122. Memorandum From Paul B. Henze of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • Next Steps on Turkey

This is a short follow-up to your comments on my memo of 20 July 1978 (attached).2 Basically things have gone well and no hitches have developed in the embargo-lifting effort. It may still take until September until the legislation is finally acted upon by the House and Senate and signed by the President. He will then have to prepare a certification to complete the embargo-lifting action. State is working on a draft. On the basis of the cooperation we have had from the Turks in re[Page 382]cent months, he should be able to offer this certification without difficulty—though we also have to expect that a Greek Lobby rearguard will continue to offer some criticism of any step taken. Unless the President provides the certification the legislation requires and officially lifts the embargo, Ecevit cannot afford to permit the bases to reopen. All talks with the Turks and Ecevit’s public statements indicate that they will move with goodwill to get at least the more important bases reopened.3 Then the task of renegotiating the DCA (and also the DCA with Greece) must be tackled expeditiously. State has done good preparatory work.

Kyprianou may block any progress on Cyprus. We will see what effect Karamanlis has had on him after he returns from his current vacation in Greece. Given the fact of the August vacation season, which everyone in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus adheres to, we should not expect to try any new pressures of our own until after Labor Day. State’s initiatives to persuade our NATO allies to help push for a Cyprus settlement have shown modest promise; we need to keep pressing this.

Meanwhile, the Turks have a major problem with the IMF which we, correctly, are not intervening in.4 Finance Minister Muezzinoglu is coming to talk to the IMF and FM Permanent Secretary Elekdag, with whom we have had very useful conversations this past week, is staying through the present week to participate in these talks. An IMF-Turkish agreement is essential if Turkey is to get the kind of help she needs from the U.S. and international banking communities.

I have had a couple of indications recently that Ecevit would still very much appreciate a visit from you. A visit, centering on broad talks about world issues with a good deal of intellectual content, could serve a very useful purpose in consolidating U.S.-Turkish relations. I suggest you think tentatively of visiting Turkey in October, preferably in the framework of a trip that includes two or three other places as well, so as not to overdramatize the Turkish stop. If you visit Turkey, you should also stop for a day in Greece.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 75, Turkey: 8/78–3/79. Confidential. Sent for information.
  2. Attached at Tab A but not printed. In the memorandum, Henze assumed that Congress would vote to overturn the embargo and advocated that once this was done, the United States should press Turkey to move ahead with Cyprus negotiations and to maintain the momentum for negotiations between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities. Henze went on to note positive developments regarding the Aegean territorial dispute between Greece and Turkey; a cooperative atmosphere among Greek and Turkish officials regarding Greek re-entry into NATO; and the beneficial impact lifting the embargo would have on the ailing Turkish economy. Brzezinski wrote, “good analysis” in the upper right-hand corner. (Ibid.)
  3. An unknown hand underlined “will move with” and “the more important bases reopened” and wrote a question mark in the margin.
  4. At issue was the IMF’s devaluation of the Turkish lira. Turkish officials contended that such a move was premature because the effect of the last devaluation on March 1 had not had the opportunity to work its way through the Turkish economy. In a meeting between Elekdağ and Christopher on August 11, Elekdağ argued that the IMF actions were undermining Ecevit’s stabilization program and could have negative and widely felt effects throughout Turkey. (Telegram 206099 to Ankara, August 15; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780333–0914)