112. Letter From President Carter to Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

As you know, we have recently conducted a thorough review of our Eastern Mediterranean policy in preparation for this spring’s Congressional hearings relating to the 1979 security assistance program for Turkey and Greece. I thought it important that you receive directly a full description of my decisions as well as an explanation of the factors which are behind these decisions. For this reason, I have dispatched Warren Christopher to meet with you personally. He will speak frankly and with my full confidence.

I want to assure you of the vital importance I attach to an early resumption of the closest possible relations between the United States and Turkey. I have the greatest respect for what you are doing to break the impasse in the area which has existed for too long. We have been particularly impressed by your initiative to deal with the difficulties which have existed between your country and Greece, and thus I have been pleased to learn that your meeting with Prime Minister Caramanlis in Montreux seems to have been a success in opening the way for further dialogue.2 I am also impressed by the strength of democratic institutions in Turkey despite what we recognize are severe strains. I [Page 353] am also pleased that your government has successfully reached agreement with the International Monetary Fund, and I share your hope that this step will be followed by renewed international financial confidence in the long-run economic vitality of Turkey.

Against this background, I believe the package which we are prepared to present to Congress early next month is a balanced and fair response to the current situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. I especially endeavored to make concrete my Administration’s commitment to strengthening our relations with your nation. I hope you will see it as a major move forward.

This approach is not without risk. Secretary Christopher will outline the difficulties that we know our approach must overcome to be successful. He will be seeking your understanding and support so that our shared goal of rebuilding our relationship can be realized.

I want you to know how much I look forward to meeting with you in Washington in May. I have been greatly impressed by what I have been told about you and by the forthright way you are dealing with the challenges facing Turkey.

With warmest regards,
Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 19, Turkey: Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, 3/78–5/79. No classification marking. In the upper right corner, an unknown hand wrote, “H/C [hand-carried] to Turkey by Secy. Christopher.”
  2. The meeting took place March 10–11. See footnote 7, Document 175.