114. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency


  • Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Director of Central Intelligence


  • Indian Ocean Arms Control

The President has determined that, for the next round of discussions with the Soviet Union on Indian Ocean arms limitations, the United States should table a proposed agreement in the form of a mutual declaration of restraint, with the objective of stabilizing the military situation in the Indian Ocean. This declaration should seek at a minimum to insure that, during an agreed period of about five years, deployment of naval units into the Indian Ocean would be limited to [Page 386] approximately current levels on each side. The following guidelines should be observed in the negotiating process:

1. We should be prepared to inform the Soviet Union that, for the duration of the agreement, we do not intend to substantially alter our current pattern of submarine operations in the Indian Ocean. In return, we would expect a statement that the Soviet Union would not substantially alter its own recent pattern of submarine deployments. To this end, we should seek agreement that neither side will establish, maintain, deploy or utilize facilities in the region, ashore or afloat, that have the primary function or are dedicated to the forward support of deployed submarines.

2. We should inform the Soviets that we do not intend to deploy B–52 aircraft to the area during the period of the agreement. In return, we should seek a Soviet statement that they will not deploy land-based strike aircraft to the region.

3. We should seek agreement that neither side will initiate construction of new facilities in the region for its own use beyond those currently programmed. Facilities constructed by or for littoral states with the assistance of either party could be used only for occasional routine port visits of limited duration.

4. While favoring a generalized declaration of restraint, we should not preclude the possibility of a more detailed agreement at some future date.

5. We should inform the Soviet Union that we will be prepared, once agreement is reached on stabilization, to move promptly to consideration of possible mutual reductions.

6. The recommendations of the working group, as agreed by the SCC, are approved for use in the forthcoming round as appropriate.

The Secretary of Defense should monitor closely the pace of construction at Diego Garcia and inform the SCC well in advance of developments which could have a significant impact on the negotiating process, e.g. commencement of construction on ammunition storage facilities and extension of the runway beyond 10,500 feet.

The U.S. delegation should proceed to develop position papers for the next round of discussions with the USSR on the basis of the Presidential guidance above. A further SCC meeting will be called if required to resolve major areas of disagreement.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 26, Indian Ocean Talks: Round II Washington: 9/20–25/77. Secret; Sensitive. Sick sent the memorandum to Brzezinski under a September 20 covering memorandum, noting that it incorporated the “guidance for the next round approved by the President.”