214. Backchannel Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (Haig) in Ankara1

WH43529. AmEmbassy Ankara: deliver immediately to Gen Haig. Henry sends the following for your consideration in connection with your talks with Turk military leaders.

1. You are aware of intensive efforts we made with Congress prior to its pre-election recess to prevent restrictive legislation on aid to Turkey. I had expected that during the period between mid-October and December 10 (when by presidential certification restrictive features of CRA were suspended) we would have been able to obtain unilateral Turkish gestures of sufficient importance to provide a visible sign of progress in negotiating process that would permit US to continue aid to Turkey. However, continuing Turkish Government crisis and reluctance of caretaker government to come forward with meaningful unilateral gestures has blocked hoped-for progress. We are now facing the real prospect that those in Congress who backed restrictions on CRA bill will now succeed in placing even more restrictive language in foreign aid authorization bill which will result in termination of military aid and sales to Turkey. While recognizing that your visit to Turkey will come at a time of uncertainty and sensitivity regarding status of caretaker Turkish Government, I would nevertheless appreciate your making following points to senior Turkish military leaders with whom you have discussions:

U.S. administration, including President, engaged its full efforts in October to resist congressional pressures to end military sales and assistance to Turkey and was successful in preventing totally restrictive legislation. The administration had been able to do this because we had reached an understanding with Turkish Government that, at time of my then projected visit to Ankara, Turkey would arrange a series of meaningful gestures which would constitute a visible sign of progress in negotiating process.
Because of continuing Turkish governmental crisis2 this carefully arranged plan was aborted and although the administration deplores the prospect, there is now real danger that administration will [Page 699] not be able to resist pressures in Congress for early restrictive action on military assistance to Turkey.
Recent contacts in Ankara indicate that Turkish Government has not yet been able to reach a decision on gestures of sufficient importance to represent sign of progress needed to help the administration resist congressional pressures.
We believe that it is important for Turkish military leaders to be aware of gravity of situation since it is in our common interest to prevent harm to the basic security relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. Turkey’s military position on Cyprus and in the area is sufficiently strong for her to make significant gestures without sacrificing her basic security requirements or the interest of Turkish Cypriots.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages,
  2. Ecevit had resigned in September and was replaced as Prime Minister by DEMIREL.