201. Paper Prepared in the Bureau of European Affairs, Department of State1


  • Greek Reintegration into NATO—Possible Next Steps


A March 20 Policy Review Committee meeting chaired by Under Secretary Nimetz decided that a major U.S. initiative on reintegration was not indicated as it would not best serve our long-term objective of a full Greek return to the NATO military structure.2 A dramatic U.S. ini[Page 613]tiative could threaten continuation of the present level of Greek cooperation with the Alliance, thereby endangering US-Greek relations and the operation of U.S. military facilities in Greece. The PRC did decide to consult with General Rogers to emphasize the U.S. view that the issue should remain in the SACEUR channel as long as General Rogers thinks he has a possibility of success. Should he not succeed, the U.S. would propose that consideration of the issue be moved to a small sub-group (US, UK, FRG) of the NATO Open-Ended Group (OEG). The Turks and the Greeks would be urged to participate.


The Greeks appeared to want to force an end to the SACEUR effort by the end of March. They let that deadline slip, possibly because it became evident this tactic would not result in reintegration on their terms. General Rogers has indicated informally to us since the March 20 PRC meeting that the Turkish responses to his latest proposals may meet some Greek concerns. In order to ascertain whether that is the case, he plans to meet again with the Turkish Chief of Staff, General Evren, for further discussions and, depending on their outcome, will consider a further approach to the Greeks.

No timetable has been set for these contacts.3 The Greeks, engrossed with a presidential election, have not been pressing on reintegration. The Greek constitution stipulates that a new President must be elected by the Parliament within three ballots or Parliament is dissolved and general elections held. Karamanlis, the only candidate for President, is very likely to be elected on the third ballot on May 5, when the votes required for election decrease from 200 to 180. If elected, he will probably continue as Prime Minister until June 20, when he would move to the Presidency. The Greeks may argue that the new Prime Minister, yet to be named, will not have the political strength to make concessions on reintegration. It is, however, also possible that since Karamanlis will clearly remain the dominant figure in Greek politics, he may decide to use his great influence to move forward on this and other issues while his party retains the Prime Ministership.

If Karamanlis is not elected President and early general elections are required, the situation could become more unstable and at a minimum delay further efforts to address the reintegration issue. The anti-NATO party of Papandreou, PASOK, would probably increase its strength in the Parliament, thereby making resolution more difficult.

In this electoral period, the GOG is not seeking to engage in further reintegration efforts. Any initiatives by the Alliance to pursue a solution could be misconstrued and hurt Karamanlis politically. General [Page 614] Rogers is aware of this and is waiting to proceed until the Greek political situation is clarified. It is important in the meantime that we not imply to either the Greeks or the Turks that we have given up on the ongoing SACEUR effort.


The British approached us on April 4 with a range of preliminary ideas for next steps on reintegration should SACEUR not succeed. (They also talked to the Germans.) We told them of our continuing strong support for SACEUR’s efforts, and our belief they could still succeed. We indicated a preference for the OEG sub-group as a fall-back approach and urged that nothing be done now which would undercut SACEUR. The British have apparently backed off and we sense from working-level contacts that the FCO now shares our general assessment of the situation.

If it should become necessary to implement the OEG sub-group strategy, we would need to get the British and Germans, as well as SYG Luns who is aware of our idea, in agreement before approaching the full OEG, the Greeks and the Turks. General Rogers has indicated he would proceed so as to leave an opening for the OEG sub-group idea if follow-on efforts to his own are needed.

We could expect the Germans, the British and Luns to agree to such a procedural approach, and the rest of the OEG would probably go along. The Turks probably would also agree, but the Greeks might balk at participating since this could be construed as negotiating reintegration with the Turks. Properly presented, however, we believe they would accept an invitation to participate.

The OEG sub-group would directly engage the USG in this issue. It would probably lead to greater pressure from the GOG and from interest groups in the United States to promote a settlement on Greek terms. It would be important, therefore, should the sub-group process get underway that the GOG be clearly informed, either by us or preferably by another member of the sub-group, that this process would work only if the GOG drops its rigid insistence on Haig-Davos and adopts a willingness to explore other alternatives.


If the OEG sub-group process were implemented but did not produce definitive results, we would at some point need to consider—in conjunction with the Greeks and other Allies—either further steps or perhaps a hiatus in the effort. Our goal would be to ensure that a relationship continues between Greece and the Alliance, even in the absence of full “reintegration”, with which Greece is comfortable and which preserves our military facilities in Greece. The Greeks may conclude that ending the sub-group process would be necessary before the [Page 615] Greek parliamentary elections which must be held by November 1981. In any event, together with other Allies, we will want to continue to work with the Greeks to reduce the possibility that the Greek-NATO relationship and U.S. facilities would become major campaign issues in the elections.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special, Box 5, 5/80. Bremer forwarded the paper to Brzezinski on May 1. (Ibid.) In a separate covering memorandum to Dodson dated May 9, Henze noted that the paper was “overtaken by events,” a reference to Karamanlis’ election to the Presidency of Greece. Henze asserted that “the basic strategy outlined in this paper remains sound, but there is no point burdening ZB with it at this stage.” Henze also reported that he asked the Department of State to prepare a “new paper on this subject in the next week or so. We can then decide whether that needs to go to ZB.” (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 200.
  3. The first meeting between Rogers and Evren took place on July 21 in Ankara.