11. Presidential Review Memorandum/NSC–361


  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The United States Representative to the United Nations
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Soviet/Cuban Presence in Africa (S)

The President has directed that the Policy Review Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Department of State, undertake a review of US policy concerning our objectives and interests in limiting Soviet/Cuban influence in Africa and the steps that we might take in support of our objectives. The Presidential Review Memorandum should be completed no later than May 31, 1978.2

The review should address the following issues:

1. US and Others’ Interests and Objectives in Limiting Soviet/Cuban Influence in Africa:

—What kind and level of presence and activity is unacceptable to US interests in the context of our overall priorities in Africa?

—What are the interests and perceptions of our European allies, Saudi Arabia and other Arabs; and African moderates?

2. Soviet and Cuban Involvement, Present and Potential:

—What, briefly, is the current status of Cuban and Soviet involvement in areas where they have already established a significant role; how effective have been the efforts of the US and third parties in dealing with it?

—In what areas and issues are the Soviets and Cubans likely to increase their military or political involvement over the next six to twelve months? Discuss the nature of involvement and the indigenous developments that would trigger it.

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3. Policy Actions and Instruments in Dealing with Soviet and Cuban Involvement:

(a) Diplomatic Actions

—What bilateral diplomatic actions are available to the US in dealing with the Soviets and Cubans and with countries where the Soviets and Cubans become involved?

—What are the possibilities of working together with European, Arab and moderate African countries?

—How can we utilize the UN and OAU?

—What is the potential for a significant Chinese role?

(b) Economic, Military and Political Activities

—What forms of economic, military and political activities, both inducements and sanctions, will be appropriate in countering Soviet and Cuban involvement?

—Discuss Third Countries’ potential as appropriate.

4. Congressional and Public Posture

—What are the dominant public and Congressional perceptions of Soviet and Cuban activity in Africa?

—What public posture is most effective in terms of dealing with US domestic concerns and with foreign opinion?

—What level of legislative restraint are we likely to encounter in our overall programs of coping with Soviet and Cuban involvement? (Constraints on specific actions should be included in the discussion of these actions.)

5. General Guidance

—Care should be taken to differentiate between Soviet and Cuban goals, policies, etc. in the course of the discussion.

—Analysis should take place at two levels throughout the study. While due attention should be given to broad strategies (e.g. continent-wide aid programs as a means of offsetting Soviet activities), the prime focus should be on specific situations such as the Horn, Rhodesia and others that turn out to be most acute in the course of analysis. In these specific cases the study should provide a full range of options for furthering US interests.

—This study should be as brief and direct as possible, assuming substantial knowledge of the issue on the part of the Policy Review Committee.

—The implementation of ongoing policy should not be delayed by this study.

—No course of action should be automatically excluded from consideration solely because it will present difficult political problems or [Page 30] would conflict with existing Administration policies. However, where such constraints would be evident, they should, of course, be noted.

Zbigniew Brzezinski 3
  1. Source: Carter Library, NSC Institutional Files, Box 2, PRM/NSC 25–47 [1] 5. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See Document 16.
  3. Aaron signed for Brzezinski above Brzezinski’s typed signature.