285. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Nicaragua


  • State

    • Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher
    • Mr. Viron Vaky (Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs)
    • Mr. John Bushnell (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs)
  • OSD

    • ADM Daniel Murphy (Deputy Under Secretary for Policy)
  • JCS

    • General David Jones
    • Lt General John Pustay
  • DCI

    • Deputy Director Frank Carlucci
    • [name not declassified] (Acting Chief of Latin American Division)
  • OMB

    • Deputy Director John White
  • Justice

    • Attorney General Griffin Bell
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • Mr. Robert Pastor
    • Mr. Donald Gregg

(The Attorney General did not attend the first half of the meeting which was an update of the situation in Nicaragua, and Bushnell and Pustay did not attend the second half, which was an SCC–I meeting.)2

Summary of Conclusions

1. US Policy in the Transition. The SCC agreed that Ambassador Pezzullo should see the Interim President Urcuyo and the new GN Commander Mejia and remind them of their understandings with us on the proposed scenario. If they don’t accept the scenario, we would turn to the Latin Americans (TCP and Andean countries) to persuade Urcuyo. (As of COB, July 17, 1979, Urcuyo said he did not share our understanding of the scenario, and the Latin Americans were not enthusiastic about encouraging them.) (S)

2. Humanitarian Assistance. General Torrijos suggested to General McAuliffe that the US should play a highly visible and military role in transporting food and medicines to Nicaragua to show the new government that we are willing to be as helpful to them as we had been to Somoza.3 The SCC agreed we should not speed up our humanitarian assistance until the political situation clarifies. (S)

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3. US Strategy to Central America. State was tasked to prepare a longer term strategy paper on US policy to Central America.4 (S)

4. Public Posture. We agreed to take the line that Urcuyo’s statement about remaining in power and fighting represent transitional difficulties.5 We are consulting with the Latin Americans on this, and we hope it will be worked out. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 35, Nicaragua, 7/79–12/79. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Pastor sent the summary to Brzezinski under cover of a July 18 memorandum, noting: “It is not necessary for the President to see it as much of the decisions were overtaken by the end of yesterday.” Brzezinski wrote “Ok ZB” on the covering memorandum. (Ibid.)
  2. See Documents 282 and 283.
  3. In a telegram from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to USSOUTHCOM Quarry Heights, July 17, Jones instructed McAuliffe to meet with Torrijos and discuss the “possibilities for democracy in Nicaragua” and “the best way to handle reconstruction assistance.” (Telegram from JCS, July 17; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 36, Nicaragua: 7/15–17/79) McAuliffe reported to Jones in a telegram from USSOUTHCOM Quarry Heights Canal Zone to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 17. (Telegram from USSOUTHCOM, July 17; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 36, Nicaragua: 7/15–17/79.)
  4. See Document 377.
  5. See Document 287.