136. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Vice President Mondale, Secretary of State Vance, and Secretary of Defense Brown1


  • Results of the NSC Meeting, January 2, 1980

The following decisions were reached as a result of the meeting:

1) The SALT II Treaty will be left on the Senate calendar. There will be no effort to bring it to the Floor for a vote. Our public posture will be to reaffirm that SALT is important irrespective of the tone of our relationship with the Soviet Union but, at this time, we do not believe it is advisable to bring it to a vote.2

2) We will make no announcement concerning other bilateral arms control negotiations but, if asked, will take the position that they should proceed. The Indian Ocean talks will remain moribund. We will proceed with CSCE. In MBFR, we are awaiting a Soviet response to our initiative. CTB negotiations will continue at a slow pace. CW/RW negotiations will be pursued since they are in our interest. The proposed meeting next week of the heads of delegation for the Conventional Arms talks should be postponed.

3) The recall of Ambassador Watson will be announced today.

4) The Department of State will forward its proposal for reducing the Soviet diplomatic staff in the U.S., excluding the Soviet UN Mission, to the level of the United States in the USSR.3 This should include measures to tighten restrictions on Soviet official travel in the U.S. to the equivalent of those imposed on the U.S. officials in the USSR.

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5) Preparations for opening the Consultates General in Kiev and New York will be suspended.

6) Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe and Voice of America broadcasts will be stepped up along the lines proposed in the State Department’s December 31 paper.4 The necessary funds will be made available by OMB. Worldwide diplomatic demarches and ICA actions will be increased to publicize the Soviet role in Afghanistan.

7) Our posture toward the Afghan Government will be not to conduct any formal business for the time being. The number of American personnel at the Embassy will be reduced to ten. The question of recognition of the Babrak regime does not arise.

8) The Consular Review Talks which are now in a state of suspension will not be resumed.

9) On a case-by-case basis, The Department of State will reject and delay visas for official visits to the United States.

10) Soviet media representation in the United States will be reduced to the same level as U.S. media representation in the Soviet Union.

11) Shipment by C5A aircraft of the MHD channel will be deferred indefinitely.

12) Negotiations with the Soviet Union on the General Exchange Agreement will not be resumed.

13) We will cancel the following:

—The Agriculture Joint Committee Meeting scheduled for January in the USSR.

—The Health Joint Committee Meeting scheduled for February in Moscow.

—Representative Green will be urged to cancel his Congressional Delegation visit to the Soviet Union scheduled for January 11–18.

14) Any meetings at the level of Assistant Secretary or above will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with the presumption that they will be cancelled unless there are overriding reasons not to do so.

15) On the Olympics, we will take the following position which may be used publicly: “Our European Allies have questioned whether we should proceed to participate in the Olympic games in Moscow. We will assess this question and review the position taken by other countries in reaching our decision.”

16) U.S. travel controls on Soviet officials and the enforcement of these controls will be reviewed to ensure greater reciprocity with the treatment accorded our officials in the Soviet Union.

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17) We should postpone the following meetings: the Joint Commercial Committee Meeting scheduled for April 14–15 in Washington; the Business Facilitation Talks scheduled for January 9 in Moscow; and the Civil Aviation Talks scheduled for February 13. In addition, Aeroflot’s scheduled service will be limited to the two weekly flights currently authorized.

18) The United States export controls on exports to the USSR will be tightened up on a case-by-case basis. The United States should be prepared to restrict export licenses to an even greater degree than our allies if it does not disadvantage U.S. business in comparison with our allies.5

19) There should be an examination of Soviet commercial expansion in the United States with a view to restricting it. The Department of State should forward proposals to this effect within one week.

20) Allocations to the Soviet Union under our Fishing Agreements should be restricted.

21) The United States should continue to urge our allies to increase broadcasts to Muslim countries and Soviet Central Asia on developments in Afghanistan. There should also be prepared in conjunction with our allies a periodic circular to be distributed at the United Nations on the status of the Soviet invasion and occupation in Afghanistan.

22) The United States will join in a letter to the President of the Security Council urging that the Afghanistan situation be placed on the agenda. Unless it would be a violation of the UN Charter, Ambassador McHenry will be instructed to tell other nations that it is our preference to also raise this issue at the current General Assembly.6

23) We will proceed on a case-by-case basis to implement the “Belgian Formula” for creating a de facto differential in COCOM favoring China in comparison to the Soviet Union. There will be no public statement of this policy.

24) We will consult with other countries to urge them to deny the Soviet Union further credit.

25) We will work with our allies to urge the IFI’s and countries with assistance programs to Afghanistan to terminate such assistance.

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26) We will seek an amendment in the Foreign Assistance Bill to except Pakistan from the restrictions of the Symington and Glenn Non-proliferation Amendments so that it will be possible for us to provide FMS and ESF.

The Department of State should immediately inform our allies of our intention to take these actions and should urge appropriate allied support.7

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  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. Secret. Also sent to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Brown, and Director of Central Intelligence Turner. Also printed in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 252.
  2. Carter’s January 3 letter to Senator Byrd requesting that he delay consideration of the SALT II treaty is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXIII, SALT II, Document 246. The same day, Jody Powell read a statement to reporters that the President had asked Senator Byrd to delay consideration in light of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. (Public Papers: Carter, 1980–81, Book I, p. 12)
  3. Vance sent the proposal, in the form of four backup papers, to the President under a January 13 memorandum. The proposal, which called for reciprocity in all U.S. and Soviet diplomatic, media, and commercial personnel, is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 1, Afghanistan: Measures Taken Against USSR After Invasion: 1/9–14/80.
  4. See footnote 10, Document 135.
  5. A CIA intelligence assessment, FR 80–10037, January 1980, entitled “Impact of Economic Denial Measures on the USSR,” is printed in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 250.
  6. At the request of 52 states, including the United States, the UN Security Council convened January 5–9 but, due to a Soviet veto, failed to adopt a resolution calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. An emergency special session of the General Assembly held January 10–14 adopted Resolution ES–6/2 denouncing foreign armed intervention in Afghanistan. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, pp. 296–302.
  7. See Document 146.