740.5/3–3151: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1

top secret

The following is the text of Depto 666, March 22 from Ambassador Spofford for your information. In this connection it should be noted that we are giving thought to the need for further security guarantees to Greece and Turkey, but we have not made up our minds about the necessity for such additional guarantees and even less as to the form they should take if we should decide that they are desirable.

“No Distribution Outside State. From Spofford. Ref Deptel 4163. While my competence to comment on question of extending additional security guarantees to Greece and Turkey is naturally limited, I welcome opportunity afforded by reftel to do so in light of our experience with NATO.

“Arguments set forth by Middle Eastern Chiefs of Mission are strongly persuasive in favor of some form of mutual security arrangement. My thinking is along fol line:

1. From strictly US point of view, there wld apparently be no difference in commitment which US wld assume whether Greece and Turkey were admitted to NATO or included in separate collective defense agreement or bound by bilateral or trilateral arrangement with US. Dept will have noted error in Mid East Mission chiefs tel para (2) stating Congressional action not required (see page 18 for RelCom report on NAT).2

2. From point of view of Greece and Turkey my understanding is that their principal objective is to enter into security agreements with US and perhaps UK as powers best able to contribute to their defense and that, aside from fact that NATO is going concern and Greece and Turkey feel “excluded”, they have little interest in entering security arrangement with Scandinavian, Benelux and other smaller countries.

3. Conversely, I believe it wld prove extremely difficult to secure [Page 506]agreement of all NAT govts (which in most if not all cases wld require parliamentary approval) to Greek and Turkish adherence to treaty. While I have not discussed subj with other NAT deputies except French, since Sept, I doubt that position then taken have subsequently been modified, i.e., strong opposition to Greek or Turkish membership in NAT by smaller nations, open mind by Italy and UK. Alphand last night asked me about accuracy of press reports that US was again actively considering NAT-Turkish relationship. 1 denied knowledge of present status of your thinking. He said French were opposed to any closer relationship than that agreed in Sept, but wld be anxious to be included in any discussions on Eastern Med security. He obviously had Malta fresh in mind.3

4. I believe view of smaller nations is that Greek and Turkish membership wld be disadvantageous both to their short and long term security interests, by extending their own commitment and risk, and also disadvantageous to their long term econ and polit interests. This point of view represents, I think, hopes of majority of NAT countries that treaty will be effective in countering short range threat to their security and eventually provide basis for closer association of Western Eur democracies with US and Canada in a lasting sense.

5. Concept of North Atlantic community based on common tradition, heritage, democratic institutions, and religion of present parties, provides one basic element of strength of present treaty and differentiates it from purely mil alliance. We shld consider whether inclusion of Greece and Turkey wld be viewed, not merely by Communist propaganda, but also I believe, by public opinion in many NAT countries as tending to vitiate this concept and make treaty appear merely an instrument for containment of USSR.

6. At present NAT has a limited and comparatively homogeneous membership. I wld fear that extension of present membership (except probably in due course to include Ger and Spain) wld reduce its effectiveness. There is, of course, no provision in treaty for any form of limited membership, which in any event wld not be psychologically satisfactory to Greece and Turkey.

7. Nature of North Atlantic community and requirements of integrated defense go far beyond common mil planning, as for example in coordinating production, establishment of integrated forces, etc. These factors may not be similarly applicable in case of Eastern Med. A separate collective security arrangement wld presumably be drafted, as NAT was, to take particular account of realities of particular situation. I would assume that an Eastern Med arrangement wld differ considerably from NATO with respect to organization even though treaty might closely resemble NAT.

8. There shld of course be close coordination of mil planning between any Eastern Med arrangement and NATO.

9. As seen from here best measure of extending additional security guarantees to Greece and Turkey wld on balance appear to be separate collective defense arrangement under Art 51 of UN charter with Greece, Turkey, UK and US as essential members, whole arrangement to be related to, but not part of NATO.”

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  1. Drafted by Henry L. Staples (EUR), cleared with NEA, sent to Ankara, Athens, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, Oslo, Ottawa, Reykjavik, Rome, and Moscow.
  2. Reference is to the Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, June (6, 1949, on the North Atlantic Treaty (S. Exec. Rept. 8, 81st Cong., 1st sess.) text in Basic Documents, vol. i, p. 825.
  3. Reference is to French concern over exclusion from Anglo-American military talks held on the island of Malta on January 23–24 and March 13. For documentation, see volume iv .