166. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US
  • Secretary Kissinger
  • Assistant Secretary Hartman
  • Ambassador Kubisch, (notetaker)
  • Greece
  • Foreign Minister Bitsios

The Secretary: I saw Foreign Minister Esenbel last night2 and he has agreed in principle to the letter and to the prompt opening of negotiations between Clerides and Denktash on substantive political issues.

Bitsios: Did the letter include the changes I suggested?

The Secretary: Yes, your changes were incorporated. The plan is for Clerides to call Denktash on Tuesday3 to make the arrangements for the meeting. Denktash will be instructed to accept. Initially the talks and negotiations will be about the Nicosia Airport, the Port of Famagusta, refugees and similar matters. However, it is expected that the negotiations will move quickly to political issues and to questions on the federal system. I am preparing to do all I can to keep this moving and I have told the Turks that I believe that Prime Minister Caramanlis is prepared to go to a rapid solution and settlement on the island. Therefore I said to the Turks that they must show flexibility so that an agreement can be reached promptly. Is that a fair statement?

Bitsios: Yes, Prime Minister Caramanlis wants a speedy solution. However, the negotiations and approach to it must not be done in an inelegant way.

[Page 572]

The Secretary: I understand. I want you to know that I proposed to the Turks your thoughts about a cantonal agreement on the island. While they did not accept it, I think it is important that they did not reject it either.

Bitsios: Will they insist on starting the negotiations with insistence on a bizonal arrangement for the island?

The Secretary: No, they will not do that. I will see to that. I want you to know however, that they remain quite concerned about the cut off in military assistance. We don’t know how the Congress will deal with the legislation over the next few days. I am hopeful this matter can be fully resolved by Tuesday and that I can send you the word to have Clerides call Denktash. However, you should understand that there could be a delay.

Bitsios: Would it be possible for you to give me a memorandum summarizing the points you have just been making to me?

The Secretary: Would you rather have a letter?

Bitsios: No, I think just a memorandum on these points would be alright.

The Secretary: Okay, I don’t mind. (to Kubisch) Jack will you prepare a summary of these points? (Kubisch indicated that he would.)

The Secretary: (Showing Bitsios a copy of the December 13 letter to Esenbel)4 Here’s the letter that I am giving to Esenbel. (Bitsios studies the letter.) You notice we have made the changes you wanted. This is exactly what you saw yesterday.

Bitsios: Are there any implications in this letter about Greece or anyone else being a future guarantor of the settlement.

The Secretary: No.

Bitsios: Callaghan asked me about this point and I told him it was too early to consider at this stage.

The Secretary: That’s right, but in any case, it cannot be the Soviets.

Bitsios: Not necessarily, and there can be other forms of guarantees.

(As the conversation was breaking up there was a brief exchange of remarks about Israel and humorously, about possibly distracting Israel from some of its present activities and pre-occupations by making Israel one of the guarantor powers.)

The Secretary: (to Bitsios and Kubisch) Jack, will prepare the summary of the points and I will see that you get them later this morning.5

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 343, Department of State Memoranda of Conversations, External 12/74–4/75. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at NATO headquarters.
  2. See Document 165.
  3. December 17.
  4. Printed as Document 168.
  5. See Document 167.