74. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Followup on Security Framework in the Persian Gulf—IX


  • State

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

    • Secretary Harold Brown
    • Deputy Secretary W. Graham Claytor, Jr.
    • Robert Komer, Under Secretary for Policy
    • David McGiffert, Assistant Secretary for International & Security Affairs
  • JCS

    • Lt. General John Pustay
  • CIA

    • Director Stansfield Turner
    • Robert Ames, NIO for Near East & South Asia
    • Charles Cogan, Chief, Near East
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • Colonel William E. Odom
    • General Jasper Welch

Dr. Brzezinski opened the meeting with some remarks on the inadequate condition of some of the papers2 and recommended that they be redone for next week. (C)

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Harold Brown declared that his basing paper is sufficient for the decisions he wants today.3 The facilities we have acquired in Oman and Kenya provide ASW capabilities and forward air basing for some contingencies, but they are inadequate for major ground forces rear staging, and they are also inadequate as forward bases for contingencies to the north. Our needs, therefore, include forward basing in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states and rear basing preferably in Egypt. (S)

Discussion focused on the wisdom of following up Sadat’s offer of a joint facility at Ras Banas. State argued that we may overload Sadat by moving too quickly on this issue. Defense made a strong case for retaining Wadi Kena and investigating Ras Banas. Dr. Brzezinski asked what the effect would be on our relations with the Saudis and Israelis if we moved, even slowly, toward acquiring Ras Banas. Most agreed that the Saudis will complain and the Israelis will ask why we don’t use their bases instead, but Brown believes neither concern is paramount for our decision. (S)

Specifically, Brown proposed that (a) we begin talks in the next month, (b) consider the budgetary implications for FY 1982, and (c) send a survey team to Ras Banas late this summer in order to have accurate data for the FY 1982 budget item. (S)

Christopher expressed general agreement with Brown’s approach as long as we do not move too rapidly. Brown argued that the schedule he proposes is indeed slow, much slower than the Egyptians desire. (S)

It was agreed to follow Brown’s schedule. An NSC working group will clear instructions for McGiffert’s discussions with the Egyptians in the next couple of weeks.4 (S)

Harold Brown interjected a related issue, Defense’s plan for enhanced sea lift through purchase of SL–7 class transport ships. He made a strong case for their utility. We now can deliver an airborne division into the region during the first week, a Marine amphibious force in the second week, and a mechanized Army division during the third week if we acquire the additional sea lift. (S)

All agreed with the desirability of this acquisition, in particular because it means a real increase in capability this summer, not a year or two from now as in the case of forward bases we are now building. (S)

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Brown said that we can purchase the ships within his present budget. The only holdup is a report to the President that the SCC favors the purchase and OMB concurs. (S)

It was agreed to recommend favorably to the President on the utility of the additional sea lift and to clear the issue with OMB.5 (S)

Military Deployments and Exercise Schedules

The papers on this topic by Defense were not adequate for decisions. They will be redone for the next SCC. (C)

There was discussion on deployments and schedules which highlighted at least three issues that need SCC attention:

—Whether to take forces from the Pacific or from Europe to build up our presence in the Persian Gulf. (S)

—When the first Tac Air deployments should go to Oman. (S)

—Tac Air deployments to Egypt. (S)

They will be treated next week. (C)

State and Defense Papers on What the Allies have Contributed to Our Persian Gulf Security Framework

Dr. Brzezinski directed that the two papers be integrated by State to answer the following questions:

—What are the current national efforts of our allies, both European and Asian, in the region? (S)

—What do we believe they should be doing beyond their current efforts? (S)

—How do we propose to initiate bilateral discussions to achieve these objectives? (S)

[Omitted here is material on Pakistan and Afghanistan.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 112, SCC 305, 4/23/80, Security Framework Followup [I]. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. Carter wrote “Zbig J” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. Dodson forwarded all of the background papers for this meeting to Mondale, Vance, Brown, Jones, and Turner under an April 22 covering memorandum. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 73.
  4. Carter drew an arrow to this paragraph and wrote in the left-hand margin: “First, let me have an estimate of cost.”
  5. Carter underlined “clear the issue with OMB” and wrote in the left-hand margin: “ok, but.”