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

The Secretary asked that I pass you the following report on his talks with the Turkish leaders.2

“I have just completed another series of talks with Turkish leaders,3 including President Koroturk as well as each leader of every principal political party in Turkey. I want to share with you in particular my conclusions regarding the impact of the aid cutoff.

“First, it is clear that the embargo has deeply hurt the national pride of the Turks. These words spoken by former Prime Minister Ecevit to me were repeated in different ways time and again by every leader that I spoke to. What has Turkey done to the United States? We are and have been a loyal ally. How can this cutoff possibly do anything [Page 715] but be harmful to Turkish-American relations and in particular the common interests we share? What is the prospect for an early repeal?

“It is clear that the present government as well as the principal political leaders have been carefully avoiding unleashing strong anti-American feeling among the populace for all of them seem to be dedicated to the fundamental proposition that Turkey and America are friends whose mutual interests would be irrevocably damaged if things get out of hand. In this connection, the statements you have been making against the aid cutoff and the position that you have insisted upon that we cannot accept this as a matter of principle have helped decisively in keeping a lid on the situation here. At the same time, however, I am deeply concerned—even more so than before I arrived—that if the cutoff is maintained it will be only a matter of time before the constraints being maintained by all the political leaders will be put under unbearable pressure.

“A second factor in the situation, of course, is the weak technocrat government—which, while competent within the limited political parameters in which it can operate, is not in a position to take the kind of decisions which are required in order to move negotiations at a rapid pace. Nevertheless, I believe I made good headway with a number of political leaders in convincing them that Turkey must grasp the nettle soon, that this is a propitious opportunity which could be lost, and that a bizonal solution which the Greek Government seems prepared to accept now is not likely to be available two or three months from now. I painted the picture of the results from a continued impasse: a weakened Karamanlis; internationalization of the Cyprus problem; the Soviets being given an opportunity to become directly involved in an injurious way; Makarios in a better position to be even more troublesome than he is now; and, finally, a continued deterioration in Turkish-US relations, even though it is not the desire of either of us. The key to the Turk internal political situation seems to be Ecevit, and my concern is that he wants to reserve the Cyprus solution for when he comes to power some months from now. The trouble is that the situation will not hold—politically speaking—until he gets to power. I intend to continue to maintain contact with him in order to underscore the importance of his support for a prompt seizing of the opportunity by the Turks which exists today. If they are willing in time to consider how large a zone of occupation they would settle for in return for a bizonal federation, there is hope in the situation.

Ecevit, in explaining the reasons why the outburst in Turkey has not been even stronger regarding the aid cutoff, not only attributed this to hurt national pride and a weak Turkish Government, but also to the fact that the leftist intellectuals would just as soon see the aid cutoff lead to a weakening of Turkey’s ties to the United States and NATO.

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“It is really tragic to see what this aid cutoff is doing to a very close and loyal ally of the United States. I feel even stronger than when I arrived that we have no alternative but to continue to make an all-out effort to get the cutoff repealed. The Turks have no real interest in a waiver on spare parts, and this is understandable since they want no link whatsoever between our relations, aid, and the Cyprus problem. Since we are now working on a package deal, it is unlikely that you will be able to make a determination that ‘substantial progress’ had been made. Therefore, the only realistic choice is an outright repeal, and I believe it is essential that we make every feasible effort to achieve this result. In the meantime, of course, we should continue our efforts to get a serious negotiating process started, but the repeal of the cutoff cannot await this negotiating process which at best will be slow and deliberate.

“In a separate message, I am planning on giving Brademas a very brief picture of the situation as I see it.4 In the meantime, I believe we should continue to press for the adoption of the Senate resolution.”

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables for Henry Kissinger, 1974–1976, Box 6, HAK for President. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Ford initialed the memorandum.
  2. This message was transmitted to Scowcroft in telegram Hakto 28 from Ankara, March 11. (Ibid., HAKTO 2)
  3. On March 11 Kissinger met with Koruturk and Esenbel (Memorandum of conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 126, Geopolitical File, Cyprus, Chronological File); DEMIREL and Caglayangil (Memorandum of conversation, 11:35 a.m.–12:40 p.m.; ibid., Box CL 273, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File, March 1975); Oguzhan Asilturk, Secretary General of National Salvation Party, and other party leaders (Memorandum of conversation, 12:45–1:05 p.m.; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–1977, Entry 5403, Box 22, Classified External Memcons, 12/74–5/75); Ferruh Bozbeyli, Democratic Party leader Nodis Memcons, March 1975). He also attended a luncheon hosted by Irmak. Kissinger Papers, Box CL 273, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File, March 1975)
  4. No record of this message has been found, but Ford and Scowcroft met with Brademas, Sarbanes, and Rosenthal on March 21; see Document 221.