49. Intelligence Note Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research1

INR IN–109


The unresolved Cyprus and Aegean islands disputes have motivated both Greece and Turkey to look increasingly to Western Europe for military equipment. Although the US has been their major supplier, Ankara and Athens alike must have serious doubts as to how long this situation will last—the former because of the Congressional embargo on US arms to Turkey; the latter, though able to buy US military supplies, because it feels the need to diversify its sources.

Even if Greece and Turkey are successful in their accelerated efforts to acquire arms from non-US sources, they are not likely to fulfill their long-term requirements. Their arms purchasing efforts in Western Europe are essentially emergency stopgap measures at a time when, in their perception, there is the possibility of armed conflict between them. To some extent, of course, Athens and Ankara may see their arms moves as demonstrating to Washington a certain ability to do with something less than complete reliance on the US.

But neither the Greeks nor the Turks probably want to go so far as to establish what in effect would constitute multiple supply systems for their armed forces. Such major diversification would

  • —substantially add to existing maintenance and logistics problems;
  • —require new training programs;
  • —involve some restructuring of their armed forces;
  • —create undue delays in deliveries since the production systems of few if any countries other than the US and the USSR are geared to provide arms in a timely fashion and in the amounts and type required.

Under these circumstances, there would be a net reduction in the operational capabilities of their armed forces and a net increase in the cost effectiveness of their supply and backup systems.

West German Arms Transfers Resumed. Bonn recently has resumed arms shipments to both Greece and Turkey that had been suspended in August 1974 shortly after Turkish military operations were launched in Cyprus. The German action, under consideration for some months, [Page 159] followed the Bundestag’s approval in mid-April of $25.9 million2 each for Greece and Turkey for surplus military equipment in the form of grant aid. The materiel list for each country includes small patrol boats, Cobra SS–11 anti-tank rockets, jet aircraft,3 ammunition, spare parts, uniforms, engineering equipment, trucks, and medical supplies.

Embassy Bonn has been informed that some of the German equipment has already reached Turkey and that deliveries to Greece should arrive during the month. While the Greeks have not yet formally accepted all items on the German list, it is expected that they will do so very soon. German officials have also suggested that both Athens and Ankara may in time receive the M–48 tank when it is replaced by the Leopard, both German-produced items.

Ankara: More German and Italian Arms. Next to the United States, West Germany is Turkey’s major arms supplier. Total military deliveries to Ankara since 1964, when Bonn first began providing arms, amounted by 1974 to almost $245 million, with another $175 million in commitments still unfulfilled; about 80 percent of the total value of the military agreements with Ankara have been grant aid. Deliveries during 1973 and 1974 amounted to about $25 million each year, the lowest for any period since 1970. The bulk of the German arms to Turkey has been ground forces equipment, largely small arms, artillery, mortars, trucks, and radios. However. Ankara has also received a number of aircraft, mainly 158 F–84 jet fighters, and several coastal patrol boats (including nine Jaguar Class) and two 1,000-ton (Type 209) submarines.

The Cyprus and Aegean islands disputes with Greece since mid1974 have accelerated Ankara’s efforts to procure additional military equipment from Germany, primarily to strengthen Turkish naval capabilities. During October 1974, Turkey signed three agreements with Germany, valued at $105 million and covering the purchase of 21 Jaguar patrol craft and two additional 1,000-ton submarines. None of these items has been delivered thus far during 1975.

For its air force requirements, Turkey turned to Italy, Ankara’s third largest arms supplier; since the mid-1960s, there have been some $139 million in agreements and $52 million in deliveries. During the latter part of 1974, Turkey signed two agreements with Italy, valued at approximately $86 million, for the purchase of 18 F–104 fighters (including [Page 160] spare parts and training) and 20 AB–204B helicopters. The sale of the fighters, around $75 million, reportedly is being financed by Libya; nine were delivered during 1974 and seven during 1975 before the US arms cutoff last February.4 Ankara apparently is continuing to negotiate for additional Italian arms and as recently as last April had submitted a shopping list for a wide array of equipment, most of which, if not all, reportedly would be purchased for cash. This tends to suggest financing by third parties, presumably Arab countries.

Athens: More French and German Arms. Until last year, Germany had been Greece’s principal secondary source for military equipment—approximately $111 million in agreements since 1963, virtually all of which was delivered by 1972. In contrast to Turkey, less than 10 percent of the arms agreements has been grant aid. The major German deliveries included 69 F–84F fighters, 60 M–47 tanks and tank recovery vehicles, 40 Noratlas aircraft transports, four 1,000-ton (Type 209) submarines, and Cobra and Milan anti-tank missiles.

During the first quarter of 1975, Greece signed a $43 million agreement with Bonn for the purchase of at least 40 20 mm. AAA guns. There are no additional details on this accord. Athens reportedly is also interested in procuring additional submarines from Bonn.

Greece appears to be turning increasingly to France, heretofore Athens’ third largest arms supplier. From 1965 through 1972, France had provided Greece with some $56 million in military equipment—mainly 60 AMX–30 tanks, 50 Exocet guided-missile naval craft, and 4 Combattante II guided-missile control boats. There were no French arms deliveries to Greece in 1973 and virtually none in 1974. However, during the first half of last year, even before the Cyprus crisis erupted, Athens signed at least four arms agreements with Paris, valued at more than $350 million, to cover the purchase of 40 Mirage F–1 fighters, 250 AMX–10 and AMX–30 tanks, and 4 Combattante III guided-missile boats. These agreements raise total French arms commitments to Greece to more than $400 million, all in the form of cash or credit sales.

Despite increased Greek interest in French arms, none of the 1974 agreements has yet resulted in new deliveries from France. While there are conflicting reports as to the reasons for the delays, the 1974 contracts are cash sales, even though payments with interest are extended over several years, and the Karamanlis government almost certainly would feel strained to meet financial obligations of this size from its [Page 161] own resources. Easing of the 7.5 percent interest rate on the accords, extensions of longer term credit, or even a foreign loan would help activate deliveries, but there is no evidence that any of these is about to occur. In short, Greece’s efforts to increase its inventory of French military hardware has proceeded little beyond the contractual stage.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Staff for Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs: Convenience Files, 1974–1977, Box 26, Turkey, Turkey 1975 2 NSC. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Prepared by Louis G. Sarris (INR).
  2. Converted from 60 million marks at the average March 1975 exchange rate of 2.319 marks to the dollar. [Footnote is in the original.]
  3. Two TF–104 trainers for Turkey and 33 T–33 trainers for Greece; only 22 of the latter are flyable. Since both types of aircraft are of U.S. origin, Bonn cannot legally turn the TF–104s over to Turkey until US restrictions have been lifted. [Footnote is in the original.]
  4. Although both the F–104 and the AB–204B are of U.S. origin, special licensing arrangements for the latter permit its third-country export to Turkey without US approval. [Footnote is in the original.]