236. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Secretary’s Meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Caglayangil


  • Turkey
  • Foreign Minister Caglayangil
  • Ambassador to the UN Turkmen
  • Ambassador to the US Esenbel
  • DirGen for Political Affairs Tezel
  • Mr. Batibay, Interpreter
  • United States
  • The Secretary
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor
  • Arthur A. Hartman, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
  • William L. Eagleton, Notetaker

(While photographs are being taken)

The Secretary: Are we going to settle everything this afternoon?

(Photographers leave)

Caglayangil: Although our efforts to lift the embargo have been futile, we can now say that it has been lifted. Our Prime Minister has ten security guards and we obtained weapons for them in the United States. I told them they could not take them back because of the embargo, but we were informed that they could be taken to Turkey. So, we have lifted the embargo.


The Secretary: We believe if your ambassador continues his work on the embargo, he will be elected to Congress. He will even get Brademas’ support.

Caglayangil: We have been following with appreciation the efforts of the President and yourself with regard to the embargo. The Turkish people understand this. But this has created other problems.

[Page 785]

The Secretary: The Congress does not reflect the view of the American people on this issue. We are expecting to have a vote next Tuesday or Wednesday.2

Caglayangil: The continuation of the embargo has become a domestic issue in the United States. I hope the vote will be positive, and I think it will be. There will then be greater room for maneuver. I discussed this with the Council on Foreign Relations last night. They asked what would happen if the embargo was not lifted. I told them that the embargo directly affects the US defense installations. If it is lifted, our relations with the United States would go on in a friendly way. I told them that if the embargo is not lifted, the closing of installations will cause a danger to the US, to ourselves, and to NATO.

The Secretary: Let us see what happens. I think we will win. Don’t you? (To Esenbel)

Esenbel: Yes.

The Secretary: But if it is lifted, what will happen then?

Caglayangil: We will find ways to promote Turkish-American relations by undertaking negotiations. No matter what the outcome is, Turkish-US cooperation will not be based on aid because aid is based on the decisions of Congress, and the US Government cannot act without the approval of Congress. I believe there could be agreement on a different basis for our relations.

The Secretary: What basis?

Caglayangil: Turkey and the US would base their defensive relationship on a new concept of defense cooperation.

The Secretary: What would that concept be?

Caglayangil: It could involve paying compensation to Turkey for the installations or something else beyond the control of Congress.

Esenbel: A new bilateral relationship would not be subject to aid projects which are subject to Congressional approval. We want to rid Congress of this relationship.

Caglayangil: We want to lift this way from Congress for the sake of your government as well as for ours.

The Secretary: That is for the future, not for the first weeks after lifting the embargo. We can talk about this later—after the Cyprus settlement.

Hartman tells me that you have agreed to 25 percent of the island.

Caglayangil: If we are to decide on territory—

[Page 786]

The Secretary: You will then keep 40 percent. (Laughter)

Caglayangil: A new line which will take into consideration the economic viability of both communities will be considered. It is not very rational to ask for territory as a precondition for negotiations, and particularly when there is a problem for Turkey domestically before the elections.

The Secretary: This I understand. I did not think you would be able to make a move now.

Caglayangil: We have withdrawn a commando unit which participated in the invasion. This is not a political move but a military one.

The Secretary: That is what is driving me crazy.

Caglayangil: Why?

The Secretary: You have not gotten credit for all the troops you have withdrawn. In my judgment, you have withdrawn 10,000.

Tezel: 11,000!

The Secretary: If you had announced it, we could have gone to Congress with it and gotten the vote.

Caglayangil: Do it now.

The Secretary: It is too late.

Caglayangil: Denktash spoke of a declaration of independence for the Turkish-Cypriots, but our Prime Minister made it clear this was not on our government’s program.

The Secretary: In our vote, it would help if you spoke of the economic viability of both communities.

Caglayangill: Because of the Senate elections, I cannot say anything about that.

The Secretary: I understand.

Caglayangil: If we can agree on other aspects, we will then take on the territorial issue.

The Secretary: Simultaneously?

Tezel: He says no.

The Secretary: That is not new, then.

Caglayangil: This is not a package deal. Neither the Greeks nor the Greek-Cypriots have said publicly that they accept a bizonal solution with a weak central government in which the communities would be on an equal basis. Makarios is still talking about cantonal arrangements.

The Secretary: You were the one who insisted on his return.

(Caglayangil makes a gesture of astonishment)

The Secretary: It was Ecevit in London.

Caglayangil: My name is Caglayangil. I never asked for it.

[Page 787]

Turkmen: That was before our intervention on Cyprus.

The Secretary: If the embargo is lifted and nothing happens, we will have an impossible mess in this country.

Caglayangil: If it lifted and elections are over, we will have a large area to maneuver on Cyprus. None of us can act alone. Caramanlis has control in Greece, and he could settle it if he wanted to.

The Secretary: I believe he does want it settled.

Caglayangil: He never stops supporting the Greek lobby in the US.

The Secretary: He can’t appear not to support them, because they would go to Papandreou.

Caglayangil: Every country has its Papandreou. I have an Erbakan.


The Secretary: After the embargo is lifted and after the elections, can you make progress on Cyprus?

Caglayangil: It depends on the result of the election. If we win more votes than the RPP, a lot will change.

The Secretary: Do you think you will?

Esenbel: Much would change in that case.

The Secretary: What if they win more votes? Would you have to resign?

Caglayangil: In fact, there are two parties—DEMIREL’s and Erbakan’s but Erbakan has only 20 seats. But both the RPP or Erbakan’s party would need Erbakan’s votes to come to power. If the Justice Party wins enough votes, we might go to a general election. I don’t see a possibility of military intervention. They did nothing during 6 months of government crisis.

The Secretary: When will elections be?

Caglayangil: If the vote is in our favor, there could be elections in May or June. If Justice wins, we will ask for elections. If the RPP wins, they will press for elections.

The Secretary: Can you get a vote in Parliament for holding elections?

Caglayangil: We could even have a coalition with the RPP.

The Secretary: Would Ecevit agree?

Caglayangil: He would be for early elections.

The Secretary: Who would be the Prime Minister? You?

Caglayangil: Why?

The Secretary: I always like to prove that foreign ministers can take over governments. (Laughter)

Caglayangil: I was talking above of a coalition with the RPP after general elections, not after the Senatorial elections. There are several factions in the RPP. We can’t unite with all of them.

[Page 788]

The Secretary: Would Ecevit find a position in your coalition? I like to see foreign ministers succeed, but I also like to see former students do well.

Then after the embargo and elections, can you enter into serious negotiations?


The Secretary: What does that mean? That the Greeks agree on a bizonal solution?

Caglayangil: We have conditions. One is bizonal.

The Secretary: They will agree.

Caglayangil: Next is limited power to the central government. Further, we cannot give up an equal status for the two communities. There is one further condition, which we have not been saying anything about. That it must be a secular state.

The Secretary: You mean, no priest could be president? (Laughter) Makarios is one of the most secular people I have met.

At what stage would you be prepared to discuss the territorial issue?

Caglayangil: We have said to the Greeks and to Denktash: Let’s sit down and talk about the future structure of the government. If there are good results, we can take up the territorial issue. But the Greeks want to make territory a precondition.

The Secretary: Why don’t you discuss them simultaneously?

Caglayangil: We are ready to put the whole thing on the table. If we can agree on non-territorial aspects, then the territorial arrangements will be easier.

The Secretary: The Greeks say the same thing about their position and they have some good points.

Caglayangil: It is a matter of approach. Denktash asked Clerides: If I agreed to what you ask on territory—New Famagusta and part of Morphou area—would you sign an agreement on bizonal issue and weakened power of the central government?

The Secretary: What did he say?

Caglayangil: He said: If you agree on territory, we will start negotiating.

The Secretary: I think it is important for them to do it in parallel.

Caglayangil: If the Greeks are forthcoming on other issues, the Turkish-Cypriots would be willing to give up more land. That is the only bargaining point they have.

The Secretary: Except for the 30,000 Turkish troops.

Caglayangil: The Army can’t stay there permanently.

[Page 789]

The Secretary: What is your idea regarding the posture after the embargo has been lifted? Will Clerides and Denktash renew their discussions?

Caglayangil: Denktash will sit at the table and say: To the extent that you satisfy other aspects, we will try to satisfy your territorial needs. The Turkish Government will keep silent; but if this were said now, we would have to oppose it.

The Secretary: You mean, you would do that in the framework of the negotiations being conducted under Waldheim?

Caglayangil: Yes. If he is not a mediator but merely lends his good offices.

The Secretary: That is clear enough. If we can be of any help, let us know.

Caglayangil: After your speech at the General Assembly,3 I was asked by several foreign ministers if there was not a change of style towards Cyprus in it. I want to ask you why? And why you said the present line cannot be maintained.

The Secretary: I was talking of the final settlement. I said it must not become permanent. You have said that, too. This is no change, and it is not different from your position.

Caglayangil: I can see a change. You have told us privately, but this time you spoke from the podium of the United Nations.

The Secretary: In effect, we have come out for a bizonal federation.

Caglayangil: No.

The Secretary: I didn’t use the word.

Caglayangil: I want to interpret this as you do. It is in my interest.

But I was told by several ministers that they saw a change of style.

The Secretary: Our position is the same as yours. I can’t say bizonal, but this comes very close.

Caglayangil: The Turkish correspondents in New York have asked for my reaction. I told them I would not express a view until after I saw you.

The Secretary: You can tell them there is no change in US policy.

Caglayangil: Can I say it myself?

The Secretary: You can say I told you there is no change in US policy.

We are for a bizonal federation. We are for reducing the Turkish zone. But we have always said that. We are for the two communities [Page 790] having a large voice, which means that the central government would not be dominant. Basically, we agree with you politically and with the Greeks on some of their territorial proposals.

DEMIREL: I am grateful for your explanation. On the 29th of this month there will be a meeting of the Turkish National Security Council, composed of high political leaders. What you have told us now will be of help.

The Secretary: What I have given you is the correct interpretation.

Caglayangil: The lifting of the embargo will permit us to heal the damage in our relations with our united efforts. Perhaps you can be helpful to me. There are various factions in Turkey who want to decrease US-Turkish relations. There are those who want to move closer to the non aligned. We feel it would be helpful to make joint efforts on this matter.

The Secretary: What can we do?

Caglayangil: We should consult on what to do and what not to do.

The Secretary: What specifically?

Caglayangil: We must reach an understanding as to the new form of cooperation after the embargo is lifted. The military on both sides will exaggerate.

The Secretary: You know, Mr. Foreign Minister, the friendship of Turkey and the US is one of the key elements in our foreign policy.

Caglayangil: We need each other.

The Secretary: All action of the Administration has proven this. We will work closely with you, but frankly, we must move quickly to get Cyprus out of the way.

Caglayangil: This we will try to do, but you and President Ford should visit Turkey to honor Turkey.

The Secretary: I can visit Turkey, and I will discuss this with the President. We can look to many ways to symbolize our relationship. It is a thing of the heart for me. Your Ambassador knows this.

Esenbel: Nixon at one time promised to visit Turkey.

The Secretary: We can discuss this, but he would also have to go to Greece.

Caglayangil: Our President came to the United States.

The Secretary: I will have to stay in Ankara if the President goes to Greece. (Laughter) When I come to Ankara there is no problem because the Greeks don’t want me.

Caglayangil: We have to act together.

The Secretary: After the embargo is lifted and if there is progress on Cyprus, we should both work to heal what has happened and create better US-Turkish relations. We have learned the importance of our relationship.

[Page 791]

Caglayangil: There is a second request. Ten years ago it was Greek troops who were on the island and the Turks were refugees. There was no world-wide outcry at that time. We ask that you speak to the Greeks with the same frankness as with us.

The Secretary: We will do this, but the Greeks feel I am pro-Turkish. Do you think I am not?

Caglayangil: I think you are a friend of Turkey.

The Secretary: I unfortunately must leave because I have another meeting.

Caglayangil: Can we agree on what to say to the press?

The Secretary: What do you propose?

Caglayangil: We can say that we discussed all aspects of our bilateral relations and Cyprus. I can say that the Secretary told us there is no change in the American position, and I expressed the hope that there will be new developments that will lead to lifting…

The Secretary: That is too dangerous. It will be misunderstood.

Esenbel: Yes.

The Secretary: You can say that he (the Secretary) expressed hope for lifting the embargo.

(Caglayangil and Turkish delegation discussed possible language in Turkish.)

Esenbel: We will stick with the last suggestion that he can say you hope the embargo will be lifted.

The Secretary: We can say that we will remain in close contact.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 274, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Eagleton on September 27 and approved in S on October 11. The meeting was held in the Turkish Foreign Minister’s suite at the Waldorf Astoria. Kissinger was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly. Kissinger met with Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios the next day; see Document 185.
  2. September 30 or October 1.
  3. For the text of the speech, see Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No. 1894, October 13, 1975, pp. 545–553.