100. Note From Roger W. Sullivan of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Reactions to Holbrooke’s Memo2

This memo contains both inaccuracies and internal contradictions. For example, it was not the Pol Pot forces that opened fire on the refugee camp (page 3, paragraph C) but rather a bandit group suspected of being deserters from DK. I need not comment on his various assessments on page 3 which he himself terms “superficial”, except to say that I do not agree with them nor does the intelligence community.

[Page 356]

I frankly do not understand his conclusion, which is internally inconsistent. On the one hand, he argues that our policy should be to keep the costs as high as possible as long as Hanoi refuses to discuss changes in its policies. On the other hand, he argues that we should disassociate ourselves from any united front or resistance group on the grounds that these are “losing causes”.

In following a policy of applying maximum pressure, it makes no sense to disassociate ourselves from military pressure. This is not to say we should encourage, support or supply guerrilla groups, but certainly we should do nothing to reduce their chances of applying effective pressure themselves or with support from others. Our position should be that the Vietnamese are responsible for the continuing fighting in Kampuchea and that as long as Vietnamese forces continue to occupy Kampuchea, the Kampucheans will inevitably oppose them.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Far East, Sullivan Subject File, Box 70, Chron, 9–12/80. Secret. Brzezinski wrote at the top of the page, “Agree. ZB.” An unknown hand added “11/17/80” next to Brzezinski’s initials.
  2. See Document 99.