120. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Iran


  • State

    • Secretary Cyrus Vance
    • Warren Christopher
    • David Newsom
    • Harold Saunders
  • Defense

    • W. Graham Claytor
    • Robert Komer
  • JCS

    • Admiral Thomas Hayward
    • General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Admiral Stansfield Turner
    • Frank Carlucci
  • Energy

    • Secretary Charles Duncan*
  • Justice

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

    • Anthony Solomon*
  • White House

    • Lloyd Cutler*
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • William Odom
    • Gary Sick

*Domestic Issues Only


Domestic Issues:

1. Japan. The Japanese have requested our guidance on their forthcoming negotiations with Iran on oil. Thus far the Japanese have held firm at $28.50 per barrel, and they have indicated that they are prepared to stay with that price for the moment if Shell and BP do the same. The SCC agreed that we should ask the Japanese to hold firm at $28.50 and that we were contacting the British to inform their companies to do the same. Secretary Duncan felt that if this price can be sustained for another week or ten days the market price may soften. We will also remind all parties of the agreement to pay only dollars for oil. (C)

2. UN . Secretary Vance mentioned that he had briefed the President this morning on the UN scenario. Plans now call for Vance to make the formal presentation to the Security Council on Friday evening or Saturday morning, aiming at a vote on Monday before the composition of the Security Council changes.2 State is preparing talking points for the President to use in telephone calls to heads of state of Zambia and Nigeria, who are wavering. A strong Presidential message to other members of the Security Council will also be available this afternoon. One proposal which has promise is for the Security Council to vote sanctions to take effect within ten days or so after the vote, allowing time for Waldheim to continue his mediation efforts in the interim. Don McHenry feels that this might buy us an extra vote or so, and the SCC thought it was an attractive idea. Secretary Vance noted that the timetable we have proposed may not hold, and it should not be discussed publicly. (C)

3. Economic Steps. The economic steps taken by our allies should begin to leak within the next several days. Treasury will insure that the leaks are accelerated without making it appear that they come from U.S. officials, which would be a breach of faith. Once the leaks have begun to appear, the allies are to confirm that “measures of coopera[Page 313]tion” have in fact been agreed upon. The French have not yet formally agreed to this, but Vance has sent a message to Giscard3 and believes that the French will agree. (C)

4. IMF. Mr. Solomon alerted the SCC to the possibility that the Saudis and others may vote against us—or at least abstain—on the question of whether or not our freeze of Iranian assets is permitted under the IMF Charter. The reason for the Saudi and Arab position is that Egypt made the same argument about paying interest to Saudi Arabia after the Arab cutoff of funds. Although this may be somewhat embarrassing to us, Mr. Solomon was certain that we have the necessary votes to win in the IMF. (C)

5. Hostages. State has prepared a chart showing when each hostage was seen or contacted since the takeover of the embassy.4 This is extremely sensitive, since it tends to identify particular individuals as suspect. A single copy was made to be attached to the notes of the SCC meeting. The seven missing hostages include [less than 1 line not declassified] four Foreign Service Officers. There is one hostage, a Mr. Blucker who was on temporary duty to Tehran as an economist, who has not been seen or heard from since the first day of the takeover. The fact that the students today claim that only 49 hostages are in custody—as opposed to our firm count of 50—is worrisome from that perspective. Hodding Carter at the noon briefing today will make clear that any confusion about the total number of hostages is not confusion on our part but rather because of the poor information coming out of the students5 and others in Tehran. Secretary Vance will meet with the American clergymen for half an hour after their return. (S)

Political-Military Issues:

1. AWACS . Dr. Brzezinski informed the SCC that the President had approved the proposal from the previous meeting. The AWACS flew yesterday as scheduled and will return to the base in Egypt today. (S)

2. Intelligence Finding. Dr. Brzezinski noted that the intelligence finding as revised and approved by the President would be sent to the President for signature today. The finding is attached, with the President’s comments and changes incorporated.6 (S)

3. Covert Action. The SCC agreed that the small covert action subcommittee would meet on Monday7 to review options. The entire ques[Page 314]tion of how we will proceed will be reviewed by the entire SCC next Wednesday. (S)

  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.
  2. December 28, 29, and 31. See Document 128.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. Attached but not printed. In the left margin, Carter wrote: “Examined & returned.”
  5. Carter underlined the word “students” and, at the top of the first page of the memorandum, wrote: “Zbig—Please do not call them students—otherwise ok. J.”
  6. See the attachment to Document 110.
  7. Monday, December 31.