14. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State 1
Athens, June 14, 1974, 0900Z.
3705. Subject: Foreign Policy Views of Brig. Gen. Ioannides. Following message was transmitted to Ambassador Tasca from Brigadier General Ioannides:2
- Greek/Turkish Dispute: Greece really does not want war with Turkey as the only winner in such a war would be the Soviet Union. Greece will not attack Turkey (preemptive) but will not permit Greek interests in Aegean or Cyprus to be jeopardized. The U.S. can assist in preventing a Greek-Turkish war by selling Greece the arms it needs to achieve a level of military strength sufficient to prevent a Turkish attack on Greece. It will do no good, however, to sell arms to Greece and then give twice that amount to Turkey, as has been the U.S. custom. If Greece cannot buy arms from the U.S. (it prefers U.S. arms to any other) then France, Germany, and other countries will get the orders.
- Souda Bay: Ioannides would rather not sign an agreement at this time. The press would demand to know the details, especially the “rent” to be paid to Greece as is now paid to Spain, Turkey, etc., for base rights. He is willing to let U.S. forces simply use Souda as we have in the past without an agreement.
- Cyprus: Ioannides sees one of two things happening in Cyprus. Either Cyprus will slowly drift left and become a Cuba of the Mediterranean (this drift will be caused by the Communist propaganda which is being taught in the school system), or the 80 percent Greek majority will achieve union with Greece. The one thing that cannot happen is union with Turkey.
- Aegean Oil Rights: To suggestions that Greece give Turkey some oil rights in the Aegean, the answer is no. If Turkey has Aegean oil rights, so does Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and perhaps other countries. The Aegean is Greek. The potential wealth can be shared, however, by extremely heavy Greek purchasing of Turkish products, even more than can be used, thus providing a financial benefit to Turkey.
- Greek Morale: The Government of Greece has been receiving letters from hundreds of Greeks now in foreign countries pledging to return to Greece if war with Turkey should come. Ioannides is 100 per cent sure that if attacked by Turkey, the Greek people will unite and fight.
- Comment: Substance of foregoing generally conforms with earlier messages, though tone somewhat more moderate. One point worth underlining is implication that GOG intends to continue the 1959 agreement in effect as far as Souda Bay is concerned. This may be the Greek way of conceding that any special approach to Souda, outside of general context of our military relation, may not be practical.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files, Middle East, Greece, Vol. IV. Secret; Exdis.↩
- In telegram 3704 from Athens, June 14, Tasca informed the Department: “In order to maintain flexible and effective communications with Brigadier General Ioannides, I have opened a separate and additional channel to him, via DAO and the Greek military.” This was the first message transmitted through the alternate channel. (Ibid., Box 1312, Saunders Chron File, NSC Secretariat, Contingency Plans 1974, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish Contingency Plans)↩