11. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Jones) to Secretary of Defense Brown 1



  • Middle East/Persian Gulf Initiatives (U)

1. (S) At our meeting on 9 January 19792 the subject of possible US military initiatives in the lower Persian Gulf, particularly the assignment of a Defense Attache to Oman and basing initiatives in Oman and Saudi Arabia, was discussed. These initiatives seem to support Deputy Secretary Dayan’s recommendation for a prompt interagency review of US policy toward the Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula area,3 as well as Dr. Brzezinski’s 30 November request to sketch out broad options for US strategy in a general region from the Horn of Africa to India.4

2. (S) You will recall that on 7 September 1978, in response to your request,5 the Joint Chiefs of Staff forwarded a proposal entitled “Review of US Strategy Related to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf,” (JCSM 282–78), a copy of which is provided at the Enclosure.6 In that paper the JCS present the requirement for the development and implementation of a comprehensive US strategy towards the Middle East/Persian Gulf. While the current Iranian situation will obviously complicate achievement of US objectives in the region, the basic thrust of the memo—the need for a coordinated US strategy in the Middle East/Persian Gulf and the proposed military initiatives to support that strategy—remains intact and will continue to provide a major contribution to the development of a comprehensive strategy for the region. At pages 46–48 of the paper you will find a summation of a military strategy which would support such a policy. Annex A to the paper expands upon these military initiatives and includes the Lower Gulf states. Page A–3 describes possible basing initiatives in Saudi Arabia and the need for access to Masirah Island, Oman. The establishment [Page 30] of a Defense Attache in Oman, although not specifically proposed, would be supportive of these initiatives.

3. (S) We are prepared to discuss the military initiatives listed above as well as others proposed in JCSM 282–78 with a view toward their implementation. Concurrently, we recommend that the NSC develop a comprehensive policy for the Middle East/Persian Gulf region.

4. (S) You may also want to consider expanding your forthcoming trip to the Middle East to include some of the Lower Gulf nations to discuss the implications of and requirements for a more declaratory US policy in the region. Pakistan, Turkey and Iran (if conditions warrant) might also be appropriate as a demonstration of our concern for CENTO.

David C. Jones
General, USAF
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files, FRC 330–82–0205, Box 16. Secret. Brown initialed the memorandum on January 12. A January 12 note to Brown from his assistant, Rear Admiral Thor Hanson, reads: “This has some bearing on your luncheon item on your ME trip.” (Ibid.)
  2. No memorandum of conversation has been found.
  3. See Document 10.
  4. Not found.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 9.
  6. Attached; summarized in Document 9.