77. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Letter to Nicaraguan President Somoza

Last week, our Ambassador orally conveyed the President’s letter to General Somoza of Nicaragua.2 Since then, there has been considerable violence in Nicaragua, amounting to at least seven deaths. On July 19, a broad front is planning a general strike, and there appears to be increasing polarization in the country.

Our Ambassador fears that if he delivers the letter, that Somoza may use it to strengthen his position. He has therefore recommended that he not deliver the letter when it arrives by pouch.3 Vaky strongly supports the recommendation of the Ambassador; he believes that there is a qualitative difference between an oral message and the letter, and the latter is certainly easier to use for Somoza’s purposes. Christopher is less certain whether this justifies the President’s attention.

I think there are three options:

1. Not deliver the letter (Ambassador and Vaky recommendation).4

2. Deliver the letter, but5 stress the President’s concern with recent developments in Nicaragua since the letter was originally sent.6

3. Deliver the letter.


I would favor Option 1 or 2.

Shall I draft a memo from you to the President?7

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor Files, Country Files, Box 33, Nicaragua: 5–7/78. Confidential.
  2. See Document 76.
  3. See footnote 5, Document 76.
  4. In the left-hand margin next to the recommendation, Aaron wrote: “My recommendation P[resident] will look foolish. DA.”
  5. Inderfurth crossed out the word “but” and wrote the word “and.” He also wrote in the left-hand margin next to the recommendation: “My suggestion. RI.”
  6. Brzezinski checked the approval option.
  7. Brzezinski did not indicate his approval or disapproval of the recommendation.