12. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Security Assistance for Turkey and Greece

Secretary Vance proposes three steps deriving from the Clifford Mission which he wishes to present to Congress next week. These include

  • • endorsement in principle of the U.S.-Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) signed in March 1976, but without pressing for Congressional approval at this time;2
  • • recommendation that Congress approve FY 1978 FMS credit financing for Turkey up to $160 million ($35 million more than FY 1977 but $15 million less than the Turks have been expecting). (The full $175 million originally recommended will be requested for Greece.)
  • • authorization for lifting the FMS cash ceiling to permit Turkey to go ahead with F–4 procurement, which is already under way in response to NATO recommendations, until such time as FMS credits can be used.
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The most important of these steps by far is endorsement of the DCA. Announcing this Administration’s support of it now should have a good effect in the pre-election atmosphere in Turkey.

I have reservations about cutting the FMS credit from $175 million to $160 million. State justifies it, and has Clark Clifford’s concurrence, because of a feeling that the Turkish Cypriots were less forthcoming at the recent Vienna talks than they might have been. But I am not sure that holding back $15 million may not simply annoy the Turkish military leaders and be felt by Demirel as a petty wrist-slap as he goes into elections while it may have no effect at all on the Turkish Cypriots in the next phase of the Cyprus negotiations. If we are going to ask Congress to give Greece $175 million, we are best off being formally even-handed and asking for the same amount for Turkey. (In actuality, considering Turkey’s far greater population and much larger armed forces, the same amounts are not really even-handed at all.)

Lifting the FMS cash ceiling for F–4 procurement will get the Turks out of a bind which will otherwise confront them and the American aircraft manufacturer at the end of June when aircraft now on the assembly line will have to be held up if further financing cannot be arranged.

While State expects that the Greek lobby in Congress will be opposed to any aid to Turkey, they feel they have good chances of persuading the leadership to endorse this program.

I have been told that Secretary Vance is going to propose to you that Clark Clifford go to London next month to talk further to Demirel and Karamanlis after you meet with them. He will discuss concrete moves both can make to keep up movement toward settlement of the Cyprus issue and other Greek-Turkish strains. This seems like a good move to me and the kind of initiative more likely to achieve a positive effect than the proposed $15 million cut in FMS credits requested for Turkey.

RECOMMENDATION

That you approve Secretary Vance’s proposals but with restoration of requested FMS credits for Turkey to $175 million, the same amount as for Greece.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 26, Greece: 1/77–4/78. Confidential. Sent for action. Henze forwarded a draft with a memorandum to Brzezinski on April 15. Brzezinski initialed the memorandum and wrote, “I agree.” (Ibid.) Attached and printed as Document 92 is an April 15 memorandum from Vance to Carter calling for equal aid packages to Turkey and Greece. Attached but not printed is an April 18 covering memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance notifying Vance of Carter’s approval to restore foreign military sales for Turkey at $175 million.
  2. Carter wrote “ok” in the margin next to this point.
  3. Carter checked his approval of the recommendation and initialed “J” below it. Vance’s proposals, outlined in an April 15 memorandum to Carter, were not attached but are printed as Document 92. An April 19 night reading item for the White House noted that Carter’s plan on assistance to Turkey “profoundly disappoints” pro-Greek members of Congress who characterized the package as “no real shift from the Ford-Kissinger policy.” (National Archives, RG 59, Bureau of Congressional Relations, Subject Files and Chrons 1977/78/79/80, Files of Assistant Secretary J. Brian Atwood, Lot 81D115, Box 4, Greece/Turkey/Cyprus)