89. Record of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1

PRC on Somalia—31 July 1978—Near-verbatim record

CV: Let us go around the table and see what your preferences are. Zbig?

ZB: I favor a combination of Options 2 and 6.2

CV: Would you schedule or postpone a team visit?

ZB: I would prefer to postpone it without a date. We don’t want to give them the feeling that we are dropping it entirely.

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CV: Maybe you really prefer Option 4 then?

ZB: Four is all right too, but I read its implications as too negative and too passive—we just don’t do anything. We should tell the Somalis we are postponing it.

CV: What about combining these actions with assignment of a military attache?

ZB: That is part of Option 6.

CV: But the attache could not discuss a military supply relationship—he should simply be a military attache, have contacts with the military and gather intelligence.

McG: There would not be an exchange of intelligence. But I can think of other things we might do—regularize ship visits, e.g. The IMET program with a couple of officers going to school in the U.S.

DN: Do we have money for that?

McG: We might find $30–40,000 a piece for that. We could also consider supplying some non-lethal equipment down the line.

WH: We should think about the fact that these people are training the Ogadenis before we go very far with IMET.

McG: That would affect what school you would want to send them to.

ZB: There is a long-term political benefit in training in this country.

JW: I support what Dave McGiffert has already said—we should increase symbolic support without a commitment on a long-term basis, but I am not sure what we should say about the survey team.

CV: We simply say we are deferring it without date—the circumstances are not such that it is appropriate for us to send a team now.

ST: I agree with the same options as the rest of you. The Saudis approached me some time ago about communications support for Somalia and I would like to leave the thought with the group that when we are ready to proceed with something, we consider helping them build a military communications network. This is rather non-lethal.

CV: We can note that without having to do anything about it at this point.

Sanders: We support Option 6.

BB (ACDA):3 We also support Option 6. We should be careful about defining what the attache is going to do.

CV: Barry, before you came in we talked about a modest program under IMET.

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McG: Let us see how the ship visit goes and then decide what to do next. I wonder if we do not want to move the ship visit up in view of the intelligence we are getting that the Ethiopians are thinking of crossing the border—it would be a warning to them.

CV: Let us go ahead with this first and then see.

DN: What should we do to get examination of the Leggett approach into some form?4

CV: Somebody has to sit down with the Corps of Engineers and see if it makes any sense, what the cost would be, etc.

DN: I am not sure that AID is not going to find that they will want to get into it.

CV: Let us have a group work together—DOD and State—and see.

DN: I am seeing Ambassador Addou tomorrow—can I tell him of our intention to assign an attache as well as the ship visit and at the same time tell him we are postponing the team?5

CV: As far as I am concerned, yes.

McG: And we will come back with a proposal for IMET.

CV: But let’s not tell Addou about that yet. You, Dave, and the Joint Chiefs will come up with a plan for the ship visit.

DN: Do we wish to exclude the possibility that rather than send a team we could go the route of having the attache given the authority . . .?

CV: I would rather leave that open.

ZB: The team has a certain symbolic significance that is sometimes useful to use and sometimes useful to deny. Meanwhile we are looking at the whole military survey team process. To have things work out as they did in Kenya, with a recommendation for a billion-dollar program—is not exactly desirable. We need to control these teams’ activities more carefully in the future. I want to set out some principles.

CV: Anything more? Then the meeting is finished. We must have set a record.

ZB: It has been one of the best meetings I have ever attended.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files 1977–1981, Box 70, PRC 068 7/31/78, Somalia [1]. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House situation room. The Summary of Conclusions is attached but not printed.
  2. These options are listed in Document 88.
  3. Barry Blechman, Assistant Director of ACDA.
  4. After a visit to Mogadiscio in July, Congressman Leggett (D–CA) urged sending a military survey team and proposed a Corps of Engineers managed infrastructure project in Somalia financed by Saudi Arabia. (Telegram 184478 to Rome, July 21; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780299–0460)
  5. In telegram 194165 to Mogadiscio, August 1, the Department reported on Newsom’s meeting with Addou. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840140–2343)