197. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1



  • Message from Karamanlis

Greek Ambassador Tzounis called on me this morning with a personal message from Prime Minister Karamanlis regarding Greek reintegration into NATO and re-negotiation of a defense agreement. Karamanlis warned that March Presidential elections might result in unforeseen changes and instability. Very confidentially, he wanted you to know that he will seek to move up to the Presidency (requiring a more than majority vote in Parliament); if unsuccessful, he will retire from politics. He is convinced that if Greece does not reintegrate before these elections, NATO re-entry afterwards would be problematical, if not impossible. The Prime Minister stressed the importance that Greece attached to the maintenance of her military balance with Turkey. With the initialing of the US-Turkish agreement, Karamanlis wants to commence negotiations of the new Greek-US agreement promptly.2 To ensure the negotiations would be successful, he asked us to reaffirm that [Page 603] proportionality would be observed in granting security assistance to Greece and Turkey in the future. The Greek Ambassador added that proportionality would be observed on both the amount (7:10) and the terms. We have in fact always sought to maintain this ratio, e.g., the FY 81 ratio of $180 (Greece):$250 (Turkey).

We are informing Bernie Rogers tomorrow of the Greek initiative and will coordinate our strategy in dealing with these two issues. At Greek request, we are keeping Karamanlis’ personal plans on a very confidential basis.

Also on Greece, Matt Nimetz briefed John Brademas and Paul Sarbanes on the Turkish defense agreement.3 Matt also confirmed our planned aid requests for Greece and Turkey. Brademas and Sarbanes had no problems with the Turkish agreement, but they did feel it was imperative to achieve Greek reintegration into NATO before their Presidential elections. They also recommend that you increase your FY 81 $180 million FMS request for Greece by $20 million so that the Administration requests for Greece and Turkey would be the same as the FY 80 authorization. (They suggested adding a Greek $20 million request to the Pakistan supplemental.) Brademas felt we should use the current crisis situation to press the Turks to be more forthcoming on Cyprus. Matt told them we would be talking to Bernie Rogers in the very near future on Greek reintegration to try to move ahead quickly on that, and that we will resume negotiations on the Greek defense agreement.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 81D85, Box 2, Evening Reading. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Dillery; typed in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology.
  2. The U.S.-Turkish agreement was initialed on January 10.
  3. No record of this meeting was found.