’s to our advantage to get maximum participation. c)—a) prevails.
  4. Kingman Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
  5. Philip Klutznick, Secretary of Commerce; Henry Owen, Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Economic Summit Affairs.
  6. February 25.
  7. Carter checked the “Approve” option.
  8. Carter wrote in the left margin, “I’m not particularly concerned about NBC.”
  9. Carter underlined “a report to the President” and wrote “OK” adjacent in the left margin.
  10. Carter deleted “also” in the original and replaced it with “after approval, then.”
  11. Carter checked the Approve option.
  12. Under Secretary for Economic Affairs.
  13. Carter wrote in the left margin, “Correct.”