230. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • Speaker Carl Albert (D.–Oklahoma)
  • Congressman Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. (D.–Massachusetts)
  • Congressman Thomas E. Morgan (D.–Pennsylvania)
  • Congressman John J. Rhodes (R.–Arizona)
  • Congressman William S. Broomfield (R.–Michigan)
  • Congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D.–Indiana)
  • Congressman Wayne L. Hays (D.–Ohio)
  • Congressman Clement J. Zablocki (D.–Wisconsin)
  • Congressman Dante B. Fascell (D.–Florida)
  • Congressman John B. Anderson (R.–Illinois)
  • Congressman Robert H. Michel (R.–Illinois)
  • Congressman John J. McFall (D.–California)
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Amb. Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant to the President
  • John O. Marsh, Jr., Counselor to the President
  • Max Friedersdorf, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
  • Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Amb. Robert McCloskey, Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations
  • Robert Wolthuis, Deputy Assistant to the President

SUBJECT

  • Turkish Aid

The President: I asked you to come here to discuss a very important issue.

[Wayne Hays comes in. Also O’Neill.]2

We have had the Cyprus problem with us for almost a year. It is coming to a head now. The situation is more serious now, since Turkey has indicated its desire to renegotiate its base arrangements with us within 30 days. I met with DEMIREL and Karamanlis in Brussels and I urged them to cooperate.3

[Page 761]

The Senate has passed the Mansfield–Scott Bill. I have talked to Brademas, Sarbanes, Lee [Hamilton] and some others4 to see what could be done. I am not optimistic.

I have been urged to use my waiver authority, to provide up to

I have always been leery of Section 614, despite what some lawyers say. But I have said I would use it if there is no way to get some movement. I realize it is not possible to get a straight lifting of the embargo. Another alternative would be to lift the embargo on credit and sales. What really burns the Turks is that they can’t even get the equipment that they bought and paid for, and they even have to pay warehouse charges. Another alternative, which I understand Bill Broomfield has proposed, would provide sales and grant for Greece and Turkey plus economic aid for Greece. I understand Lee has been working on some other ideas I haven’t heard about.

These installations in Turkey are extremely important intelligence installations.

We have a tough problem. I am willing to use the waiver even though I am against it and it is not what they want. Henry?

Kissinger: Lifting the embargo won’t guarantee a settlement, but without it there won’t be a settlement.

Morgan: It will be enough but there is some softening. I did get a letter with 24 signatures from the minority side saying they will change their position. If we can make this known, Brademas and Sarbanes will compromise if they see their support eroding. I think Rosenthal is looking for a way out.

The President: I think so too. I see his problem. He was an original author.

I am willing to get people down here, 40 to 50 a day, if it would be helpful.

Albert: That may be helpful. I have a letter from Brademas saying what the U.S. will and won’t do. [Reads from letter] He says he wants good relations with both countries, but we must have concessions from Turkey to lift the bans. He says a majority of the House would reject anything else. If the aid is voted—and I don’t think the votes are there— it would offend the Greeks and endanger the new democracy there. We are willing to work something out with the Administration on a quid pro quo basis. The Administration has encouraged Turkey not to make concessions, by attacking the Congress.

[Page 762]

On your question, this letter comes to me flatly, the breaking of a vow, a deal, or whatever, which puts a strong moral issue before us, with the consequences of these essential bases in Turkey. If you could get some movement of some kind, it might help.

Hays: The only thing which would satisfy Brademas would be caving by the Turks. Brademas doesn’t say the Greeks first broke the law by putting weapons on Greece. Brademas’ position is totally inflexible.

I had some of the new members lined up, but these vetoes have undermined that. They almost undermined me. If you worked as hard on this as you did on strip mining, you might get it.

Albert: I agree. If we let the domestic controversy impact on this …

Kissinger: It is not true that we didn’t observe the law. We did. It’s true the Congress extended the ban two times. The first time there was no Greek Government. The second time we had no negotiating forum until 14 January. Then Greece rejected the Turkish proposals because it might have prevented the arms ban. Our statements have kept the Turkish bases open this far. Without our statements, they would have closed them by now.

Brademas wants concessions, then he will judge their adequacy and give something. The Turks cannot concede on that basis. It is a basic matter for the Turks not to concede under pressure.

Albert: How useful was Turkey in the October war?

The President: We used the Azores but we may not be able to next year.

Kissinger: They also refused to grant overflight rights and forced Soviet flights to go through Hungary and Yugoslavia; which is about three times as long.

Rhodes: How about freeing the stuff that is frozen now, but nothing goes in the future without further movement?

Zablocki: What if we extended the date to January 26, during which period the sales would be released, and other military assistance to Greece and Turkey and economic aid to Greece? We can’t get any concession from Turkey under the pressure they now are under.

The President: Let me put a variation of it. Supposing I exercised the waiver, with an expression of support for that, you lift the ban on sales and with no specific cutoff. They don’t want the sword of Damocles hanging over them.

Hays: The Greek lobby won’t rest until the Turks have evacuated Cyprus. The Greek dictatorship would have exterminated the Turks on Cyprus if the Turks hadn’t invaded.

I think you should consider the Broomfield proposal and I think if the leaders in this room are behind it we can get it through.

[Page 763]

Hamilton: The vote was as high as 3 to 1 against. I think we have the votes in the Committee but not yet on the floor. But the momentum is going our way.

Rhodes: We have 100 votes for lifting it on our side.

Hamilton: The Greek Congressmen won’t go for any lifting. I think the Rhodes route is the best. Slice it as close as you can and get the lobbying effort going. If you require Congress to move first, I don’t think you can get the Greek group off it.

The thought that is prevalent in the House is that the Turks did violate the law, though as Secretary Kissinger said, the U.S. did observe it.

O’Neill: The majority of the House feels we are protecting Turkey but Turkey is not protecting us. They broke the law. What if others do the same thing?

Hamilton: The law is in perpetuity. There is no provision for relief.

Kissinger: It is more obscure than that. Turkey is a guarantor power under the London–Zurich Agreements. Even Brademas and Sarbanes probably agree that the first Turkish invasion was legal, but not the second one. On precedent, this is unique. Further, Greece is fortifying the islands in violation of its treaties with us. Brademas said a lifting of the ban would hurt Karamanlis. What will hurt him more than anything is to get no agreement at all.

One of Brademas and Sarbanes problems is that they have promised the Greek community more than the Greeks are willing to settle for. But the Greeks won’t put anything forward unless they think it will produce an agreement. The Greek community here is more radical than the Greek Government.

Anderson: Why don’t we do what we threaten in the Middle East—propose a U.S. settlement, then provide aid.

Kissinger: The problem is that for Greece it will be a lousy settlement, and if we put it forward they will blame us and use it for anti- American propaganda. I think there is no substantial disagreement between us and the Greeks. The problem is the Turkish domestic situation. Ecevit can claim he took Cyprus and DEMIREL gave it away— which is especially bad since DEMIREL didn’t intervene in ‘67.

The President: The Turkish population is 18–19%. The Turks now occupy about 40%. The Greeks want them to go back to 18%. But there is now a gap of only about 5% if you can get them to the negotiating table.

Kissinger: There are only two issues, but they are big ones. It is agreed now that there will be only two regions. The issues are the amount of territory that each will hold, the refugees, and the powers [Page 764] of the central government. The latter is pretty well settled, it is just the other two. This isn’t as complicated as our domestic debate.

Fascell: I am not as sanguine about turning votes around. I think you have got to have some way to let people get off the hook. If you lifted the whole thing you are talking about $300 million. Maybe we should do it in two bites. It is hard to argue that 12 F–4s can be used on Cyprus. They are a pain in the neck to us. Why not release them, start hearings and hope the Turks will move?

Anderson: The Turks have to do something. Your speech was directed at that, wasn’t it? [The Secretary’s speech at Atlanta, June 23, which stated that: “No country should imagine that it is doing us a favor by remaining in an alliance with us.”]5

Kissinger: Yes. But without a significant step on the embargo, I don’t think the Turks will move.

Fascell: AHEPA has already geared up for a fight. The only question is to go on a frontal assault or give a little to let people off the hook.

President: Suppose we go for lifting the sales ban, and either go or don’t go for the waiver as you wish. Then I would participate after the recess in meetings with Congressional groups.

Albert: I think it is important to work out if we can. We need those installations but we can’t do the impossible.

Hays: Lots of people are rethinking. I have been talking to people and so far only got one flat turndown. But the new members, if you get them down, will want a quid pro quo on domestic affairs. They don’t give a damn about foreign affairs. I think if we lose Turkey we have had it in the Mediterranean.

The President: I agree. You work with Henry. I will give whatever time is needed.

Kissinger: We need to understand the clock is moving. We had an intelligence report two or three weeks ago that they would close the bases. We talked to them and got a month, but if we don’t show something soon, we are in trouble.

Hays: I think movement in the Committee by July 15 would hold things. So the Turkish legislators tell me.

Morgan: Aren’t the Israelis worried?

Kissinger: The Israeli Ambassador says he is working on it.

[Page 765]

McFall: I am worried about the Senate if we put through something different.

President: We really had a 6 to 7 vote margin, if we need it.

If we could work with you to work out a bill, I will go to work down here on the members.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 13, 6/26/75. Confidential. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
  2. All brackets are in the original.
  3. See Documents 50 and 227.
  4. See Document 229.
  5. Kissinger addressed the Southern Council on International and Public Affairs and the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. See Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No.