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66. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford 1

SUBJECT

  • Status Report on United States-Greek Base Negotiations

Background

In late March, the Greek Government interrupted the renegotiation of the U.S.-Greek security relationship which had been underway at Greek initiative since early 1975, and asked that we conclude an agreement with Athens similar in tone and form to the Defense Cooperation Agreement we had just signed with Turkey. The United States accepted this request and began developing with the Greek Government a statement of “Principles,” designed to cover the future negotiation of a U.S.-Greek Defense Cooperation Agreement. This statement of “Principles” was signed in Washington by Secretary Kissinger and Greek Foreign Minister Bitsios on April 15, 1976.2

By June, negotiators had completed the texts on the basic Defense Cooperation Agreement and two appendices concerning Status of Forces and Command and Control, but negotiation of four appendices concerning major U.S. facilities in Greece (Nea Makri, Souda Bay, Iraklion, and Hellenikon) remained at an impasse. Unlike the Turks, the Greeks refused to decouple the basic agreement from detailed annexes regarding the facilities, thus making impossible early submission to the Congress of the Greek agreement. The State Department believes the Greeks were probably dragging their feet to obstruct movement of the companion Turkish agreement through Congress.

To break the logjam, Ambassador Kubisch met on July 17 with Foreign Minister Bitsios to stress the firmness of our position and note that it was in Greece’s interest to settle these major negotiating issues.3

Current Status

Foreign Minister Bitsios has responded somewhat positively to this latest approach by Kubisch by indicating Greek acceptance of some [Page 231]U.S. positions and by suggesting that compromise is possible on others. The Greeks have agreed:

  • —not to press for U.S. funding of any projects outside the basic $700 million, four-year ceiling agreed upon in April by Secretary Kissinger and Bitsios; and
  • —[21/2 lines not declassified]

However, the Greeks still:

  • —resist the U.S. request for expanded U.S. utilization of Souda Air Field in Crete;
  • —insist on sizeable manpower reductions and relocation of dependent support facilities from Hellenikon; and
  • —request assistance in expanding their Defense Communication System into portions of the Aegean militarized in contravention of the 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy.

Future Prospects

Negotiations resumed in Athens on July 26 with U.S. negotiators instructed to test the Greek willingness to solve remaining issues quickly. If agreement is not reached by mid-August, it will be clear that the Greeks are again deliberately dragging their feet.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 10, Greece 6. Secret. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 64.
  3. Kubisch reported from Athens on his meeting with Bitsios in telegrams 7240, July 17, and 7268, July 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1976)