99. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Defensive Arms for Somalia (S)

At last week’s meeting, Cy, Harold, and I decided that we should proceed with the sale of engineering and nonlethal military items to Somalia if the Saudis are willing to pay for them. Cy subsequently forwarded a memorandum (Tab A)2 which recommends that you approve this proposal. (S)

Specifically, Cy recommends (1) that we offer to sell, subject to Saudi financing, two C–130 aircraft and two Army Corps of Engineers development projects and (2) that we send a military survey team to Somalia to determine what additional non-lethal items might be offered. (S)

When Cy’s memorandum was written, he did not yet have word of the Saudi decision not to finance F–5’s for the Sudan. Both we and the Sudanese have long thought we had a reasonably firm commitment from the Saudis for these aircraft, while the Saudis have never really committed themselves to the Corps of Engineers project for Somalia,3 let alone to military purchases. Thus, while I agree with Cy that we should proceed with this program, I believe that we should talk further with the Saudis before making any offers to the Somalis. Once we receive firmer assurances on financing, we can then offer the items Cy mentions and consider the dispatch of a survey team. (S)

I recommend, therefore, that we proceed with Cy’s recommendations only to the extent of discussing with the Saudis their willingness to finance these purchases, and that we defer talking to the Somalis about these proposals until we have a Saudi commitment.4 (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 69, Somalia: 7/78–12/79. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. See Document 98.
  3. See Documents 90 and 91.
  4. Carter checked the Approve option.