6. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of Defense Brown 1


  • Closing of Kagnew Station

I agree with the views expressed in your memorandum of March 21, 1977, that the Naval Communications Unit, Asmara, be closed.2 It is my view, and the White House Communications Agency concurs, that the risk to the safety of US personnel created by the situation in Ethiopia outweighs the degradation of communications capability which would accompany the closure of the Kagnew site.

Our final withdrawal from Kagnew Station is bound to have political impact upon the Ethiopian military regime which has just suffered a psychologically debilitating defeat in the surrender of Nacfa to Eritrean insurgents. The whole U.S.-Ethiopian relationship has been deteriorating rapidly and there are further pending actions, such as the downgrading of the MAAG group in Ethiopia, of which we will need to inform the Addis Ababa government soon. Since PRM–21 on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa is nearing completion,3 I believe it would be best to defer informing the Addis government of these steps, including the closing of Kagnew, until the policy review process is completed.

Meanwhile, I recommend you take all preparatory measures necessary to implement the closing of Kagnew.

Zbigniew Brzezinski 4
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special, Box 1, Chron File: 3/77. Secret. A copy was sent to Vance.
  2. See Document 5.
  3. See Document 10.
  4. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.