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


  • PRC on North Africa

The Policy Review Committee met on June 13 to consider our relations with Morocco and Algeria. The summary of the discussion is at Tab A for your approval.2 (C)

David Newsom, or another senior State Department official, is planning a trip to North Africa in the near future. If you approve, he would discuss the course of action recommended by the PRC with King Hassan and President Boumediene. He would also want to carry substantive letters from you to each of the leaders he will be meeting. The letters are being drafted now. The key passage in each will be an indication about when they could expect to visit Washington. The PRC recommendation is at point 6 of the summary. (S)

We will also want to respond soon to the Moroccan request for 24 Cobra helicopters. The PRC’s examination of this issue was an attempt to balance two conflicting aspects of our North Africa policy. First, we wish to contain the expansion of Soviet influence in the area, which means preserving our ties to Algeria to keep it from drifting toward the Soviet camp. At the same time, we want to maintain the very close bilateral relations we have with Morocco. So long as the warfare continues in the Western Sahara, our attempt to maintain a balanced posture is going to be less than satisfactory to both Algeria and Morocco. The recommendation in the second point of the summary is designed to use the sale of the Cobras as a modest incentive for Morocco to pull its F–5s out of the Western Sahara, where they are in violation of our bilateral military cooperation agreement, and to work toward a peaceful settlement of the dispute. If you approve, we would raise this issue with the parties in the next few weeks, possibly during Under Secretary Newsom’s trip. (S)

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RECOMMENDATION: That you approve the summary of the PRC meeting as the policy framework for North Africa.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 36, North Africa: 1977–1978. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. Tab A is attached but not printed. The meeting’s summary of conclusions is printed as Document 33.
  3. Carter checked the Approve option and initialed beneath the recommendation. In a June 21 memorandum to Vance, Harold Brown, Blumenthal, Schlesinger, Warnke, General Brown, and Turner, Brzezinski wrote: “The President has approved this summary as the USG policy framework for North Africa.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 36, North Africa: 1977–1978)