310. Minutes of the Senior Review Group Meeting1


  • Greece and Pakistan


  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
    • Mr. U. Alexis Johnson
  • Defense
    • Mr. David Packard
    • Mr. James S. Noyes
  • JCS
    • Lt. Gen. Richard T. Knowles
  • CIA
    • Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
    • Mr. David Blee
  • VP Office
    • Mr. Kent Crane
  • NSC Staff
    • Col. Richard T. Kennedy
    • Mr. Keith Guthrie



The SRG agreed that there was not much scope for the United States to influence internal developments in Greece but that the United States Ambassador and other U.S. officials should, when appropriate opportunities arise, prod the Greek Government about returning to constitutional government. However, the U.S. should not make any public show of pressure against the Greek Government.
The SRG agreed to seek Presidential approval for Ambassador Tasca to pay a courtesy call on King Constantine. The call would be arranged through the Greek Foreign Office.
[Page 776]


1. The SRG briefly reviewed current developments in East Pakistan.


Dr. Kissinger: I have read the IG paper2 and have noted the four choices presented. The IG seems to have come down on Options 2 and 3 although the distinction between those two is not self-evident. I think that what we are doing is carrying out Option 3 while Ambassador Tasca says that our present policy is Option 2. I donʼt care how we label our policy as long as there is agreement on what we are doing. There is no acute crisis in Greece now. Our choice remains the one we have always had: how to keep in touch with the Greek Government without losing our future options [in Greece]3 or losing too much at the present time in our relations with other countries.

Mr. Packard: If we push them [the Greeks] along, we might save some trouble later. I donʼt know what we can do other than what we are now doing.

Mr. Johnson: That is our [the State Departmentʼs] feeling.

Dr. Kissinger: An additional point is that when the President saw General Angelis, he didnʼt exactly send him charging out to undertake reform.4

Mr. Johnson: I know of only one issue, but it is the very, very major one of whether Ambassadors Martin, Lodge, or Tasca should see the King.

Dr. Kissinger: Letʼs decide first on the basic line to follow with the Greek Government. Is it correct to sum it up by saying that we want to prod them without any public show of pressure?

Mr. Johnson: I think that is okay.

Mr. Packard: Okay.

Dr. Kissinger: We also should recognize that our scope for action is not very great.

Mr. Packard: I think we should keep pressing them.

Mr. Johnson: Yes.

Lt. Gen. Knowles: Could we say that the policy is one of private prodding and public persuasion?

Mr. Packard: We are not doing anything to them publicly.

[Page 777]

Mr. Johnson: Perhaps it is more correct to say that we will take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to exert pressure. Didnʼt the Greeks make some commitment to the President [about returning to constitutional government]?

Mr. Blee: That was to the Council of Europe.5

Dr. Kissinger: They told Tasca they would do certain things.

Mr. Johnson: My briefing says something about commitments to the President.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we find out what is meant by “commitments to the President”? I remember only two Presidential conversations on Greece. One was at the EISENHOWER funeral.6

Mr. Johnson: Here it [the reference to a Presidential commitment] is on page 4 [of the NSSM 116 study]: “The commitment of the Greek regime to a schedule for the return of constitutional guarantees… was first made in a ‘timetable’ presented to the Council of Europe in August 1969. In a letter to the President of April 9, 1970, the Prime Minister wrote…”7

Mr. Blee: Lifting of martial law is the only item the Greeks havenʼt carried out.

Lt. Gen. Cushman: Setting an election date apparently triggers other matters [related to the return of constitutional government] although it [the NSSM 116 study] doesnʼt say why.

Dr. Kissinger: What we are saying is that when the Ambassador has a chance, he should press the Greek Government on this.

Mr. Johnson: Not only the Ambassador but other U.S. officials, including particularly those on the military side.

Lt. Gen. Knowles: That is being done.

Dr. Kissinger: With some delicacy.

Mr. Packard: We can tell the Greeks that if they donʼt show some movement, our ability to help may be jeopardized.

Mr. Johnson: Yes. Denmark is going to join Norway in attacking the Greek regime at the next NATO meeting.

Mr. Packard: I donʼt think the President needs to weigh in.

Dr. Kissinger: My certain conclusion is that the President is not going to press hard.

The next question is what to do about calling on the King. From what I have seen, [less than 1 line not declassified]. What are you proposing?

[Page 778]

Mr. Johnson: That Ambassador Tasca pay a courtesy call. This would be handled through the Greek Foreign Office. This is the standard procedure. The Foreign Office wonʼt be happy, but they will have to say yes.

Dr. Kissinger: This seems the most straightforward way of handling it.

Mr. Johnson: Have we sent you a memo on this?

Dr. Kissinger: Let me check this with the President. He wasnʼt eager when [Ambassador Gardner] Ackley wanted to call on the King a year ago. I will explain that it is the normal thing and that it is not Martin or Lodge who will be involved but our Ambassador in Athens, who will be paying a call as a matter of courtesy as arranged through approved Greek Government channels. Let me check. I think it is likely he will approve.8

Lt. Gen. Knowles: It would be abnormal if the Ambassador doesnʼt call, wouldnʼt it?

Mr. Johnson: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: I donʼt know what utility the King has. He might be of some use during a transition, but the opposition wouldnʼt want him back. I am sure Papandreou wouldnʼt want him.

That is all I have.

[Omitted here is discussion of Pakistan.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 149, Senior Review Group. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the conference room of the Western White House in San Clemente. There is a briefer account of this meeting in the Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80–B01086R, Executive Registry, Subject Files, G–6, Greece.
  2. For the Summary of the NSSM 116 Response, prepared by the IG/NEA, see Document 306. See also Document 308.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 304.
  4. All brackets, with the exception of the ones describing omitted material, are in the original.
  5. See footnote 4, Document 255.
  6. See Document 243.
  7. This quotation is not in the Summary printed as Document 306. For Papadopoulosʼs letter, see Document 274.
  8. See Document 315.