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294. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1

SUBJECT

  • US-USSR Conventional Arms Transfer

PARTICIPANTS

  • State

    • Warren Christopher
    • Leslie Gelb, Director, Office of Politico-Military Affairs
  • Defense

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

    • Lt. General William Y. Smith
  • CIA

    • Dr. Robert Bowie, Director, National Foreign Intelligence Assessment Center
  • George Allen, NIO for Special Studies
  • ACDA

    • Spurgeon Keeny
    • Barry Blechman, Assistant Director, Weapons Evaluation and Control
  • White House

    • David Aaron
    • Reginald Bartholomew, NSC
    • Jessica Mathews, NSC

The general statement of objectives for multilateral talks on conventional arms restraint (CAT)2 was agreed to. Concerning the possible risks inherent in this enterprise, DOD pointed out that what we are trying to negotiate is a means to an end and not an end in itself. This lead to a discussion of the necessity for highly specific regional proposals, each to be judged on its own merits for consistency with US national security interests. State suggested and it was agreed to, that in presenting each regional proposal the working group should include an analysis of the US national security interest, analogous to that prepared for a proposed arms sale. It was further agreed that we should not undertake any démarche at this time directed at engaging the European suppliers, but rather wait for them to react to the progress made in the US-Soviet forum. It was agreed that any approaches to arms recipients at this time would be premature, at least until specific regional proposals had been agreed to and approved.

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The proposed work program was approved with the following changes: (1) each regional proposal should include a justification in terms of US national security interest; (2) the working group should isolate and analyze “the surrogate problem”—i.e., Cubans and others, including those supported by Western nations; and, (3) the group should look at ways and means to improve our data base on arms transfers. The meeting closed with a strong plea by the Chairman for the best efforts of all agencies participating in the work program in the interest of giving this admittedly difficult undertaking a fair try, and of avoiding serious mistakes. All agencies pledged to cooperate.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 94, PRC 079, Arms Transfer Policy: U.S. Next Proposals, 5/29/78. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room.
  2. Not found.