139. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey1

121617. For Amb. Spiers from Christopher. Subject: US Overflights.

1. The President and the Secretary of State have approved the approach to the Soviets and the oral note on overflights which was agreed to ad referendum between Prime Minister Ecevit and me last Tuesday.2 You should contact Ecevit and tell him that we would like to take the [Page 426] matter up with the Soviets as soon as he is able to confirm his tentative approval of the approach.

2. It is highly desirable that the Secretary be able to present the oral note and discuss this matter with Dobrynin before the Secretary leaves on May 20 for an extended trip to Europe and the Middle East. The Secretary will not return to Washington until approximately June 3 and it could be very difficult for him to take the matter up with Dobrynin during the last days before the summit when Dobrynin may well have returned to Moscow. For that reason please tell Ecevit that we would like to have his concurrence to enable us to discuss the matter with Dobrynin as early as feasible during the week of May 13–19. I realize that Ecevit indicated that he wanted to await Okcun’s return on May 20, but I hope that he can consult Okcun by cable if necessary. Please report on Monday, May 14 what the prospects are on this matter.3

3. You should tell Ecevit in confidence that I met with Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd yesterday to discuss the feasibility of restoring the grant MAP on the Senate floor. Senator Byrd asked about “my friend Ecevit,” and I gave him a full briefing on my trip, including my perception of the disappointment of the Turkish military leaders at the SFRC’s substitution of FMS for MAP. Byrd said he was willing to help in restoring grant MAP by offering an amendment on the Senate floor if he believes the move can be successful. He has a reputation of prevailing on any matter that he has sponsored on the Senate floor. At his request, we will make soundings in the next day or two and report back to him early next week.

4. If you have not done so, you may also wish to report to Ecevit on the action of the House Appropriations Subcommittee in approving the $100 million in supplemental economic aid for Turkey and permitting the use of $22 million of previously appropriated but still unobligated grant MAP. If the latter action survives, it would permit approximately $11.7 million in such prior year MAP funds for Turkey. I contacted Chairman Clarence Long and Congressman Matthew McHugh in connection with this vote. They both predicted a difficult although not im[Page 427]possible battle on the $50 million in new grant MAP for Turkey if and when it reaches the House.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, Box 116, 5/10–31/79. Secret; Cherokee; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Printed from a copy that indicates the original was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. See Document 138.
  3. On May 15, The New York Times reported Turkey would agree to the U–2 verification flights only if Moscow did not object. The article reprinted a statement released the previous day by the Turkish Foreign Ministry: “In response to the United States request, it has been pointed out that Turkey attaches great importance to SALT II and to its effective implementation. However, since Turkey is not a party to this treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union and as the text is not fully known to its Government, the subject could be taken up in the authoritative Turkish governmental bodies only if it is determined by Turkey that the requested contribution advances the objectives and concurs with the understanding of the parties to the treaty.” (Bernard Gwertzman, “Turkey Would Let U–2 Use its Airspace if Soviet Approved,” The New York Times, May 15, 1979, p. A1)