760.5/3–2453: Telegram

No. 330
The Ambassador in Turkey (McGhee) to the Department of State1

top secret

1180. Noforn. In conversation with Foreign Minister today I attempted clarify what appears to be ambiguity in Turkish position regarding objectives military discussion pursuant tripartite pact (see Embassy telegram 1159 of March 172) and contradictions with position of Greeks as reported Athens 2737 of March 11 to Department.3

I pointed out to Foreign Minister that although I fully accepted explanation given me in meeting on March 16 (Embassy telegram 1159), minutes of last triparite meeting held in Ankara on February 17–20 (see Athens 2591 of February 28 to Department4), which he had shown us, would if shown in their present form obviously because of concern to NATO command and other NATO countries.

Foreign Minister replied along line previously taken (see Embassy reference telegram) to effect wording that of military representatives and unmindful of legal and political matters. I pointed out that if, as Minister had told me, all tripartite military talks were on contingent and theoretical basis only, this should naturally be reflected in conversations and consequently in minutes. Foreign Minister said this would be case in future conversations and that he hoped minutes on last conversation referred to would on occasion of next tripartite meeting be redrafted accordingly. He hoped also at next meeting to obtain Yugoslav agreement to show minutes to NATO command.

I then stated we had derived impression Greeks had different concept of objectives tripartite conversations that those expressed to me by Foreign Minister, i.e., Greeks appeared to expect conversations to result in tentative agreement to specific military plans [Page 630]which, after approval by appropriate NATO authorities, might be officially adopted by three governments.

Foreign Minister replied that he believed this was in fact true of thinking of certain elements in Greek Government, i.e., General Papagos and general staff had this view and in fact wanted to go much further in tripartite talks than Stephanopoulous had indicated in tripartite negotiations. He stated that since agreement all three parties required, Turks would be able insure Greeks would not go far in talks as actual agreement to military plans.

Foreign Minister volunteered that although he did not consider it appropriate for Greeks and Turks take initiative vis-à-vis NATO commanders in presenting military plans for their approval, if the NATO commanders wished three countries to make plans through tripartite military discussions, he thought they would be willing to do so.

I suggested desirability of Turks discussing question of objectives of tripartite military talks with their Greek allies at earliest date, so they could adopt common policy vis-à-vis NATO. Foreign Minister promised take matter up with Greek Ambassador soonest.

McGhee
  1. Repeated for information to Athens; Belgrade; London; Paris for the Embassy, SRE, and Reinhardt; and Rome.
  2. Telegram 1159 reported that Köprülü, who resented the recent tripartite démarche (see footnote 4, supra ), regarded the Greek-Turkish-Yugoslav military meetings as only theoretical in nature and therefore did not want to submit the minutes to the North Atlantic Council for fear of arousing suspicion among certain members. He was, however, willing to submit the minutes to concerned NATO commanders. (760.5/3–1753)
  3. Telegram 2737 reported that the Greeks were anxious to submit the minutes of the Greek-Turkish-Yugoslav military conversations to NATO for approval. (760.5/3–1153)
  4. Presumably, this should be a reference to telegram 2599, Feb. 28, which transmitted the summary minutes. (868.811/2–2853)