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

264497. Military addressee handle as Specat Exclusive. Subject: (S) Message From President Carter to General Evren.

1. (S-entire text)

2. Please deliver the following message to General Evren as soon as possible. The message will not be released to the public. There will be no signed original.

3. Begin text:

Dear General Evren:

The profound difficulties Turkey has experienced in recent years have caused deep concern in my country and among Turkey’s other friends and allies. While neither my country nor any other member of NATO can fail to express concern when a democratically-elected government is no longer able to govern, there was considerable sympathy on our part and within the Alliance for the plight in which Turkey found itself and which led to the decision of you and your colleagues to assume temporarily the responsibility for governing the country. Your public commitment to restore Turkey to a functioning democratic [Page 480] system was most important in enabling us, and Turkey’s other friends, to react in a constructive manner to the events of September 12.

In addition to the difficult problems which particularly challenge the Turkish nation, all of us in the Alliance must respond to the grave threats to our common security exemplified by Soviet aggression in Afghanistan and the conflict between Iran and Iraq.2 Clearly we in the West should—as never before—work together to bolster our collective defenses.

When we do so our record is impressive. When faced with earlier challenges we successfully deterred aggression and preserved the security of our own nations through effective cooperation in the Atlantic Alliance. Indeed, the southeastern region of NATO has always been most secure when Turkey and Greece have been effectively cooperating in the NATO military structure.

For too many years this area of the Alliance has been troubled and divided. Since 1977 the NATO military authorities, especially General Haig and now General Rogers, have been working to restore the gap in our defenses by accomplishing the return of Greek forces to NATO. It is my understanding that General Rogers has brought the problem close to an acceptable solution.

I do not wish to interfere with the efforts of General Rogers, and I am addressing this issue from the standpoint of the United States. However, it is increasingly clear to me that it is essential to resolve this matter now, and, indeed, if a solution is longer delayed it may well become impossible. That would be a tragedy for us all. I, therefore, hope that you and General Rogers during his impending visit to Ankara will be able to make a decisive contribution to the rapid resolution of this vexing problem.3


Jimmy Carter.

End text.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Under Secretary for Security Assistance, Portions of 1980 Security Assistance Subject and Country Files, Box 8, Turkey (S.A. 1980). Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted from a text received from the White House; cleared by Dillery, W. Scott Butcher (S/S–O), and L. Paul Bremer (S/S); approved by Ewing. Sent for information Immediate to Athens, USNATO, the White House, and USNMR SHAPE. In an October 3 memorandum to Carter, Brzezinski forwarded the draft telegram and noted: “Warren Christopher and I have signed off on the enclosed. If approved by you, it will go immediately.” Carter wrote in the upper right corner of the memorandum, “OK I guess, but seems very weak and uncertain in last ¶ . J.” Carter, however, crossed out this caveat thus approving the draft as it stood. (Ibid.)
  2. Iraq invaded Iran on September 22.
  3. In telegram 7270 from Ankara, October 6, the Embassy relayed Evren’s response and reported on his meeting with Ambassador Spain. Evren expressed his gratitude for Carter’s understanding of the situation that led to the military takeover, for which there was no other choice. Evren also rejected the perception among some NATO allies that Turkey was attempting to block Greek reintegration into NATO, but asserted that no Turkish government, including his own, could accept Greece’s bid to secure “the privileges in the Aegean it had before.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 75, Turkey: 9/80–1/81)