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

Secretary Kissinger asked that the following report of his meeting with Foreign Minister Bitsios be passed to you:

“I have just concluded a three-hour discussion with Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios in Brussels2 in which we reviewed in some detail the current aspects of the Cyprus problem. The overall impression which I have is that Greece is ready to find ways to restart the CleridesDenktash negotiations in a serious way. This reflects Caramanlis’s judgment that the longer the impasse continues on the Cyprus issue—as distasteful as any solution might be—the more vulnerable Caramanlis becomes politically at home. For this reason Bitsios reaffirmed today Greece’s willingness to consider a Bizonal solution, which of course would represent the major concessions which the Turks have been looking for. In return the Greeks want to reduce the area which would go to them. Bitsios, who is considerably more cautious than Caramanlis, made clear that the area around Morphu in the northwest and the area in the southeastern portion of the present Turkish zone are the keys to a solution which gives economic viability to the Greek Cypriots. It is principally within this context that my efforts will be concentrated over the next two weeks.

“I am sending Hartman to Ankara to give Esenbel, Ecevit and DEMIREL a report of my talk with Bitsios. Hartman will also explore what the possibilities are and in particular how much a reduction in their zone the Turks would be willing to consider as part of a settlement. We are all convinced that as well disposed as Esenbel is, the views of Ecevit and DEMIREL are even more important and more influential. Bitsios wanted me to go to Ankara promptly, so that I could talk directly to Ecevit and DEMIREL. While I agreed to explore this possibility once again, I made clear to the Greek Foreign Minister that because of the aid cutoff it was unlikely that the present Turk Government would be willing to receive me. I have left it up to the Turks as to whether they would be willing to meet with me early next week in Ankara; if not, I am suggesting to Esenbel that we meet in Brussels about the 16th.

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“If I go to Ankara the issue of spare parts may become acute. Haig tells me that the Turk military are desperate and will go to war with Greece rather than permit their military establishment to run down for lack of spare parts. If I find it necessary to get negotiations started, I would appreciate your authority to explore the waiver route—warning Turkey that it may delay the actual total lifting of embargo. I have asked Brent to look into the legal position.”

[Omitted here are two paragraphs unrelated to Cyprus.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 273, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. A March 7 memorandum of conversation is in the National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–1977, Entry 5403, Box 10, Nodis Memcons, March 1975.