164. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1

Secretary Kissinger asked me to pass the following report to you from Brussels.

“Cyprus: I spent most of today in a series of meetings with the Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers and will meet with each of them again later tonight.2 My meetings so far have, I think, made progress in moving both the Greeks and the Turks toward the opening of substantive negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. The Greeks, in particular, have come a long way since last September and have dropped virtually all of their previous prior conditions for the commencement of the substantive negotiations.

“Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios, who spent many years in the Greek Foreign Service, is intelligent, suave and well prepared. He works very closely with Prime Minister Caramanlis and clearly has his full confidence. From what Bitsios said it is very evident that Caramanlis would like to rid himself of the Cyprus problem rapidly and is prepared to have a confrontation with Makarios if that is necessary. Bitsios told me that Greece will back Clerides as the Greek Cypriot negotiator and will support any agreement which Clerides may reach [Page 562] with the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Denktash. Bitsios stressed that if Makarios should disavow an agreement reached by Clerides, Greece will not tolerate this maneuvering. Bitsios said that Greece could not accept the Turkish demand for a bizonal federal solution at this time.

“I had seen Foreign Minister Esenbel before my meeting with Bitsios. Esenbel is also a career diplomat, but he is infinitely less intelligent. As Foreign Minister in a caretaker government with an uncertain future, he does not have the authority, the precision or the decisiveness which was displayed by Bitsios. Esenbel is still accredited as Ambassador to Washington where he has served for almost ten years and where he hopes to return when he is no longer Foreign Minister. In my first meeting with Esenbel I went over with him the continuing determination of the Administration to provide military assistance to Turkey in the mutual interest of both countries. It was clear that Esenbel was not prepared to offer any gestures in light of Congressional actions. This is a position I find understandable, even as I found that the Turkish position was quite rigid with respect to the ultimate outcome of the constitutional structure of the island. They say that they can accept nothing short of a two-zone arrangement, with the Turkish zone in the north being populated by the island’s 135,000 Turkish Cypriots.

“Following the rather encouraging meeting with Bitsios, I again saw Esenbel and put to him the Greek view on the opening of substantive negotiations between Clerides and Denktash. I urged Esenbel to obtain the agreement of his government before we leave Brussels on Friday3 to some announcement that the Greek and Turkish Governments are prepared to have substantive negotiations started on the island. I pointed out that this was an opportunity that Turkey should not miss, particularly since no concessions would be asked of Turkey to agree to this. I also said it would be helpful to our domestic situation. Esenbel was hesitant because he said his government did not trust Archbishop Makarios and was afraid that the Archbishop would pull the rug out from under Clerides. I told Esenbel that if the Greek Government was prepared to support Clerides and he knew that the United States also supported the CleridesDenktash talks, the position of Makarios was irrelevant. I offered to give him a letter that we would back the outcome of these talks. If things go as planned we may see the beginning of political talks next week.

“This makes the outcome of the Congressional vote very decisive. If aid remains cut off either the negotiations will fail or they will quickly stalemate. On the other hand, we have a chance now to get things moving and I have the impression that Caramanlis is eager for a rapid settlement.

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“These facts cannot be used but I would urge a rapid solution.

Esenbel is to discuss this matter urgently with Ankara and let me know tomorrow.

“French Attitude on European Security Conference Summit: I have found a very negative attitude here among the allies toward the decision of President Giscard to agree in the communiqué with the Russians to accept a summit meeting of the European Security Conference.

Giscard has gone further than any other allied country in agreeing to the summit without the condition, that we have always placed, that the results would have to justify that level. Many of the allies, and particularly the Germans, feel that the French have badly compromised the western position for purely domestic reasons. In addition, Giscard has totally aligned the French with the Soviet position on the Middle East and on Cyprus. In both cases we may well have damaged prospects in delicate diplomatic negotiations. It is clear that Giscard’s communiqué, as well as his position on energy, are largely an appeal to the left-wing and old Gaullist constituencies in France.

“The result is a policy that differs little, if at all, from Pompidou and Jobert even if his tone is less hostile and his own instincts are not anti-American. I believe that in light of this situation and the strong view here that France has ignored the wider interests of its allies, we should not permit the meetings in Martinique to be portrayed as a great success for Giscard. If the allies should gain the impression that we are rewarding France for its lack of regard for allied interests and indeed treat is as Europe’s spokesman, this would be contrary to our basic instincts. I would like to discuss this in much greater detail with you before the Martinique meetings.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables for Henry Kissinger, 1974–1976, Box 4, HAK to President, 12/10–12/13/74. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The President initialed the memorandum.
  2. On December 12, Kissinger met with Bitsios at 5:30 p.m. at NATO headquarters Kissinger Papers, Box CL 343, Department of State Memoranda of Conversations, External December 1974–April 1975) and with Esenbel RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974, P860140–1512). For the follow-up meetings with Esenbel, see Document 165, and with Bitsios, see Document 166.
  3. December 13.