207. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for Public Liaison (Wexler) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1
It is generally agreed among Greek-Americans that the reintegration of Greece into NATO is their highest priority issue. It is also generally agreed, because of the new Turkish Government, that there has never been a better opportunity to do this than right now.
Everyone knows the generals don’t have to be accountable to a political party.
Reports from the Greek community indicate that Secretary Muskie had an unsatisfactory meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister. Word of these meetings spreads like wild fire.2
Most Greek-Americans are democrats and would like to support the President. Greek-American political leaders are mostly democrats (Brademas, Sarbanes, Alexander, Rousakis, etc.), they would like to be helpful but cannot until there is a signal that we have made some progress on the reintegration issue and/or on the Cyprus issue. Most of them can’t address a Greek-American gathering and discuss the President because of the animosity. Once there is a signal they can go to work. For example, there are three hundred thousand Greek-Americans in Chicago alone. This vote could be the margin of victory for us in the election because Illinois may be the pivotal state. Right now we would lose that vote.
I suggest we need more focus on this issue. I believe the President should assign one person the responsibility of completing reintegration within a definite time frame (not more than 2 to 3 weeks). Then we will be able to accomplish the additional political jobs we really must do. There are two reasons which can be stated to deal with the argument that any action now is political.
The first is the change in the Turkish leadership which makes progress achievable; the second, is the announcement by the Greek Government of the January 1 deadline.[Page 629]
The importance of this effort to the continuance of our presence in this building cannot be overemphasized. Let me know what I can do to help.
- Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 26, Greece: 5/80–1/81. Administratively Confidential. In the upper right-hand corner of the page, Carter wrote, “Zbig—Give Anne a briefing on what we’re doing. Tell her to be very careful. J.” Next to Carter’s note, Brzezinski wrote “done” and initialed, “ZB.”↩
- See footnote 3, Document 205.↩