94. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Security Framework for the Persian Gulf—XVIII


  • State

    • David Newsom, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    • Matthew Nimetz, Under Secretary for Science, Technology, & Security Assistance
    • Daniel O’Donohue, Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs
    • Peter Constable, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near East & South Asian Affairs
  • Defense

    • Secretary Harold Brown
    • Deputy Secretary Graham Claytor, Jr.
    • Ambassador Robert Komer, Under Secretary for Policy
    • Frank Kramer, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs
  • JCS

    • Chairman General David Jones
    • Lt. General John Pustay, Assistant to the Chairman
  • CIA

    • Bruce Clark, Director, National Foreign Assessment Center
    • Lt. Colonel John Mattingly, Assistant, National Intelligence Officer for Near East & South Asia
  • Treasury

    • Deputy Secretary Robert Carswell
    • Clyde Crosswhite, Foreign Affairs Officer
  • OMB

    • John White, Deputy Director
    • Edward Sanders, Associate Director for National Security & International Affairs
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Brig. General William E. Odom
    • Captain Gary Sick
    • Major Christopher Shoemaker

Dr. Brzezinski began the meeting outlining the two basic issues at hand: the need for increased security assistance programs in Southwest Asia and agreement for our advisory efforts. (S)

Harold Brown then gave a general review of the security assistance issue stating that we do not have sufficient resources to counter Soviet moves in all parts of the world. Since we have conceded the initiative to the Soviets, they are better able to concentrate their forces, putting us at a disadvantage. The forces of regional states, particularly in South[Page 305]west Asia, have to be ready to carry more of the security load. This cannot happen, however, without a more extensive security assistance program including grant military aid. Moreover, the absence of such a program will carry great political penalties. Therefore, the President should support the proposed package to increase our security assistance for the region. We have to reverse the attitudes within our own government that security assistance is a burden. (S)

David Newsom supported the need for security assistance with particular emphasis on grant military assistance because of the economic realities within recipient countries. (S)

Robert Carswell pointed out that most of the countries in question have debt problems, and we need to avoid adding to their debt burden. He also pointed out that Congress may not be receptive to major new increases in economic assistance. (C)

Dr. Brzezinski then argued the basic underpinnings of the requirement. The region is of vital interest to the U.S. and is facing a highly unstable future. This calls for a sustained security effort such as we developed in Europe in the late 1940’s and in the Far East in the early 1950’s and the investment of U.S. resources. (C)

Matt Nimetz pointed out that the real problem is within the budget. The State Department proposal for security assistance prepared in the normal budget cycle represented increases above budget levels, and State is already subject to criticism from OMB. The enhanced package now being discussed would clearly not fit into the budget. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski agreed and said that the issue should be shown to the President with the recommendation that the budget be increased to accommodate our new security requirements in Southwest Asia. We simply must devote more resources to this critical area. (S)

John White argued that we should take the recommendations contained in the DOD paper2 and add them to the State program already submitted and then proceed in the normal way. (C)

All disagreed with White’s view, and the meeting developed into vigorous exchange over this issue. (C)

Matt Nimetz said that State will not be able to accommodate the increases within its current budget, and if a lump sum addition were made to the State Department budget, it would be subjected to conflicting priorities within the State Department. (S)

David Newsom stressed that the President needs to look at this as an add-on above current budget ceilings. (C)

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Dr. Brzezinski urged that we go to the President with the position that the SCC has agreed on the need for the enhanced security assistance program for Southwest Asia costing up to $2 billion ($1B in budget obligations). The President should then be given the choice of adding this to the budget or forcing it into current budget ceilings. Dr. Brzezinski pointed out that, with the change in administrations, this budget will be viewed as both an historical legacy and a road map for the future. It is therefore important that the former position be adopted. This will establish a clear marker of the importance of Southwest Asia and the commitment of this administration to its defense. (S)

John White argued that we need to give the President a sense of the priority this enhanced program enjoys vis-a-vis other budget issues. (C)

Harold Brown agreed that some priority is needed, but because we have a new strategic zone, we need a new largely additive program. To go the other way is to guarantee that the program is smothered at birth. (C)

Dr. Brzezinski stressed that an add-on package would represent recognition of the new historical responsibilities. He further argued that, by adopting the add-on view, we will provide our best guidance to the next administration. (C)

Harold Brown and Robert Komer agreed and emphasized that the security assistance enhancement program must be specifically identified as such. (S)

John White then argued that we should do two things:

—Provide the President with both the baseline security assistance budget figure developed by the State Department and the enhancement package proposed by State and Defense. (S)

—Put this enhancement program in the context of other budget enhancement programs and then the President can choose among them. (S)

Bob Komer stressed again that if we incorporate the enhancement program into the normal security assistance program figures, it will push more items below the line and will be lost. (S)

John White countered by saying the solution would be to increase the budget total. (S)

David Newsom said that State Department does not support this view. We need to submit it as a specific add-on package to support our vital interest in Southwest Asia. (S)

All eventually agreed that if the President approves the enhancement package, it will have to be largely an add-on to the current budget. (S)

Harold Brown said that the ZBB process does not just work on this kind of major new policy issue. (C)

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Matt Nimetz agreed and said we never present policy issues as such, but we need to do it in this case. If the President approves of the enhancement package, then we can aggregate items later. (S)

John White said that this presents the President with a “take it or leave it” position on the enhancement package. (S)

Harold Brown agreed, but said there may be some flexibility in the numbers and in the handling of the budget issue. (S)

John White then said that the President has a lot of budget problems. He needs this issue presented in a manner which allows him to choose among several budget add-ons within the context of a large deficit. (S)

Harold Brown pointed out that the outlays involved are really quite small. (C)

Robert Komer argued that we have never been able to break through the budget problems for Southwest Asia. We must now seize upon our opportunity to do so. Decisions on this package are central to the President’s political legacy. (S)

David Aaron suggested that we establish a functional ranking of major programs so that the President could see where this security assistance enhancement program would fit in. (S)

John White said that we can work out such a functional array. Then priorities can be listed and the President can pick among them. (S)

Matt Nimetz stressed that the President has to understand the program is an add-on. (C)

Dr. Brzezinski then suggested that we go to the President with a brief memo laying out the issue for his decision. He then appointed a group of four to draft a memo for submission to the President by November 8. (C)

David Jones pointed out that grant military assistance is a key aspect of the enhancement package, and policy decisions will need to be made. (S)

All agreed to defer this until the President’s guidance is obtained on the enhanced security assistance concept. (S)

Dr. Brzezinski, DOD, and State all agreed on the need for the enhanced security assistance package. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 47, Security Framework: Directives: 7/80–1/81. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. Carter wrote “Zbig C” and “encl B cc McIn” in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 92.