218. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to Secretary of State Vance1

The President has approved the following initiatives discussed at Camp David on March 22, 1980:2

—The proposal to proceed with imposing formal economic sanctions against Iran, to conduct a census of claims against Iran and to expel Iranian diplomats.

—The proposal to ask our Allies to break diplomatic relations and to impose sanctions by a fixed date, possibly two weeks after the convening of the Iranian Parliament. The Allies will be asked to convey their determination to do so to the Iranians. In making this request to the Allies, we should make clear to them that the alternative to this peaceful pressure on Iran is more direct military action which could create more difficulties for the Allies in their relations with Iran. A possible briefing by the JCS for allied military leaders on our military [Page 588]options in regard to Iran will be conducted if our initial discussions with the Allies indicate that it would be useful.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Iran.]

Zbigniew Brzezinski
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 87, For President or Brzezinski Only File, Iran Sensitive 1/80—4/80. Top Secret; Sensitive. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads: “dispatched 3/25/80.”
  2. See Document 217. In another March 24 memorandum, Brzezinski informed Powell and Friendly that Carter agreed to appear on European television. He informed Miller that Treasury was to proceed with formal economic sanctions and conduct a census of claims against Iran and expel Iranian diplomats. He informed Brown and Jones to send two military personnel to reconnoiter the Iranian Foreign Ministry and to increase activity at Wadi Kena without developing momentum toward a possible rescue mission. [text not declassified] (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File, Box 87, For President or Brzezinski Only File, Iran Sensitive 1/80–4/80)