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

SUBJECT

  • Review with Clark Clifford of Recent Developments in the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus Situation

Clark Clifford asked that you and the President be informed of what he told me during an hour’s review on 14 October 1977 of his recent involvement in the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus situation.

He feels the climate for recent talks was greatly improved because there had been no flare-up of Greek-Turkish tension in the Aegean during the summer. Last spring the Greeks were all talking of war with the Turks. Bitsios never used this word during his talks last week with Vance and Clifford. Clifford’s net impression from talks with Bitsios is that the Greeks are no longer gripped by fear of Turkey and therefore more amenable to real bargaining after their elections, but that they have little enthusiasm for a settlement and would just as well stall indefinitely. Kyprianou made a poor impression on Clifford; he regards him as a pawn. With Makarios gone, he feels, initiative for a Cyprus settlement must all come from Athens and Ankara and both countries must keep their respective communities in Cyprus moving constructively.

The real change in the situation is on the Turkish side. After a lot of unproductive talk in larger sessions, Vance, Clifford and Caglayangil met alone for nearly two hours and Caglayangil let his hair down.2 He said his government had made a firm decision to move to settle the Cyprus problem and get the DCA approved. (This is confirmed by CIA reporting.)3 He said they were compelled to do this because of their worsening economic situation and the drain on their resources Cyprus caused. He said Demirel felt politically stronger now and felt he could keep his coalition partners under control. As soon as the Greek elections are over (20 November), Caglayangil said the Turks would start moving. (They have a National Security Council meeting scheduled for 17 November.) Concessions involving territory, constitutional arrangements and reduction of troops in Cyprus were talked about and though [Page 66]details and timing were left for the future, Clifford feels the Turks are serious and that there is, at last, some hopefulness in the situation.

During his Washington visit early this week, Caglayangil used Ardeshir Zahedi as intermediary for getting together with the hard core of the Greek lobby. He had breakfast with Brademas, Sarbanes, Eagleton and Rosenthal on 11 October. Clifford met with this group the next day and thinks he detected some slight “give” in their position, especially Sarbanes, who has been the most anti-Turkish of all. Clifford is going to sound out a wide range of other Senators and Congressmen in the next couple of weeks. Until he does that he does not want to recommend tactics for handling the DCA. He is thinking of another mission to the area in early December. The Turks made clear to him that he would be welcome.

Clifford is going at this job with zest, wisdom and patience and obviously intends to stick with it until he succeeds. I came away feeling we are very fortunate to have got him involved.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special, Box 1, Chron File: 10–11/77. Secret. Outside the System. Sent for information.
  2. See Document 100.
  3. Not further identified.