262. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1


  • Conventional Arms Transfers

At Tab A is a memorandum from Secretary Vance2 on the subject of conventional arms transfers.

I must point out that many of the issues addressed in the Secretary’s memorandum, particularly those mentioned on pages 5 through 7, are currently under consideration in the context of the PRM/NSC–12 [Page 642] review of conventional arms transfers. The comments in the attached memorandum, therefore, represent only the views of the Dept. of State; the positions of other agencies will be contained in the PRM response due March 15.

On pages 3 and 4 of his memorandum, Secretary Vance mentions 17 pending Foreign Military Sales cases currently under review. I strongly believe that we should not transmit any cases to Congress prior to evaluation of and decision on the PRM–12 response. A one-month delay would not seriously affect either contract prices or delivery dates, although there may be short-term dissatisfaction and a degree of uncertainty in some recipient states. This rather minimal negative aspect is greatly outweighed by the fact that delaying the transmittals would permit evaluation of the cases, under new policy guidelines, by an interagency group specifically designed to conduct such an evaluation. I will discuss this issue with Secretary Vance and will advise you of the result of our conversation.

On page 4, Secretary Vance also mentions a proposed regulation which is designed to moderate the overseas sales efforts of U.S. arms manufacturers by providing for State Department approval earlier in the sales process. The proposed regulation and an explanatory memorandum are at Tab B.3 If you approve, the proposed regulation will be published in the Federal Register, followed by a 30-day period for public comment and a public meeting. Initiating this action now will permit integration of its findings into the PRM review, and I therefore recommend that you approve publication of the proposed regulation.


That you approve publication in the Federal Register of the proposed regulation at Tab B.4

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Mathews Subject File, Box 3, Arms Sales: Procedures: 6/76–3/77. Confidential. Sent for action. In the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the memorandum, Carter wrote “Let me have orig draft of regulation before it was modified by munitions manufacturers. JC.”
  2. See Document 260.
  3. The explanatory memorandum is Document 261; the proposed regulation is attached but not printed.
  4. Carter did not indicate his preference with respect to this recommendation. The proposed new regulation was not codified pending further review of the issue of arms transfers.