2. Editorial Note

In a February 9, 1977, memorandum to the National Security Council’s Special Coordination Committee (SCC), Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs David Aaron reported on a January 26 meeting of the Special Activities Working Group (SAWG) to discuss and review all approved covert action programs and other sensitive activities. Aaron reported that for each activity, the group considered a) relevance to U.S. policy objectives; b) achievements; c) risks; d) budgetary costs; e) alternative courses of action; and f) consequences of termination. The group did not seek to identify new possibilities for covert action. The SAWG also “assumed that the SCC and the President wish to limit USG involvement in covert special activities to the greatest extent possible consistent with U.S. interests.” On covert support for publishing materials targeted at the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the group found that the program was generally desirable, and in the U.S. interest to continue. “However,” Aaron wrote, “issues were raised which suggest the need for a more searching examination of the scope and mode of operation. For instance, there has been no recent comprehensive review of the policy objectives of this program, even though the internal political situations in Eastern Europe and the USSR have changed in some important respects.” (National Security Council, Carter Administration Intelligence Files, Box I–022, SCC Meetings, 1977–1978, SCC (i) 24 February 1977)

On February 21, Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff, forwarded a memorandum to Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski with the agenda for the upcoming SCC meeting on intelligence activities. Concerning the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe publication program, the prepared talking points recommended that Brzezinski stress the need to do more in the area and that new ideas for what the U.S. Government could do were necessary, especially in the area of respect for human rights. (Ibid.)

Following the February 24 SCC meeting, Brzezinski sent President Jimmy Carter a memorandum on February 28, seeking approval of the [Page 4] SCC recommendations to continue several Soviet Union and Eastern Europe programs, including the book publishing program. On the Soviet and Eastern European program, Brzezinski wrote: “Given the growing importance of the human rights problem throughout this whole area, I feel this program should probably be expanded.” Brzezinski also informed Carter of Secretary of Defense Harold Brown’s recommendation for this program. Carter approved the continuation of the program. (Ibid.) On March 4, Brzezinski informed Brown, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, and Acting Director of Central Intelligence E. Henry Knoche of Carter’s decision to continue the book and publication program for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe subject to a review as to scope and mode of operation. (National Security Council, Carter Administration Intelligence Files, Box I–020, Minutes of SCC Intelligence Working Group 1977)