31. Memorandum From A. Denis Clift of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1
- Greek Homeporting Considerations
Since September 1972, the Navy has permanently homeported six destroyers in the Athens area under the terms of a technical agreement between the Hellenic and U.S. navies. These ships currently fill close to one-third of the Navy’s destroyer commitment to NATO in the Mediterranean area. They are due for normal rotation and replacement on a phased schedule over the next six months.
The uncertain future of our bilateral arrangements with Greece, coupled with a variety of relatively minor problems encountered by the Navy in homeporting the ships in the Athens area, has prompted a recent U.S. decision to replace the first of these units with a destroyer deploying to the Mediterranean on a rotational basis, rather than with a permanent homeporter. Concerning the other ships, I have learned informally that there are two basic options under active consideration [Page 121] within the Department of Defense in regard to the possible termination of destroyer homeporting in Athens:
- —Option one would terminate homeporting immediately and return the ships to the United States. NATO force commitments would be met by deploying units on a rotational basis. The reasons cited for this action are low crew morale, reduced personnel retention, and various operational/maintenance problems.
- —Option two would maintain the present arrangement intact and terminate homeporting only at the request of the Greek government.
I am concerned that Defense may take further homeporting decisions on the basis of Navy operational/personnel/logistical considerations without adequate consideration of the long range foreign policy implications involved.
At this particularly critical time, when the United States and Greece are reviewing bilateral and NATO arrangements, precipitate action on homeporting might jeopardize Greek-US and Greek-NATO relations and have an adverse effect on our overall efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean. Accordingly, it is important that policy decisions on Greek homeporting be coordinated with the NSC. If you agree, a phone call to General Wickham, drawing on the points outlined above, would request the desired coordination.
Alternatively, you may wish to sign the memorandum to Wickham at Tab A2 which would request coordination on Greek homeporting.
That you either telephone General Wickham or sign the memo to Wickham at Tab A requesting NSC coordination on Greek homeporting.3
Jan Lodal concurs.