265. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Your Meeting with Ambassador Tasca—10:00 a.m., December 20

The main purpose of Ambassador Tascaʼs call—apart from the usual opportunity to have a photo taken—is to hear directly from you the policy you want carried out toward the military government in Greece. As you know, it is necessary to strike a delicate balance, and the Ambassador is the one man who can inject discipline so that our mission in Athens will speak with one voice.

You will recall that you approved the following instructions to Ambassador Tasca.2

He is to tell Prime Minister Papadopoulos that we are prepared to resume normal military aid shipments, including all items on the suspended list.
At the same time, he is to make clear that movement toward a constitutional situation would ease our problems in speeding the release of the suspended equipment.
Ambassador Tasca is then to report the Greek governmentʼs response and, after you have reviewed his report, shipment of the suspended items could begin gradually, beginning with the less dramatic items.
In general, the Ambassador would attempt to develop a relationship with the Greek government leaders that would permit him to exercise influence for democratic reform and a relationship with civilian political leaders that would maintain a bridge to possible future civilian governments.

The key issue to be discussed with the Ambassador is the degree to which you see a linkage between (a) release of the suspended items and restoration of a normal relationship and (b) Greek movement toward fully constitutional government. This boils down to the question: If the government gives him little satisfaction about future movement, will we release the suspended equipment anyway?

My understanding of your position is that the answer is that the decision has been made to release the equipment and that Ambassador [Page 679] Tasca is to use that decision to seek Greek cooperation in improving the atmosphere for that release. What the Greek government objects to most is the idea of a conditional release, while they seem willing to be cooperative.

Talking points. If this is an accurate statement of your views, then Ambassador Tasca should understand the following:

You regard the release of suspended equipment as unconditional.
You hope your decision will provide the basis for cooperation with the Greek government.
You hope one element in that cooperation might be improving—insofar as possible—the atmosphere for the release. (This has added importance in view of Greeceʼs recent resignation from the Council of Europe.)3
The main reason for your decision is the overriding interest the US has in its military rights and installations in Greece.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 593, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. I Jan 69–Oct 70. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.
  2. See Document 262. Nixon met with Tasca from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. on December 20. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, Daily Diary) No substantive record of the conversation has been found.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 264.