16. Telegram From the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Department of State 1

3745. Subj: Greek-Turkish Dispute.

On July 4, SYG Luns invited to his office Ambassador of U.S., U.K., France, FRG, Italy, and Belgium for discussion of initiatives Luns intended to take in near future regarding Greek-Turkish dispute over Aegean. Luns said that he feared the possibility of conflict between Greece and Turkey and that he had concluded that he should take an initiative very quickly to try to engage the two countries in efforts to de-fuse the situation. He believed that as in the case of the Middle East, if one tried to solve all of the issues in one package, very great difficulties would ensue. Therefore, he favored a step-by-step approach of the kind which had proven successful in the Middle East context.2
Luns then said that he favored leaving aside for the time being the legal aspects, the question of minorities, and question of Cyprus. He thought it desirable to concentrate on the issue of oil and mineral wealth in the Aegean and to try to solve this problem now before major discoveries of oil were made. Therefore, he intended to propose to the Greeks and the Turks that they might establish joint companies to exploit the oil and mineral resources of the Aegean. The question of percentage of participation and other specifics of such joint companies would be matters for later decision.
In making such a proposal, he had in mind that he did not wish to call into question the legal rights which Greece insisted upon and that, on the other hand, Turkey should be able to say that it has a reasonable share in the mineral resources off its shores. He recognized the danger that the Government of Greece might think that NATO or its Secretary General was trying to impose a solution and he intended to be discreet in his manner of proceeding with this initiative, thinking first of preliminary contacts with the Greek and Turkish PermReps on the Council. This might be followed up, if appropriate, with visit to Athens and Ankara by A/SYG Kastl or by the SYG’s Chef du Cabinet Paul Van Campen. He intended to avoid all publicity, Luns stressed. He would hope at a suitable time to elicit diplomatic support from the allies represented in this meeting.
Luns anticipated that if his initiative were at all successful there might be follow-up discussions, perhaps in NATO headquarters, in which he would assist. He thought this approach would avoid the creation of ad hoc machinery which the Greeks did not like and yet start a process of negotiations. As regards timing, Luns said that he intended to make a brief statement in the DPC on July 5, in which he would exhort the Greeks and Turks to refrain from any actions which might lead to use of force. At Belgium Ambassador De Staercke’s suggestion, Luns said he might also refer to the “Three Wise Men’s report” of 1956 and to a resolution of the North Atlantic Council which was adopted as a result of that report, which called for submitting disputes to good offices procedures within the NATO framework. Luns said he would follow this up with private démarches to the Greek and Turkish delegations to NATO during the week of July 8. Luns said that he intended to undertake this initiative on his own responsibility, although he would be grateful if his intentions were reported to capitals.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1312, Saunders Chron File, NSC Secretariat, Contingency Plans 1974, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish Contingency Plans. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to Athens and Ankara.
  2. Reference is to the incremental agreements Kissinger concluded with the shuttle diplomacy he began in the wake of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war.