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108. Memorandum From Gregory F. Treverton of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • Where we Stand on the Turkish DCA

Your memorandum of February 6 to Vance and Brown (attached) has not been fully answered.2 I understand the Secretary regarded the evening reading item on Saturday to be as full an answer as possible (or desirable to put on paper) at this time.3 But State is frankly slow to move on this issue. As you know, a small State/Defense/Treasury team has been in Ankara this week examining all aspects of the U.S.-Turkish relationship, at the behest of Ecevit—part of our general strategy of encouraging the Turks to take initiatives on Cyprus which would in turn permit us to move forward with the DCA.4 (C)

First reports from that group are mixed. As usual, the Turks hoped our people would come checkbook in hand. They did indicate that the Ecevit-Caramanlis Summit is now set for March 9–10, but fleshed-out Turkish proposals on Cyprus are not yet ready. Ecevit’s subordinates hinted that the Prime Minister might not come to the May NATO Summit—it is Turkey’s turn to be honorary Council president—if the DCA question is not resolved by then. (C)

The timing may be difficult for us. Congressional hearings on security assistance—at which our position on the DCAs will be expected—come up in March. Yesterday, in fact, the Hamilton subcommittee proposed hearings as early as the 13th and 14th, to wrap up before the Easter holiday.5 That timing leaves us little time to orchestrate matters with Congress; perhaps more serious, it may not allow enough time for the Turkish initiatives we require to ripen. On the other hand, the Turks are all too aware of our Congressional timing: if positive action on the [Page 345] DCA is not begun soon, they understand that the next window would be late fall. (C)

RECOMMENDATION:

—That we urgently review the situation when Nimetz and the group return, with particular attention to the first issue: do we intend to proceed ahead in March and ask for passage of the DCA? That turns in large measure on our reading of what the Turks are prepared to do. The timing may be influenced by Panama and other items on the legislative agenda, but I don’t think Panama should be a major consideration.6 And it, of course, is a matter for Presidential decision.

—If the decision is to move forward, develop and begin immediately to implement a plan of contacts on the Hill. In particular, we need to assure that those who support us are as well briefed as are those who will oppose us; otherwise, the proGreek Congressional groups will continue to be able to play the role of spoiler.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 50, Turkey: 1978. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Attached but not printed. The memorandum reads: “The President has directed that we start planning our Congressional tactics now on the Turkish and Greek DCA’s. In light of this, please submit to me by the end of the week a strategy for Congressional action.”
  3. The evening reading item, presumably dated February 18, was not found.
  4. The team, led by Nimetz, was in Ankara February 21–24.
  5. Reference is to the House Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East of the International Relations Committee, of which Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana) was the Chair.
  6. Reference is to ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties of 1977, which included provisions to cede control of the Canal to Panama after 1999. The Treaties were signed on September 7, 1977, ratified on March 16 and April 18, 1978, and went into force on October 1, 1979.