75. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Horn of Africa


  • State

    • Secretary Vance
    • Assistant Secretary Moose
    • William Harrop
  • Defense

    • Secretary Brown
    • Deputy Secretary Duncan
    • Robert Murray
  • JCS

    • Admiral Holloway
    • Lt General Smith
  • CIA

    • Admiral Turner
    • William Parmenter
  • USUN

    • Ambassador Young
  • White House

    • Dr. Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Paul Henze
    • Rick Inderfurth (Notetaker)
  • OMB

    • Bowman Cutter


The Special Coordination Committee met on March 16, 1978, to discuss Assistant Secretary Moose’s mission to Somalia. The principal topics on the agenda were:

• The message Moose would convey to President Siad Barre.

• Possible military and economic assistance for Somalia.

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• Congressional consultations.

• Further steps the U.S. should take with the Soviets and Cubans.

Message to Siad Barre

Secretary Vance stated that U.S. objectives with respect to Somalia are:

1. To consolidate our political position with Siad and Somalia.

2. To restrain Somalian irredentism.

3. To prohibit the Soviets from restoring their influence in Somalia.

The SCC agreed that in order to further these objectives Moose would:

• attempt to obtain a public statement from Siad reaffirming Somalia adherence to the principles of the OAU charter—particularly as they relate to territorial integrity;

• attempt to obtain further private assurances from Siad with respect to the principle of territorial integrity and non-aggression;

• if asked, inform Siad that we are seeking parallel assurances from Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti;

• try to determine Siad’s intentions toward the Soviets;

• inform Siad that continued Somali assistance for the Ogaden insurgents will have an adverse impact on favorable Congressional consideration of assistance to Somalia;

• indicate that we support negotiations between Ethiopia and Somalia within the context of the OAU while, at the same time, avoiding any implication that we wish to serve as a mediator in the conflict;

• visit Jidda after Mogadiscio.

Military Assistance

The SCC agreed that:

• we will tell Siad that we are prepared to help meet his legitimate defense needs but no offer of a specific military package or level will be made;

Moose is authorized to offer a non-lethal package to Siad;

Siad is to be informed that the U.S. is only prepared to consider the provision of defensive equipment, e.g., anti-tank weapons, ground surveillance radar; we will not provide either aircraft or tanks;

• the Saudis should assist in the financing of U.S. military assistance;

• we should encourage the Arabs, Iranians and Europeans to provide defensive equipment to the Somalis, although we will not play a coordinating role;

• if asked we could indicate that we would consider replacing a reasonable amount of defensive equipment supplied by the Arabs and [Page 197] Iran to the Somalis, but we would have to make clear the Congressional realities for Egypt and Saudi Arabia;

Moose will inform Siad that the U.S. is prepared to send a military survey team to determine his needs.

Economic Assistance

The SCC agreed that:

• no specific offer of assistance for Siad will be made without the assurances referred to above;

Moose is authorized to sign a $7 million agreement while in Mogadiscio and to inform Siad that additional PL 480 assistance may be available. In addition, State is to inform Moose prior to his meeting with Siad whether refugee assistance is available;

• the U.S. will encourage other nations—the Arabs, Iranians, Germans, British, French, Canadians—to economically assist Somalia, but will not serve in a coordinating role;

• the U.S. will seek to secure multilateral humanitarian assistance for the Ogaden and Somalia. Moose will so inform Siad.

Congressional Consultations

Informal consultations with members of Congress on Somalia will continue.

The Soviets and Cubans

Secretary Vance reported on his recent conversation with Ambassador Dobrynin.2 It was agreed that no further action was necessary at this time given the recent discussion with the President, Secretary Vance and Dr. Brzezinski.

Secretary Vance will report to the SCC next week on the question of credits from western nations for Cuba. A paper will be circulated before the meeting.3 In addition, the possibility of resuming reconnaissance flights over Cuba will be discussed.

Other Decisions

The SCC agreed to:

• inform the Ethiopians immediately about Moose’s mission and the purpose of the trip;

• lethal pipeline items for Ethiopia will not be released at this time;

• a multilateral approach for aid to the Ogaden should be pursued initially;

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• State will consult with the French tomorrow on how best to maintain Djibouti’s integrity. If asked, Moose may discuss Djibouti with Siad;

• the U.S. will continue to encourage OAU action on the Horn.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the SCC on the Horn will take place next week. Agenda items, in addition to the above, will include:

CIA’s South Yemen proposal

• Cuba (and Savimbi)

• Eritrea

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files 1977–1981, Box 184, PRC 065 Horn of Africa, 3/16/78. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. No minutes of the meeting were found.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1997–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 92.
  3. Not found.