307. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Berry) to the Acting Secretary of State1


  • US Policy Toward Greece—NSC 5718, July 18, 1957


The attached draft statement of “US Policy Toward Greece”2 was prepared to supersede NSC 103/1, dated February 14, 1951.3 It includes a supplement on “US Policy Toward Settlement of the Cyprus Dispute.”4 These drafts are scheduled for consideration by the National Security Council on August 1, 1957.


Since the previous NSC policy statement on Greece, substantial progress has been made toward achieving the objectives then stated (Cyprus Was not then a problem affecting US-Greek relations). Greece has become a member of NATO and the Balkan Pact. It has achieved, since 1952, unusual political stability by Greek standards. Communism is no longer an imminent threat to political stability. Greek-American relations are on a firm and friendly basis and our important base rights in Greece are secure. Greece has given clear public endorsement to the American Doctrine.

Although Greece is still a poor country, its economy has made a remarkable recovery since 1947, when it was near collapse. This has resulted from substantial US aid and Greece’s own efforts. The Greek military posture has also been improved. Due largely to US aid, approved force goals have been met in terms of organization. However, there is a serious shortage of technical skills and much equipment is obsolete. Further progress is dependent on continued American aid. The cost of Greece’s share in NATO’s defense is beyond its present ability to pay.

Cyprus has become, since 1954, the dominant issue in Greek foreign policy, affecting nearly all aspects of our relations with Greece. It has contributed to a rigidity in Greek foreign policy and [Page 584] caused serious strains with its major allies. The continuation of the present political stability in Greece is in large part dependent on progress toward a peaceful settlement of this question.

American aid programs in Greece have been greatly reduced since 1952. The draft statement notes, however, that if Greece is to continue the necessary evolution in its long term economic and military strength, future United States assistance at about present levels will be needed. The statement, therefore, recommends that we continue to lend reasonable international political support to Greece and also:

Support currently approved Greek force levels during FY 1958.
Consider providing, in the total military aid program for Greece for the period FY 1958–60, appropriate conventional equipment and recurring maintenance costs.
Consider providing appropriate advanced … weapons in relation to Greek capability to utilize them effectively.
Be prepared beyond FY 1960 to carry most dollar costs of military maintenance replacement and modernization of the Greek armed forces.

These recommendations are made on the understanding that we make clear that Greece itself must make greater efforts to correct the deficiencies in its armed forces. It is also proposed that the United States review the possibility of achieving a reduction in NATO-approved force levels for Greece.

The statement also recommends that we provide economic assistance sufficient to aid Greece in maintaining the necessary military posture and in continuing a modest rate of economic growth. Any large reduction in our economic aid would almost surely cause any Greek Government to reduce its defense budget in order to maintain the politically important economic development program.

Cost estimates of these recommended programs are given in the economic and financial annexes to the paper.

The statement includes a detailed supplementary statement of “US Policy Toward Settlement of the Cyprus Dispute.” It recommends that we continue to encourage those primarily concerned to work out a peaceful solution among themselves and that we preserve our maneuverability by not at present favoring any specific formula. It notes, however, that if necessary to bring about an acceptable solution, on terms which strengthen NATO interests in the area, we should be prepared to participate in arrangements guaranteeing the interim or eventual status of Cyprus. You will note that some Planning Board members took exception to this. They question whether the United States should now state that it is prepared to enter into such a guarantee arrangement. We believe it is important [Page 585] that the way should be open for such participation by this country should it become necessary for a lasting settlement.

Since this NSC Statement was drafted, the UK has informed us that they propose inviting Greece and Turkey to a conference in London in early September to seek a solution to the international aspects of the Cyprus problem. They hope that we and M. Spaak will attend as observers. We believe that this British plan is generally consistent with the policy guidance stated in the NSC Statement. The degree to which we should associate ourselves with the plan, however, and whether we attend is still under consideration within the Department.


That you approve the attached NSC statement of “US Policy Toward Greece” and seek its adoption by the Council.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5718 Memoranda. Secret. Drafted by Laingen and sent through the Executive Secretariat.
  2. The draft statement, NSC 5718, dated July 18, not printed, was drafted in the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs. (Ibid., NSC 5718)
  3. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. V, p. 463.
  4. See the enclosure to Document 256.