452. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey1

1186. Subject: Visit of Turk FonMin:MAP/F–4 Sale to Greece. Following is uncleared and subject to revision:

Summary: Turk FonMin Bayulken paid brief call on Secretary Rogers in his office before attending working luncheon which Secretary gave for him. Also present during call were Turk Ambassador Esenbel, newly-arrived Turk Embassy Counselor Yegen, AsstSec Sisco and Country Director Dillon. Bayulken presented letter from President Sunay addressed to President Nixon and asked Secretary to deliver. (Text being sent to Ankara by septel.)2 End summary.
Letter describes Turkey as surrounded by Soviet Union, Bulgaria and countries of “dubious friendship like Syria and Iraq.” Says that Turk neighbors being supplied “latest modern armaments,” thus “possibility of concerted attack on Turkey” increases danger to southeast flank of NATO. Letter adds there no prospect peaceful solution in near future to Arab-Israeli conflict or Cyprus problem. Soviet Union exploits both these questions in order to establish “firm military and political foothold in area,” and “claims right of exercising influence in Mediterranean where she maintains considerable naval presence.” Turkey while seeking to maintain democracy and realize economic development is making sacrifices in order to play an effective part in NATO. Turkey, however, not in position to provide for defense against threat described above through her own resources and Sunay asks President to take “close look into defensive preparedness of Turkey so that our close cooperation in this field be continued without being allowed to be jeopardized and imperiled with considerations of economy.” Letter then refers to proposed visit of Prime Minister Erim, concluding that during that visit “common problems and concerns” can be reviewed.
At following luncheon, Secretary, noting that Congress had not taken final action on security assistance and consequently he did not know what final MAP figures would look like, observed that judging from letter GOTʼs primary concerns were security and military aid matters. Bayulken agreed. He observed that Iraq and Syria had “500 mod [Page 1107] ern planes.” Futhermore it was the judgement of analysts that “they” (presumably the Bulgarians) could “thrust to Istanbul in five days.” This had to be a concern to all members of NATO. Futhermore, there was “naturally a certain anxiety on our part relating to news (concerning MAP) from the Congress.”
Bayulken then expressed GOTʼs concern about possible sale of F–4ʼs to Greece. These planes, which could range over Turkey and Cyprus and safely return to bases in Greece, would alter delicate balance between Greece and Turkey which had existed since Lausanne and which had been “kept by NATO.” GOT appreciated Greek needs, but Greeks did not need F–4ʼs. Bulgarian border close and short range aircraft would suffice. Furthermore, Greek possession of F–4ʼs might also have effect on solution to Cyprus, i.e. GOG might be less willing to pursue compromise solution. Secretary then asked question about Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations, and discussion shifted to Cyprus (septel).3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 633, Country Files, Middle East, Turkey, Vol. III. Secret; Exdis; Noforn. Drafted by Dillon; cleared in NEA, PM/MAS, EUR/RPM, and S; and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Athens, London, Nicosia, Sofia, USUN, USNATO, Istanbul, Izmir, Adana, SecDef, JCS, USCINCEUR, and USDOCOSOUTH.
  2. Transmitted in telegram 1442 to Ankara, January 5. (Ibid.)
  3. Apparent reference to telegram 805 to Nicosia, January 3. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 2 CYP)