73. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Followup on Security Framework in the Persian Gulf—VIII


  • State

    • Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher
    • Harold Saunders, Assistant Secretary Near Eastern & South Asian Affairs
    • Lannon Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
    • Reginald Bartholomew, Director of Political/Military Affairs
  • Defense

    • Secretary Harold Brown
    • David McGiffert, Assistant Secretary for International & Security Affairs
  • JCS

    • Lt. General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Deputy Director Frank Carlucci
    • Robert Ames, NIO for Near East & South Asia
  • Energy

    • Secretary Charles Dayan
    • Mr. Les Goldman, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs
  • OMB

    • Randy Jayne, Associate Director
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • Colonel William E. Odom
    • General Jasper Welch
    • Thomas Thornton
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Dr. Brzezinski opened the meeting by listing the three agenda items for today’s meeting.2 First, how to proceed with basing access in Somalia in lieu of the Defense basing paper. Second, Pakistani issues relating to the security framework. Finally, a brief review of the Afghanistan insurgency. (S)


Dr. Brzezinski proposed to review our approach to Somalia on basing in light of the Ogaden.3 He stated three options:

—Continue with our present position but with added caution in light of fighting in the Ogaden.

—Slow the process down, allowing it to drag out for several months or more.

—Reconsider the need for basing access in Somalia in light of progress with Oman and Kenya. (S)

Christopher led off by rejecting the third option. He suggested a merging of the first and second. We should not add “sweeteners” to our offer to Siad, and we should stay on a deliberate course. There is the risk, of course, that an all out conflict in the Ogaden could create dangers for us. However, we are not acquiring a “base” but rather access to the facilities. Christopher, therefore, expressed an inclination to move ahead unless Siad insists on asking for a higher price. (S)

Bartholomew reported that “the ball is in their court.” They are preparing a counter draft. We should go back to Siad with MilCon proposals and at the same time hit him hard on the Ogaden. (S)

Brown described his position as close to Christopher’s. We need more bases in the area so that we are less dependent on any single base. Thus we should move ahead as rapidly as feasible. We should not “sweeten the pot,” but we should answer any Somali technical questions, and we should reaffirm our position on the Ogaden. Brown added that we need to act within two weeks because Congress is working on MilCon legislation. We must show some movement or we [Page 251] may find ourselves with no funding for the Somali facilities. Within the Executive Branch we should also go ahead on an ESF and FMS package, looking for the funds from other programs of a lower priority. Finally, Brown strongly emphasized that we cannot let this effort fail because regional political costs are too high. Sadat needs our tie to Somalia. It will help avoid Sadat’s increasing isolation. It will also please the Saudis. (S)

Lt. General Pustay, speaking for the JCS, expressed strong preference for the first option. Somalia offers both air and sea facilities. These are very important for U.S. surge capabilities in the region. He also emphasized the timing matter with MilCon legislation and the Congress as a reason for acting rapidly. (S)

Christopher expressed agreement with Harold Brown’s line of argument. As a small caveat, Christopher said that we should be alert to doubts in the Congress about this relationship with Somalia. (S)

It was agreed that we go forward with technical proposals to Siad Barre and also reaffirm our position on the Ogaden. The technical proposals will not include “pot sweeteners.” This should be done within two weeks for both political reasons in the region and Congressional hearings on MilCon. Finally, work should begin on the ESF/FMS potential package but without discussion with the Congress at this time. (S)


1. Pakistan relation to the security of the Persian Gulf. Dr. Brzezinski next raised the question of how US/Pakistani relations affect our position and the security of the region. He noted that Sadat favors a strong US/Pakistani relationship and that a stronger one is necessary for sustaining the Afghanistan insurgency. (S)

Harold Brown emphasized that Pakistan’s tie to the Islamic countries is most important. While he and others would favor a strong tie to India instead of Pakistan, if India could perform the same services for our interests in the Persian Gulf, the geographical and political facts are such that it cannot. Therefore, there is little choice but to seek strong US/Pakistani relations from the view point of security for the Persian Gulf. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski summed up the various reactions to Brown’s remarks with the following three points about US/Pakistani relations:

—They are extremely important for the security of the Persian Gulf.

—They can affect our evolving relations with Iran because of the special Pakistani ties to that country.

—They will affect the scope and duration of the Afghanistan resistance. (S)

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[Omitted here is material on bilateral relations with Pakistan and the situation in Afghanistan.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 112, SCC 302, 4/14/80, Security Framework. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. An unknown hand wrote “Original given to Les Denend 4/25/80” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. Dodson sent the agenda for the meeting to Mondale, Vance, Brown, Dayan, McIntyre, Jones, and Turner under an April 8 covering memorandum. Dodson sent all of the background papers produced for this meeting under an April 10 covering memorandum to the same recipients. All of these are ibid. In an April 14 memorandum to Brzezinski, Odom reported that a planned paper from the Department of Defense on “overall basing needs or on a rear base in Egypt” would not be considered at the meeting. “Komer,” Odom added, “decided against it. Apparently the costs frightened him, and worries at State about overloading Sadat deterred him.” (Ibid.) In a separate April 14 memorandum, Odom informed Brzezinski that Brown “will try to add three questions to the agenda discussion this morning. 1. U.S. role in Saudi security. 2. Saudi participation in U.S. regional security. 3. Third country contributions that the Saudis can make.” (Ibid.)
  3. Documentation on the continuing conflict in Ethiopia’s Ogaden desert is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XVII, Part 1, Horn of Africa.