63. Summary of Conclusions of a Mini-Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Mini-SCC on the Komer Paper


  • State

    • Reginald Bartholomew, Director of Politico-Military Affairs
    • Anthony Lake, Director of Policy Planning
    • Peter Constable, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East and South Asian Affairs
  • Defense

    • Robert Komer, Under Secretary for Policy
    • Walter Slocombe, Deputy Under Secretary for Policy
  • JCS

    • Lt. General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Robert Ames, NIO for Near East and South Asian Affairs
  • OMB

    • Donald Gessaman
    • Harry Shaw
    • Edward Strait
  • White House

    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • William E. Odom
    • Gary Sick
    • Jasper Welch
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David Aaron chaired the meeting and asked Komer to review key points in his paper.2 (C)

Komer argued that we need an overall plan which he tried to provide in the paper. Many of the points he recommended for action are already in progress, many have been completed, and a few others are extremely comprehensive and not easy to address as a security problem alone, such as an energy strategy and the overall fiscal question of whether the budget will support our apparent requirements in the region. He then touched briefly on three points for emphasis:

A rear base area—Plans for a major rear area support base for a large U.S. force projected into the area have yet to be developed. The obvious options are Egypt and Israel. Komer preferred Egypt. (S)

Internal security and reform programsKomer finds this a particularly important issue, but he notes we are addressing this on Saudi Arabia at the next SCC.3 (S)

Our strategic dialogue with states in the regionKomer argued that we have failed to engage in a strategic dialogue with the Pakistanis, the Saudis, the Emirates, the Iraqis, and the Turks. (S)

Next Komer said he would like to add three additional points for action:

—A list of military contingency plans for the region.

—Pressing the Saudis and Egyptians toward a rapprochement.

—The economic support required to keep Sadat in power. (S)

State’s reaction to the paper was essentially favorable, noting most of the action list is in progress. (C)

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OMB raised serious questions about force-sizing for any contingency such as the defense for southern Iran. Following the lengthy discussion, it was underscored that an effective military posture in the region inevitably will involve large costs. It was emphasized, in particular, that the political climate has been fundamentally altered by Soviet military involvement in the region. To reverse this or to check it from further expansion will require a much larger U.S. military commitment to the region than is now planned. (S)

David Aaron drew this discussion out at length because he felt it was important to understand budget constraints for any strategy that we pursue in the region. This completed discussion of Komer’s first and second action points. (C)

What follows is a status on each of the action points as reflected in the discussion:

Point 2—Some work has been done, but both State and Defense should develop papers on a country-by-country basis.

Point 3—Elaboration of our declaratory policy should await the papers written for Point 2.

Point 4—Enroute transit/refueling rights are being pursued by State with Defense support.

Point 5—Homeporting facilities—work is in progress. Defense needs to present specific requirements and bases to State before dialogue can be opened with relevant countries.

Point 6—No action for the present.

Point 7—The Turkish military aid package is being worked on. Should be brought to a SCC in a few weeks.

Point 8—A post-hostage Iran program needs no additional discussion for the present.

Point 9—Next phase vis-a-vis Pakistan and India, needs a State paper on India and Tarapur for a SCC.

Point 10—A FY 1980 security assistance supplemental, was not discussed.

Point 11—Relating our energy needs to our security needs in the Persian Gulf was discussed briefly, but Komer has no proposals beyond a dialogue with the Saudis on their security interests being highly compatible with our energy interests.

Point 12—Pressing our European and Japanese allies to participate in our game plan was acknowledged to be underway.

Point 13—Internal security for Saudi Arabia will be addressed at the SCC on 3/14.4 (S)

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Follow-up taskings were:

NSC will provide an overall status report on who has done what.

—State will produce a short strategy paper based on this action and as an alternative to it.

—Defense will spell out more clearly its assumptions for planning in the region. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 122, SCM 113, 03/10/80, Mini SCC, Komer Paper. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes of the meeting were not found.
  2. Komer produced the paper for the February 29 SCC meeting on Persian Gulf security but discussion of it was deferred until the March 7 meeting, when it was deferred again. Komer forwarded the undated paper to Brzezinski under a February 28 memorandum in which he stated that he had “personally” written the overview and analysis presented. Komer observed: “While much of it will be familiar and some is at least nominally underway, the paper really pulls together for the first time most of the strands of a coherent policy.” In the paper itself, Komer addressed the “various aspects of the problem” of developing a Persian Gulf Security Framework: deterring direct Soviet intervention, the type of “security umbrella” the United States should create in the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean (PG/IO ) region, the construction of a U.S. response capability, security assistance requirements, “key collateral areas of risk,” the need for a regional oil strategy to complement the deterrent strategy, the role of the Allies, and the need for “programs to deal with the threat of internal instability/subversion in vulnerable PG/IO states.” He concluded the paper with an “Action Program,” detailing 8 short- and long-term actions to be taken by the Department of Defense and 13 actions to be taken jointly by the Department of State and Department of Defense to address these problems. The paper and Komer’s February 28 memorandum were attached as Tab D to Odom’s March 4 memorandum to Brzezinski on the SCC meeting agenda. (Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 110, SCC 285, 03/07/80, Security Framework)
  3. See Document 64.
  4. The next meeting was on Monday, March 17; see Document 64.