100. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Restricted Session—The Secretary’s Second Meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Caglayangil


  • Turkey

    • Foreign Minister Caglayangil
    • Mr. Guvenderin—Translator
  • United States

    • The Secretary
    • Clark Clifford

The restricted meeting extended for more than one hour and contained a great deal of repetition of past positions taken by the Turks. Secretary Vance made it dramatically clear to Caglayangil that we had to have all the help we could get to move the DCA through the Congress. He informed Caglayangil that the President was going to have to have the Secretary’s and Clifford’s assurance that the DCA would pass before he would send it to the Congress with his recommendation that it be approved.

Caglayangil insisted that his government has recently decided on a clear and unequivocal policy to settle the Cyprus issue. Cyprus had caused Turkey great difficulty, both from an economic standpoint and in terms of Turkey’s image in the world. The Cyprus operation had been very expensive and one of the practical reasons a solution was indicated was that it could save Turkey a substantial amount of money.

Caglayangil was questioned in detail about Turkey’s position and in all his replies Caglayangil sought to convey the impression that Turkey was prepared to take whatever action was necessary to obtain a Cyprus settlement. Turkey well understood the importance of Cyprus as compared to the importance of its bilateral relationship with the United States and the healthy continuance of the NATO Alliance. He indicated that he thought that in the Turkish Government’s policy review, Cyprus had been placed in its proper perspective.

With reference to the details of a Cyprus settlement, Caglayangil estimated that a fair and equitable division would result in 32 percent going to the Turkish-Cypriots. He said that were he asked whether or [Page 318] not he had ever made a comment to this effect to the Secretary, he wanted to be on notice in advance that he would have to be at liberty to deny it. Makarios had put forward a map that would have allotted the Turkish-Cypriots about 20 percent of the island, and Makarios had let it be known that there might be flexibility in the Greek-Cypriot position up to 25 percent. Secretary Vance asked Caglayangil as to whether the Turks were prepared to be flexible in their 32 percent figure. Caglayangil replied affirmatively but suggested it was a mistake to deal in percentages. A number of special situations existed on the island that had to be taken into account; this could be done if both sides approached the problem in an atmosphere of goodwill.

Secretary Vance asked what Caglayangil thought should be done with Varosha. Caglayangil replied equivocally. He said further negotiations were required, that there were both Greek and Turkish interests there that had to be taken into account, but that in the final analysis an equitable settlement could be arranged.

Proceeding to the next area of discussion, Secretary Vance asked what Turkey’s ideas were with reference to the structure of the new government of Cyprus. Caglayangil dismissed this airily with a wave of his hand. He said that this was absolutely no problem, and wasn’t worth taking the time to discuss. All sides appreciated in general terms the kind of government that would have to be created, and Caglayangil foresaw little difficulty in the parties reaching an agreement on this subject. He indicated that Turkey did not intend to take a stiff position in this area and maintain it adamantly so as to impact adversely on the prospects for an early settlement.

Caglayangil said in this connection that at some point Secretary Vance should invite Denktash to the United States. This might occur after the DCA had been passed by the Congress, if that proved to be the policy of the US Government. Such a visit would mean a great deal to Denktash and the Turkish-Cypriots, and would add immeasurably to the ease of working with Denktash.

Secretary Vance and Caglayangil got into a long discussion regarding specific words connected with the draft paper under consideration. Instead of attempting to have a definitive written instrument that would set forth specifically what each side would do, Secretary Vance stated that he would have a memo prepared which he would submit to President Carter.2 Caglayangil replied that he would prepare a memo and submit it to Prime Minister Demirel and the Turkish Cabinet. Each agreed to present the problem to their respective leaders along with [Page 319] their personal opinion that the course of action agreed upon would lead to the settlement of Cyprus and the passage of the DCA.

The understanding between the parties was based upon the joint realization that the settlement of the Cyprus question would lead to the passage of the DCA and the passage of the DCA would lead to the settlement of the Cyprus question. Each side indicated that the efforts by both parties would take place concurrently but that there was no way to set condition precedents for later action. Both understood this to mean that our two governments had reached an understanding that, assuming higher approval, the United States would move in good faith for the passage of the DCA and that those in the Administration who had the responsibility would seek to persuade people by conveying our considered opinion that the settlement of Cyprus was well on its way.

This kind of approach appealed very much to both the Secretary and Foreign Minister Caglayangil. Caglayangil promised to inform his government in this sense, and said he already knew the US would be pleased by the actions that would be forthcoming from Ankara. When Secretary Vance reiterated that we needed more than just words, Caglayangil tapped the draft paper and said this constituted part of our oral understanding of what Turkey is to do and what the US is to do. It was better to have an understanding in our hearts than on paper, said Caglayangil. Secretary Vance agreed.

With reference to the question of the timing, Secretary Vance asked if it would not be better to delay certain actions until after the Greek election in November. Caglayangil at once quickly and firmly agreed. He said that in the meantime both sides could be going about their business—the United States could proceed with the FMS program. Turkey could initiate some of its planning and making certain statements, so that the time between now and November 20 would not be wasted. Thereafter both parties would proceed with appropriate haste to get the job done.

Caglayangil stated his strong belief that Turkey and Greece should participate in the intercommunal talks on Cyprus. When it was suggested that it might be difficult to persuade Greece to work along in this way, Caglayangil replied that if the United States took a firm enough position, Greece would come along. Secretary Vance suggested that might be so. Caglayangil feels that the United States must maintain a very active role with reference to the negotiations on Cyprus and Secretary Vance suggested that it probably would be most effective if it were done in the background rather than out in front.

COMMENT: The tone of the meeting was excellent. Caglayangil spoke with commendable candor. Secretary Vance was equally frank. There was considerable discussion of the fact that the Cyprus problem was one small and minor element in an entire mosaic. The men agreed [Page 320] that the future of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Turkey was of great importance and the continued maintenance and strengthening of the NATO Alliance was a matter of prime concern, particularly in the light of recent Soviet arms build ups. Finally, the importance of the discussion centered on the fact that the Secretary and Foreign Minister reached a new approach on how to handle our common problems in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Caglayangil was obviously pleased at the result of the talks. At one time he indicated that he was placing his faith, his reputation and his honor on the line, and that we would find that he would carry through on the understandings that were in the process of being reached. Secretary Vance stated that he knew that President Carter favored the DCA and that he would wish to go ahead with it if his advisers believed that the Congress would pass it. In this regard it was suggested to Caglayangil that the timing of the DCA might have to change. The President now had pending the Middle East, the Panama Canal and a number of other exceedingly important and controversial issues. These factors might affect the timing of proceeding with the DCA, if the President so decided. Caglayangil said he understood this.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 81D85, Box 2, MemCons. Secret; Exdis. The meeting took place in the Secretary’s suite at the UN Plaza Hotel.
  2. See Document 101. The draft paper was not found.