55. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordinating Committee Meeting1


  • Cuba After the Summit2


  • State

    • Secretary Cyrus Vance
    • Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher
    • Mr. David Newsom, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    • Mr. Viron Vaky, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs
  • OSD

    • Mr. David McGiffert, Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs
  • JCS

    • Lt General John Pustay
  • DCI

    • Admiral Stansfield Turner
    • Deputy Director Frank Carlucci
    • [name not declassified]; Analyst, Office of Political Analysis
  • Justice

    • Mr. John Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel
    • Mr. William Cregar, FBI—Assistant Director for Intelligence
  • Treasury

    • Mr. Arnold Nachmanoff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Developing Nations
  • Commerce

    • Mr. Kempton Jenkins, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East-West Trade
  • White House

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
  • NSC

    • Mr. Robert Pastor
    • Mr. Marshall Brement

Summary of Conclusions

1. U.S. Strategy to Cuba. The SCC explored different strategies for the U.S., but we did not reach any conclusions. NSC believes that the U.S. should communicate a willingness to maintain normal relationships where they exist, but should find ways to punish Cuba for activities which are detrimental to U.S. interests. This translates into a cool but communicative strategy where we try to expand the areas (e.g., cultural exchanges, particularly to Cuba) of contact where the U.S. as a nation can begin to influence Cuba as a nation. At the same time, we would tighten the wall around Cuba by seeking agreement from our allies on denying preferential economic arrangements (e.g., aid, credits, guarantees) and discouraging private capital flows. We would try to cooperate with countries in the Non-Aligned Movement in order to seek an escalation of the criticism of Cuba’s international activities. State, on the other hand, placed greater emphasis on the need for candid dialogue with the Cuban government on areas of growing concern to the U.S. like Central America and the Caribbean. State believes that we should not encourage the Europeans to deny credits, etc. because that would only be a “pin-prick,” irritating them but having no real impact. The SCC agreed to discuss these issues in greater depth in the future, perhaps reconvened as a PRC.

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2. Non-Aligned Movement. The SCC agreed that the USG should continue its strategy of encouraging the moderates to take part and weigh in at the Non-Aligned Summit.

3. Intelligence-Sharing. The SCC agreed that we should share intelligence on Cuba’s military build-up and what it is doing internationally with other friendly countries, particularly those in the region. We should convey this information on a regular and systematic basis through diplomatic and intelligence channels.

4. Intelligence Collection. DCI will prepare a proposal for the NSC on ways to improve the intelligence collection on Cuba.3

5. Military Presence. OSD, JCS, State, and NSC will prepare detailed recommendations on ways the U.S. can increase its military presence in the Caribbean in order to serve one or two objectives: to enhance the security and the stability of the nations of the Caribbean and to send a message of caution to Cuba. An SCC on the Caribbean will explore these recommendations.4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Offce, Box 16, SCC Meeting #185 held 7/20/79, 6–7/79. Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Documentation on the Vienna Summit, held June 15–18, during which Carter and Brezhnev signed the SALT II Treaty, is in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union.
  3. On July 18, the President’s Daily Brief mentioned that “some type of Soviet ground force element is present in Cuba,” but stated that the existing intelligence “sheds no light on strength, mission, or subordination.” President Carter wrote on the PDB, “It is amazing to me that we have such poor human intelligence from Cuba!” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 16, Cuba, Soviet Brigade [miscellaneous], 9–10/79) Brzezinski copied Carter’s comments and forwarded them to Turner, adding the word “Stan” to the beginning of the President’s note. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 8, Cuba, 6–8/79) In response, Turner, in coordination with Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and Defense Intelligence Agency Director General Eugene Tighe, drafted a statement arguing that the Soviet military forces in Cuba were not significant. The statement was issued by the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Frank Church (D–ID). Only Senator Stone dissented from the statement. An aide to Senator Jesse Helms, however, leaked information about the alleged brigade to ABC News; Ted Koppel reported on the issue and the administration’s denials on July 20. (Newsom, The Soviet Brigade in Cuba, p. 20) In response, Stone wrote to Carter on July 24, expressing concern about the Soviet units. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 210. Vance responded to Stone on July 27, stating “there is no evidence of any substantial increase of the Soviet military presence in Cuba over the past several years or of the presence of a Soviet military base.” See the Department of State Bulletin, October 1979, p. 63.
  4. See Document 364.