127. Letter From Secretary of State Vance to Secretary of Defense Brown 1

Dear Harold:

In line with our luncheon discussion on October 25th,2 I wanted to give you my thoughts on the proposed upgrade of facilities at Diego Garcia which were described in your memorandum of November 3rd.3

We are aware of the limited capacity of Diego Garcia to sustain the increased requirement for logistics and airlift support of our Indian Ocean military operations. Consequently the Department of State supports the FY 81 and FY 81–85 FYDP airfield and port construction at Diego Garcia.

We believe we should move forward quickly to consult with the British and key Congressional leaders before the FY 81 budget is released. Previous hearings on Diego Garcia suggest that the Congress will show a lively interest in our rationale for expanding our facilities and will reopen earlier questions such as whether improvements to the airfield will enable its use by B–52s.

While we support the construction of a pier capable of accommodating the RO/RO ships, we would like to receive more details about [Page 416] plans for actually prepositioning USMC equipment on such ships at Diego Garcia.

My staff is ready to work with you to prepare approaches to the British and to the Hill.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P790177–0259. Secret. Drafted by Robert Burke ( PM/ISO) on November 19; cleared by Robert C. Houdek (AF/I), Woolf Gross (NEA/RA), David Gompert (PM), George Churchill ( PM/ISO), and Lake. Churchill initialed the letter; Burke initialed on behalf of the other clearing officials. A copy was sent to Brzezinski.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 126.
  3. See Document 126.