10. Action Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Lord) to Secretary of State Kissinger1


We prepared the attached study on considerations affecting our relations with Greece for use at an analytical staff meeting. We have not been able to fit the meeting into your schedule and may not be able to do so for some time.2 Also, Ambassador Tasca will probably be in Washington next month and you may prefer to wait until then before having a general meeting on Greece.

There are no immediate critical issues that need to be resolved in our dealings with Greece; I believe, however, that you may want to look over the paper we have prepared since the situation may be deteriorating and there are decisions in the offing that will have to be taken in a broad policy context.

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The attached study was prepared by a drafting group chaired by S/P and including representatives of NEA, PM, H, EUR and INR. As is customary with such papers we did not specifically clear it with these bureaus; their views are, however, fully reflected in it.

At the end of the paper there is a series of “interim decisions.” I would not suggest that you make any decisions on the basis of this paper without fuller discussion with the bureaus concerned; you may, however, find these “interim decisions” useful as a way of approaching the problem.

I regret the length of the paper, but accept the fact that the detail provided is necessary for dealing with this complex situation. If you are pressed for time, you may want to move quickly through Sections I–III which provide background on the political dynamics of Greece; Section IV A. (Homeporting) presents important data that you need not, however, absorb in detail. The remainder of the paper sets forth the basic philosophical problem, and I suggest that you devote your principal attention to it. Throughout we have provided underlining which should facilitate rapid reading.3

Larry Eagleburger, in reading this paper, felt that the Navy’s position on homeporting got short-changed in the presentation—especially as regards their requirement for maximum time on station overseas. Even if this is the case, however, I believe the conclusions that we reach are still valid.

After the study was completed we received a cable from Athens (Tab C to the study)4 that provided a disturbing country team assessment of the effect on the Greek military of its involvement in politics. The cable suggests that the Greek military’s capabilities have suffered greatly and that politicization of the armed force could lead to further coups. This is certainly a factor that we will want to take into account in our dealings with the present Greek government.

Action Requested:

Do you wish to meet with concerned parts of the Department to discuss the current situation in Greece?5

Yes; arrange early meeting.

Yes; wait until Tasca returns.


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Paper Prepared in the Department of State6

I. Introduction

Four months have passed since the ouster of the Papadopoulos government in Athens. We have been able to form an adequate general impression of the new leadership, and its pattern of its intentions and attitudes toward the United States is emerging gradually. While there are no pressing issues to be resolved in bi-lateral Greek-US relations, we believe that it is now time to develop an overall US approach to the new government for these reasons:

  • —Ambassador Tasca is to testify before a predictably skeptical House committee on March 27. You may well be invited to testify on Greece soon thereafter. Ambassador Tasca will need to have clear policy guidance if he is to testify most effectively; also what he says will inevitably impact on certain bi-lateral issues in US-Greek relations, as well as broadly on the attitude of the Greek people and government toward us.
  • —Renegotiation of the agreement under which we have use of certain Greek and naval facilities is proceeding slowly and the Greeks obviously hope to drive a hard bargain. Our overall approach toward the Greek regime should influence the way we conduct these negotiations.
  • —Perhaps most important, we do not want to build up a policy toward Greece solely by the accretion of small ad hoc decisions. Where US-Greek relations end up some months or years from now should, to the extent possible, be the result of conscious, fully-articulated decisions on our part as to what best serves immediate and long-term American interests in Greece.

This paper is designed to illuminate the broad context of US-Greek relations and provide the framework for developing an overall policy approach toward Greece. To do this, it:

  • —discusses the nature of the present Greek regime, its attitude toward the US and likely future developments within Greece (Section II);
  • —describes some current issues in US-Greek relations (Section III); and
  • —delineates general lines of approach that we can take toward the Greek government (Section IV).

This last section also attempts to set the Greek problem into the framework of a much broader question that affects our relations with [Page 32] a number of countries: how to deal with an unpopular regime that offers important contributions to our security interests.

II. The Current Greek Government

A. Its Intentions and Character

“The President received me in full uniform, with four stars on each shoulder, and wearing dark glasses.”—Ambassador Tasca’s comment on his first meeting with President Gizikis.

The government that has ruled in Athens since November 25 is a direct descendant of the Papadopoulos regime that seized power in April 1967. Politically it has harked back to the simplistic puritanism of the early Papadopoulos years but lacks even the benefits of novelty that Papadopoulos initially enjoyed. It shows no signs of articulating a program that has relevance to Greek reality. Moreover, it has erased the tentative moves toward democracy that Papadopoulos made, and shows no promise of moving toward representative government. In the literal and figurative sense, it is a reactionary government.

The ostensible leaders of the government—President Gizikis, Prime Minister Androutsopoulos and the cabinet—are political nonentities without a power base. The power behind the regime is Brigadier Ioannides, who, under the Papadopoulos regime, was head of the military police and an anti-democratic hard-liner. He has an unsavory reputation, and is commonly linked to the tortures that caused so much international protest under Papadopoulos.

An additional drawback to the regime is that it disposes of even less technical capability for dealing with Greece’s growing economic, political and social problems than did Papadopoulos’ group. It can develop such a capability only by coopting politicians and technicians but its prospects for doing so are poor. The government simply does not command sufficient respect or confidence.

B. Attitudes Toward the US and NATO

The new regime is not a group of “Atlanticists” who see their relationship with the US and NATO based on shared values. Virtually inexperienced in the world outside Greece, their point of view is narrowly nationalistic. Their fanatic anti-Communism is based on deep fear of a threat from the North that impels them to value their ties to the United States and NATO. They tend to believe, however, that we need Greece at least as much as Greece needs us, so that their approach to us is likely to be one of hard bargaining over such issues as base rights and homeporting—adversarial in style rather than cooperative.

Their nationalistic orientation is also likely to make them highly sensitive to foreign meddling in Greek affairs—e.g., efforts to press them to restore democratic institutions. They probably have only a limited appreciation of the political pressures under which we operate and would [Page 33] react considerably more sharply than the Papadopoulos group to proddings of this nature, probably cooling considerably the climate of US-Greek relations at the official level.

Popular attitudes are a different matter. Greek appreciation of the United States, backed often by family ties, has been remarkably strong. A widespread feeling of good will continues to exist and will probably persist in part under almost any foreseeable circumstances. There is, however, an element of anti-Americanism growing in Greece that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. In part this probably relates to a generational trend visible throughout Europe although this is much less pronounced in Greece than, say, in Germany. A more substantial element of disillusionment has grown from our previous association with the Papadopoulos regime, intensified by the widespread belief that the CIA was involved in the November 25 coup and that the United States favors the present regime. This sentiment will grow as long as we are seen to be identified with unpopular rule and will erode the principal long-term force holding Greece close to the United States.

C. Prospects for Greece

The overthrow of Papadopoulos was greeted with euphoria, but the honeymoon quickly ended as the nature of the new regime became apparent. In addition, Greece is experiencing a major inflation induced by both domestic and international factors, fueled now by the growing cost of petroleum. The economic problem may be aggravated by declining receipts from Greek workers in Germany, from Greek shipping and from tourism—and especially by the lack of competent economic management. If the inflationary trend continues (as seems likely), it will only be a matter of time until opposition to the new dictatorship becomes manifest with the students and some elements of labor in the vanguard.

The government will move quickly and harshly to stifle any opposition. It will not hesitate to make arrests or close newspapers that print critical commentary. Repressive measures will further its isolation from the politically active elements of the population and sharpen the incipient polarization within which leftist and Communist groups gain entree to the moderate opposition. Repression will probably breed more opposition and repression in a vicious circle; foreign investment and tourism will be scared off; and international criticism will become stronger.

Ioannides and his colleagues can probably stay in power indefinitely if they remain united and command the support of the key military units. This will be difficult to do, however, as pressures mount and offer further opportunities for the display of governmental incompetence. Governmental legitimacy, already greatly eroded under Papadopoulos, has been weakened still further and other military men may be tempted to topple a junta that lacks any popular base. Already there are indications that a number of senior officers are worried about the implications of the [Page 34] Army’s direct involvement in managing the Government. These officers believe that the close identification of the Greek Army with the present regime is not only seriously discrediting the Greek military in the public mind but is also dividing the Army into factions and undermining its military capabilities. There is a third group of officers in the Army—so-called Qadafites—who reportedly favor a neutralist position for Greece.

In this situation, it is difficult to predict what forces will emerge in the Greek military in the coming months, but the life expectancy of the Ioannides regime is not good—a year would probably be a generous estimate. Greece could experience a series of coups, each varying from the other at most in degree rather than in kind.

The question of what will come after the type of regime currently in power is the critical one for long-term US interests in Greece—i.e., for continued Greek recognition that their interests are best served by closer association with the United States. There are numerous possibilities including a period of enlightened guided democracy, gradual relinquishing of control by the military to the politicians, a new type of military regime that is nationalist and neutralist, a leftist assumption of power resulting from polarization and radicalization, or even a reinstatement of moderate political rule resulting from a violent upheaval.

We cannot choose with any confidence among these, but believe that two valid general predictions are possible:

  • —The current type of regime cannot provide a long-term government in Greece; it lacks support and the capability to analyze problems and develop coherent plans and programs for dealing with them. Further, this type of regime is not likely to hand power over to the politicians willingly.
  • —The most natural and hence probably most stable system for Greece is parliamentary democracy of the kind that was fitfully evolving prior to the Papadopoulos coup. (The Greeks had finally managed to elect a majority party—George Papandreou’s Center Union—in their last free election in 1964.) Whether the monarchy would be restored is a matter of detail.

The justification for the first of these generalizations is inherent in the preceding discussion. The second is credible because of the way that Greeks prefer to go about doing politics. They are not wedded to an abstract concept of democracy, but the give and take of a parliamentary system helps satisfy their predilection for personal involvement with the sources of political and social power. Also, it provides scope for the exercise of the art of patronage which comfortably blurs the distinction between government and governed but is difficult to practice with distant, puritanical men of Ioannides’ stamp who want to recast Greek political life.

The two generalizations do give us important guidelines in assessing our relations with Greece. We are not likely to be dealing with Ioannides [Page 35] or types similar to him indefinitely. The people who will rule Greece in the not too distant future will probably come from the political opposition that has chafed under the rule of Papadopoulos and now of Ioannides for nearly seven years.

The moderate political leadership in Greece perceives a close identity of interest among Greece, the US and NATO, and under no circumstances is it likely to turn strongly against the American tie. Its attitude toward the US will, however, be significantly affected by the degree to which it sees us as supporters of military dictatorship. Put in minimum and simplistic terms, there is probably an inevitable inverse relationship between the ease with which we secure Greek cooperation on security matters now and the ease with which we will be able to secure it from the kind of successor regime that is most likely and most desirable from our overall point of view.

III. Bi-lateral Security Issues

The expansion of homeporting in Athens to include an aircraft carrier (Phase II) has been postponed for at least six months by Secretary Schlesinger.7 The Department has had serious misgivings about this Second Phase of homeporting and welcomes the postponement. In addition, we will find it useful to keep Phase II in abeyance at least until other bi-lateral issues have been sorted out and we have a determination on how we wish to proceed in dealing with the Greek regime.

We do not know whether Secretary Schlesinger will ever reinvigorate Phase II; this will probably be determined in large part by the study underway on carrier inventory. Should we proceed with Phase II, however, there will be political costs. While the physical visibility of Phase II would not be great (six destroyer-type ships are already homeported in Athens and a rotational carrier spends considerable time there now), the political impact would be disproportionate. The Greeks would see this as a demonstration of our support for the Ioannides government and the regime will ensure that this implication is well publicized. The reaction in the US—especially in Congress—would also be considerable.

Thus as we consider the military requirements for Phase II home-porting, it will be important to keep these political aspects in mind as well.

The Souda Bay negotiations are the prime matter of current concern in our security relationships with the Greeks. Our Navy has used Souda Bay airfield (on Crete) under a 1959 agreement with the Greek government. In recent years, our anti-submarine aircraft have been using it, with Greek acquiescence, far beyond the levels provided for in the agreement. Also, the Navy has been using Souda Bay extensively outside the framework [Page 36] of the agreement for logistic support of the Sixth Fleet. Now both the Greeks and the Navy wish to regularize this increased usage.

Additionally, should we decide to implement Phase II of home-porting, we would need to use Souda Bay as a training airfield for the aircraft of the carrier that would be homeported at Athens. (Airspace around Athens is too crowded for this kind of activity.)

The Navy has been negotiating with the Greek military for expanded usage (ASW plus training) since early 1972. With the advent of the new regime, Greek negotiators sought an amended agreement that would contain provisions unacceptable to us (e.g., summary unilateral termination by Greece and changes in status of forces.) In January, these negotiations were raised to the political level and the matter is now under study in the Greek foreign ministry.

The Greek military indicated that they expect a quid pro quo as part of the package including Souda Bay renegotiation and Phase II home-porting. At one point they expected a renewal of grant military assistance, which was terminated at their request in 1973,8 but they now appear to recognize that Congressional opposition makes a renewal of grant aid impossible. The Greeks have also mentioned fighter aircraft to modernize their air force; thus it is clear that they expect something substantial and the negotiations are likely to be lengthy and difficult.

A final issue relates to the level of FMS credit available to Greece. So far in FY 1974 we have provided Greece with $50 million in FMS credit which is to be applied toward the Greek purchase of F–4 aircraft. The possibility of an additional $10 million in credits in FY 1974 is still under review. The proposed FMS credit level for Greece in FY 1975 is $71 million. Increasing our level of assistance in FY 1975 to this level would be likely to enhance our negotiating position on Souda Bay and perhaps subsequently benefit possible negotiations related to Phase II homeporting. However, Congressional critics of the Greek regime will be watching closely and may launch a strong attack on any increase.

This complex of issues—Souda Bay negotiations, FMS and possible homeporting—make up a substantial element of our relations with Greece, both on security and political grounds. We will need to make a politico-military assessment of them if we are to manage them with maximum effect. We will need to determine what price we are willing to pay for facilities in terms of association with the Greek regime, problems in our relations with Congress, quid pro quo, and acceptance of agreements less favorable to the US than were previous defense agreements. In the broadest sense, these decisions must all be made in light of our overall posture toward the Ioannides government.

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IV. Overall Posture

A. Special Considerations

In appraising the various postures that we could adopt toward the Greek government, several special elements affecting Greek-US relations need to be examined.

The first is a widespread belief, nearly unique to the Greek polity, that the United States can and does determine the course of Greek politics. This is Sakharovism writ large; while few persons—Russian or other—seriously believe that the US can effect substantial short-term change in Soviet domestic politics, many persons—Greeks and others—take our capabilities vis-à-vis Greece as a matter of faith. As a result, US cooperation with a given regime is construed as support and becomes a significant factor strengthening the regime’s position. In the present circumstances the “evidences” of cooperation are our close military relationships (most visibly homeporting) and the widely accepted rumors about CIA and Pentagon support of the regime. These will be enhanced to the extent that we fall back from our previous policy of stating our hopes for a return to democratic government.

A second element is the ambivalent position of Greece within our alliance framework. Our relationship is technically defined by NATO, but in fact shows many discrepancies:

  • —The Greeks, while valuing their ties to NATO and Europe in general, in fact see their security mainly as a bilateral matter between themselves and the United States.
  • —The other NATO members show varying degrees of disinterest and distaste for Greece. It is geographically remote from the focus of security concern in Central Europe and a number of the NATO members find it repugnant to deal with the type of regime that Greece has had since 1967. Policy toward Greece has been a perennial bone of contention within NATO, and the issue was raised again by the Norwegians, backed by the Danes, at the December Ministerial meeting.9 The Benelux Foreign Ministers associated themselves with the Scandinavian criticism. The Greek Foreign Minister was obliged to reject these attacks as “flagrant violations” of the Alliance doctrine of nonintervention. We can expect much more of this sort of thing as the Europeans gain a fuller appreciation of the Ioannides junta.
  • —While we treat Greece within an overall NATO posture, our most pressing concern at this point is to be able to use Greece as an element of our Eastern Mediterranean strategy outside the framework of NATO. The other NATO members recognize this fact and it contributes to their [Page 38] lack of enthusiasm for our attempts to maximize our security position in Greece.

—The Greek government’s posture, however, is actually at variance with our role in the Arab-Israeli dispute. Although the regime was covertly helpful to us during the October fighting, its willingness to permit use of facilities in support of non-NATO contingencies is severely limited by concern for Greek interests and communities in Arab states.10

The third element relates to the approach that many Americans and other foreigners take to Greece. Lord Byron’s heart still beats in many breasts and the urge to “do something for Greece” is often near-uncontrollable.

—Expectations still run high that Greece, as the alleged home of democracy, should keep the tradition going. A rather more cogent argument along this line is that Greece was, in fact, developing a democratic system prior to Papadopoulos’ coup and, unlike many states with no democratic tradition, could probably make a go of such a system if given a chance.

—Greeks are intrepid emigrants. There are Greek communities all over the world and while their opinion is split on the current political situation in Greece, opponents of the regime are highly vocal and have been effective in fueling anti-regime sentiment.

Finally, we can expect the Congressional opponents of our policy toward Greece to intensify their criticism in the coming weeks and months. Ambassador Tasca’s appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe will probably be the first occasion for concentrated criticism. The opponents of our policy will probably assert that the new regime is worse than the last one; that our attitude of forebearance while the Greeks work things out for themselves has not paid off; and that our claims about the strategic importance of Greece to US security interests has been put in doubt by the apparent Greek ambivalence toward our Eastern Mediterranean concerns. Some members may also express heightened concern about the well-being of American servicemen and dependents in Greece in light of the unstable and potentially explosive political situation there.

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B. Pure Strategies

There is predictably no pure strategy that can cope with the conflicting presures and special considerations that form the framework for our policy toward Greece. Equally predictably, there are extreme, or ideal policies that provide the parameters within which policy can be devised and at the same time provide the dynamic tension shaping policy. These pure strategies relate closely to the traditional debate in American affairs between:

  • the hands-off approach of those who assert that we have no business meddling in others’ politics and should deal with governments solely in terms of their usefulness to our tangible national interests; and
  • the moralist/interventionist approach of those who assert that we have a moral duty to speak out against injustice and, more specifically, that a “moral” element is essential to any policy that is to muster support at home and abroad for our role as a leader of an alliance that shares common values.

This debate is nowadays by no means relevant only to Greece; opponents of détente with the USSR, critics of South African apartheid, supporters of the Smith regime in Rhodesia, and opponents of the Thieu and Castro governments, all take part in it.

We by no means reject the moralists’ argument. Debate on these grounds tends to be inconclusive, however, for intensely personal choices are involved. A more useful approach is the test of American national interest over time—i.e., does a given policy offer a promise of maximizing our interests over the full range of foreseeable circumstances? This requires presenting the basic positions of the debate in terms that are relevant to the choices at hand—in the present case, the arguments that relate to the situation in Greece and, specifically, to our interests in Greece.

There are a number of arguments adduced by partisans of a hands-off approach toward Greece:

  • Our semi-interventionist policy in the Papadopoulos years was not notably successful; his hesitant moves toward democracy were dictated mainly by internal considerations.
  • We have declining leverage for pressuring the Greek regime. We no longer provide economic or grant military assistance (although FMS credits are still important) and Greece’s economic ties are increasingly with Europe.
  • —The Papadopoulos regime was generally cooperative in security matters and we can probably assure continued low-key Greek cooperation at a reasonable price.
  • By applying pressure on the military regime, we risk alienating it, thereby losing the access that we need to important military and broadcasting facilities—or even forcing it to look elsewhere for meeting its security requirements.11
  • By intervening, we could at most bring down a government, not dictate a successor. The result might be chaos or a government that would be more harmful to our interests than the Ioannides regime. Andreas Papandreou is a favorite bête noir in this scenario.
  • —A final argument is hotly disputed and somewhat in contradiction to other points made earlier: that Greeks will always feel isolated, encircled and in need of an American security guarantee. Therefore we can maximize our position with the incumbent regime without much concern that a future government will make life difficult for us.

Supporters of the interventionist approach offer these arguments regarding Greece:

  • —Given the Greek belief that the United States strongly influences Greek politics, non-interventionism is illusory. A hands-off approach is seen as support for the incumbent government and is thus a form of intervention on its behalf. Our close military association with Greece underlines this consideration.
  • —Because of this belief we in fact have considerable leverage on the Greek political scene if we choose to use it.
  • The Papadopoulos regime failed ultimately to meet the political and economic challenges of Greece. The successor junta is more odious and less competent; it will fail more dismally and rapidly, with grave consequences for the strength and stability of Greece—and hence for our long-term interests.
  • —Although the damage so far has been acceptable, our present policy does incur costs in our relations with Congress and our NATO allies. The benefits that we gain from the present government must therefore be discounted appropriately.
  • —As discussed earlier, our interests in Greece over the long-term will erode in direct proportion to our support of the current government and to its length of stay in power. And that long term may not be very long. When we made a similar set of judgments in 1969, it seemed reasonable to allow up to a decade of life-expectancy to military dictatorship. That decade is now over half gone and our original estimate seems too generous. Thus the short vs. long term calculus is increasingly unattractive and warrants reassessment.

C. Mixed Strategies

We do not believe that anything approaching the pure interventionist strategy would be a reasonable option for US policy. One could conceive of strong overt pressure or covert activity to dislodge the Ioannides group and install a democratic government, but such a course of action would be neither necessary nor desirable.

Something much closer to the hands-off policy is feasible and indeed, is approximately our present approach. Some modifications of that policy may over time be necessary, however, and there are several middle-ground options that might be desirable alternatives to maximize the trade-offs available as between the two pure strategies.

In the following discussion, we evaluate four viable postures in terms of these criteria: [Page 41]

  • —How much will it contribute to our long-term stake in Greece by establishing our bona fides with anti-regime forces?
  • —How much risk will it entail in our relations with Congress and our NATO allies?
  • —What kinds of precedents would we be creating for similar situations elsewhere?
  • —In the case of policies intended to effect change, what would be the chances of success?

We could maintain a substantially hands-off policy. This would involve a non-involved approach toward Greek internal affairs, modified only slightly—e.g., by the hold that we have put on high-level civil and military visits to Greece—to keep some daylight between us and the regime. This policy would probably derive the maximum short-term gains for our security interest as long as we make it clear that we expect this from the Greeks as their part of the bargain. It will be the most costly in terms of our relations with anti-regime forces and hence may involve maximum risk to our long-term interests. It will be the most difficult to sell to Congress and concerned NATO allies, but will avoid setting a precedent that could return to haunt us in such diverse places as the USSR, Chile or Portugal (also a NATO member).
We could seek to distance ourselves publicly from the regime but take no action. This would entail a nose-holding public posture in which we made clear our distaste for the regime but made equally clear that we did not consider it our responsibility to do anything about it. This policy would be received with approbation by the Greek opposition and their supporters in Congress and Europe, but would risk whetting their appetites for more direct action. It would have a limited, but positive impact as a precedent. The Greek regime would react negatively but its moves against us might be limited by the knowledge that we were holding back from taking any action. Its impact on developments in Greece would be problematical, but it would show that we do not fully support the Ioannides group and could be a significant factor heartening the opposition.
We could return to the policy that we followed in the latter years of Papadopoulos’ rule. Although we tended to blow warm and cool, our general approach was to urge the Greeks privately to move toward democratic rule and to affirm publicly (and to Congress in particular) that we were making such representations. This policy would probably have even less impact on Ioannides and his colleagues than it did on Papadopoulos. It would buy only a minimum (but perhaps an adequate minimum) of good will among anti-regime forces and is probably the minimum that Congressional critics of the regime will accept. The Greek government would probably not be impelled to move directly against our interests, but they would be irritated and probably be more sticky in granting us the kinds of access that we would need. It would not set important precedents.
We could revert to the policy that we followed in the early Papadopoulos years. This was a more outspoken approach. We left the post of ambassador to Athens open for some time; made public statements critical of the regime; and delayed supply of military equipment. Compared to the previous option, this approach would differ mainly as a sign that we were, in fact, “doing something”, albeit with little likely effect. It would probably be the course most acceptable to Congress and would be applauded in NATO, but would run some risk of creating a snowball effect in NATO and ultimately driving Greece from the alliance. If pushed hard, it could provoke retaliation by the Greek government against our security interests.

None of the mixed strategies is attractive in all respects. The “hands-off” approach probably best meets urgent short-term needs, but it does not provide well for long-term concerns, and being closest to a pure strategy, does not exploit the trade-offs that are available.

The policies of exhortation that we pursued variously vis-à-vis Papadopoulos do offer trade-off benefits but necessarily entail the related costs. Neither one offers convincing benefits, but either would offer a viable compromise strategy if one were required. Both also enjoy some sanctity of tradition.

The nose-holding option has many of the costs and benefits associated with the exhortation options; its main virtue is that it is probably as close as we can come, given Greek realities, to a policy of true nonintervention.

D. Concluding Observations

Even if some change in posture along the above lines is desirable, there is no compelling case for making it immediately. We can maintain a hands-off position that is welcome to the regime during the course of the important Souda Bay negotiations. It may be several weeks before we know whether the Greeks will maintain their current tough bargaining position on the use of these facilities, and the stance that they take may in part determine the type of public posture that we will ultimately choose. We might also, in the course of the negotiations, wish to use our ability to change posture as leverage. As these negotiations progress, we may need decisions from you on:

  • —whether we wish to use this leverage in the negotiations, and
  • —the extent to which we are willing to provide positive incentives to the Greeks in the form of political support, military hardware or other.

Ambassador Tasca’s Congressional appearance will present a problem in this regard. Members of the Committee will press him for critical statements about the present Greek government and, at a minimum, the publicity surrounding the hearings could feed back into the negotiations. His testimony will be crucial as the authoritative exposition of [Page 43] our posture toward Greece, and must be based on a full consideration of the many factors involved.

While the various issues we have raised are of intrinsic importance, we are more concerned with their cumulative effect—that as we move into a relationship with the new government in Athens, we do not build our policy incrementally with ad hoc decisions:

  • —We have already adopted a hands-off policy that is generally interpreted as favorable to the regime.
  • —If Ambassador Tasca’s testimony affirms a US posture of toleration for the regime; and
  • —If we follow this with concessions in the course of the Souda Bay negotiations that are interpreted as drawing us still closer to the regime, especially beyond the NATO context; and
  • —If we increase FMS levels; and
  • —If we were to resume high-level military and civilian visits to Greece; and
  • —If we ultimately move ahead with Phase II of homeporting—

we will have moved well down the road of close identification with the incumbent government in Athens, entailing the various costs and benefits associated with this position. Wherever we come out, we should reach that point as a result of a series of conscious decisions based on an awareness of available alternatives, rather than arriving there unexpectedly.

Attachment A


Athens was selected from a number of possible sites when the Navy decided it would be beneficial to homeport one of its carrier task groups in the Mediterranean. Admiral Zumwalt’s renewed interest in homeporting arose from two concerns: the need to maintain the number of ships on station while at the same time accepting reductions in the overall number of ships in the active fleets and, secondly, the expectation that homeporting would reduce periods of family separation and thereby improve Navy morale and retention.

Phase I of the Athens homeporting was implemented in September 1972, involving six destroyer-type ships. Approximately 2,000 military personnel and 1,250 dependents were homeported. The ships, families, and household effects arrived almost simultaneously, without sufficient preparation, and serious dislocations resulted. Most of these problems have been reduced to a manageable level, but the Navy still lacks a recreational complex for the single sailors, who comprise some 75 percent of the homeported crew strength. One of the Department’s concerns in Phase II is to ensure that the “get them on the beach and sort them out later” experience of Phase I is not repeated.

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The Navy had intended to proceed in early summer 1974 with Phase II of Athens homeporting. Involved were an aircraft carrier with its embarked air wing and a dependent support (hospital) ship, enabling the Navy to maintain a two-carrier force in the Mediterranean. It would bring an additional 5,100 millitary personnel and 2,550 dependents to Athens. The Department of State approved Phase II in principle over a year ago. However, the Department deferred final endorsement pending resolution of uncertainties which existed in the Navy plan, particularly location of airfield facilities to accommodate the air wing when the carrier is in port and determination that adequate medical, recreational and educational facilities will be in being, fully staffed and operational before Phase II dependents arrive in Athens. Also, the Department indicated a need for clear indications that homeporting is meeting its objective of improving morale and raising retention rates.

The State Department welcomes Defense’s determination to delay for six months or more any final decision to go ahead with Phase II. It will provide more time to evaluate the new government and will permit a better measure of the success of Phase I in terms of improving morale and retention rates. The Navy would also gain more time to develop support facilities and negotiate the necessary air base support facilities for the carrier air wing. Further, we believe that a postponement will not impair the Navy’s two-carrier posture in the Eastern Mediterranean. This judgment is reinforced by Secretary Schlesinger’s decision to maintain a 15-carrier force through 1975.

Attachment B


Greek Ports

Beyond homeporting in Athens, access to Greek ports by elements of the Sixth Fleet is very important to the Navy in terms of logistic support and maintaining on-station time in the Eastern Mediterranean without excessive periods at sea between port visits.

Souda Bay NATO Maritime Airfield

ASW aircraft operate regularly from the base and carrier attack aircraft occasionally fly training missions there. Considerable amounts of Sixth Fleet logistic support stages through the facility.

Athenai Air Base

Most Military Airlift Command flights to the Middle East and South Asia stage through Athens. MAC terminal and maintenance support facilities located there make the field a focal point for logistic support [Page 45] of other U.S. military activities in Greece and for the Sixth Fleet. Some airborne reconnaissance missions operate from the base.

USN Communications Station—Nea Makri

The station provides primary command and control communications for the Sixth Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It also provides the HF link to Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Turkey and serves as the area’s diplomatic telecommunications relay.

Tropospheric Scatter Stations

Five stations provide wideband command and control communications [1 line not declassified]. They also provide the wideband communications link with U.S. Defense activities in Turkey.

Iraklion Air Base

[1 paragraph (2 lines) not declassified]

NATO [less than 1 line not declassified]

The U.S. and FRG are the principal users of this Greek operated facility. It is employed primarily for annual [2 lines not declassified].


An air weapons training facility which is much needed by NATO is being developed and is due to be operational in mid-1975.

NATO Depots

POL, ammo and mine storage facilities are available for U.S. use at Souda Bay.

[less than 1 line not declassified]

[1 paragraph (4 lines) not declassified]

Broadcasting Stations

The Voice of America maintains facilities at Rhodes, Thessaloniki, and the newly-opened station at Kavalla, representing an investment in excess of $30 million. These facilities broadcast to Eastern Europe, the USSR, and the Middle East. It is hard to imagine relocating these facilities, for there is no potential site for relocating them which would be politically acceptable to other countries or technically acceptable to the United States.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 324, Policy Planning—History, Selected Papers. V. 3, European Affairs, 1973–75. Secret; Exdis. Printed from a copy that indicates Lord signed the original. Drafted by Thomas Thornton of the Policy Planning Staff.
  2. See Document 12.
  3. Printed below as italics.
  4. Not attached but printed as Document 9.
  5. Kissinger did not initial any of the options.
  6. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Thorton on January 8 and revised on January 30 and March 19; other principal contributors were John Day and Lieutenant Colonel Frederic Flemings (PM/ISO).
  7. See Attachment A for background on the homeporting issue. [Footnote in the original.]
  8. See Document 1.
  9. December 7–8, 1972, in Brussels. Documentation on the meeting is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XLI.
  10. Publicly, the former Greek government under President Papadopoulos adopted a slightly pro-Arab posture during the recent war. Anticipating a negative response, we did not ask Greece for landing rights for our military supply airlift to Israel.

    The government was, however, privately helpful to the United States in a variety of ways. [2½ lines not declassified] they allowed us use of Souda Bay airfield, to a much greater extent and for different purposes than is called for in our bilateral agreement. Souda Bay proved vital to the U.S. Navy for re-supplying the Sixth Fleet. Moreover, the Greeks placed no restrictions on: (1) the Sixth Fleet’s access to Greek ports; (2) the activities of the U.S. Naval Communications Station at Nea Makri; (3) the USAF facility at Iraklion, Crete [3 lines not declassified]. [Footnote is in the original.]

  11. See Attachment B for a summary of U.S. facilities in Greece. [Footnote is in the original.]