102. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • PRM/NSC–25, Arms Control in the Indian Ocean


  • State

    • Warren Christopher
    • Leslie Gelb
  • Defense

    • Charles W. Dayan
    • Gen. George S. Brown, JCS
    • Lt. Gen. William Smith, JCS
    • Lynn E. Davis
  • CIA

    • Adm. Stansfield Turner
    • [name not declassified]
  • ACDA

    • Paul Warnke
    • John Newhouse
  • NSC

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • William G. Hyland
    • Gary Sick
    • James Thomson

Three basic issues were discussed:

1. What are the US negotiating objectives in conducting talks with the USSR? All agreed that the concept of demilitarization needed to be spelled out more fully. JCS and CIA felt that the paper2 did not adequately identify the security risks involved, and they agreed to provide follow-on papers3 discussing this more fully. It was agreed that the Working Group would conduct a more systematic evaluation of the three options (demilitarization, limitation, freeze), including the political and military risks and benefits of each.

2. What tactics should the United States adopt in the first meeting with the Soviets? It was agreed that the initial talks should be of an exploratory nature. State and Defense felt that this should be combined with the possible adoption of some confidence-building measures. ACDA felt [Page 357] that confidence-building measures were not particularly important in the Indian Ocean context and would prefer initial discussion of some general negotiating principles. It was agreed that all leaned toward the first option of initial exploratory talks, with some latitude, taking into account the implications of confidence-building measures as possibly legitimizing the Soviet presence in Somalia.

3. How will we organize our ongoing effort within the US bureaucracy? All agreed that a working group should be formed under the chairmanship of the Director of the Political-Military Bureau at State. This group would examine more fully the risks and benefits of each of the major negotiating objectives in preparation for a subsequent SCC meeting following talks with the Soviets in Moscow on June 8. The group should also consider the consultative process with US allies and other concerned nations.

The following issues were left unresolved:

—Should our negotiating objective be complete demilitarization?

—Should “demilitarization” be defined in some truncated fashion to permit some US deployments to the area?

—Should our objective be a freeze on deployments or some form of limitations short of demilitarization?

These will be considered further in the SCC after additional analysis in the Working Group and initial discussions with the USSR.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 85, SCC 012, 05/04/77, Indian Ocean. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. Brzezinski sent the Summary of Conclusions under cover of a May 14 memorandum to Christopher, Brown, Warnke, and Turner. Under cover of a May 12 memorandum, Brzezinski sent it to Carter with notes of the meeting for his approval. Brzezinski noted in the memorandum: “The meeting left unresolved the question of whether our basic negotiating objective should be complete demilitarization, a reduced version of demilitarization which would permit some deployments, or whether we should aim for a freeze or limitation on deployments to the area.” Carter approved both the Summary of Conclusions and the notes. (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 100.
  3. For the CIA follow-on paper, see Document 103.