266. Minutes of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1


  • Latin America


  • State

    • Warren Christopher
    • Terence Todman
    • William Luers
  • Defense

    • Charles Duncan
    • Major Gen. Richard E. Cavazos
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff

    • General George S. Brown
    • Lt. General William Smith
  • CIA

    • Deputy Director Enno Knoche
    • Robert Hopkins
  • Treasury

    • Anthony Solomon
    • Edward Bittner
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    • Leon Sloss
  • Commerce

    • Frank Weil
  • NSC

    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
    • Thomas Thornton
    • Robert A. Pastor

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to conventional arms transfers.]

[Page 655]

Arms Transfers

Christopher asked whether the United States, as a declining source of arms to Latin America, is justified in adopting a special policy on arms transfers to Latin America.2

General Brown reminded everyone that in the early Kennedy years we tried to get Latin American governments to shift defense expenditures to nation-building, but as sovereign states, they just turned to other sources to buy arms. As long as they are going to buy, he preferred that they buy from us rather than the Russians.

Sloss from ACDA said that we must approach this problem globally at both ends. Discuss it with the Soviets and with other suppliers, and at the same time urge restraint by purchasers. If this does not work, he is inclined to agree with George Brown.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to conventional arms transfers.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 60, PRC 008, Latin America 3/23/77. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are scheduled to be printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXIV, South America; Latin America Regional.
  2. In undated talking points for a March 15 PRC meeting sent under cover of a March 12 briefing memorandum for Vance, the Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Terence Todman, and the Director of Policy Planning, Anthony Lake, suggested that Vance note that U.S. options in terms of regional arms control were limited given its declining role in providing arms to Latin America. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Anthony Lake, Policy Planning Staff, Office of the Director, Entry P–9, Regular Subject Papers, Box 2, Folder TL 3/1–15/77)