180. Letter From President Carter to Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis1

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I appreciate your message of August 1 about the Turkish arms embargo.2 I fully share your view that we must do everything possible to insure that lifting the embargo leads to positive results.

As you know, the House and Senate versions of the legislation will now be sent to the conference committee which will determine the final form of this legislation. The Byrd Amendment adopted in the Senate accords with the points conveyed in your message, and I would accept the incorporation of similar language in the bill as it is ultimately worked out in the House-Senate conference. In my statement on the House action, I stressed our belief that disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean must be settled peacefully.3

A just settlement on Cyprus is of great concern to me. In the days preceding action by the Congress, we saw hopeful signs of flexibility [Page 554] and movement—primarily relating to the important city of Varosha. As you are aware, I became convinced that the embargo represented an obstacle to progress on Cyprus, and that resolution of the outstanding problems in the Eastern Mediterranean was unlikely as long as the embargo was in force. The United States will move actively in the search for progress on these issues. I believe it is important that all the countries in the region join in this endeavor.

There can be no question of the cardinal importance that the United States attaches to strong ties with Greece. I stand ready to work closely with you in strengthening those relations.

Another goal we share is the return of Greece to the NATO integrated military command on a basis acceptable to Greece and to the Alliance. For our part, we intend to give this matter special priority in the weeks ahead.

Furthermore, we are encouraged that you have continued your discussions with Turkey on differences in the Aegean. It remains our position—as I stated—that these differences should be resolved by peaceful procedures and that the United States would actively and unequivocally oppose any resort to force in the area.

I hope that in the coming months we can make renewed efforts to improve U.S.-Greek relations, move toward a just and durable settlement on Cyprus, and work to resolve differences between Greece and Turkey.

With warmest personal regards,
Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 7, Greece: Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis, 2/77–10/79. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 179.
  3. See Document 121.