195. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to President Carter1
- Organization of Military Assistance Efforts in Saudi Arabia
You asked for my comments on the attached cable2 from our Embassy in Saudi Arabia concerning the organization of our military assistance efforts in that country.
The Saudis have realized over recent months that they need to do more to defend themselves. The recent clash in Yemen caused them to take a look at their own military capabilities and particularly to seek ways to improve their top-level planning. With the assistance of General Dick Lawrence, whom we sent to help the Saudis in this effort, the Saudis have identified significant deficiencies in their military capabilities. They are now considering what to do about it.
One possibility is for the Saudis to ask the United States to expand the nature of its advice (beyond the present “Sears, Roebuck” approach of equipment deliveries and small-unit training on that equipment)3 so as to initiate more central planning and operations assistance. I am examining the organizational proposals mentioned in the Embassy Jidda cable, other proposals we have developed in DoD, and the laws governing our assistance programs, to see where we want to make changes and how to go about them. I will be discussing them with Cy, Zbig, and Ambassador West before they are broached with the Saudis. I believe we can resolve the matter within three to four months.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 67, Saudi Arabia: 4–7/79. Secret. A notation in an unknown hand reads: “To GS for file. No further action necessary.”↩
- Telegram 4245; printed as Document 193. In a June 6 memorandum to Brown, Brzezinski indicated that Carter would like Brown’s comments on the telegram. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 67, Saudi Arabia: 4–7/79.↩
- Reference is to the U.S. full-service department store Sears, Roebuck, and Company.↩