44. Memorandum From A. Denis Clift of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Possibility of Greek-Turkish Conflict in the Aegean

With the memorandum at Tab A,2 the Director of Central Intelligence has submitted an addendum to his April 4 intelligence alert memorandum concerning the possibility of Greek-Turkish conflict in the Aegean (NSC Log #2101).3 The addendum provides an assessment of the Greek reinforcement of certain islands in the Aegean area:

  • —Greek forces in the Aegean are concentrated on six of the major islands lying in close proximity to the Turkish mainland—Limnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Rhodes, with surveillance units deployed to several of the smaller islands as well.
  • —The increase in the number and capability of the Greek military forces on the islands has been substantial over the past few months and is continuing. Ten infantry battalions were deployed to the islands in February. Additionally, five fighter aircraft were moved to Limnos in March. This marks the first time that combat aircraft have been actually based on the islands.

The Director’s assessment coincides closely with the information we have been receiving on this subject. In a recent conversation with our ambassador in Athens (cable at Tab B)4 Greek Foreign Ministry Political Affairs Director Tzounis openly admitted that Greece has been reinforcing the islands in violation of several international treaties. The official stated that the treaty restrictions on militarization of these islands were to “insure the maintenance of peace.” He added that Greece had acted “only in response to Turkish threats”, and that Greece could not leave the islands defenseless in view of present circumstances.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, 1974–1977, Box 10, Greece 3. Secret. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates Kissinger saw it.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Document 42.
  4. Not attached; most likely a reference a telegram 2693 from Athens, April 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1975)