11. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Status Report on Implementation of PD/NSC–6 on Cuba

Attached at Tab I is a memorandum from you to the President summarizing the follow-up activities of State and Justice on PD/NSC–6 on Cuba. At Tab A is State’s report and at Tab B is the Attorney General’s memorandum.2

Negotiations with Cuba

I must confess a certain degree of unease over the strategy that the State Department appears to have adopted. They apparently believe that the current negotiations on fisheries will flow quite naturally into the next round where other issues can be addressed. This may be correct, but all previous indications—including a recent conversation [Page 25] between Professor Richard Fagen3 and Manolo Piñeiro, a high Central Committee official—are that the Cubans see the fisheries negotiations as discrete and separate from negotiations on normalizing relations. According to Fagen, whom I spoke with last night, the Cubans said that they will conclude the current talks, and not start again until the U.S. has lifted the embargo on food and medicines and called a halt to all kinds of terrorism.

If we could lift the embargo on food and medicines easily—i.e., without raising the expectations of all those Americans who believe that we should get something for it, then I think the strategy is the correct one. If on the other hand, we cannot, then I believe we should be more cautious about concluding the fisheries and boundary agreements until we can be more assured of reciprocal gestures by the Cubans.

This represents a fundamental split in strategy, and I would recommend that you speak with Secretary Vance about what our desired goals should be, and then which of the two strategies is most likely to deliver us to the promised gates.

State’s present strategy is premised on reaching agreement on one item at a time, and then waiting for reciprocal actions. Unless the Secretary is willing to push through a partial lifting of the embargo, however, we will get stuck as soon as we conclude the fisheries agreement.

An alternative strategy would be to try to put all the pieces of the package together before making the first public move. This would circumvent the problem of lifting the embargo in the near future. Of course, if the Cubans stonewall and refuse to do anything until we lift the embargo, then this strategy will not be any better than the piece-by-piece strategy. On the other hand, since the discussions—or at least, the results—would not have been made public, we are no worse off.

Indeed, we would be back to where the piecemeal strategy begins. For that reason, I think it makes sense to hold off concluding the two agreements until we have made a sincere effort at putting a package together.

In an analysis of the current negotiations, we have to keep two things in mind. First the fisheries agreement means more to the Cubans than to us, and there is no other issue on our early agenda which is like that. Secondly, unless the President and Secretary Vance decide firmly to pursue the package strategy, the piece-by-piece strategy will be chosen by default. Indeed, it may have already been chosen.

(If you agree with my analysis, I will re-draft the memorandum to the President along the lines you recommend.)

[Page 26]

Finally, on the question of the April 20 invitation to visit Havana, ARA is eagerly recommending acceptance, and they expect that the fisheries agreements will be signed then.4 Todman also thinks that we are more likely to get the Cubans into a discussion of other issues if they meet in Cuba. (The issue, which I think concerns State the most, is the establishment of an Interest Section in Havana). Todman acknowledges that the Cubans might sign and say good-bye, but he doesn’t think they will do that, although the Cubans have given no indication that they will discuss anything else. My inclination is to accept the invitation to Havana only if we have some private assurances from the Cubans that we can talk about issues other than fisheries.

(I will work on a memo to you on the issue of what to do about Cuban involvement in Africa.)

Anti-Terrorist Activities

I have made a number of phone calls to the Justice Department trying to get an answer to the simple question: what additional steps has the Attorney General taken to put a lid on terrorist activities? The response has been totally inadequate. Instead of giving the kind of priority to curbing terrorism which the President instructed in PD 65—and this could mean anything from assigning more FBI agents to Miami to a statement by Bell—the Attorney General merely requested the FBI to catalogue the kind of activities which they are presently doing.

I understand that when Bell saw the FBI’s report, which blurred the distinction between criminal investigations and domestic security surveillance, he ordered another study to determine whether there was any legal authority to conduct the latter type of activities. In short, I have seen nothing to indicate that Justice has taken any—let alone, all—steps necessary to prevent terrorist or illegal actions.

In several conversations with his Special Assistant,6 I reiterated the message of the PD, and said that it was our expectation that the FBI would increase its activities in this area. He said that he had interpreted the PD to mean that preventative actions were required, but the Attorney General questioned whether Justice had the legal authority to take such action. I asked him to forward as soon as possible a report which catalogued current activities and suggested new meas[Page 27]ures, where appropriate and legitimate. He said he would try to get a report over in a couple of days.


That you forward the memorandum at Tab I to the President.7

Tab I

Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 8


  • Status Report on PD/NSC–6 on Cuba

Exploratory Talks

In accordance with Presidential Directive NSC 6, the Secretary of State designated Assistant Secretary Terence Todman to lead a US delegation to begin exploratory talks with Cuba. At the first meeting on March 24, Todman raised all the issues listed in the PD, but the Cubans insisted that they were only authorized to negotiate a fisheries and maritime boundaries agreement, and we accepted that.9

With the conclusion of the first round of negotiations on March 29, agreement was reached on maritime boundaries, and the US delegation felt that the two sides were so near agreement on a General International Fisheries Agreement (GIFA) that they have speculated that the Cubans might have deliberately stretched out negotiations to a second round so that other issues can be raised. The Cubans invited the US delegation to Havana on April 20, and Secretary of State Vance is presently considering the issue for decision.

In his closing remarks, Todman returned to our interest in having an official response on all the issues raised. He said we have an immediate interest in having the hijacking agreement reinstated and opening a US interest section in Havana. He stressed that reciprocity was needed to improve relations.

[Page 28]


In accordance with the Presidential Directive, officials of the State Department kept our NATO allies, Canada, Japan, Zaire, and selected Latin American governments informed of the negotiations. In addition, Congressional leaders were consulted on the eve of the talks, and were told of the results of March 31.

Anti-Terrorist Actions

The PD directed the Attorney General to “take all necessary steps permitted by law to prevent terrorist or any illegal actions . . . and to apprehend and prosecute” terrorists. The Attorney General has followed this up with two decisions:

1. He has asked the FBI for a report of its current activities in this area; and

2. He is presently reexamining the legal authority of taking preventative measures against terrorist activity.

He will be forwarding a more detailed report later.10

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, 1977–1981, Box 3, PD–06. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. The report at Tab A, dated April 1, was not attached. A copy is ibid. Tab B was not attached and not found.
  3. Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.
  4. The invitation to continue the discussions in Havana was made during the March talks in New York. During the April negotiations in Havana, the two sides succeeded in concluding a fisheries agreement. See Document 15.
  5. See Document 9.
  6. Reference is presumably to Frederick D. Baron, whose specialties included foreign intelligence and counterintelligence.
  7. Brzezinski checked the approve option.
  8. Secret. Sent for information. Carter initialed “C” at the top of the page.
  9. See footnote 2, Document 9.
  10. Bell wrote to Brzezinski on April 8 regarding the anti-terrorism language in PD–6. (Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, 1977–1981, Box 3, PD–06)