109. Memorandum From Robert Blackwill of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Aaron)1


  • The President’s December 28 Telephone Calls to European Leaders (C)

I will do a full record tomorrow of the President’s calls to Thatcher, Schmidt, Cossiga and Giscard d’Estaing, but I wanted you to have a quick summary now.2 (C)

The President used the talking points at Tab A almost verbatim except for #4, the one on SALT.3 He put that issue in the following way: “We are going ahead with SALT independently of what happens in Afghanistan, but we are not going to allow our concern about SALT [Page 309] to interfere with our strong condemnation of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.” (Schmidt’s response to this line was “I think that is appropriate.”) The President also told each of the leaders that he was going to send a very strong message to Brezhnev on Afghanistan, and he invited Mrs. Thatcher, but none of the others, to do the same. (C)

As you know, Thatcher, Schmidt and Cossiga all immediately agreed to a meeting of deputy foreign ministers this weekend under NATO auspices, but Giscard said “no.” He did not favor the NATO structure for this meeting because Afghanistan was not in the NATO Treaty area. Thus, it was not proper to use the NATO instrument in this case. A meeting in London of the NATO members, but not under NATO sponsorship, was the compromise.4 (C)

Incidentally, Giscard made the important point that we must take the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan seriously because of its impact on Pakistan, Iran and the the Gulf States. The latter, said Giscard, would certainly feel threatened if there were no Western reaction to the situation in Afghanistan. (C)

[Omitted here is information unrelated to Afghanistan.]

Cossiga will say that the Government of Italy is gravely worried about the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan which is contrary to the policies of detente and which bears the risk of creating a far worse situation in the region and beyond. (C)

In sum, none of these leaders showed the slightest hesitation in agreeing with the President’s analysis of the strategic importance of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. We have yet to see what they will be willing to do about it. (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council Institutional Files, 1977–1981, Box 57, NSC–026, 01/02/80, Afghanistan Invasion, Christopher/Brown, Pakistan/Afghanistan/China. Confidential. Sent for information.
  2. Blackwill’s full record was not found. The memoranda of conversation of Carter’s calls to Thatcher and Giscard are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVII, Western Europe.
  3. Attached but not printed. The talking points are as follows: “1. We regard the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan as an extremely grave development. 2. It has profound consequences for the stability of the entire region. 3. We believe that it is essential that we make this action as politically costly as possible to the Soviet Union and to that end will be approaching a number of governments, particularly the non-aligned and the Muslim countries, to speak out. 4. We are not going to be deterred from making an issue of this because of SALT. The Soviets have clearly made a decision that this intervention is more important than SALT. 5. We also are prepared to carry it all the way to the United Nations; however, because of our own efforts in the UN with regard to the hostages, we would appreciate it if others could take the initiative there. 6. We also believe the North Atlantic Council should meet immediately at a high political level to assess the matter and coordinate allied strategy. (For France: I hope that France can work within the North Atlantic Council and show solidarity on this issue.)” For the approach to other countries (point 3), see footnote 4, Document 107.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 107.