89. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Follow up on Security Framework in the Persian Gulf—XIV


  • State

    • David Newsom, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    • Reginald Bartholomew, Director, Bureau for Politico-Military Affairs
  • Defense

    • Robert Komer, Under Secretary for Policy
    • Frank Kramer, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for ISA
  • JCS

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

    • [2 names not declassified]
  • OMB

    • Edward G. Sanders, Associate Director, for National Security and International Affairs
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • Brig. General William E. Odom
    • Major General Jasper Welch
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Dr. Brzezinski chaired the meeting which dealt with four agenda items: (1) how to proceed on Ras Banas in Egypt; (2) additional Defense basing recommendations; (3) enroute access negotiations; and (4) the role of indigenous forces in the region. (C)

1. Follow-up on Negotiations and MILCON for Ras Banas

a. A Negotiating Approach—Mubarak has come back to McGiffert’s initial approach on Ras Banas access with recommended language for a letter of understanding. State recommends that Atherton go back to Mubarak and propose combining a public letter of understanding with a more precise secret access agreement, a formula we used with Oman. This will meet the Congress’s requirements for an agreement as a precondition for funds. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski proposed that a Working Group draft instructions for Atherton which will serve as an initial negotiating position with the Egyptians. As soon thereafter as the Egyptians will accept it, a technical team should go to Egypt to develop more fully constructions plans. (S)

Komer proposed that we get the Egyptians to accept the local currency costs of the construction. Although this may reduce our outlays in principle, JCS and State expressed serious doubt that the Egyptians either can or will provide a great deal in local currency constructioncosts. (S)

It was agreed to recommend to the President that as a negotiating strategy we follow up Mubarak’s proposed wording for a public letter with the public letter/secret access agreement formula we used in Oman. A joint State/Defense negotiating team will proceed to Egypt as soon as appropriate for access discussions.2 (S)

b. MILCON for Ras Banas—The FY 1982–86 funding is not a problem. Defense can include that in out-year planning. The troublesome issue is finding $10 to $12 million P&D funds for FY 1981. Defense proposed to take the necessary money from either Oman/Somalia/Kenya programs or from Diego Garcia. Both Dr. Brzezinski and State argued that the political significance of endangering our MILCON commitments to Oman/Somalia/Kenya is too great to risk although the amount of money is relatively small. They suggested that Defense reprogram the money from elsewhere. State showed some flexibility on funds for Oman and Somalia but warned that we must be extremely careful. (S)

General Jones underscored that our entire basing effort is very modest. Phase I promises no significant results before 1983. The strategic significance of skimping in FY 1981 is great and risky. (S)

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All agreed that we should pursue Ras Banas construction with the utmost speed but not at risk to our agreements with Oman, Somalia and Kenya. Defense will provide a paper on MILCON funding for P&D in FY 1981 which shows sources of reprogramming in light of the constraints imposed by our commitments to Oman, Somalia and Kenya. (S)

2. Defense Paper on Other Basing Recommendations

State expressed concern at the lack of an overall political rationale for Defense efforts. When we are vague about our purposes in the region, our efforts to deal with the Soviet threat are believed by some in the region to be a cover for interference in the internal affairs of states in the region. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski agreed that this is a valid point and, therefore, tasked State to provide a paper giving specific comments to Defense on the eleven recommendations and also providing a general policy paper which clarifies our intentions toward the region. It should articulate the Carter doctrine for Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf in a manner that removes doubt about our concern over the Soviet threat. It can also be used to explain our security framework policy in NATO. (S)

3. Enroute Access and Overflight Agreements

The basic issue on this topic is whether to pursue agreements more vigorously or to continue State’s more cautious approach of only sensitizing governments to our contingency needs rather than seeking memoranda of understandings. A consensus emerged for a more active enroute access policy.

Further, it was agreed:

—To proceed with the Portuguese and to clear up the Lajes and other enroute access issues.

—To make our next deployment through Spain a politically non-controversial one and then approach the Spanish for more specific understandings for Persian Gulf contingencies.

—To seek memoranda of understandings with the UK, FRG, France, and Italy and to instruct our ambassadors to raise the issue with Thailand and Singapore.

—To seek more information about the condition of bases in Morocco through [less than 1 line not declassified] overt sources of information rather than raise the issue formally with the Moroccan Government.3 (S)

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4. Defense Status Report on the Role of Local Forces in our Strategy for the Region

Defense explained that this effort is on-going and that it will be complete in a few weeks. State expressed doubt that any local forces make much difference for U.S. strategy. Defense explained that there are rather significant advantages for us through local procurement of air defense equipment. There are also four Jordanian divisions, and under some circumstances several Iraqi divisions which could help us enormously with the Soviet threat. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 45, Security Framework: 8/1–21/80. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. Carter added the following notation in the top right-hand corner of the first page: “Zbig—Keep OMB involved in this. J.”
  2. Carter checked the Approve option.
  3. Carter checked the Approve option and initialed “J” in the margin.