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

SUBJECT

  • SCC Summary of Conclusions on Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf

I am attaching the record of the SCC held on Thursday2 as a back-drop for your State of the Union address and policy toward the Persian Gulf region. We discussed a comprehensive list of issues on which there was sufficient consensus to make an NSC meeting unnecessary. We do need your reactions to some of the agreed actions. Others are important for your information.

You will note from reviewing the report of the meeting that we have before us a very complicated and difficult agenda. Once your speech has been delivered, outlining our overall approach, it may be important—indeed necessary—for someone to go out to have high-level talks on security matters with the Saudis, Turks, Jordanians, Omanis, and the Paks. If this program is to succeed and to have any coherence, it will have to have high-level commitment, visible direction, and be undertaken with genuine energy. We are dealing with a much more complicated situation than Western Europe in the late forties. At the very least, in the light of the fact that my recent trip was kept secret3 I think a quick trip by me to Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be necessary. One simply does not have the necessary “touch” for some of the decisions that need to be made, and the leaders there need to be directly convinced that we mean business when we say that we plan to project our military and political influence into the region on a sustained basis.

No decision on the above is required, but you should give it some thought. We also need your guidance on the minutes, so that we can implement effectively, especially after your overall speech defines our national policy for the entire world.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 43, Security Framework: 1/1–23/80. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action. The date is handwritten. Carter initialed the memorandum indicating that he saw it.
  2. See Document 42.
  3. In his personal diary, Carter wrote on January 15: “Zbig had a disappointing meeting with Giscard; [France’s] relationship with the Soviets will continue as usual, different from what he told me last week.” (Carter, White House Diary, p. 392)