760.5/7–2053: Telegram

No. 332
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State1

top secret
priority

243. Have discussed with General Schlatter substance Athens 142 repeated Rome 5, Paris 6, London 7, Ankara 13, Belgrade 12, July 15.2

Failure Foreign Ministers establish joint military staff during recent Athens meeting regarded most seriously by CINCSOUTH, since this would appear to preclude joint military planning as envisaged in recent military staff talks. Development regarded even more seriously in view Stephanopoulis statement that this failure resulted from Yugoslav resentment against reluctance by Turks to make political commitment that attack against one should be regarded as attack against all three.

Alleged Yugoslav position on this issue directly contrary to guidance given Greeks and Turks by Admiral Carney, who proposed that talks be conducted entirely on national military level without involving political commitments or extending area of NATO obligations. Interesting, moreover, that Stephanopoulis should attribute reluctance in making such commitment to Turks, in view of action by Kitrilakis in recent military talks to advert what Carney considered “air-tight military commitment” proposed by Turks.

Yugoslav position may furthermore be significant as foretaste of attitude which they will assume in Washington talks.3 Minutes of last military meeting in Athens4 gave no evidence that Yugoslav military regarded political commitment as precondition for continued military planning. Contingent staff study method appeared to be solidly accepted and to have formed adequate basis for future talks. Considered here that Yugoslav attitude expressed in Athens Foreign Ministers meeting reflects high-level political reversal of military staff position, possibly for bargaining purposes at Washington.

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General Schlatter will visit Greek and Turkish Military and Defense Ministry officials during course of courtesy calls starting July 18. Will also visit US Embassy Athens and Ankara where he will appreciate all information available concerning military plans situation resulting from failure to establish military joint staff.

Luce
  1. Repeated for information to Athens, Ankara, Belgrade, London, and Paris for Reinhardt.
  2. This telegram reported that the Yugoslavs argued in the face of Turkish opposition at the Athens Foreign Ministers conference of July 7–11 in favor of more specific military agreements than currently existed among the parties to the Ankara Pact. (768.5/7–1553)
  3. A summary report concerning these talks is in file 611.68/8–2453.
  4. The minutes of the Greek-Turkish-Yugoslav Tripartite Military Conference in Athens, June 3–12, described briefly in telegram 3558 from Athens, supra , are in file 760.5/7–2353.