252. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Vice President Agnew1


  • Your Letter on Prime Minister Papadopoulosʼ Concerns

I hope you will excuse the delay in replying to your interesting July 1 letter, but I did not receive it until July 9.2 With regard to the points you report in that letter:

On the reply to Papadopoulosʼ letter to the President, it is possible that your informant talked with Papadopoulos before he had received the Presidentʼs reply. But as you see from the Presidentʼs letter (attached),3 it was sent June 3, more than a month ago.
As far as the Prime Ministerʼs offense at our not appointing an Ambassador is concerned, we understand the special reason for his concern. The appointment of an Ambassador will be seen by all Greeks as a US endorsement of the junta—which he wants—whether we intend it to be or not. He must know that his opposition is urging us to withhold the appointment to show displeasure with his government. The fact of the matter is that it has simply taken time to find the right man, as has been the case in several other important posts.
On Papadopoulosʼ desire to have an arms decision in the very near future, we are close to such a decision. The arms policy issue is scheduled for the NSC Review Group in mid-August and would go to the President as soon afterward as we can arrange for NSC discussion. Meanwhile, the President approved a sale of $20 million in equipment at the end of June.4
Papadopoulosʼ offer of a timetable for elections is interesting.5 I would suggest that we discuss how to handle this and other informal approaches of this kind in the context of our NSC review.
Sending a high level official to talk to Papadopoulos could be useful, depending on what posture the President decides to take in the course of our NSC review. We can discuss this during that review as well.

I shall be glad to discuss this subject further with you whenever you wish.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 593, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. I Jan 69–Oct 70. Confidential.
  2. Not printed. In it Agnew passed along observations from a “prominent Greek-American businessman” who had returned from Greece after having five conversations with Papadopoulos. (Ibid.) A July 3 letter from McClelland to Vigderman indicates the businessman was Tom Pappas. (Department of State, Greek Desk Files: Lot 71 D 509, Correspondence To and From Athens)
  3. Not printed. See footnote 4, Document 249.
  4. See Documents 249 and 251.
  5. The sentence under reference in the Vice Presidentʼs letter reads: “The Prime Minister told our business contact that he is willing to provide President Nixon with a timetable for elections, and that he would hold to such a timetable, but that his intentions in this regard must be kept a secret so that he can effectively rule the country in the interim period.”