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13. Memorandum From Gregory F. Treverton of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • The President’s Meeting with Brademas, Sarbanes, and Eagleton, April 22: Summary and Comments

Administration participants, in addition to the President, were the Vice President, Secretary Vance, you and me.

The members of Congress repeated many of the arguments they had made two days ago in their meeting with you and the Vice President.2 They said that the Administration’s proposals on the Turkish DCA and military assistance to Turkey were not in the spirit of the President’s campaign promises; that they were justified by neither human rights concerns nor by the outcome of the recent Vienna discussions; that the increase in military transfers to Turkey, including the exception for F–4s, was not just from $125 million to $175 million but potentially to as much as a half billion dollars; and that our policy amounted to a return to that of Ford and Kissinger.

In response, the President and Secretary Vance both regretted the breakdown in communications. The President indicated that the Administration had done all it could to promote a Cyprus settlement—including sending Clark Clifford to the region—and the $175 would demonstrate our evenhandedness. He said he wanted to hear what the Congressional discussants found objectionable.

Secretary Vance made similar comments. He offered that if the Committee deleted the exemption for F–4s, the Administration would not fight it. The President stressed Turkish paranoia about any linkage between the DCA and Cyprus. That is overriding, and he thought we had gone as far as we could, public, in making a link. Privately, the Turks are under no illusions: they know there is a link.

There was implicit agreement on two points:

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(1) If the Committee deletes the exemption for F–4s, the Administration will not fight. Privately, Congressman Hamilton and others will be informed of that, but the President stressed that no public mention be made of the arrangement.

(2) Members of Congress can cite Nimetz’ testimony before the Senate committee (April 21) as evidence of a DCA/Cyprus link, but they cannot identify the President or Vance publicly with linkage. 3 The formal Administration position will remain that there is no linkage. Nimetz’ comments, while ambiguous, go quite far in suggesting a linkage (farther, in fact, than the President expected). The members of Congress can run with those statements. They will endeavor not to bring Nimetz back to testify again.

Comment

The concession on the F–4 exemption will be taken hard by the Turks, but the fall-out should be manageable provided we can make it appear that we fought the good fight and lost. That, however, will not be easy. It will take a careful orchestration. And we may be in the difficult position of dissuading those who are prepared to support our formal position. (Hamilton, for instance, told us that he thought the package as proposed could pass both the Committee and the full House.) Similarly with the DCA, the magnificent ambiguity will be hard to sustain. If Turkish officials or newsmen get a whiff of the arrangement, they will pester with questions that will make it hard to avoid either: (a) directly contradicting what Brademas et al are saying; or (b) suggesting publicly that there is a link. Nimetz and I have agreed that our best hope is letting the proposal proceed as quietly as possible through the committees.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 75, Turkey: 1–12/77. Secret.
  2. In an April 19 memorandum, Treverton briefed Brzezinski for this meeting, which included Vice President Mondale and Congressmen Sarbanes, Brademas, Rosenthal, Eagleton, and Fascell. Treverton recounted the meeting, which took place in Mondale’s office on April 20, in an April 21 memorandum to Brzezinski. Treverton noted the negative reaction of the Congressmen to Carter’s Eastern Mediterranean policy. Both memoranda are ibid. See also footnote 3, Document 12.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 92.