127. Summary of Conclusions of a Policy Review Committee Meeting1


  • Turkey


  • State

    • Secretary Vance (Chairman)
    • Richard Cooper, Under Sec. for Economic Affairs
    • Matthew Nimetz, Counselor
    • George Vest, Asst. Sec. for European Affairs
  • Defense

    • David McGiffert, Asst. Sec. for International Security
    • Dr. Ellen Frost, Dep. Asst. Sec. for Int’l Economic Affairs
  • Treasury

    • Anthony Solomon, Under Sec. for Monetary Affairs
    • Frank Maresca, Acting Dir/Office of Dev. Nations/Finance
  • JCS

    • Lt. General William Smith, Assistant to the Chairman
  • CIA

    • Admiral Stansfield Turner
    • Joseph Zaring, NIO/WE
  • OMB

    • Dr. John White, Deputy Director
    • Edward Sanders, Deputy Assoc. Director for Int’l. Affairs
  • White House

    • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    • David Aaron
  • NSC

    • Paul B. Henze (Notetaker)
    • Ambassador Henry Owen
    • Rutherford Poats

The short-term economic problem: The first part of the meeting was devoted to a review of the short-term Turkish economic problem. There was agreement on several basic principles: that the IMF should be kept in the picture because its participation is essential to attract full participation by the private banking community; that in working out arrangements for immediate help the Germans should be persuaded to take the lead and the EEC as a whole should also play a major role, with the United States, in effect, coming third in line; that the first major tactical step is for the President to secure a commitment to an urgent pro[Page 398]gram from Schmidt, Callaghan and Giscard at Guadeloupe.2 After discussion of the scope of short-term Turkish needs, in which Under Secretary Solomon took the lead, it was agreed that we should run the risk of overestimating, rather than underestimating, the gap between requirements and available resources: $1.8 billion was estimated as the total gap with up to $500 million required in new money to be provided by some form of consortium. In addition to European and American participation, possibilities for Saudi, Kuwaiti and Gulf involvement will be explored both for financial reasons and to underscore the relationship of Turkey to the Middle Eastern situation as a whole. The Chairman directed that a Presidential letter to Chancellor Schmidt, a position paper for the Guadeloupe Summit and necessary background data be completed by 29 December.

The longer-term economic problem: Assistant Secretary Cooper noted that the longer-term prospects for Turkish economic growth are good but what happens depends on solutions to the current crisis and basic structural reforms. The Chairman directed Mr. Cooper to chair a Working Group to assess the longer-term and propose tactics for approaching it. The question of Congressional attitudes, should it become necessary to seek a supplemental appropriation for aid for Turkey, was discussed. The Chairman directed the State Department Counselor to assess this question.

Christopher visit: There was unanimous agreement that Deputy Secretary Christopher’s visit to Turkey should go ahead as scheduled.3 The Chairman directed the Department of State to prepare a scope paper on the Christopher visit taking into account the discussion of this meeting.

Other assistance and confidence-building steps: Dr. Brzezinski said that he thought it was important to recognize that the economic situation in Turkey was showing signs of developing into a political crisis. In spite of its inadequacies, he said, the Ecevit Government was the best we could hope for in Turkey in the foreseeable future and its collapse could bring a period of political confusion which might culminate in military intervention. This would have an unsettling effect on the whole region. It was important, he said, to avoid segmentizing economic and political issues too much. He suggested the Christopher visit be taken as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for other measures to bring the Turks into a closer relationship which would undo [Page 399] some of the damage of the Cyprus/Arms Embargo period. The Chairman agreed and directed the Department of State to develop a scope paper for the visit which would reflect these concerns. The Chairman went on to say that he felt more concrete plans for expansion of public diplomacy and exchange programs, military cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation and mechanisms for regular consultation on issues of common concern should be developed. Dr. Brzezinski proposed that increased intelligence cooperation be added to this list. The Chairman agreed.

Intelligence Assessment: Before the meeting concluded, the Chairman asked the Director of Central Intelligence to summarize the current conclusions of the intelligence community with special reference to recent civil disturbances and the likely effectiveness of martial law. The DCI commented that having to impose martial law was a setback for Ecevit but what political consequences it would have depended upon how rapidly the military were able to reimpose order. If the military have to resort to large-scale use of force, trouble could be expected from the left wing of Ecevit’s party and this could lead to a situation where some people thought Erbakan’s party could become necessary to Ecevit to maintain a coalition. The DCI said that the intelligence community saw no inclination on the part of the military to assume power themselves.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 51, Turkey: 1–4/79. Confidential. Drafted by Henze. In the upper right-hand corner, Carter wrote, “ok. J.C.” The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. In a December 15 memorandum to Brzezinski, Henze wrote: “Turkey is the only corner of the ‘Crumbling Triangle’ which has not yet crumbled.” Referring to an attached paper he wrote, titled: “Is Turkey Susceptible to the Iranian Sickness?,” Henze suggested that it form the basis for an SCC review in early January. In an attached handwritten note, Brzezinski replied, “I like it. A good job.” He proposed instead a PRC meeting rather than an SCC meeting. (Carter Library, White House Central Files, Countries, Box CO–56, CO 163 1/20/77–1/20/81)
  2. Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island, was the site for a meeting of the leaders of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and West Germany January 5–6, 1979. They agreed that each country would contribute to an economic stabilization program for Turkey.
  3. Christopher visited Turkey January 10–11.