32. Memorandum From Henry Richardson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • 1977 Goals: Nigeria2

1. Assure Nigeria that it will receive at least if not more than parity treatment with South Africa in receiving nuclear technology and fuels (short of getting its own fuel cycle) (1977).

—Nigeria is organizing its own nuclear regulatory commission and we are awaiting its emergence. We did indicate in mid-summer our interest in discussing the possible purchase of a reactor, but they expressed little interest. Recent discussions on the official level indicate Nigerian interest in research reactors.

2. Assuming general limits are established on overall arms transfers, assure Nigeria that the US will approve for transfer to Nigeria any weapons that were transferred to other African states (i.e., Most Favored Nation status on arms transfers) (1977).

—This part of our larger study on arms transfers is moving through State.3 We have sold everything requested by the Nigerians, including much non-lethal equipment. They appear inclined towards the United States for subsequent arms purchases. The Nigerian Chief of Staff will soon visit his American counterpart.

3. Explore with the Nigerians their needs for transport aircraft in order to play a broader role as a stabilizing force in Africa (1977).

—We have been willing to do this for at least a year. Two years ago we sold them C–130’s which they have used to aid Zimbabwe guerrilla forces. We stand ready to seriously consider any request that they make, though we have not expressly explored this issue with them. They would probably first approach individual US companies.

4. Advise the Nigerians on any communications equipment which they will need, and approve the sale of such equipment to them. (1977–78).

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—Discussions on the official level have been held; the Nigerians have long been actively interested in buying such equipment, and are following up with individual firms.

5. Consult with Nigeria on human rights problems in Africa, recognizing the United States will have to speak out on deportations and political prisoners in South Africa before it can get Nigerian cooperation in dealing with Amin, and other black African violations of human rights (1977–).

—We have spoken out on political prisoners in South Africa. We have spoken out against Amin and human rights violations in Ethiopia and the Central African Empire. We have acted internally on human rights violations in other African states. We have not yet formally consulted on these questions.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Box 106, 12/1–10/77. Secret.
  2. In a November 30 memorandum to Tuchman and Richardson, Brzezinski asked for a progress report on goals for Nigeria. (Ibid.)
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXVI, Arms Control and Nonproliferation, Document 280.