156. Telegram From Secretary of State Muskie to the Department of State1

Secto 8030. Sana for Under Secretary Nimetz. Subject: (U) Secretary’s Bilateral With Turkish Foreign Minister Turkmen, September 26.

1. C-entire text.

2. Summary. On September 26, at 11:00 a.m. the Secretary met with Turkish Foreign Minister Turkmen in the Secretary’s suite at the UN Plaza Hotel. The meeting lasted for thirty minutes with a short private session following the larger meeting with the following present: for Turkey, Ambassador to the U.S. Elekdag, Counselor Turkish Embassy Washington Eralp and Special Assistant to the Minister Batibay; for the U.S., Asst. Secretary Vest, USUN Ambassador Petree, EUR DAS Ewing and DeptOff Dillery (notetaker). The discussion covered current developments in Turkey, Turkish requests for U.S. assistance, Greek reintegration and Cyprus. End summary.

3. After an exchange of greetings, Turkmen began the conversation by reporting on the foreign and domestic policy positions being taken by the new Turkish authorities. He said that there will be no change in foreign policy. Turkey is looking forward to continuing productive cooperation with the U.S. and with the other NATO allies. Turkey, he said, has a strong attachment to the Alliance and also to democracy. The new authorities will move to restore democracy as soon as possible.

4. Turkmen said Turkey will be looking for U.S. support and understanding during the coming difficult period. He stressed that the economic stabilization program will continue and is showing signs of success. In addition to the efforts of Turkey itself, however, he said the companion requirement is for continued and increased foreign assistance. He said that they are now working on aid requirements for CY 81 (U.S. FY 82) and have determined that the OECD countries will have to provide a total of dollars 1.7 billion. They expect to get dollars 700 million from all donors except U.S. and FRG. Those two should plan to provide dollars 500 million each. This should, Turkmen said, be in the same two-thirds grant one-third loan ratio as last year.

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5. On military assistance, Turkmen said that the needs of the Turkish military cannot be disputed in the light of current international and regional developments. Turkey has, he noted, transmitted a request for dollars 400 million FMS in FY 82. Of this amount, 60 percent would be needed for spare parts; only 40 percent would be available for modernization. This, he said is a bare minimum request. Turkmen further said that Turkey is uneasy about the U.S. policy of balance in military assistance between Greece and Turkey. Turkey has greater needs than Greece; the amount of military assistance should be considered in light of NATO defense requirements. Any ratio is very artificial.

6. The Secretary responded that the restrained and supportive attitude of the U.S. toward the new Turkish Government speaks for itself. We understand the problems which gave rise to the military takeover and saw that this was one option for dealing with the serious problem of violence and instability in Turkey. The Secretary went on to say that the U.S. expects an early return to civilian rule and a democratic constitution. In addition, he said, we are interested in the condition of the former civilian leaders and in what happens to them.

7. On U.S. assistance to Turkey, the Secretary said he tended to support significant assistance for Turkey. He recalled that as a result of his meeting with former Foreign Minister Erkmen in June, we had supported a significant debt rescheduling program for Turkey.2 DAS Ewing noted that it was early in the assistance planning cycle for the U.S.; no specific figures could be discussed yet. The Secretary concurred but said the numbers mentioned by Turkmen were in the ballpark of our planning. But he could make no commitment at this stage.

8. The Secretary then said that in discussing military assistance to Turkey and Greece, he would have to be frank. This may, he said, be a maximum opportunity to solve Greek reintegration and the Cyprus problem. If we could resolve these problems and put them behind us, we could address other aspects of our relationship in a more normal way. The Secretary said he was troubled that there were indications of problems in both issues that ought not to have arisen. He hoped that both sides in each dispute would display a forthcoming attitude. He expressed concern that if one of the two erupted into an unfortunate phase it would affect U.S. relations with both countries involved.

9. On Greek reintegration the Secretary said it had been dragging on for some time; it had properly been left to the military to solve and should be solved soon. He said he was not aware of the formulas under discussion and did not want to know more but he could say that a solution would make it much easier to conduct relations with all concerned. [Page 478] He recalled he had stressed this also to former Prime Minister Demirel in June.

10. The Secretary said he wanted to emphasize his concern on this point. The political ramifications in the U.S. of a failure to achieve reintegration could complicate the aid process and our whole relationship. There were already some stirrings in that direction.3 Vest pointed out that time is running out on reintegration. If the effort in military channels is not successful the matter may have to be taken up in the spotlight of the political level of the Alliance.

11. Turkmen said that there are some good signs in the Cyprus situation. We cannot, he said, hope for an early final solution but the GOT is encouraging the Turkish Cypriots to the maximum extent possible to be flexible.

12. On Greek reintegration, Turkmen said, the Turkish military is already being accused of being too lenient and making too many concessions. They have, he said, taken a courageous stand, modifying earlier positions. In the past, Turkey had insisted on the need to solve all problems related to reintegration before reintegration actually took place. The GOT is now prepared to accept reintegration with no command arrangements in place. This, he said, is exactly SACEUR’s position. The Turks had been optimistic a month ago that Greece would accept this concept. But now Turkmen understood that the Greeks were trying to give the impression that the old command arrangements would be in place. The Turks have moved fast and far, he said. Now the Greeks are jeopardizing a solution.

13. The Secretary said Turkmen had told him more about the details than he had known before. The important thing, he said, was to see progress.

14. Turkmen said that when he returned to Ankara late in August, MFA experts told him the Turkish military had gone too far in making concessions on reintegration. But, he emphasized, there is a point beyond which Turkey cannot go.

15. Ambassador Elekdag said that on reintegration, Turkey has done what it can do. What is needed now is a little bit of understanding from the other side.

16. The meeting closed with Turkmen saying that on one issue of interest to the U.S., the Prisoner Transfer Treaty, he had good news. The National Security Council would accomplish ratification soon.4

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17. At the request of the Secretary, Foreign Minister Turkmen remained with the Secretary for another five minutes private conversation.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Subject Files of Edmund S. Muskie, 1963–1981, Lot 83D66, Box 2, unlabeled folder. Confidential; Immediate; Nodis. Sent for informa-tion Immediate to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, Sana, USNATO, and USNMR SHAPE Bel-gium. Muskie was in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting September 21–October 4.
  2. See Document 152.
  3. See Document 205.
  4. See footnote 7, Document 152.
  5. No substantive record of this conversation was found.