21. Action Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs (Gelb), the Acting Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Kreisberg), and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Saunders) to Secretary of State Vance 1


  • Proposed SCC Meeting on Middle East Security

The attached NSC memorandum proposes a schedule of meetings beginning May 1 to deal with Middle East security policy.2 Specifically, [Page 67] the NSC proposes an initial SCC meeting to review security, diplomatic and arms control issues in the area, to be followed by three PRC meetings chaired by State and Defense. The NSC memorandum also includes a paper for discussion prepared by the NSC staff dealing with the framework for US security policy in the Middle East. (This paper was not coordinated with either State or Defense and we would not like to have it accepted as the basis for subsequent policy discussions since it inadequately represents the range of problems and options.)

In our view we do not need an introductory SCC meeting and are dubious about the utility of three subsequent PRC meetings as defined by the NSC. Rather we recommend going back to the NSC, indicating that we see no need for an initial SCC meeting, proposing instead one or two PRC meetings dealing with the following issues:

a) in the context of our basic interests and objectives and given Middle East realities, what further feasible steps might we take to strengthen our bilateral and regional security relationships in the area, and, specifically

b) are new or different force deployments and other military responses needed or feasible given our overall force requirements?

Since your previous discussions on this were at the VBB luncheons,3 we believe that would be the best forum for conveying to Zbig and Harold our proposed approach to a review of our Middle East security relationships and force deployment options. If you do not want to take it up directly with Zbig and Harold, or if there is no VBB luncheon in the offing, we could convey your views directly back to the NSC staff.


a. That you inform Zbig or Harold directly of our preference for the less cumbersome approach outlined above to the Middle East security policy review, eliminating the need for an SCC meeting;4

OR, b. that you authorize us to convey your views to the NSC staff and Harold’s office.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Official Working Papers of S/P Director Anthony Lake, 1977–January 1981, Lot 82D298, Box 5, S/P Lake Papers— 4/16–30/79. Secret. Sent through Newsom. Drafted by O’Donohue and Kreisberg on April 17. O’Donohue initialed for Gelb. Tarnoff also initialed the memorandum. In the upper right-hand corner of the memorandum, an unknown hand wrote: “Paul said PM will do—he has spoken with Dan already. 4/20.”
  2. Attached but not printed is an April 13 memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance, Brown, Schlesinger, Jones, and Turner, with an attached undated paper entitled “Framework for U.S. Security Policy in the Middle East,” prepared in anticipation of a scheduled May 1 organizing meeting of the Special Coordination Committee.
  3. Reference is to the Vance-Brown-Brzezinski luncheons.
  4. This recommendation was disapproved on April 19.
  5. This recommendation was approved on April 19. In an April 20 letter to Dodson, Wisner stated: “we recommend proceeding directly to one or two PRC meetings on Middle East security, the chairmanship of which could be shared by State and by Defense.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P790064–1994)