79. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • The Horn of Africa, Angola and Rhodesia


  • State

    • Cyrus Vance
    • William C. Harrop (Dep. Ass’t. Sec./African Affairs)
  • Defense

    • Harold Brown
    • Charles W. Duncan, Jr. (Deputy Secretary of Defense)
    • David E. McGiffert (Ass’t. Secretary/ISA)
  • JCS

    • General David C. Jones (Acting Chairman, JCS)
  • CIA

    • Stansfield Turner
    • [name not declassified](Chief, Africa Division)
  • White House

    • Zbigniew Brzezinski (Chairman)
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Paul B. Henze (Notetaker)
    • Thomas Thornton



The group agreed that we should seek a written clarification from Siad,2 on behalf of the Somali Government, of his commitment to respect borders and in return offer a $10 million non-lethal package and a $5 million lethal package of defensive military material. Communications equipment may form an important component of the non-lethal package. We will also tell Siad that we will not hinder transfer of defensive equipment by other friendly countries disposed to help. Care will be taken to supply the Kenyans first with any items the Somalis might be receiving. In view of DOD cautions about sending a general-purpose military survey team which might generate extensive Somali expectations and requests, it was decided that a survey group should confine itself to areas in which we would be likely to supply material, such as the communications field.

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DOD was requested to report at an early date on the results of the military aid survey mission to Kenya.


The Chairman read the President’s directive to the group: “Support a negotiated solution more strongly. Repeated public statements deploring violence and foreign military involvement. Let any foreign assistance to insurgents continue without our involvement.”3 In implementation of these instructions the group agreed on the following actions:

• Ambassadorial demarches in capitals of countries significant in the non-aligned movement pointing out the fact that all-out Cuban support for a military solution in Eritrea is contrary to non-aligned principles.

• Consultation with the Yugoslavs, Algerians, Indians, Indonesians and Libyans on Eritrea with an aim to bringing pressure on the Cubans to desist from involvement (as inconsistent with their status in the non-aligned movement) and perhaps to develop a mediation effort to promote a negotiated solution.

• Periodic statements by U.S. government spokesmen expressing concern for continued bloodshed in Eritrea and hope that Africans might exert themselves to bring about a negotiated solution.

• Consultation with the Egyptians, Saudis and Sudanese on their support for the Eritrean insurgents and their perceptions of how negotiations can be encouraged.4

[Omitted here are items unrelated to the Horn of Africa.]


What appears to be a downturn in our relations with the Ethiopian government was discussed briefly. The group agreed with the Secretary of State’s view that for the immediate future we should avoid aggravating actions deriving from human rights complaints and compensation for nationalized property so as to keep open the possibility of an aid program and acceptance of an ambassador. The Chairman suggested that covert efforts might be made to encourage Mengistu to worry about Soviet support for rivals. It was agreed that CIA would generate media speculation and agent-of-influence actions along this line.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files 1977–1981, Box 184, SCC 069 Horn of Africa, 4/07/78. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. No minutes of the meeting were found.
  2. Carter wrote in the left margin, “Be firm.”
  3. See footnote 7, Document 78.
  4. Carter wrote in the left margin, “good.”