63. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1
- Reply to Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis of Greece
Following the signing of the US-Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA),2 Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis of Greece sent you the following message:
“April 1, 1976
Dear Mr. President:
I am convinced that the recent United States-Turkish agreement raises most serious problems for Greece and dangers for the peace of this region.
Our two foreign ministers have already exchanged views on the situation and I have the feeling that these problems can be resolved to the benefit of the United States, Greece, Turkey and the Free World.[Page 220]
Knowing your statesmanship and your personal interest in settling the tragic situation obtaining in this area of the world, I would be obliged if you would give your full support to the arrangements now being discussed.
The Prime Minister’s message reflects the Greek government’s concern that the new US-Turkish defense agreement favors Turkey over Greece and may serve to destabilize the delicate balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean area. In this connection, the Greek government “suspended” talks with the United States on the future of U.S. bases in Greece and asked for assurances of U.S. support for Greece in the event of a Greek-Turkish confrontation in the Aegean, together with a level of U.S. aid for Greece equal to that assured Turkey in the new DCA. Additionally, Prime Minister Caramanlis has contacted the heads of government of the EC–9 asking that they express Greece’s concerns to the United States.
As you know, Secretary Kissinger has been giving the Greek request careful study and has been in close and continuing contact with Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios on this matter. They are currently working to reach agreement on an exchange of letters for public release, stating U.S. support for assistance levels for Greece comparable with Turkey while avoiding an explicit commitment on our part to intervene in any Greek-Turkish dispute in the Mediterranean or Aegean.
The message for your approval to Prime Minister Caramanlis at Tab A3 would thank him for his letter of April 1, note the continuing contacts between the Secretary of State and the Greek Foreign Minister, and express your confidence that the present concern of the Greek government over the US-Turkish defense agreement can be resolved in a way which will benefit both countries and help preserve and strengthen the peace and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean area.
The text of your message has been cleared with Douglas Smith of Robert Hartmann’s office.
That you approve the message to Prime Minister Caramanlis at Tab A for immediate dispatch to Athens.4
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, 1974–1977, Box 2, Greece, Karamanlis. Secret. Sent for action. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.↩
- The agreement was signed on March 26, but Congress did not act upon it because of the embargo, which was not lifted until 1978. See Document 247.↩
- Not attached; the letter was transmitted to Athens in telegram 086496, April 9. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1976)↩
- Ford initialed the approve option.↩