120. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter1


  • Military Advantages to Turkey of Lifting the Embargo

One question we are encountering in urging Senators and Congressmen to vote to lift the Turkish embargo is whether it would result in practical advantages to the Turkish military. Since we are stressing the deterioration of the Turkish defense forces, it is important to show how the lifting of the embargo will arrest the deterioration. Thus, while calling attention to the political and symbolic significance of lifting the embargo, we should also emphasize the following specific military benefits:

—Approximately $70 million in equipment financed under the military assistance grant program before the embargo was imposed will be released from the pipeline. Most of these items are in storage and can be delivered quickly.2

—We will be able to give permission to our European allies to sell or transfer US-origin or licensed equipment to Turkey. The Germans, the Dutch and others have aircraft and other equipment which we know they would be willing to transfer to Turkey once the embargo is lifted.

—We will be able to resume military training for Turkish personnel in the U.S.—an item of great importance to the Turks.

—There will no longer be an annual ceiling on Foreign Military Sales transactions with Turkey. While we have sought only $175 million in credit authority in 1979 (same as in 1978), with the lifting of the embargo Turkey can make additional cash purchases through Defense Department channels.

—Finally, we will be able to intensify joint planning with Turkish military authorities to find ways to work together in the future to deal with Turkey’s force obsolescence problems.

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While repeal of the embargo will have the above practical advantages in bringing Turkey back to a position where it can play a full Alliance role, repeal will not upset the Greek-Turkish military balance.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 50, Turkey, 1978. Confidential. Carter initialed “J” in the upper right-hand corner. In a July 21 covering memorandum to Carter, Brzezinski commented: “A matter of primary concern to members of Congress in deciding how to vote on lifting the Turkish embargo is whether lifting the embargo would result in practical advantages to the Turkish military.” In the upper right corner, Carter wrote, “Be careful on this—J.” (Ibid.)
  2. In the right-hand margin next to this point, Carter wrote, “Don’t overemphasize these.”
  3. Carter underlined the last portion of the sentence and in the right-hand margin wrote, “most important political (Congressional vote) consideration.”