760.5/6–653: Telegram

No. 331
The Ambassador in Greece (Peurifoy) to the Department of State1

top secret

3558. Noforn. Reference (a) Embtel 3417 May 20, (b) Embtel 3088 April 16; (c) Embtel 2599 February 28.2

In initial meeting tripartite military representatives Turkish delegate, much to surprise Greek representatives, stated his government opposed any change in summary report tripartite military conversations Ankara February 17–20 (reference (c), second paragraph numbered section I). He noted that tripartite military consultations based on hypothesis “attack against one would be considered attack against others” and stated his government considered it desirable this hypothesis be recorded. Yugoslav delegate opposed [Page 631] change summary record on ground government does not wish correct document originally signed by Assistant Chief, General Staff, but otherwise took no part in discussion this subject. Greek representative expressed view issue a political matter and, therefore, not properly subject this meeting military representatives. He agreed military conversations proceeding on assumption attack against one would not remain localized but stated there no reason put this assumption in writing. This subject dropped as representatives took up agenda items but will probably be raised again before termination this meeting.

Greek Government had assumed this issue resolved by revision summary minutes proposed by Turkey in April (reference b) and before Wednesday had no indication Yugoslavia had not agreed with revision. Bearing in mind Koprulu recommendation to Dulles that Yugoslavia be incorporated NATO3 and Turkish initiative in endeavoring obtain NATO participation these tripartite discussions, Greeks find themselves in difficult position in that they believe Turks proceeding at much too fast a pace in direction of developing friendship pact into firm military alliance but fear that if they appear cool towards Turkish suggestions, Yugoslavs might question depth of Greek interest. Greek Foreign Office considering compromise solution whereby summary minutes Ankara meeting will be adopted as originally signed by chiefs of delegations with understanding that, in forwarding summary record to NATO, Greece and Turkey would include statement to effect that all decisions taken at this military conference are in accordance with that section of the tripartite friendship agreement which states that “rights and obligations deriving for Turkey and Greece from North Atlantic Treaty” not affected.

From Greek point view, situation anomalous in that military discussions primarily significant in terms common Yugoslav-Greek areas and fact that Turks in current meeting have already indicated they contemplate only passive defense in Thrace with objective holding line in defense Straits and that they not prepared be as frank as Yugoslavs and Greeks in providing information regarding disposition forces.

Embassy also informed that in accepting Yugoslav proposal that agenda include defense Thrace Turks requested consideration defense northwest Yugoslav frontier. Greek speculation (colored by distrust comparatively aggressive Turkish foreign policy Balkans [Page 632] and Middle East) is that Turks making plea for Italian support by endeavoring smoke out Yugoslavs with respect their intentions regarding defense areas adjacent Italy.

While ultimate view Yugoslavia with respect revision summary record Ankara meeting not yet clear, Greek Foreign Office finds Yugoslav position in closer conformity with realities of delicate NATO political problem than its Turkish position. Foreign Office understands that in reply Turkish suggestion that NATO Military Commander be invited participate this meeting, Yugoslavia stated that army and people know that in event attack they will bear burden of resistance and that they will be assisted by Greece and Turkey. If NATO Commander participates meeting Yugoslav peoples will obtain impression that powerful UN or NATO forces will share burden. Yugoslavia added that they saw no need presence NATO Commander in view fact tripartite agreement clearly provides that Turkish and Greek obligations must be in conformity with NATO position. Yugoslavia assumes Greeks and Turks consult appropriate NATO body and that coordination thereby achieved.

Embassy will endeavor encourage Greece hold out for revision summary record Ankara meeting suggesting that Greeks endeavor persuade Yugoslavs and Turks inadvisable take risk creating serious political problem NATO. Department and SRE views requested regarding solution contemplated by Greek Foreign Office. Reference Turkish request for discussion northwest Yugoslav defense (to which Yugoslavia has agreed), Embassy fears this may be unnecessary meddling into area which would be subject United States, French, British discussions with Yugoslavia when Handy talks resumed. Embassy has not commented on this issue and requests instructions from Department.

  1. Also sent for action to Paris for Reinhardt and SRE, and repeated for information to Belgrade, London, Ankara, Rome, and Frankfurt.
  2. Telegram 3417 reported that the Yugoslavs had accepted a Greek suggestion that a second round of tripartite military conversations start on June 3 in Athens. (760.5/5–2053) Telegrams 3088 and 2599 are not printed. (760.5/4–1653 and 868.811/2–2853, respectively)
  3. During his Middle Eastern tour, May 9–29, 1953, Secretary Dulles and Köprülü held a conversation in Ankara on May 26 in which the Turkish Foreign Minister made this recommendation. For documentation on Dulles’ trip, see vol. ix, Part 1, pp. 1 ff.