65. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1

Secretary Kissinger has asked that I pass to you the following message.

“When I saw Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios this morning2 I told him that the cancellation of Caramanlis’ visit3 had not been well received in Washington and that your reaction, as well as mine, was the the Greeks were not the only ones to have political problems. I observed that they must understand that a substitution of President Tsatsos for Prime Minister Caramanlis would not be appropriate. Bitsios defended [Page 229] Caramanlis’ decision as having been made to avoid his having embarrassing confrontations with the Greek-American community, members of Congress and the press which might have damaged US-Greek relations.

“When I told Bitsios that it might be difficult to schedule a visit by either Caramanlis or Tsatsos later this year he replied that Greece would want its Chief of State to pay his respects to you during the Bicentennial Year. I told him that we would see what could be done, but reiterated that we would not want a visit by Tsatsos to be considered a substitute for the Caramanlis visit.

“Our meeting, aside from expressing this disappointment, was positive. I assured Bitsios that we are prepared to be as helpful as possible in moving the Cyprus negotiation ahead. I told him of my message to Genscher which I was asked by the Greek Government to send. In it, I urged Genscher to press the Turkish Cypriot leader (on a visit to Bonn) to be more flexible. Genscher did so and I was able to tell Bitsios that a major effort was made, but that the Turkish Cypriots had made no promises. I will urge Schmidt to take an equally firm line when he visits Ankara next week. I also told Bitsios that I had urged Waldheim to take a more active role in bringing the two Cypriot groups together, and that you had sent a message to DEMIREL. I said I would encourage the Turks tomorrow to get into the substance of the problem.

“Finally, I urged early conclusion of our bilateral negotiation—not to help us with the Turkish Agreement—but to respond to our common desire to restore our traditional close relationship. He agreed that these should move forward and said that the Greek negotiator had reported good progress thus far.”

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 276, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. The conversation took place at 8 a.m. in the SAS Hotel while Kissinger was at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Oslo. (Memorandum of conversation, May 20; ibid.)
  3. After meeting with Karamanlis on May 17, Kubisch reported from Athens that the Greek Prime Minister had decided that a visit to the United States would be harmful to him, President Ford, and U.S.-Greek relations, and create a political mess for both countries. (Telegram 4767 from Athens, May 17; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1976)