43. Summary of Conclusions of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1


  • Middle East


  • The Vice President
  • A. Denis Clift
  • State
  • Secretary Cyrus Vance
  • Philip Habib
  • Alfred Atherton
  • Defense
  • Charles W. Duncan
  • David A. McGiffert
  • CIA
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner
  • Robert Bowie
  • JCS
  • General George Brown
  • Lt. General William Smith
  • NSC
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • David Aaron
  • William B. Quandt


Israeli Arms Requests

The President’s decision to provide Israel with 200 TOW launchers, 700 M–113 Armored Personnel Carriers and 15 M–728 [Page 318] Combat Engineering Vehicles was announced.2 No other items will be approved before Prime Minister Begin’s visit on July 19–20, but a package for possible approval during or after that visit will be prepared. It was agreed that the following items might be included in such a package: fifty F–16s, 18 AH–1S Attack Helicopters, and two Hydrofoil boats. There was also general agreement to consider 3000 CBU–71s, although attention should be given to the symbolism of such a sale. The 300 remaining APCs from the Israeli request might also be approved after the visit.

It was agreed that we should turn down the Israeli request for three KC–135 tankers and the request for 1350 Sidewinder AIM–9Ls. On the latter item, we might consider offering the less sensitive AIM–JI model as an alternative.

Of the coproduction request, the Hydrofoil project is the most easily granted. On F–16s, we should only consider some limited co-assembly options. Defense should prepare the rationale for this position.

Egyptian Arms Requests

It was agreed that we should send to Congress the non-lethal items already approved by the President—14 C–130s, 12 RPVs for reconnaissance, six LOROP Pods. In addition, we could explore further the Egyptian interest in target drones and passive night vision devices. The possibility of 100 APCs will be discussed with Senator Humphrey.

The MIG maintenance project was judged as more important than the APCs. Discussion of whether and how to move the MIG project in parallel with the Israeli F–16 request ensued. Senator Humphrey’s advice will be sought. Defense will look into the third-country option with Britain and Italy. Defense will also prepare a paper on the MK–44 anti-submarine torpedo that the Egyptians have shown interest in.

Saudi Arms Requests

The question of when to forward the Saudi request for 60 F–15s to Congress was discussed, with a general consensus that we should wait until after Prime Minister Begin’s visit and our decision on the F–16 for Israel. This will be discussed further with Senator Humphrey.

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Begin Visit

Before Begin arrives, we should find ways through press briefings and backgrounders to keep the focus of attention on the key elements of a comprehensive settlement and the need for genuine flexibility on all issues. Our minimal objective for the Begin visit was defined as an Israeli interpretation of UN Resolution 242 in terms compatible with an overall settlement; a willingness to show restraint on establishing new settlements; and acceptance of a pre-Geneva process aimed at establishing some agreed framework for negotiations.

Several alternatives were explored in the event of an impasse in the discussions with Begin and it was agreed that further analysis was needed. The question was also raised of whether we could get President Sadat to make a public statement in support of a comprehensive peace with Israel and full normalization of relations. The meeting ended with the suggestion that our approach might make Begin appear intransigent; that an image of intransigence might help him to build domestic support; and that then “we would have him just where he wants us!”

Follow-on Actions

State will develop press guidance during the pre-Begin visit period to help develop realistic expectations of what is required of Israel.

Defense will prepare the rationale for only granting limited co-assembly options on the F–16.

Defense will explore the third-country option on the MIG project with the British and Italians.

Defense will prepare a paper on the MK–44 anti-submarine torpedo for possible sale to Egypt.

A PRC meeting will be scheduled for the week of June 27 to discuss the Begin visit. State and NSC will prepare a short discussion paper.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 31, Middle East: 5–6/77. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only for Principals. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. An attached June 27 covering memorandum from Brzezinski to the President requests approval of the Summary of Conclusions. Carter indicated his approval.
  2. A June 22 discussion paper for the PRC meeting sent to Mondale, Vance, Harold Brown, Turner, and General Brown included groupings of these weapons as “non-controversial items,” “somewhat controversial items,” and “most controversial” items. It also addressed Egyptian and Saudi arms requests and provided an overview of the administration’s diplomatic strategy for the remainder of 1977. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Middle East Files, Chron File, Box 132, Quandt: 6/15–20/77)