102. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Iran


  • The Vice President
  • State

    • Warren Christopher
    • Harold Saunders
    • Richard Cooper**
  • Defense

    • Secretary Harold Brown
    • W. Graham Claytor
  • JCS

    • General David Jones
    • General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Admiral Stansfield Turner
    • Frank Carlucci
    • Robert Dean***
  • Energy

    • Secretary Charles Duncan**
  • Justice

    • Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti**
    • John Shenefield**
  • Treasury

    • Secretary William Miller**
    • Anthony Solomon**
    • Robert Mundheim**
  • White House

    • Hamilton Jordan**
    • Jody Powell**
    • Stuart Eizenstat**
    • Lloyd Cutler**
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Colonel William Odom
    • Gary Sick
    • Thomas Thornton***

**Domestic Issues Only

***Afghanistan Only


Domestic Issues:

1. Economic Steps. A message was sent out on Saturday clarifying our understanding of the various steps which the allies will implement on a voluntary basis.2 We should have reactions from the various capitals today. Once those reactions are in, a joint message from Secretaries Vance and Miller will be sent requesting immediate implementa [Page 274] tion. That message will be prepared for Presidential review today, in anticipation of its being sent tomorrow. State has prepared a matrix showing our present understanding of what the allies are prepared to do. A copy is attached.3 (S)

State also prepared a paper on the steps available to us in invoking Chapter VII sanctions through the UN. A copy is attached.4 The SCC was briefed on the President’s interest in taking the necessary preparations to move on Chapter VII if and when a decision is made and the President’s preference for seeking maximum sanctions. The SCC did not believe that seeking Chapter VII sanctions would provide an excuse for delay of action by the allies since they already seem prepared to proceed with limited voluntary steps but will be reluctant to go beyond those measures in any event without Chapter VII authorization. We will wish to consult in advance with the Soviets5 since a veto could have serious implications for SALT, as well as preventing sanctions. We should seek Soviet abstention, if support is not possible. Mr. Cutler suggested that we move immediately to get a finding by the SC on Article 396 that the Iranian situation constitutes a threat to the peace, since the Soviets may be willing to support that. State pointed out that a call for a finding under Article 39 is, in effect, a call for sanction and should not be undertaken until we are prepared to follow through with the entire program.7 (S)

The SCC agreed that it would be useful to wait for several days8 before invoking Chapter VII in order to see the outcome of allied decisions on voluntary steps, effects of the ICJ ruling, reaction to the Shah’s departure, and the results of consultations between the new Iranian Ambassador to the UN, Mansour Farhang, with the Secretary General. In order to sustain momentum, it would probably be useful to be prepared to proceed with Chapter VII on about Thursday or Friday.9 Once the decision is made, the SCC recommended seeking steps 1 and 2 of the State paper (denial of military sales and credits, interruption of normal air, rail, post and telecommunications links, and a selective embargo except for humanitarian items), but stopping short [Page 275] of a total trade embargo which would involve extended debate and possible failure in the UNSC.10 (S)

In order to maintain the public appearance of momentum, it will be necessary to publicize in some form the types of actions which our allies have agreed to undertake. Some will not object; others will wish to keep their advice entirely private. The SCC recommended that State contact the countries involved and determine what they would be willing to announce publicly. Depending on their reaction, we will probably want to do a careful backgrounder to get out the whole story. This can be linked to intelligence information on the decline of shipping into the Persian Gulf, to increase the appearance of effective disruption of trade. We would expect to do the backgrounder by Wednesday.11 (S)

2. Presidential Views. Dr. Brzezinski briefed the SCC on the President’s comments on the notes of Friday’s meeting.12 The President approved the proposed strategy on the White Paper (that the information be collected and papers prepared, but not to publish a formal document) but asked that the internal documentation be complete for selective use. Approval was granted for leaking information about certain banks’ circumvention of restrictions on Iranian assets. At this point, however, there appeared to be no flagrant cases to be exploited. (S)

3. Trials. The President noted that it is important that we do nothing which would lend legitimacy to any trials of the hostages by Iran. The question of the lawyers preparing legal support for the hostages will be raised at the meeting tomorrow. (C)

4. French. The Iranian case against U.S. branch banks in France has been refiled. The SCC agreed that Giscard should be reminded of his assurance to Vance that this case would be tied up in the courts and not be subject to an early court decision. (S)

Political-Military Issues:

[Omitted here is information unrelated to the hostage crisis.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box 107. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Carter wrote “Zbig, J” in the upper right corner.
  2. Apparent reference to telegram 323610 to capitals of the EC–9 nations, December 16. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790578–0281)
  3. The undated matrix, “Financial Actions Allies are Willing to Take (as of December 14, 1979),” is attached but not printed.
  4. Not attached, but see footnote 3, Document 87.
  5. Carter underlined the word “consult” and the phrase “with the Soviets” and wrote in the margin: “We’ll go ahead in any case.”
  6. See footnote 3, Document 87.
  7. In the left margin, Carter wrote: “I prefer 39 & 7 together, not sequentially.”
  8. Carter underlined the word “several” and wrote in the right margin “not too long.”
  9. Carter underlined the word “Thursday” [December 20] and wrote in the left margin: “Thurs ok.”
  10. Carter underlined the phrase “except for humanitarian items” and wrote in the left margin: “define narrowly.” He approved this item with a checkmark.
  11. In the left margin beside this paragraph, Carter wrote: “My guess: better for them after move in UN on sanctions.” Wednesday was December 19. Carter approved this item with a checkmark.
  12. See Document 97.