221. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1



  • White House
  • Vice President Mondale
  • Jody Powell (Press Secretary)
  • Hamilton Jordan (Asst to Pres)
  • Dr. Brzezinski (Asst to Pres for National Security Affairs)
  • David Aaron (Dep Asst to Pres for National Security Affairs)
  • Denis Clift (Asst to the VP for National Security Affairs)
  • State
  • Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher
  • David Newsom (Under Secretary for Political Affairs)
  • Robert Oakley (Dep Asst Sec for EA and Pacific Affairs)
  • DOD
  • Secretary Harold Brown
  • Charles Duncan
  • Michael Armacost (Dep Asst Sec for EA and Pacific Affairs)
  • JCS
  • General William Smith
  • CIA
  • Admiral Turner
  • Deputy Robert Bowie
  • NSC
  • Michel Oksenberg
[Page 813]


Admiral Turner summarized the battle situation. Chinese forces have apparently captured all Vietnamese frontier outposts along the entire 1100 kilometer Sino-Vietnamese border and have advanced a few kilometers into Vietnam. But they have not yet pushed forward. They are trying to lure the Vietnamese forces north, but it is not yet clear they will be successful in this effort.

At the U.N., the U.S. initiative to inscribe both Indochina issues in the Security Council agenda was joined by Norway. Eight votes are required for discussion, and it appeared that the debate may even get underway late today. The U.S. would speak first, followed by the Soviet Union. Our hope is that the non-aligned countries, particularly Kuwait, Bangladesh will propose a resolution acceptable to us which would condemn both the Vietnamese action in Cambodia and the Chinese action in Vietnam.2

We discussed U.S. contingencies in the event the Soviet Union seeks to acquire permanent military facilities in Vietnam. Were they to do so, the entire strategic situation in Asia would undergo a fundamental change. The meeting decided that Cy should deliver the démarche at Tab A to Dobrynin.3

We assessed our public posture on the conflict. Some concern was expressed that we may seem at this point to be a bit light on the Chinese. The group felt, however, that through Blumenthal’s statement in Peking4 and through the forthcoming U.N. debate, we would strike the right balance. Jody pointed out that our general position has won wide acclaim and our task is to explain how each action we undertake is consistent with our basic position. As far as the battle situation is concerned, the U.S. Government should neither become the major source of information about the conflict nor should we make any predictions. Our main task in backgrounding should be to introduce a note of calm and to knock down sensationalist stories.

  1. Source: Carter Library, Brzezinski Donated Material, Subject File, Box 29, Meetings, SCC 144: 2/23/79. Top Secret. Initialed by Brzezinski at the end of the text. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. The UN Security Council held five meetings between February 23 and 28. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1979, pp. 281–283.
  3. Tab A was not found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 223.