186. Telegram From the Embassy in Belgium to the Department of State and the Embassy in Greece1

23208. Subject: Meeting Between Deputy Secretary and Greek Foreign Minister Rallis December 7.

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1. Summary: Deputy Secretary Christopher met for 40 minutes with Greek Foreign Minister Rallis at Greek Mission to NATO afternoon December 7. Subjects discussed included Cyprus, Greek reintegration into NATO, Greek/Turkish relations, Greece/EC negotiations, and defense co-production. Other Greek participants were Ambassador Legacos, MFA Secretary General Theodoropoulos and Director General Tzounis. Accompanying DepSec were Ambassador Bennett, Counselor Nimetz, Assistant Secretary Vest, John Spiegel (D), and EUR/SE Director Ewing (note taker). End summary.

2. In opening meeting Deputy Secretary Christopher expressed appreciation for his visit to Athens in October.2 He noted that GOG had been very helpful recently with respect to Cyprus and offered Rallis update on latest developments. Christopher described his December one meeting with SecGen Waldheim, General Assembly and Security Council deliberations on Cyprus, and Waldheim conviction that opportunity exists to move forward.3 Christopher noted that Waldheim had urged Denktash and Foreign Minister Rolandis resume intercommunal talks on basis framework paper circulated by U.S. SYG had not yet received positive responses but had been encouraged by initial reactions. He hoped to hear further this month in order to travel to Cyprus for Kyprianou/Denktash meeting last week of January or first week of February which would lead to resumed negotiations in Nicosia. Waldheim and we had urged both parties to use our suggestions as basis for talks and not try to pre-negotiate provisions or achieve clarifications. U.S. also pleased Waldheim was actively seized with matter; we believe work needs to be done to make sure opening meeting leads to sustained process.

3. Rallis said the Greek Government had found the US non-paper to be very good and had so told the GOC adding that if it later rejected these proposals the GOG would make clear its opinion that the framework paper should lead to negotiations. The Greek Government could understand that both parties might wish to make a general reservation, making clear that some points in paper were not acceptable. Rallis felt the paper was balanced and congratulated Christopher on present US attitude toward Cyprus problem. Rallis said he had hoped GOC would reach decision before Moscow (and AKEL) criticized the US initiative. Before leaving Athens Rallis said he had instructed the Greek Ambas [Page 571] sador in Nicosia to suggest to Rolandis the possibility of his going to New York to ask Waldheim to make the framework paper his own. Rallis said it was useful that some prominent Turks had criticized paper; this could encourage Greek Cypriots to accept. Rallis said that GOG thought it essential that arrangements for Varosha resettlement be done prior to resumption intercommunal talks so that resettlement could begin in phase with negotiations.

4. Christopher said he agreed with Rallis about Varosha but noted that Waldheim seemed to want to handle Varosha in plenary. Rallis said that would be most unfortunate. Tzounis suggested that the UN should discuss Varosha after both parties had accepted the framework paper. Rallis said he thought that any other approach to Varosha would cause difficulties for the Greek Cypriots. Christopher said we strongly preferred to make progress on Varosha before the intercommunal talks.

5. In response to Christopher’s request for appraisal of status of Greek full return to NATO, Rallis described situation as one of deadlock. Since DepSec visit to Athens, there had been public declarations by Turkish Prime Minister and Defense Minister and recently three prominent Turkish journalists had told Averoff that there was no hope of re-negotiation [reintegration?] until all Aegean problems were solved. If this is the real Turkish position, then Greece cannot re-enter NATO. Rallis said he would be meeting Okcun after dinner December 7.

6. Rallis said that in recent Paris talks on Aegean continental shelf Turkish negotiator had for the first time indicated what Turks really want in shelf delimitation. When these negotiators met again in January, there was hope that further progress could be made.

7. Rallis stressed strongly that no Greek Prime Minister could at this time accept any change in Aegean air control which would involve Turkey controlling air over Greek islands. That would involve question of sovereignty. With regard to alleged Turkish anxiety about security, Greeks were prepared to provide extensive information about Greek flights over Aegean to Greek islands and were asking only for information on Turkish flights within 20 miles of coast.

8. With respect to Greece/NATO, Legacos stressed that this was not Greece/Turkey bilateral problem but rather issue involving Alliance and Turkey.

9. Rallis recalled that at Strasbourg meeting two weeks ago Okcun had suggested that two Prime Ministers meet to divide Aegean. Greek view was that only through prior preparation by experts could such difficult questions as continental shelf, minorities, air space, status of islands, etc., be handled in manner that would be acceptable to public opinion. Karamanlis simply cannot divide Aegean with Turkey.

10. Rallis reaffirmed that GOG was prepared to declare in writing that it would not use NATO arrangements for bilateral political purposes in Aegean.

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11. Christopher reaffirmed that US wanted to see early Greek reintegration and thought this should be done on basis Haig/Davos Arrangements with some few areas of amplification. We were still pushing for solution and would continue to do so over next few months.

12. Rallis said that Greeks were patient but thought that only Generals Haig and Davos could find solution to present deadlock. They should, however, be instructed which questions to discuss and not attempt to review all matters. It would also be best to have such discussions after a month or so. Nimetz noted that Elekdag had told him earlier in day that Turkey wanted to isolate Greece/NATO question from other Aegean issues. Nimetz affirmed that we think Haig/Davos Arrangements reflect correct boundaries and that exchanging information about aircraft flights could help solve problem. Rallis said that these matters should be discussed later when the psychological mood in Greece was better. He stressed that Greece wants to be friends with Turkey but that third Karamanlis/Ecevit meeting without productive results would be bad for public opinion in both countries. Much has been achieved in past year; there is no clamor in either country’s press for war.

13. Christopher said he agreed with Rallis it was best to let Greece/NATO cool for a few weeks and then resume consideration in military channels in order to reach conclusions.

14. Christopher recalled that he had had good discussions in Athens regarding general security problems, contingency situations, and our strong preference for peaceful solutions.

15. Theodoropoulos recalled that US co-production team had productive visit to Greece and that DOD was preparing MOU for early signing. Greeks very much welcomed this cooperative program.

16. Rallis said that at Ministerial negotiating session December 6 problems involving agriculture and Greek entry into EC had been discussed. While we were largely by-standers, Christopher said we hoped Greece could succeed.

17. Rallis and Christopher agreed that in talking with press following meeting it would be stressed that they discussed the progress which has been made in U.S.-Greek relations since Mr. Christopher made his visit to Greece earlier this year. They briefly discussed Greece’s link to NATO and noted that a reply to Greek proposals is awaited.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780506–0222. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information to Ankara, Nicosia, USNATO, USUN, London, Bonn, Ottawa, Paris, USDELMC Brussels, USDOCOSouth Naples, and USNMR SHAPE. Christopher and Rallis were in Brussels for the biannual NATO Ministerial meeting.
  2. See Document 184.
  3. In telegram 306802 to USUN and Nicosia, December 5, the Department reported that the meeting centered on UN efforts to restart intercommunal talks based on the U.S. “framework” proposals. (The framework is described in footnote 2, Document 61.) Christopher told Waldheim that the United States remained committed to working closely with the UN on the Cyprus issue. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780500–0890)