88. Memorandum From Paul B. Henze of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • PRC Meeting on Somalia—31 July 1978

This meeting has been called at the initiative of Cy Vance.2 Key questions are: Do we send a military survey team to Mogadiscio? Do we still consider military aid for Somalia a likely prospect?

State’s paper is attached at TAB A.3 It is rigorously objective and lists the pro’s and con’s of moving toward a military supply relationship with Somalia. Then it offers six action options:

1. Offer Somalia an impact package of military equipment without sending a survey team.

2. Reschedule the survey team’s visit while reiterating to the Somali Government that further evidence of Somali involvement in the Ogaden might again force postponement.

3. Inform the Somali Government explicitly of the conditions under which we would be willing to send the survey team.

4. Defer any decision on the survey team.

5. Cancel the survey team outright and inform Siad that U.S. will not enter into a military supply relationship with Somalia.

6. Take other actions to demonstrate continued U.S. interest in the U.S.-Somali relationship.

(Note: The President has approved a ship visit and one is being scheduled in September.)

As you will see, the first five are mutually exclusive; Option Six can be combined with any of the others.

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I recommend we choose Options Four and Six combined. This course would commit us to nothing and give us maximum flexibility in the future.

Les Denend has prepared a brief memorandum on the availability of military aid funding (TAB B).4 He points out that, in effect, there is no money available. He also cautions about the implications of sending a survey team and argues that it will inevitably be taken as implying some degree of commitment to supply aid.

CIA has provided an interagency update on the Ogaden situation. It is at TAB C.5 I have underlined key passages in red.

A copy of my recent comprehensive memorandum on the Horn, sent also to you separately, is at TAB D.6

The minutes of the last SCC on the Horn (15 May) are at TAB E.7

The President’s statement on the Ogaden of 9 March, which remains the basic policy guidance, is at TAB F.8

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files 1977–1981, Box 70, PRC 068, 7/31/78, Somalia [1]. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. See Document 89.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. Not found.
  6. See Document 87.
  7. See Document 82.
  8. See footnote 2, Document 73.