90. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Persian Gulf Security Framework

Because significant progress has been made in our Security Framework for the Persian Gulf since my last status report,2 I want to give you an update. (C)

In my earlier memorandum (Tab A), I suggested specific goals which we should try to attain by fall. Goals were chosen in each of the four major components of the Security Framework structure. What follows is the status of progress toward these goals. A more comprehensive summary of our actions in chart form is at Tab B.3 Underlined in red on the charts are improvements since June 3. (S)

Status of Progress Toward Security Framework Goals

A. Military Component

Command Arrangements. We do not yet have a separate unified command for the region. DOD is still struggling with this controversial, yet critical, issue.4 (S)

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RDF Exercises in the Region. You have approved a comprehensive exercises plan for the region which includes the RDJTF.5 We have received approval from Egypt to conduct an RDJTF battalion-sized exercise there in November. A pre-deployment team will begin coordination with the Egyptians in mid-September. (S)

Basing Access. We have completed formal agreements with Oman, Kenya, and Somalia.6 We have agreed in principle with the Egyptians to develop and use Ras Banas. A negotiating team will travel to Cairo within the next several weeks. We have opened the subject of access and overbuilding with Saudi Arabia. (S)

Institutionalized Security Ties with Saudi Arabia. We have proposed, and the Saudis have accepted, the concept of establishing a Joint Military Commission.7 David Jones will discuss the details during his visit to Saudi Arabia this month. The initial meeting of the JMC will probably take place in mid-November. (S)

B. Foreign Policy Component

The Autonomy Negotiations. We are making no progress here, although we are keeping the talks alive.8 (C)

Improved Relations with Pakistan. These ties remain tenuous, although it appears that Zia is not prepared to strike a deal with Moscow. Pak-Saudi cooperation is improving, providing us with an indirect hedge against Zia’s drifting toward the Soviet Union. We continue to stand ready to provide equipment to Pakistan, and there has been some informal interest in Islamabad.9 (S)

Better Relations with Oman and Somalia. We have formally initiated the Joint Economic Commission with Oman and are preparing to begin the upgrading of Omani facilities, in accordance with our access agreement.10 We have signed an access agreement with Somalia, and the Somalis have withdrawn their regulars from the Ogaden as a gesture to us. We continue to move cautiously but positively in our relations with both states. (S)

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The Hostage Problem. This obviously remains unresolved, although we have successfully shifted our focus to the greater danger of Soviet aggression against Iran. (S)

C. Economic Component

Security Assistance. We have not made progress in expanding our aggregate security assistance program in the region. DOD, State, the DCI, and the NSC all agree that this is a crucial aspect of our security policy and must be expanded. (S)

Influence over Saudi Aid. We have discussed the distribution of Saudi aid with the Saudi leadership. The JMC will provide us with an institutionalized forum for pressing this issue. We are, separately, encouraging more Saudi assistance to Somalia. (S)

Oil. The oil outlook continues to improve. Prices are stable, OECD reserves are at record levels, and consumption in the West is down. We have begun to fill the strategic petroleum reserve. The Venice Summit11 and actions by the IEA have helped convince oil producers that we are serious about our energy policies and have helped stabilize the oil market.12 (S)

D. Intelligence Component

Comprehensive Regional Program. We continue to press ahead to integrate our intelligence efforts throughout the region. (S)

Since I last reported to you on the Security Framework, much has been accomplished. However, much more remains to be done. Recent intelligence about the Soviet buildup along the Iranian border has heightened our awareness of our near-term military vulnerabilities in the region. The effect on the JCS has been more galvanizing than anything that has happened since Afghanistan. (S)

On balance, however, we have made substantial progress in improving our ability to implement your State of the Union Address.13 You may wish, at some point over the next several weeks, to make a public statement on the security framework in order both to show the progress we have made and to tie together various security framework initiatives which have been independently reported in the press. This is important for two reasons. First, it can show the Allies that you have developed a clear concept and made considerable progress toward the [Page 294] task you set in January. Second, it should have a similar effect with the Congress and the public.14 (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Meetings File, Box 22, SCC Meeting: #337 Held 9/2/80, 8–9/80. Secret. Sent for information. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. That memorandum, attached at Tab A, is printed as Document 80.
  3. Not attached.
  4. Carter wrote “little progress” in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  5. See Documents 86 and 87.
  6. The access agreement with Kenya was signed on June 26, and on August 22, the Department of State announced the exchange of diplomatic notes that incorporated an agreement for increased access to the port and air facilities in Somalia. (Department of State Bulletin, October 1980, p. 19)
  7. See Document 217.
  8. Carter wrote “no progress” in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  9. Carter wrote “surprisingly courageous” in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  10. See Document 81.
  11. Reference is to the G–7 Economic Summit which took place in Venice, Italy, June 22–23. Documentation on the Summit is printed in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. III, Foreign Economic Policy.
  12. Carter wrote “all good” in the left-hand margin next to this point.
  13. See Document 45.
  14. Carter wrote “Begin drafting—I may do it” in the left-hand margin next to this paragraph.