33. Summary of Conclusions of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1


  • North Africa


  • State

    • David Newsom, Under Secretary for Political Affairs (Chairman)
    • Harold Saunders, Asst Scy, NEA
    • Treasury
    • Ernie Chase, Intl Energy Policy
  • Defense

    • Deputy Secretary Charles Duncan
    • Robert Murray, Dep Asst Scy, NEA
    • Energy
    • Harry Bergold, Asst Scy, Intl Affairs
    • ACDA
    • Barry Blechman, Asst Dir, Weapons Evaluation and Control Bureau
  • JCS

    • LGEN William Smith
    • CIA
    • Robert Bowie, Director, NFIA Center
    • David Blee, NIO/NEA
  • White House

    • David Aaron
    • NSC
    • William B. Quandt


The Policy Review Committee discussed our broad interests in maintaining close relations with Morocco, while at the same time strengthening ties with Algeria. To pursue this course, decisions are required on a number of issues involving our military relationship with Morocco, the dispute in the Sahara, and possible visits by Hassan and Boumediene to Washington. (C)

1. F–5s in Mauritania and Sahara. Morocco undertook in its 1960 military agreement with us not to use U.S.-supplied military equipment outside its own borders. Since we do not recognize Morocco’s annexation of the Western Sahara, the deployment of F–5s to that region is technically in violation of our agreement. We have asked the Moroccans to remove the aircraft and have informed them of our requirement to report to Congress any violations of end-use of U.S.-supplied military equipment. They have not responded. State proposed, and all other agencies concurred, that we should agree to Moroccan use of F–5s in defense of Mauritania, but that we could not permit their use in the Western Sahara. F–5s in the Sahara should be withdrawn as soon as possible. (S)

2. Sale of Cobras. Morocco has formally requested 24 Cobra helicopters. All agencies recommend that we agree to the sale, subject to the condition that no Cobras would be delivered until the F–5s were withdrawn from the Sahara or the Sahara dispute had been peacefully resolved. Defense suggested that Morocco might be well advised to consider the OV–10 aircraft instead of additional Cobras. (Congress will have the normal period of time to consider these cases.) (S)

3. Notification of Congress. We intend to notify appropriate Congressional committees orally that a technical violation of our bilateral military agreement with Morocco may have taken place. We will explain the steps underway to remove the F–5s from the Sahara and will explain the broader context of trying to promote a peaceful resolution of the Sahara dispute. After further talks with the Moroccans, and a trip by Under Secretary Newsom to North Africa, we would formally notify Congress of the Moroccan violation. We want to avoid a sharp negative reaction. (C)

[Page 83]

4. Sovereignty over Sahara. It was generally agreed that we should encourage Morocco and Algeria to negotiate a peaceful resolution of this dispute, and that we should urge King Hassan to adopt a more forthcoming attitude toward carrying out the UN resolutions calling for consultations with the local population as part of the process of self-determination. It was not felt that we should actively try to mediate the dispute or unilaterally change our position of neutrality on the question of sovereignty over the Sahara. (S)

5. US-Algerian Relations. Our economic interests are substantial, although these may not continue to develop as rapidly as in the past if two large Algerian LNG projects are disapproved, as is anticipated by the Department of Energy. Exim Bank lending remains a significant aspect of our economic relations. Prospective legislation concerning international terrorism could possibly jeopardize those relations if Algeria is considered among those countries supporting terrorism. We have periodically discussed this issue with the Algerians, and a frank talk with Boumediene would be useful. In addition, we should consider more Presidential correspondence with Boumediene on substantive issues. (C)

6. Hassan-Boumediene Visits. We have little tangible to offer in our political relations with Algeria beyond an invitation to Boumediene to visit Washington. Consequently, the group felt that we should begin to consider appropriate dates for an early visit by Boumediene, which was previously postponed. King Hassan of Morocco has expressed an interest in visiting Washington this fall. Since these visits are directly related, Under Secretary Newsom should be in a position to extend invitations when he visits North Africa. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 36, North Africa: 1977–1978. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Minutes of the meeting were not found.