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


  • US Policies to the Caribbean—The Security Dimension (U)

In a memo to the Secretary of State on April 11 on US Security Assistance Policies to the Eastern Caribbean, you suggested Matt Nimetz to chair an interagency group to develop policy recommendations on a number of issues posed in your memo (Tab III).2 State’s response is at Tab II; it is the best one could expect from the bureaucracy [Page 934] at this time.3 As is true of much of US policy to the Caribbean, the issues raised in your memo do not involve large amounts of resources, but they do entail important changes in overall policies, which no bureaucrat would recommend without clear directions from his boss. For example, we are phasing out security assistance grants; we are limited by statute to providing 50% FMS concessionality only to Israel; and we are prohibited from providing assistance to police forces even though that is the only security force in several little islands in the Eastern Caribbean. To change each of these policies in order to obtain necessary flexibility would involve relatively small amounts of money but important statutory changes. (S)

The Interagency paper is a good one, even though its answers are not satisfactory. We have made a fair amount of progress in this area in the last year. We are setting up a Security Assistance Office in Barbados; port visits have been increased, and Admiral Train (CINCLANT) and Hayes (Coast Guard) have also visited several countries in the area; we have worked out exchange programs involving the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican National Guard and the military forces of Barbados and the Dominican Republic; our tripartite discussions with the UK and Canada have been useful.4 (S)

But the essential problem of the extreme vulnerability of these nations remains, and there is much that needs to be done. While the concept of a regional Coast Guard has been broached and accepted in several important quarters, thus far all that has been done is that the UK has promised to sell a patrol boat to Barbados. That nation and the others remain vulnerable, as Prime Minister Adams told the President in April, to being taken over by 50 armed men, and there is evidence suggesting that Grenada may be training those men now.5 (S)

What more needs to be done? I have prepared a set of 11 questions (Tab I)6 and reviewed them with Matt Nimetz and with Frank Kramer of DOD. I believe that both of them are prepared to recommend positive answers to these questions for their principals. Neither of them have strong feelings about whether the high-level meeting for considering these issues should be an SCC or a PRC. Naturally, I would prefer an SCC since the issues are cross-cutting between State and Defense, and you would be the chair, but I assume that you will make that determination after consulting Muskie. (S)

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That you approve an SCC or PRC (circle one) on US Security Assistance Policies to the Eastern Caribbean based on the agenda attached at Tab I. (If so, I will transmit that agenda and State’s papers to the following agencies after we schedule a meeting: State, Defense, JCS, CIA, OMB, Coast Guard, Treasury, IDCA, and ACDA.)7 (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 46, Folder: Latin America, 6/80–1/81. Secret. Sent for action. Concurred in by Kimmett. A copy was sent to Poats. A stamped notation reads, “ZB has seen.” Aaron also initialed the memorandum. Odom attached a sheet of comments to the memorandum, which favored the scheduling of an SCC meeting and stressed the necessity of maintaining the current number of defense personnel in the Caribbean.
  2. Not attached. A copy is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 46, Folder: Latin America, 2–5/80.
  3. Undated; attached but not printed.
  4. See Document 361 and footnote 3, Document 366.
  5. See Document 333.
  6. Attached but not printed.
  7. Brzezinski marked neither the approve nor the disapprove option, nor did he circle either “SCC” or “PRC.” Dodson wrote below the recommendations, “ZB: You will be getting today a Muskie memo proposing a series of PRCs. One on the Caribbean is on the list.” Brzezinski replied in a note on June 12, “OK, schedule a PRC on the Caribbean and then an SCC on Security Policy for the Carib.”