98. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1


  • Sale of Defensive Arms to Somalia

We believe we should initiate our program of making defensive weapons available to Somalia by offering to sell two C–130’s, transportation and engineering equipment and radar.

The most acute Somali military need at present is to replace Somalia’s aging Soviet-provided military transport aircraft. They are very interested in the C–130 and have approached the Saudi Government regarding financing. Two C–130’s could be delivered relatively quickly. We propose to send a military survey team to Somalia in the near future to pull together concrete proposals for the sale of additional non-lethal equipment.

We will also move ahead with the proposed US Army Corps of Engineers development projects in Somalia to be financed by the Saudis, including the Merca port, (US $78 million) and Garoe-Bosaso road and port (US $238 million). Siad has recently told our Ambassador and Dick Moose that he would like to go ahead with these projects and asked our assistance in obtaining Saudi financing support.

Saudi cooperation is essential in financing both the C–130’s and Corps of Engineers projects. We therefore need to take this matter up with the Saudis.


—That we immediately offer, subject to Saudi agreement to financing, the sale of two C–130 aircraft and the Corps of Engineers projects.

—That we send a military survey team to Somalia to put together a package of additional defensive items including transportation and engineering equipment and radar.2

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 69, Somalia: 7/78–12/79. Secret.
  2. Carter wrote “ok.”