105. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Nimetz) to Secretary of State Vance 1

We received a long cable from Ron Spiers reporting on his first meeting with Ecevit.2 You will receive a summary of the cable, but in general it is very positive, with Ecevit reaffirming Turkey’s pro-Western orientation, its desire to resume close relations with the United States and willingness to get the Cyprus talks moving through new Turkish proposals.

The issue I would like to flag for you now is the following paragraph which I am duplicating from the cable:

“In this connection he said Turkey’s defense cannot be separated from the global problem of East-West relations. He needed to know what had happened in this area since the DCA was signed. He did not feel well-informed about the basic approach of the Carter Administration and felt that Turkey, as a participant in the alliance, must have broader information on the US perspective. Accordingly, he would welcome a short visit from an authoritative member of the Administration. It should not, however, be anyone below the level of the Secretary of State, Defense or Brzezinski. He felt that a Brzezinski visit would be easier to handle since he had invited him to Ankara after the Bilderberg Conference two years ago.3 Since Brzezinski is a Sovietologist with a broad view of US objectives, a visit by him would be particularly appropriate, whereas a visit by the Secretary, although it would be welcome, would have more of an official cast.”

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George Vest and I would like to get your thinking on this issue of arranging a high-level visit to Turkey. A Brzezinski trip is one possibility, although it raises wider issues of the role of the NSC. Secretary Brown might be interested in going to Ankara; you might be able to do it as an adjunct to a Middle East trip. Another alternative is for the President to phone Ecevit and ask him to receive a team of Clifford, Dave McGiffert and me.

George Vest and I feel strongly that we should seize this opportunity to deal with Ecevit, and how to do it needs your guidance.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 81D85, Box 2, Evening Reading. Secret; Nodis. Copies were sent to Ewing and Vest. In the upper right corner, Vance wrote, “Matt—It should be Brown or the group of you 3. CRV,” in response to Nimetz’s question about who should meet Ecevit in Ankara. The group of three refers to Nimetz, Clifford, and McGiffert.
  2. Telegram 212 from Ankara, January 11. (Carter Library, Donated Material, Papers of Walter F. Mondale, Foreign Countries, Box 50, Foreign Countries—Greece/Turkey/Cyprus, [1978])
  3. The Bilderberg Group conference took place in Izmir, Turkey, in 1975. This annual event gathers dozens of global leaders from the political, economic, and business spheres.