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14. Memorandum of Conference1

MEMORANDUM OF CONFERENCE WITH SENATORS SARBANES & EAGLETON AND CONGRESSMEN BRADEMAS AND ROSENTHAL

I met in Room H–107 in the Capitol for an hour and twenty minutes with the above Members of Congress and their staff assistants.

Brademas opened the meeting by stating that the four men there had had breakfast on Tuesday, October 11th, with Foreign Minister Caglayangil of Turkey. He felt the breakfast went well and that there was a frank exchange of views and there seemed to be a desire on Caglayangil’s part to get his positions clearly before the four men. At the conclusion of this report, Brademas asked that I bring the men up to date on the status of the present negotiations involving Cyprus.

I stated I felt the general climate in the Eastern Mediterranean had improved considerably since our trip some eight or nine months ago. The Greeks seem to be acting moderately and we had definite word from the Turks that they would refrain from provocative acts in the Aegean. I dealt at some length on recent talks with Caglayangil in New York and the results of the Nimetz-Ledsky mission to Turkey.2

I informed the group that it was clearly my opinion that the Turkish government had reached a policy decision to settle the Cyprus problem. I thought this was due to a substantial degree because of the precarious Turkish financial position. I stated that in the course of the recent meetings which had been held with Caglayangil, subjects such as withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, structure of the new government, territorial settlement in Cyprus and similar problems, had been discussed in depth. I expressed the opinion that progress was being made.

Each of the four men spoke and took the position that oral representations from the Turks would mean nothing to them. It would be necessary that definite action be taken. At one time or another, the following suggestions for concrete action were made by them: (1) The [Page 63]Greeks should be permitted to return to Famagusta and the operations there should be reactivated; (2) The airport, which has been closed since 1974, should be reopened. Not only would it be a great convenience to travelers but it would indicate a willingness on the part of the Turks to cooperate; and (3) The main highway, which has been closed since 1974, should be reopened.

These acts would constitute symbolic gestures demonstrating the good faith of the Turks and their desire to solve the complexities of Cyprus.

One rather interesting facet of the conversation was that the four men indicated they were not impressed by the Turkish suggestion that the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus would begin. Caglayangil had indicated that the presence of the Turkish troops there constituted a financial drain, so Sarbanes’ attitude was that the Turks would be doing this mainly for their own benefit and not as a step toward peace. I disagreed with this and we had a friendly discussion over the subject. I took the position that it would be unrealistic to expect a settlement of all the issues in Cyprus before the Congress would move on the matter. I said I thought there should be simultaneous movement on the part of the Turks and Congress and that, as progress was made, each side would be in a better position to make concessions. Sarbanes wanted to know immediately what kind of concessions I had in mind. I replied that I was not in a position to go into detail in this regard but that a number of concessions had already been made by Congress and these could be carried forward.

Sarbanes, instead of attacking the Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement in its entirety, said he felt that the principal fault of this program was that it extended for four years. He believes this is a mistake. We do not have other similar agreements for such a long period of time with other allies. When I reminded him that the Greek DCA was for four years, he said he was sure the Greeks would be willing to reduce the term if the Turkish DCA were similarly reduced.3

The suggestion was made that it might be advisable for the Administration to abandon the idea of a Turkish DCA. I felt called upon at this point to reiterate my personal support for the Turkish DCA and to give my reasons why I thought it should be passed ultimately. I argued that it was important that we strengthen both Greece and Turkey’s military competence within the NATO framework. I concluded my remarks on the note that I was very comfortable in the conviction that strengthening these two NATO allies would not in any way change the balance of military power between them.

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The climate of the meeting was friendly and more conciliatory than I had anticipated. From time to time in the discussion, each man emphasized the fact that the position they were taking was not only a moderate one, but it was their intention to cooperate.

C.M.C. 4

Postscript:

After reading the memorandum over, I was conscious of the fact that I had not ascertained the manner in which the breakfast was set up between the four Members of Congress and Foreign Minister Caglayangil.

I telephoned the assistant to Congressman Brademas and learned that the Iranian Ambassador, Ardeshir Zahedi, invited Mr. Brademas to dinner the evening of Monday, October 10th. Ambassador Zahedi said he was having the dinner for Mr. Caglayangil and he thought it would provide the two men with an opportunity of getting to know each other and possibly having a talk.

Mr. Brademas replied that he had a dinner engagement Monday evening but he was interested in meeting Mr. Caglayangil so he suggested that he would get the other three men together for breakfast and they could meet with Mr. Caglayangil for breakfast on Tuesday morning in the office of Mr. Brademas. Ambassador Zahedi performed this function. Mr. Caglayangil was agreeable and the breakfast came off on Tuesday morning as previously referred to.

C.M.C.5
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 81D85, Box 2, Eastern Mediterranean—1977. No classification marking. Drafted by Clifford. Tarnoff forwarded the memorandum to Vance on October 14, noting that Clifford wanted to be sure the Secretary saw it. (Ibid.)
  2. Vance met with Çağlayangil on September 27 and he and Clifford met with Çağlayangil on October 5. See Documents 99 and 100. Clifford and Çağlayangil met again on September 29. See footnote 2, Document 101. Nimetz and Ledsky met with Çağlayangil in Turkey on September 14. See Document 98.
  3. The U.S.-Greek Defense Cooperation Agreement was initialed in Athens on July 28. See Document 168.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.