189. Memorandum From A. Denis Clift of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1


  • U.S. Emissary to Break Greek/Turkish/Cyprus Impasse

I. Report on Haig Mission

In reporting on his meeting last Friday2 with General Sancar, General Haig has noted (Tab A)3 that the Turkish General Staff is presently maintaining the same tough line as Prime Minister DEMIREL:

  • —the United States must lift its arms embargo before Turkey will open U.S. installations,
  • —the United States must provide greater grant support to Turkey,
  • —there can be no linkage between the US-Turkish issue and the Cyprus crisis,
  • —the United States must stop favoring Greece,
  • —despite Turkey’s good intentions, efforts toward a Cyprus settlement are destined to failure because of the perfidy of Archbishop Makarios and the inability of the Greeks to control him.

Based on his conversation with General Sancar, General Haig believes:

  • —it should be possible to reduce the Turkish grant aid demand from $700 million over five years to $300–$400 million, if the latter amount is front-loaded.
  • —concerning Cyprus, the fundamental problem is the mistrust between Greece and Turkey.

Accordingly, General Haig recommends that:

  • —consideration be given to naming a special emissary to give the Turks greater confidence in the good faith of the Greek side and its ability to deliver on the terms of acceptable details of a compromise Cyprus solution,
  • —that the Cagliyangil visit be re-scheduled as soon as possible,
  • —that we work out a formula with Cagliyangil that enables us to compromise with the Turks on the reopening of the bases in Turkey— i.e., that we be in position to tell Congress that “almost all” the bases are operating while the Turks are still in position to say that the “key” bases are closed.

II. Overview of Current Situation

General Sancar’s unbending reception of General Haig again underscores the current impasses we face in the Greek/Turkish/Cyprus problem:

  • —the Greeks and Turks do not trust each other;
  • —the Turks do not trust the United States because of the actions of our Congress;
  • —the Congress does not trust the U.S. Executive enough to give the President the latitude and the tools he requires to move the parties toward agreement.

At the same time, no matter what may be said publicly, I believe that each of the parties is counting on the United States to produce the forward movement required for a settlement.

At present, Secretary of State Kissinger is directing our diplomatic efforts toward Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. With the intercommunal talks about to resume on February 17, with the likelihood of renewed Congressional criticism if the President—by the time of his April report4—is unable to report progress on Cyprus and if the U.S. bases in Turkey are still closed, with the probability that a carefully structured Presidential initiative would be interpreted by all concerned—Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, the U.N. Secretary General and our NATO and EC friends—as a very important opportunity for progress that must be seized, the President may wish to consider naming a Special Emissary to [Page 632] represent the United States with the parties and to move them closer together and toward a settlement.

What are the pros and cons of naming a Special Emissary:


  • —a fresh initiative by the President lifting everyone’s sights above the current stalemate, demonstrating his leadership and galvanizing all parties to work toward a settlement;
  • —the entry of a new U.S. negotiator able to devote full time to the task and unencumbered by the Secretary of State’s past involvement in the issue. This latter point is important:
  • —The Secretary of State is mistrusted by many Greeks because of the Nixon Administration’s support for the former Greek junta government, and because of allegations concerning his role in the 1974 Cyprus crisis. It would, in fact, be difficult for the Secretary even to visit Athens announced without generating a riot;
  • —The Secretary of State does not have the confidence of the pro-Greek elements in the U.S. Congress because of the reasons just cited;
  • —The Secretary of State does not have Prime Minister DEMIREL’s full trust because of the Secretary’s former professor-student relationship with Ecevit and DEMIREL’s current political rivalry with Ecevit;
  • —The Secretary of State cannot afford the time that would be required for such a Presidential initiative—Turks and Greeks have reacted somewhat cynically in the past to the Secretary’s treating their problems as a mere appendage to his Middle Eastern shuttle diplomacy.
  • —Knowing as we do that the Caramanlis Government is willing to make the major concessions required for a settlement, the U.S. Emissary would have the tools required to move the parties toward a settlement.
  • —The U.S. Emissary could move between capitals—allowing the Greeks, Turks and both Cypriot representatives to avoid the risk of losing face—during delicate stages of the negotiations. We presently do not have this latitude, as Ambassadors Macomber, Kubisch and Crawford are each too compartmentalized to be effective in this regard.
  • —If there is progress on Cyprus—even signalled by the naming of the Emissary—there is the real opportunity for progress on the US- Turkish front.


  • —there is the risk of false expectations on the part of all concerned, and the Presidential initiative would have to be couched in terms of our renewed willingness to be of help—with the main burden still on the shoulders of the Parties directly involved;
  • —the Secretary of State might prefer to keep direct responsibility to the President on this issue.
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III. Next Steps

I am in favor of the naming of a new U.S. Emissary. I think the timing is right; we have the opportunity to get moving and it may be more difficult to do so if many more months pass. The Emissary should be an individual of known stature and ability not linked in any way to the personalities or current framework of our Cyprus efforts. In my opinion, Herbert Brownell, former Attorney General, successful negotiator of the US- Mexican Boundary Agreement (and a Republican well-known to the President) would be a very strong candidate for this role.

Recalling your comments about the need for crisp, forward looking language in the President’s State of the World speech, I believe this speech to the Congress, if delivered within the next few weeks, would offer the right occasion for announcement of the Brownell mission. These would not be speechwriter’s words, they would be Presidential action.

I recommend that you discuss the possibility of naming a U.S. Emissary with the President and the Secretary of State. If all concerned agree that it is a move warranting approval and early action—and if the emissary selected agrees to take on the task—discreet, advance consultations with the parties involved will be required prior to the President’s public announcement of the mission.


That you discuss with the President the naming of a special U.S. Emissary—possibly Herbert Brownell—to head U.S. diplomatic effects in the Greece/Turkey/Cyprus problems.5

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 33, Turkey 14. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Outside the System. Sent for action. Scowcroft wrote “Thanks” on the memorandum.
  2. February 13.
  3. Not attached and not found; summarized below.
  4. Public Law 94–104, signed by the President on October 5, required the President to submit at 60-day intervals reports to Congress on progress made toward solution of the Cyprus problem.
  5. No action is indicated.