56. Paper Prepared in Response to National Security Study Memorandum 2221


[Omitted here is a table of contents.]


US policy toward Southern Europe since 1947 has succeeded in minimizing Soviet influence in the region and gaining a paramount position for the US and NATO throughout the Mediterranean area. We enjoy a complex of military facilities and bases which contributes to our role in the Middle East [less than 1 line not declassified] as well as to the security of Southern Europe itself. US presence and influence have helped keep Communists and neutralists out of power in most countries of the area and thus contributed to the strengthening of their ties with the rest of Western Europe.

It would be in the US interest to maintain these positions. But a number of developments now raise questions about how, to what extent and at what costs, US/NATO positions can be maintained. Relaxation of cold war tensions, changes in the East-West military balance, and the disappearance of regimes that cooperated closely with the US are all contrib-uting to a diminution of US influence in the area and a possible increase in that of the Soviet Union. We face pressures to reduce our base and force structure, a desire by some allies to dilute their participation in NATO, and growing influence on or even presence in the governments of some NATO members of Communists or others who are hostile to the Alliance.

None of this should be overstated. There are political factors which will impel at least some of these countries to move closer to Western Europe. Moreover, there is considerable flexibility in the Western military position in the Mediterranean. We may be able to compensate for the relative dimunition of our presence by technological developments (e.g., in airlift, or aerial refueling), more selective use of remaining US forces and bases, and more reliance on other Allied forces. Moscow is not likely to achieve a military edge in the area.

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Country Assessments

  • —Moderate forces in Portugal have won a second chance with the formation of a government with minimal Communist participation. But the unity of the forces supporting it, military and civilian, is fragile and it faces formidable economic and social problems and determined leftist opponents. The situation remains fluid and confused. One possible outcome could be a military-dominated, authoritarian government which would embrace at least the rhetoric of a non-aligned foreign policy and want a scaling down of Portugal’s already modest participation in NATO. We do not, however, expect a Portuguese move into the Soviet orbit. Many military men, as well as leaders of moderate political parties, look to Socialist governments and parties in Western Europe for assistance.
  • —Post-Franco Spain will see a very precarious attempt at “controlled liberalization.” A reasonably successful political evolution would permit Spain to draw closer to its West European neighbors but at some cost to US influence, since democratic elements will want to make gestures of reducing ties to the US and so to Spain’s dictatorial past. A reassertion of conservative and/or military rule, by prolonging Spain’s isolation from Europe, would make the US tie seem more valuable. But even a rightist regime might try to hold the line against change at home by striking nationalist foreign policy poses that would affect Spanish relations with the US as well as with Western Europe.
  • —At least for the near term Italy, for all its political turmoil, is the least likely country of the Southern area to call into doubt its ties to the West or to be tempted by any sort of radical nationalism or Mediterranean non-alignment. Nonetheless, continued political instability and the growing influence of the Communist Party will inhibit Italy’s effectiveness as a NATO ally. While we foresee no near term threat to present US military arrangements, it probably would not be possible to transfer there major facilities lost elsewhere in the area. In general, Italian politicians will be reluctant to accommodate any new NATO initiatives which might be at all controversial at home.
  • —The change of government in Greece has significantly improved that country’s relations with Western Europe, but dealings with the US will remain troubled unless and until a Cyprus settlement is reached. Karamanlis will need some further reduction in the US military presence beyond those already agreed in order to blunt criticism of those who urge a complete break. But he will continue to maintain as much of a de facto military role in the Alliance as the domestic political traffic will bear. Indeed, Athens’ desire not to be further isolated in the event of serious deterioration of Greek-Turkish relations will put a limit to erosion of its ties with the US.
  • —US relations with Turkey were soured by the stalemate over military sales and aid and will probably never return to their former [Page 196] degree of cordiality. Ankara, however, sees its long-term political, economic, and security interests with the West, and the Turkish political elite is committed to national development along Western lines. Turkey has looked first to its NATO allies in Europe to offset its growing isolation and to obtain military equipment and spare parts. But some kind of accommodation with the USSR and limited arms purchases cannot be ruled out.
  • Malta will need some economic support to replace UK/US base rental fees in March of 1979. For all his neutralist, anti-super power convictions, the erratic Dom Mintoff will bargain hard for economic advantage. Thus, he might agree to Soviet non-use of Malta, or possibly to continued Western military use of the island. He will threaten, as part of this bargaining, to accept Soviet or Libyan overtues.
  • —Developments in post-Tito Yugoslavia could have an important impact on NATO’s southern flank. We are relatively sanguine about the outcome—because we believe Moscow sees more to gain from détente than from an overt move to reestablish Soviet hegemony and because the Yugoslav military would move in to cope with an externally or internally generated threat to the country’s integrity and independence. But a precipitous unravelling of the Western position in Southern Europe might change Moscow’s perception of the risks of meddling in Yugoslav affairs. And a collapse of Yugoslav independence could demoralize moderates in neighboring states who would be sensitive to the advance of Soviet power nearer their borders.

The Soviet Union probably has no grand design for Southern Europe. Moscow can wait with some patience for events which it may think are moving in its general interests, at least in the sense that any dimunition in US influence, or in the anti-Communist coherence of the region, is a gain for Soviet policy. Moreover, a more activist Soviet policy to woo one party (e.g., Turkey) would only offend others (e.g., Greece). We cannot of course rule out the possibility that Soviet leaders will be overcome by enthusiasm for some opportunity for rapid and dramatic Communist gains and in the process perhaps revive a sense of unity and purpose among other NATO states in the region. But neither can we depend on Moscow to do that job for us. Instead, Moscow is likely to continue the relatively good behavior which aims to foster the impression that no European state has anything to fear if it adopts a more equivocal posture vis-à-vis the US or if the local Communist influence grows.

US Interests

For the foreseeable future, minimum US interests in Southern Europe include the following:

  • —Prevent the Mediterranean power balance from shifting to Soviet advantage;
  • —Contribute to maintaining the confidence and sense of security of pro-Western elements in Southern Europe, preventing further political unraveling there which could in turn make Central Europeans feel exposed and threatened.
  • —Keep enough political influence with the Southern European governments at least to prevent their acting against our vital interests (e.g., with radical Arab states or the Soviets) even if we cannot win their active support to the degree we would wish.
  • —[3 lines not declassified]
  • —Preserve sufficient US access to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean to maintain a positive psychological impact on the Middle East situation, however restricted our actual use of the individual facilities in case of an Arab-Israeli war.

Issues and Options

In trying to keep enough of a military and political presence in Southern Europe to serve these purposes, we face the complex problems of defining the kind of role we wish to play in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean in light of impinging circumstances on the one hand, the availability of required resources and feasible policies on the other. Specific issues include these:

  • —How can we manage our relations with each of the countries concerned in order to preserve as much US influence as possible?
  • —Should we promote the development of closer political, economic, and military links between the Southern European states and the rest of Western Europe, even at some cost to US political influence and economic interests and perhaps to our military position?
  • —Should we allow partial NATO membership by others besides France, or continued NATO membership by governments with Communist members, or should we insist, instead, on a more cohesive if smaller Alliance?
  • —Should we hold out for our present base and operating rights, reducing them only when a host government insists, or should we seize the initiative by proposing some cutbacks ourselves or working to increase the military role in the area of other allies?

This last issue includes a large number of others. There are arguments for and against such propositions as these:

  • —Withdrawing nuclear ballistic missile submarines from the area would not significantly degrade our strategic capability because the equivalent capability can be provided elsewhere;
  • —The Southern flank countries already have lost much of their value to us as a resupply route to the Middle East in times of emergency;
  • —There is little likelihood of Soviet military aggression against any of the Southern flank countries independent of a general NATO–Warsaw Pact conflict;
  • —US military facilities in the countries of the region have become more of a source of friction in our dealings with them, or an instrument for their blackmail of us, than a contribution to broader NATO defense interests;
  • —Technological progress may make it possible for the US to satisfy its own purely military needs in the area—naval and air access and intelligence gathering—with less reliance on foreign bases.

Our possible responses to all these questions can be grouped under a number of broad “strategies.” Should we adjust to and hopefully ride out present trends in Southern Europe, accepting a diminution of our role? Should we try to compensate for this by drawing other West European powers more deeply into the region’s affairs? Or by possibly accepting quite a different definition of NATO membership and its purpose? Or should we try to control events by making clear our determination to resist unfavorable trends, bargaining hard against any reduction in military rights, and rejecting partial members of NATO or members with governments judged to be incompatible with the nature of the Alliance?

A. Bilateral Relations

There are a number of steps Washington can take to influence events in individual countries. We can continue encouraging West Europeans to take the lead in supporting Portuguese moderates and in making that support conditional on Portugual’s remaining on the democratic path. We should continue to avoid anything which leftist forces could portray as a US or NATO “attack” on Portugal or its revolution.

In Spain, we can let our military contacts know our general support for a pluralistic system as being in Spain’s best interests and step up our own relations with democratic oppositionists as well as with moderates in the regime. We also should continue to support and plan for Spain’s closer integration with the West. In Spain, as in Portugal, European political parties and labor unions are in a better position than we to strengthen contacts with and give support to democratic forces. We should encourage them to take the lead in doing so.

In Italy the most important thing we can do to strengthen democratic forces is help the country out of its economic difficulties. We also can emphasize our support for Christian Democratic-Socialist alliances as the best means to that end, and our continued opposition to Communist participation in the national government.

The best, and perhaps only, way to improve our position in both Greece and Turkey is to help find some resolution of the Cypriot issue and help keep Greek-Turkish disputes over the Aegean from leading to conflict between them. In the meantime, while showing willingness to renegotiate American military arrangements with both, we should take every opportunity to remind each of the value to itself of those arrangements and of a firm, effective Alliance.

B. The Southern Flank and the EC

We could try to reinsure against a dimunition in the US role in Southern Europe by anchoring these countries more firmly to their [Page 199] neighbors in Northern and Central Europe. Military “devolution” would mean trying to get the French and Italians, and also perhaps the Germans and others, to play a larger role in their own defense and so establish more balanced and durable security arrangements for the area within the NATO system. It could also include at least token multilateralization of some US military facilities in order to put them under NATO sponsorship and so make them more palatable to local political opinion. Political-economic “devolution” would mean supporting close association with or full membership in the European Community for the states of Southern Europe.

The possible risk in this policy is that it might accelerate the loosening of ties with the US without providing anything viable and effective to replace them. The prospect of being able to develop European ties might make it easier for wavering Allies—Greece is an obvious example—to rationalize, and justify to conservative opinion at home, decisions to reduce military links with the US. And France—most eager of the European Community partners to draw Southern Europe into the Community’s orbit—would be pleased to become a major if not the chief military arms supplier and external political influence in the region. On the other hand, most Europeans would use whatever influence they might acquire over Southern Europe defense policies to urge good behavior within NATO, even while possibly competing with the US for economic access to the region.

Realistically, “devolution” could at best supplement and possibly compensate for declining US influence in Southern Europe, not provide a substitute for it. No combination of European states will be able to take on the bulk of our present military role. [11/2 lines not declassified] Leaders of Italy, Greece and Turkey are well aware of their exposure to the power and proximity of the USSR. Their continued desire for some visible US military presence (perhaps in NATO rather than specifically US facilities) should put a limit on both the erosion of our role in the area and the growth of West European or indeed Soviet influence.

C. The Alliance: Institutional Integrity

1. A Jagged Alliance?

We probably could force other Allies to accept the expulsion of members who opt for only partial participation (e.g., Greece), but at considerable cost to harmony in what was left of the Alliance. Moreover, expulsion would likely lead to the loss of all US military installations in the country concerned and of whatever US influence remained, as well as foreclose the possibility of some (e.g., Greece) eventually returning to full membership.

Allowing partial Alliance membership, on the other hand, would tend to undermine its effectiveness and coherence and encourage others to opt for the political and strategic advantages of NATO [Page 200] membership while contributing little or nothing to its conventional military arm. It might also undermine public support in the US for an alliance in which we seemed to be carrying the burdens while others enjoyed the benefits at small cost.

2. Communists in NATO?

This dike already has been breached to a degree, with Iceland in the past and Portugal at the moment. But the risk to NATO’s secrets is considerable, and the erosion of its ideological contour could be dangerous to its public image and support, in the US and abroad. Clearcut US opposition to NATO membership for governments which include Communists might at least stiffen the resistance of Christian Democrats and even Socialists in Italy to PCI participation in that government.

But adopting such a policy would require a clear decision that we would prefer a shrunken, more ideologically cohesive alliance, even in cases where Communists are not the controlling members of their government and not necessarily permanent ones. This policy would almost certainly require us to relinquish military facilities which we might have been able to keep and would encounter stiff opposition from other NATO members. Recent events in Portugal suggest the value of a less clearcut approach in cases short of Communist takeover: isolating such a government from sensitive alliance activity until the situation improves—or is lost.

D. Base Structure

Rather than holding out for our present base and operating rights and negotiating reductions only as they are forced on us, we might seize the initiative by ourselves proposing cutbacks of marginal, politically vulnerable or technologically obsolescent facilities. We might actually improve our chances of keeping essential facilities by helping pro-US governments accommodate domestic pressures for a visible reduction in our presence. This policy might be accompanied by—or even conditioned on—a correlative transfer of some degree of US defense responsibilities to other Allies.

On the other hand, we would be risking the loss of facilities which we might otherwise have kept while stimulating demands for more “victories” by local politicians over Washington. Further, giving up even marginal facilities before we have to might signal to some that the US was disengaging from the area or downgrading its importance. Certainly this policy would need to be implemented with a careful assessment of its effect on each individual local political situation, as well as on the likely reactions of the Soviets, West Europeans and Middle Easterners.

[Omitted here are portions of Section I unrelated to Greece and Turkey.]

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The Greek government is now in safe and sensible hands and presents us with little problem of Communist or neutralist influence at this time. Nevertheless, it is negotiating to reduce the US presence at existing installations in Greece and in principle has taken the country out of NATO’s military system. The negotiations will bring significant reductions in the US presence in Greece. When and whether Greece will return to NATO integration is likely to be tied to progress on Cyprus and relations with Turkey. This question confronts the Alliance with its most direct structural challenge since de Gaulle set the example in 1966.

The Karamanlis government does not question the wisdom of Greek alignment with the West nor the need of a special relationship with the US. But domestic political considerations deriving from the Greek-Turkish dispute have led it to seek a lower US profile in Greece and a greater degree of influence over US activities there. Agreement was reached in late April to end homeporting in Greece for five destroyers of the US Sixth fleet. This will reduce the number of US personnel in Greece by about 3,000 out of an estimated total of 13,000 military and dependents. It was also agreed that the US would close down its air base at Hellenikon near Athens, while retaining some essential facilities there on an expanded Greek base.

The Greek government will probably seek further reductions in the size of the US military presence and modifications in the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement in an effort to blunt criticism from those in the country who favor a complete cut in Greek security ties with the US and NATO. We believe that the government will seek to maintain security ties with the US at a reduced level [1 line not declassified]. Greek- NATO negotiations began in September.

Other than withdrawal of forces from NATO command, the Greek Government has made no move to implement its August 1974 decision to withdraw from the military arm of NATO. The official statements about the withdrawal contrast sharply with continuing Greek participation in most of NATO’s defense-related activities. Greece’s participation in the NATO Military Committee and most subordinate headquarters remains essentially the same as before, although Greece abstains from activities of the Defense Planning Committee (DPC). The Greeks are still searching for ways to maintain a maximum de facto military role in the Alliance. They appear willing to undertake to commit forces to NATO in the event of a clear threat of aggression but are hesitant to discuss the central issue of force commitments in peacetime.

Their inhibitions in this matter flow from the same source as their initial decision to reduce their ties to both NATO and the US, namely, the Greek-Turkish dispute over Cyprus. Greek frustration at their own impotence in the face of Turkish action in Cyprus led them to try to [Page 202] exert pressure on Turkey by way of the US and NATO. Their lack of success has, so far, stood in the way of their retracing these steps. US-Greek and NATO-Greek relations will continue to hinge on progress on Cyprus and relations with Turkey. Should Greek relations with Turkey improve with respect to Cyprus, the political pressure on Karamanlis would be reduced, though whether even then he could resume full NATO participation is uncertain. But even if relations with Turkey should seriously deteriorate, the Greeks would not want to cut themselves off from the US. There thus seems to be a limit on how far Karamanlis is likely to go in weakening ties to the US.

The prospects for a negotiated settlement on Cyprus are questionable. Greece is anxious to cut its losses and remove Cyprus as a constant point of friction with Turkey but it is not likely to negotiate in place of the Greek Cypriots, or to accept a Turkish zone far out of proportion to the Turkish Cypriot population. It is possible, however, that the Greeks may strongly press the Greek Cypriots to make a deal if the Turks appear willing to accept a reasonable territorial offer.

Makarios, for his part, prefers to “make do” in a truncated Greek Cyprus rather than to legitimize Turkish aggression in return for marginal concessions. And the Turkish government, though it wants eventual international recognition of the new situation in Cyprus and rapprochement with Greece, is weak and must proceed with caution, particularly with respect to territorial questions, bizonal arrangements and the degree to which the Turkish minority should share power—the issues which remain the key to progress.

In short, the best we can hope for now is continuation of the present state of relative peace on Cyprus, coupled with continuing efforts through intercommunal talks to move toward a negotiated settlement. Insofar as Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations are concerned, this situation does not cause intolerable problems in Greece for the US. But, while failure to achieve a negotiated settlement may be tolerated by Greece, it will retain a destabilizing potential for internal Greek and Greek Cypriot politics, remain a sore point in US-Greek relations, and complicate our effort to bring Greece back into full Alliance participation.

The Aegean problem could again have an equally destabilizing potential in the sense that more important national interests are involved in the long run, though the governments are now more disposed to a calm approach. Since October 1973, when the Greeks discovered oil off the island of Thasos, Greece and Turkey have been bitterly divided by a range of interlocking issues relating to control of the Aegean Sea. The core issue has to do with overlapping claims, based on the complicated geography of the area, to the resources on and beneath the Aegean’s continental shelf. Most of the other issues currently troubling Greek-Turkish relations concern the continental shelf dispute either directly [Page 203] or tangentially. For example, there is already a dispute over the control of air traffic over the Aegean. Moreover, the Greeks favor an international standard for territorial waters of 12 miles, while Turkey argues that a 12-mile rule in the Aegean would give it access to its own Aegean ports only on Greek suffrance. Finally, Greece, arguing that the Turkish intervention in Cyprus and Turkish attitudes toward the Aegean show Turkey’s hostility to Greece, has militarized the Dodecanese Islands in contravention of the Treaty of Paris of 1947 and another group of three islands near the Turkish coast in contravention of the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923. Turkey, in turn, has made reconnaissance flights over several of these Greek islands despite treaty provisions prohibiting military overflights. It has also initiated the creation of a new Army, focussed totally toward the Aegean islands.

The Greeks are satisfied with the status quo in the Aegean. The Turks, who will not permit Athens to make the Aegean a Greek lake, are insisting that improved relations can come about only through give-andtake negotiations involving some splitting of the differences on all the issues. The continental shelf issue is now stalled. The Greeks state that both countries concurred in recent bilateral meetings to refer the question to the International Court of Justice, while the Turks insist that these meetings also called for prior Greek-Turkish negotiations to identify areas of agreement and disagreement. The issue still has the potential of sparking a clash between these two allies, with all the consequences that would imply for their domestic regimes and their foreign orientations.

As Karamanlis’ honeymoon period gradually comes to an end he may become less able to undertake bold strokes toward a settlement with the Turks on Cyprus or the Aegean issues. The prospects, then, are at best for an extended period in which Greece and Turkey cautiously explore, by fits and starts, areas of accommodation. Although the civilian and military leadership in both Greece and Turkey will want to avoid it, periodic tension and the possibility of an armed conflict will persist. For that reason, Greek unhappiness with the US for not bringing more pressure to bear on Turkey will also persist, and so will the continuing threat of a further deterioration of US-Greek and Greek-NATO relations.

In the longer term, Greek ties with the US and NATO will be greatly affected by Karamanlis’ ability to solidify his political base and develop political structures that will survive his passing from the scene. With an overwhelming parliamentary majority, he has the political force to make needed changes in Greek political life, as evidenced by the adoption of a constitution providing for a strong president. But the left, which won only 22 per cent of the vote in the last election, may do better the next time when memories—and fears—of the junta are not so fresh. Karamanlis’ objective is to strengthen his base and pick up support from those who are alienated from his conservative policies without alarming the right and especially the army.

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Recent Greek political history does not encourage excessive optimism as to Karamanlis’ chances of establishing what would be the best (though not the only) framework for taking care of our own policy interests in Greece: a stable, democratic political system that will maintain a pro-Western foreign policy even in the face of continuing frustrations with respect to Turkey. Greece has a breathing space but not yet a long-term answer to its political and institutional problems. The same is true, therefore, for US-Greek relations.


Turkey’s ties to the US have become severely strained by the Turks’ resentment over the US arms embargo. Despite Congressional easing of the embargo in early October, US military assistance has become an issue in partisan political debate. The Turkish Government, claiming that the US abrogated the bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement by imposing the embargo, has initiated negotiations to draft a new Agreement. In addition to wanting to control US activities in Turkey, the Turks are also seeking guaranteed access to US arms. The future of US-Turkish relations will depend, in large part, on the outcome of these negotiations.

At the best, the Turks will not in the future allow themselves to depend upon the US as completely as in the past, particularly with respect to military equipment. The need for spare parts to keep their military machine rolling has demonstrated to them the value of diversifying sources of supply. Western Europe is Turkey’s first choice as a supplemental source of equipment. But the Turks know that the European Allies cannot take care of all their needs. If Turkey is able to satisfy its basic military needs through the pipeline aid it now receives from the US, from whatever FY 1976 security assistance Congress approves, and additionally from its West European allies, its current close ties with NATO will most likely be maintained. If Turkey cannot maintain its military strength at a satisfactory level by depending upon these sources, it could intensify its search for arms and for financial assistance in procuring arms from Iran and the Arab world. Ankara might then also seek a political stance more independent of the Alliance than heretofore. Even some kind of eventual accommodation with the Soviets is not to be ruled out, including possible purchase of military support equipment and a non-aggression pact.

In addition to the motives for possible adjustments in Turkey’s foreign policy described above, pressures from the religious-based National Salvation Party and extremist groups for a closer alignment with the Moslem world might intensify. Differences and prejudices engrained by time will be difficult to overcome, however, and without strong Arab inducements—in the shape of substantial financial assistance—no lasting relationship is likely to develop. Even such inducements would be unlikely to sway the Turkish political elite from their [Page 205] long-standing commitment to economic and social development along Western lines.

The two major Turkish parties recognize that their country’s long-term political, economic, and security interests lie with the West. They would like to remove the major irritant to continued cooperation with the West by achieving a rapprochement with Greece. However, the persistence of weak government in Ankara compounds the problem of reaching a settlement on Cyprus. Even at the best, however, the Turks will want their continued relationship with the US to be on a different basis than before. They want less dependence on the US as a source of military supplies and greater control over US facilities in Turkey.

[Omitted here are portions of Section I unrelated to Greece and Turkey.]

II. Conclusions

These conclusions can be drawn from the foregoing analysis:

Despite the growth of the Soviet fleet, pressure on the NATO base structure and other constraints, the military balance of power in the Mediterranean still rests with the West.
The US has some flexibility in responding to political pressures on its base structure and can accept certain operating, tenure or occupation restrictions on its bases in individual countries without markedly reducing its objectives in the area and its ability to implement them. Compensations for base losses can be effected in certain cases but would entail military, economic or political costs. Opportunities exist for some relocation of US facilities from areas under political pressure, such as CONUS basing of SSBN’s. Additionally, some operational flexibility could be achieved [2 lines not declassified]. New systems over the next five years provide alternatives for airlift and certain intelligence capabilities not dependent on location. On the other hand, the prospects for devolution of current US military missions in the Mediterranean to our Allies are limited by weaknesses in Allied capabilities, political constraints which would also act upon them, and the fact that certain of our roles can be performed only by the US.
The political environment we face in Southern Europe is ambiguous and in flux. In some respects the US and NATO position continues to have strong foundations. Several of the countries continue to feel a need for alliance with the US against a too powerful and too near Soviet Union. Détente has weakened but by no means destroyed this factor, nor is it likely to. Some governments also value the US tie as an element in their domestic stability.
There are, in fact, some prospects for improvement in the Western position. These include the possibility of closer ties between [Page 206] post-Franco Spain and NATO and of a reduction in the Greek-Turkish tension which is the main immediate source of US and NATO difficulties with both countries. Another stabilizing factor would be the increase of Western European influence in the area. Neither the European Community nor its members is going to be in a position to take over the major US stabilizing role in the Southern European area for the foreseeable future. But both the EC and its members can contribute to the orderly evolution of the area by means of the economic assistance they can provide and the political influence which, in varying degrees, they possess. US-European coordination of policy toward the Southern countries should thus be a major goal if the leverage we have among us is to be applied most effectively.
Nevertheless, US influence is in decline in all of the area countries, in different degrees and for different reasons. Decline, of course, does not mean disappearance (US influence may still remain very considerable even if it is reduced as compared to the height of the cold war), nor is it necessarily balanced by an increase of Soviet influence. But the US will have to modify some of its policies with respect to both bilateral and multilateral relations if it is to maintain even an adequate (i.e., less than desirable) level of influence in countries it has hitherto largely been able to take for granted.
One consequence of this change will be that US access to the military facilities which underpin its and NATO’s position in the Mediterranean will be under continuing pressure for the long-term. It is not possible to say with any certainty just which installations will be affected, to what extent, or when, once we get past the present round of negotiations. Planning for these future contingencies must be hypothetical, whether it is a question of seeking to modify or terminate certain missions, devolve them on our allies or relocate certain facilities to places outside the five countries (none of which is likely, in any case, to accept more US facilities than it now has). The timing and extent of US military cutbacks will, in turn, have a bearing on the internal stability and foreign policies of all the countries whose stability and policies are affected, however intangibly, by the US military presence.
A second consequence will be that NATO risks becoming an increasingly jagged alliance in the Southern flank, with Portugal, Greece and possibly others joining France in a less-than-full type of membership, while Spain, on the other hand, might be assimilated to the Alliance but also, possibly, in a less-than-full relationship. At a minimum, through emphasis on particular national problems, and through an emotional and self-centered approach to NATO’s activities on the part of these Southern European states, the institutional integrity and effectiveness of NATO will suffer. The US may face a choice between a shrunken but relatively homogeneous alliance from which half [Page 207] members have been dropped and a more irregular alliance including Southern flank countries (and perhaps others to whom they will set an example) in a variety of membership relationships.
A third consequence is the problem of governments in some of these countries which include Communists or others who are hostile to NATO. Such an alliance would be very different, in homogeneity and ideological contour, from what it has been since its inception. The US choice would be between ejecting such members (at some point to be determined when Communists et al enter or come to dominate certain governments) or putting up with them (perhaps with limits on their participation in Alliance affairs) for as long as they continue to want to maintain membership.
The Soviet response to this situation has been cautious and is likely to remain so, at least while the main thrust of its foreign policy is toward détente with the US. Negative developments in the six countries are not mainly the work of the USSR, but it will exploit them when it can do so with minimal risk to its relations with the US. Nevertheless, if the USSR is able to reassert its influence in Yugoslavia after Tito’s passing, it will be in a good position to exert political pressure further afield (though a success of that sort could also have counterproductive results for the USSR).

[Omitted here are Section III, “Issues and Options,” Section IV, “Strategies,” and two Annexes.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H–Files), Box H–35, NSSM 222. Secret; Exdis. The paper was forward to the Departments of State and Defense and the CIA for agency comment on December 24. (Ibid.) NSSM 222 is Document 45.