65. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (West) to Secretary of Defense Weinberger1



  • Falkland Islands Crisis (U)—INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

(S/NF) In order to provide you some background information, I have prepared the following summary of support we routinely provide to Argentina and the United Kingdom on intelligence, communications, and logistics support. I have also included what the two countries are likely to ask for as the Falkland Islands crisis develops.

(S/NF) United Kingdom. US support for UK and the Royal Navy is routinely provided in the broad areas of communications, intelligence, meteorology and logistics. Some of these functions are provided under nation to nation agreement, while others are agreed upon in MOD/DOD or USN/RN documents. The Navy staff has indicated that there have been several requests related to the current Falkland crisis which have been forwarded to US officials, including meteorological support for the South Atlantic and SOSUS data.

Specific areas of support:

Communication support for naval units is routinely available on request by the RN. (Tab A) Coverage of some areas of the world may only be possible with US transmitters. Conversely, US units receive such support on occasion from UK sites. It has been a standard procedure for the providing nation to allow transmission of US or UK eyes only traffic on national systems.

Intelligence reporting is shared between the US and the UK, under bilateral agreement and also under the aegis of NATO. Cooperation extends to compartmental, sensitive source programs, including SIGINT, COMINT, overhead and SOSUS. Both real time and analytical intelligence is exchanged.

Meteorlogical data is provided by the US to many foreign governments and services, including the UK. The RN has already requested support for the South Atlantic from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and such data is being provided.

Logistic support for units of the armed forces is available to the US and UK in each other’s facilities under a variety of agreements. Such [Page 116] support may come in the form of fuel, provisions or maintenance/repair efforts. There has apparently been no request from the UK for any extraordinary requirements in this broad area.

(S/NF) Argentina. US support for Argentinian military forces, particularly Navy, is fairly limited but includes an exchange of intelligence on Soviet bloc shipping information, routine fuel agreement for access to USN sources, and exchange of safety of flight information. In addition, Argentina is a major participant in the annual American naval exercise UNITAS (this year’s exercise is scheduled for June–November).2 By a five-year-old agreement, Defense Mapping Agency is providing mainland mapping services to Argentina and a new agreement with DMA has extended service for aerial charts of Northern Argentina. No requests, however, relating to the current crisis are expected by DMA.

As you know, we are currently precluded by law from selling the Argentinians any new equipment. This has resulted in the following backlog of FMS items:

—Army ($124,000)—electronic equipment, uniform spares, and radar components

—Navy ($2,700,000)—ship and aircraft spares, ammunition primers, signal flares, repair exchange cases

—Air Force ($385,000)—C–130 spares, publications, safety of flight items.

(S) Conclusion. On balance, we provide more routine military support to the UK than to Argentina. Throughout this crisis, we should continue providing this type of support. While no special requests are expected from Argentina, the UK will probably continue to request support in the areas of communications, intelligence, and meteorology.

Francis J. West, Jr

The UK has requested about one million gallons of JP–5 aviation fuel to be delivered to them at Ascension Island in the mid-South Atlantic.

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Tab A

Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense3


(C/NF) A review of Memoranda of Understanding indicates that the following agreements are operative:

a. (C/NF) The Navy Memorandum of Understanding of 18 October 1979 concerning Secure Submarine Information Exchange System (SSIXS) broadcast. This MOU provides for two two-minute time slots per hour to be allocated to RN SSIXS broadcast. This circuit is not crypto covered for the RN portion.

b. (C/NF) A US to UK agreement providing for SHF satellite transmissions using Defense Satellite Communication System (DSCS) satellites provides for:

(1) (C/NF) First order (dedicated) requirements which have been met by DCA for over 10 years.

(2) (C/NF) Second order (on call) requirements are provided, as available. On call channels have been requested for the Atlantic DSCS satellite. (This requirement was filled by DCA last Friday.) Since some RN ships have SHF terminals installed, ship-shore-ship connectivity can be achieved via SHF.

c. (C/NF) Additionally, the UK currently leases from COMSAT one 25 KHz channel of the Atlantic GAPFILLER satellite. Additional UHF channels are not available without reallocation of US requirements.

(C/NF) No other MOUs regarding Navy communications services between the US and the UK are known to exist. Notwithstanding these MOUs, the Royal Navy could request specific HF coverage from US Naval Communication Stations located in Puerto Rico and Balboa as they have frequently done for exercises. This coverage is normally requested through CNO.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330–84–0003, Argentina (Jan–15 May) 1982. Secret; Noforn. Sent through Iklé.
  2. Reference is to a series of annual exercises involving the United States and military units from other countries in the Americas. The first UNITAS exercise was held in 1959; UNITAS XXIII was scheduled for 1982.
  3. Confidential; Noforn.