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276. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Foreign Military Sales Procedures Regarding C–130 Aircraft

The memorandum from Secretary Vance (Tab A)2 recommends that you authorize the Secretary of State to approve world-wide sales of nonweapon configured C–130 aircraft in order to reduce the time required to process government-to-government sales. As indicated below, I believe delays can be reduced without delegating approval authority.

On June 28, you delegated approval authority for conventional arms transfers requiring Congressional notification only to NATO, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.3 The delegation of authority was limited to the countries exempted from most of the PD/NSC–13 controls,4 including the FY ’78 dollar volume control, so that the bureaucracy would face the tough trade-offs which have to be made knowing that their recommendations will be personally reviewed by the President. It would be an unfortunate bureaucratic signal to change that decision so soon.

The argument that delegating the approval authority would save time is not persuasive. The vast majority of the time is consumed in coordination within the Departments of State and Defense. Therefore, I recommend that you continue to approve cases which go to Congress, but that requests to purchase C–130s (and other major systems) be forwarded to you for a decision as soon as the required staffing and coordination are completed. The current practice is to hold requests until a sufficient number have accumulated to assemble a decision package.

RECOMMENDATION

That you continue to approve sales of C–130 aircraft which go to Congress except to NATO, Australia, New Zealand and Japan as previ[Page 688]ously delegated. Cases will be forwarded to you as soon as they are ready for a decision.

APPROVE ______5 DISAPPROVE ______ OTHER ______

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Mathews Subject File, Box 4, Arms Transfers: Policy (General): 6–12/77. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. See Document 275.
  3. Carter’s decision is recorded in a memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance, June 28; Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Global Issues, Mathews Subject File, Box 4, Arms Transfers: Policy (General): 6–12/77.
  4. See Document 271.
  5. Carter checked the “Approve” option and underneath wrote “JC.”