197. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • State Department Meeting on Indochina

Cy, Harold, Stan,2 and I met to assess the Indochina situation, particularly the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia and the Chinese buildup along the Vietnamese border. We assessed the situation and concluded that we should undertake the following measures:

—Continue to keep the international heat on Vietnam and to discourage all aid to donors to Vietnam from giving aid until Vietnam withdraws its forces from Cambodia.3

—Indicate to the Soviets in no uncertain fashion that we consider the situation in Indochina serious, that we are expressing our concern to the Chinese and discouraging them from undertaking any punitive action against Vietnam, and that we expect the Soviets to behave with restraint and not to seek military bases in Vietnam, or to make use of Cam Ranh Bay (Cy will deliver this message to Dobrynin tomorrow).

—Indicate to the Chinese that our common approach in the U.N. and our efforts to persuade others not to give aid to Vietnam are proving successful, that we have indicated to the Soviets our expectation that they will not make use of any opportunities to establish military bases in Vietnam, and that Chinese military action against Vietnam would jeopardize the gains we are making in isolating Vietnam in the international community. (We recommend that you make these points in your meetings with Deng Xiaoping.)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Oksenberg Subject File, Box 46, Meetings: 1/25–31/79. Secret. Sent for action. The date is handwritten. A handwritten “C” at the top of the page indicates that Carter saw the memorandum.
  2. Brzezinski is referring to Cyrus Vance, Harold Brown, and Stansfield Turner.
  3. Carter wrote, “ok” in the margin next to this and the next two paragraphs.