65. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Followup on Security Framework in the Persian Gulf—VII


  • State

    • Counselor Matthew Nimetz
    • Director, Political/Military Affairs, Reginald Bartholomew
    • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern & South Asian Affairs, Joseph W. Twinam
    • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern & South Asian Affairs, Jane A. Coon
  • Defense

    • Under Secretary for Policy, Ambassador Robert Komer
    • Assistant Secretary for International & Security Affairs David McGiffert
  • JCS

    • Chairman, General David Jones
    • Lt. General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Director Stansfield Turner
    • Deputy Director Frank Carlucci
    • NIO for Near East & South Asia, Robert Ames
    • [name not declassified]
  • OMB

    • Associate Director, Edward Jayne
  • White House

    • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • William Odom
    • Thomas Thornton
    • Henry Owen
    • Jasper Welch

Dr. Brzezinski opened the meeting by adding an urgent item to the agenda concerning our agreements with Oman. As a result, the Indian/Tarapur issue was not discussed. It will be treated at a separate SCC. (S)


Dr. Brzezinski said there are two points to be decided. First, whether or not to ask the Omanis for a troop cantonment as part of our military infrastructure development. Second, how to deal with economic aid for Oman. (S)

On the first issue, Dr. Brzezinski recommended strongly that we not burden the relationship with one more military infrastructure request. It is the wrong signal at a delicate time when other outside powers could use it to embarrass and intimidate Oman. No objections [Page 227] were raised to this, and Bartholomew was instructed not to raise the cantonment area with the Omanis during his upcoming visit.2 (S)

There was brief discussion of the large number of Congressmen descending on Oman next week, the Price Codel from the House and the Biden/Baker/Zorinsky Codel on the Senate side. Dr. Brzezinski asked Defense and State why they had allowed the coincidence of these visits with Bartholomew’s trip. Defense has talked to Price and State will discuss it more specifically with Biden. Oman, it was pointed out, is not objecting to the Codels because it has long been Omani policy to encourage more Congressional attention. As Dr. Brzezinski pointed out, however, there is an unfortunate coincidence of a surge of Codel activity and sensitive bilateral negotiations. He instructed State and Defense to explain the sensitivity once again to both Price and Biden. (S)

The second issue, economic aid, occasioned an extensive debate. The Omanis are asking that we pave an airfield and improve a port on their shore at the Strait of Hormuz. If we do not build the cantonment facilities at Masirah, we could presumably have funds for this request. They would be difficult to get through Congress, however, because they come from the military construction budget. (S)

For economic aid to Oman, State proposed to reprogram ESF from Sudan and replace it by PL 480.3 The only reprogramming alternatives, in State’s view, are Sudan and southern Africa—Zimbabwe. The Israeli lobby in Congress probably will oppose reprogramming from Sudan, thereby forcing the money to be taken from southern African funds. (S)

The overall objective of the military construction and ESF is a $100 million package for Bartholomew to take to Oman next week. Anything less was judged by all present as likely to result in a failed mission. (S)

Henry Owen tabled another alternative in which we would offer to establish a U.S./Omani commission on economic and technological cooperation, analogous to the commission we have with Saudi Arabia. It would require annually $5 million ESF, AID Reimbursable Technical Assistance Funds, authorized international technical cooperation activities of USG technical agencies (HEW, USDA, USGS, DOT, etc.), and facilities of the Export-Import Bank and OPIC. This commission would serve as an umbrella and coordinator for many private contractual services to Oman. (S)

Out of the discussion, three alternatives developed:

[Page 228]

—Commit ourselves to the overall $100 million package of ESF and military construction funds with a promise of follow-on in FY 1982–83 appropriations.

—Combine the joint commission and reprogramming of the ESF and military construction funds this year.

—Offer the joint commission with only $5 million ESF reprogramming, which is required to launch the commission. (S)

In the discussion that followed, three key points emerged again and again. First, we cannot be sure of the out-year appropriations in FY 1982–83. Second, we are facing a mood in Congress which is unsympathetic to most reprogramming activities as well as larger ESF and military construction outlays. Third, we are discussing very small sums of money in the context of a major strategic problem, one of the largest since World War II. If our arrangements with Oman suffer a setback, we will see our security framework for the region collapse. An enormous amount is at stake, therefore, on these comparatively small budget sums. State emphasized that we must sort out our priorities. If Oman means this much, then we must take on the Jewish lobby over Sudan, or relegate southern Africa to a lower priority. DOD, JCS, and CIA all endorsed this view of the gravity of the choice the President must face. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski instructed Bartholomew, OMB, and Owen to get together with Odom and prepare a separate memorandum for the President on the choice he must make in this case. It will explicate the budgetary implications and the political and strategic consequences for the President. (S)

Internal Stability in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Brzezinski turned to the Defense paper on programs that might be provided the Saudi Government. There are two points to be decided. First, do all agree on the programs, and second, how shall we approach the Saudis in presenting them. (S)

State expressed concern about the program to improve [2 lines not declassified], it was argued. In rebuttal, Dr. Brzezinski and Defense pointed out that circumstances are changing and the power balance within the royal family is altering. Furthermore, [less than 1 line not declassified]. We are only deciding whether to make such things available. (S)

Next, State raised questions about the use of [less than 1 line not declassified] for intelligence and influence. All agreed that this is a delicate issue into which we should not rush. Turner argued that we should manage this matter as we have done it traditionally, [2 lines not declassified]. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski tasked Defense to elaborate in a paper what would be entailed in their recommendation [less than 1 line not declassified]. [Page 229] We can judge with more confidence, based on that paper, how to proceed. On the [less than 1 line not declassified], Dr. Brzezinski, Defense, and CIA argued that there is no reason not to explore this matter, but they agreed that State’s stricture about pushing it on the Saudis is well taken. (S)

Turner raised the question about rapid reaction forces in the Defense paper. It was pointed out that any Defense personnel committed to such an effort would be through the CIA program discussed last week. This matter is being coordinated extensively at the staff level between CIA and Defense to prevent duplications. If later on the Saudis express a desire for something larger than a small hostage release force, that would have to be dealt with in Defense channels. We are nowhere near that point at the present. (S)

The method of approach to the Saudis was discussed next. [1 line not declassified] Defense could use the Lawrence report4 as a basis for opening a separate dialogue. We have already promised them the Lawrence report. Or, as Defense pointed out, it might be part of Harold Brown’s discussion, if he makes a trip to Saudi Arabia later this spring. (S)

All agreed that [less than 1 line not declassified] should go ahead with its approach to the Ministry of Interior making as much progress as possible and reporting back to the SCC on its results. Later, Defense can, as it has promised the Saudis, give them the Lawrence report and follow up with a dialogue if the Saudis want it. The results from both efforts will be reported to the SCC as a basis for judging next steps. (S)

[Omitted here is material on Pakistan.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 47, Security Framework: Minutes of Meetings: 1–4/80. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes were not found. Carter wrote “ok J” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. See Documents 7072.
  3. Public Law 480, also known as Food for Peace, which President Eisenhower signed into law on July 10, 1954, permits the sale of commodities to foreign governments on grant or credit and allows the United States to donate foods to recipient governments or private voluntary organizations for use in emergencies. The USDA and AID administer the program.
  4. See Document 197.