174. Letter From President Carter to Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis 1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I have asked Ambassador McCloskey to deliver this message to you and to pass on my highest personal regards.

I am pleased that a man of his stature and ability will be representing the United States at a time when both our nations are trying to resolve an array of worldwide problems, particularly those of the Eastern Mediterranean. The restoration of democracy in Greece and the strengthening of your democratic institutions since 1974 are a source of satisfaction and comfort to the entire Western world. I am aware of the historic role you played in this process; I know that role will continue as [Page 536]Greece enters the European Community, an entity whose ideals and aspirations we share.2

We have gone far toward improving the relations between our nations the last several years. This progress must continue. Only through a solid US-Greek relationship, based on mutual respect and confidence, can we properly meet the challenges which confront us. In this effort I pledge to you my full cooperation.

From the beginning of this Administration, we have believed that, with good will, sustained effort and cooperation with our friends, we could achieve a just solution to the problems which have plagued the Eastern Mediterranean.

Recent developments convince me that there is now renewed hope of progress toward resolving the area’s problems. Secretary Vance gave me a full account of his talks with you in January, and I know you share our desire to press ahead with resolution of these problems.3 Ambassador McCloskey is arriving at a promising time. He has my full confidence and will want to work as closely as possible with you on all the issues which concern us. I hope you will share with the Ambassador your thoughts on how our nations can best work together.

I understand the difficult decisions which lie ahead if there is to be a just Cyprus settlement and a resolution of the differences between Turkey and Greece. The United States is still willing to do whatever we can to help. We all must redouble our efforts to seek a new situation in the Eastern Mediterranean which is consistent with the desires and requirements of the people of the area, and one in which we can all sustain one another as friends.

In the coming months, Greece will have an increasing role to play in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Europe. I am pleased to know that you will be leading these efforts, at a time when statesmanship and reason will be greatly needed. I will welcome your advice, and I hope that you will give me your views at any time and in any manner you consider appropriate.

With warmest greetings and personal best wishes.

Sincerely,
Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 16, Greece: 1978–1980. No classification marking. In a memorandum forwarding a draft letter to Carter, Brzezinski counseled that the letter “is intended simply to create good will with Karamanlis and urge him to be cooperative in working out a settlement of outstanding issues with the Turks and with ourselves, but without getting into specifics.” (Ibid.)
  2. Negotiations on Greek membership in the EC began in 1976, and an Accession Deed was signed in Athens on May 28, 1979. The Greek Parliament ratified the Accession Deed on June 28, 1979, and Greece formally became a member of the EC on January 1, 1981. See Document 212.
  3. See Document 173.