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

The enclosed note from the President speaks for itself. You will recall that we had decided not to transfer arms to Ethiopia but also not to inform them. The President wishes them to be informed.

You will also recall that at the PRC meeting we agreed that there was political utility—given the instability and unpredictability in Ethiopia—in not informing the Ethiopians of our decision to suspend arms [Page 40] deliveries.2 The consensus was that this leaves the situation more open and is less likely to drive Ethiopia into the hands of the Soviets. My own view, for whatever it is worth, is that that approach is still correct but I will wait to hear from you before raising the issue with the President.

Zbigniew Brzezinski


Note From President Carter to Secretary of State Vance, Secretary of Defense Brown, and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)3

To Cy & Zbig & Harold

If Ethiopia acts as projected [less than 1 line not declassified], we should immediately terminate shipment of all arms—but let them know now.

See me re this if necessary—

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Agency File, Box 17, State 4/77. Secret.
  2. See Document 11.
  3. Secret. The note is handwritten.