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

123988. Subject: Patriarchʼs Funeral. Ref: Ankara 4851.2

Evening of July 9 Turk Chargé Yegen telephoned NEA/TUR Director Dillon at home to say he had received instructions from Ankara to tell USG that decision re entry of Archbishop Iakovos had been reviewed at highest level of GOT; that Iakovos would not be permitted to enter Turkey; that Iakovos was ex-Turkish citizen who had lost citizenship and who had worked against best interests of Turkey; that his presence in Turkey during delicate period following death of Patriarch was considered particularly undesirable. Yegen added that “in our opinion” Iakovos wanted to gain entry in order to politick for succession to Patriach, which was matter of “great sensitivity” in Turkey. Yegen then stressed that he under instructions to make clear that Greek Orthodox communicants, or church officials, other than Iakovos, were welcome to attend the funeral; his government hoped that the other members of the ecumenical delegation would feel free to come.3
With some embarrassment, Yegen then said that he had reported his informal conversations of July 7 and 8 with Dillon,4 and that he was instructed to say that Dillonʼs remarks on Saturday had been received with “astonishment and regret.” Under probing Yegen said that the specific remarks were Dillonʼs reference to the possibility of negative press treatment in the United States, and to the possibility that Archbishop Iakovos might be coming to Istanbul without a visa.
Dillon replied that he was equally astonished at FonMin reaction. As Yegen knew his remarks had been in context of informal discussion of what kinds of problems might be presented by Turkish refusal to grant entry to Iakovos. Dillon pointed out that if representatives of friendly nations could not discuss these kinds of problems without [Page 1120] words like “astonishment and regret” being used, there would be little communication. Yegen agreed and said he had reported to Ankara the informal nature of the discussion, but that the FonMin reply illustrated the great sensitivity in Ankara on the issue.
Dillon then informed Yegen that he understood that Iakovos was definitely not going, and that he also understood that other members of ecumenical delegation would almost certainly not go, although that was decision for each man to make separately. Dillon added that he had just heard that number of Greek-Orthodox communicants had applied for passports and would be going to Istanbul for funeral. He had also heard that there would be at least two chartered aircraft, one from Chicago and one from East Coast. Yegen replied that of course all such communicants were welcome “as long as they not on prescribed list,” and that he would pass information to Ankara.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 633, Country Files—Middle East, Turkey, Vol. III Jan 72–Dec 73. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Dillon and approved by Davies and Miller (S/S). Repeated to Istanbul.
  2. Dated July 9, it reported that Turkey had no objection to the attendance of a U.S. ecumenical delegation at the Patriarchʼs funeral but would not permit Archbishop Iakovos to enter Turkey. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 12–1 TUR)
  3. In telegram 4847 from Ankara, July 9, Handley reported that he had presented the Turkish Government with an appeal to permit Iakovos to attend funeral services for the Patriarch who died July 7, noting that the Archbishop was an American citizen and the ranking member of his faith in North America and that “it was only natural for the Archbishop to want to pay respects to the spiritual leader of his faith.” (Ibid.)
  4. No record of these conversations was found.