97. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Iran


  • State

    • Warren Christopher
    • David Newsom
    • Harold Saunders
  • Defense

    • W. Graham Claytor
  • JCS

    • General David Jones
    • General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Admiral Stansfield Turner
    • Frank Carlucci
  • Justice

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

    • Robert Carswell**
    • Anthony Solomon**
  • Energy

    • John Sawhill**
  • White House

    • Stuart Eizenstat**
    • Hedley Donovan
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Colonel William Odom
    • Gary Sick

** Present for domestic issues only.


Domestic Issues:

1. Immigration. The District Court has not yet acted on the order staying the interview program. A ruling is expected today or, at latest, tomorrow. If the court rules against us, we can go immediately to the Chief Justice and possibly simultaneously ask for Congressional action. Legislation has been prepared on a contingency basis. (C)

2. World Court. A ruling is expected tomorrow, and the indications are that it will be favorable. Judging from past performance, the decision may not be unanimous, and we will need to be prepared to deal with an explanation of the order. The Attorney General will brief on the order as soon as it comes out. His statement is being prepared on a contingency basis and will be coordinated with Jody Powell. (C)

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3. Economic Steps. We still do not have detailed reporting on the talks conducted in Europe by Vance and Cooper.2 Cooper delayed another day for further talks with the British Foreign Office and will not return until late this afternoon. The fragmentary reporting which we have received indicates that the four foreign ministers agreed that they would support a U.S. move to invoke Chapter Seven sanctions as well as a number of lesser independent actions. Our understanding of the nature of these independent actions is sketchy. However, we know that they stop short of cross-default or freeze of Iranian assets. If our understanding is correct, they would be effective in supporting the dollar (by insisting on oil payment in dollars, refusing to accept non-dollar deposits by Iran, etc.) but would not apply significant new pressure on the Iranian government and economy. It is unclear whether these ideas merely constitute a European counter-proposal to our more ambitious request or whether they were accepted as an agreed package. Dr. Brzezinski strongly reiterated the urgent need for an options paper from Treasury outlining the maximum and minimum strategies available to us and how those strategies might fit together with a request for Chapter Seven sanctions. Treasury has delayed examination of the options pending Cooper’s return, but Dr. Brzezinski argued that regardless of what was accomplished in Europe, the President must be informed on what actions are available to him at this point and what kind of pressure might be required. Mr. Solomon therefore will prepare an analysis of the various economic options.3 An SCC meeting will be held tomorrow morning to discuss the options with Vance and Cooper after their return. The SCC was informed that the press stories indicating a decision to go for Chapter Seven sanctions remain as one option among several that are under serious consideration. (S)

4. Circumvention. [less than 1 line not declassified] certain banks in Germany, France, Canada and Switzerland have been actively assisting Iran in circumventing the effects of the freeze. [2½ lines not declassified] Treasury and CIA will work out the details and proceed immediately.4 (S)

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5. Islamic Statement. The draft Presidential statement about Islam was provided to Hedley Donovan who will consider when and how it could best be used to avoid appearing contrived. (C)

Political-Military Issues:

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

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 18, SCC Meeting #229 held 12/14/79. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Carter initialed “C” in the upper right corner.
  2. See Document 95. Cooper’s reports on his discussions with German and Swiss officials are in telegrams 6981 and 6984 both from Bern, December 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, N79009–0709 and P840140–1513, N790009–0715)
  3. Memorandum from Solomon to Brzezinski, December 14. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 35, Institutional File, 1000s–1300s 2/79–3/79, 12/79)
  4. Carter approved the item with a checkmark and initialed in the margin. On December 12, the CIA requested and received NSC staff concurrence, provided by Gary Sick, that a proposed propaganda campaign [text not declassified] to seize Iranian assets was consistent with the November 24 Presidential Finding. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 64, Outside the System File, Iran Non-Meetings Hostage Crisis 11/79–12/79)