208. Letter From Secretary of Defense Brown to the Greek Minister of National Defense (Averoff)1
I was very glad to receive your views on the very important matter of Greece’s return to the military structure of NATO.2 Your gracious observation about my efforts on behalf of the Alliance touches me, coming as it does from one of such long-standing and courageous service on behalf of the shared ideals and goals that bind our countries together. Your long record of statesmanlike support of the Alliance encourages me to reply with equal candor.
We have made clear to the Government of Turkey the importance we attach to the prompt reintegration of Greece’s armed forces into NATO.3 We share your view that reintegration is in the interest of all. As you point out, General Rogers is urgently seeking a means to accomplish that end, and it seems to me indispensable that we all support his efforts by every practical means. I am encouraged by the substantial progress he has already made in narrowing the differences, and while I appreciate that some difficulties remain, I am pleased that your authorities are working closely with him.
Let me make one other observation which I know you, as an historian who takes the long view, will understand. I believe that the West confronts today a challenge to its vital security interests as serious as any we have jointly faced since the early post-war years. It is a time when the very concept of collective defense is being tested in ways which will determine whether or not a coalition of free nations can protect the values of democratic tradition which link us all.
In these circumstances, Greece’s role in the Alliance, always important, assumes even greater significance. The cohesiveness of NATO [Page 630]and its capacity to defend the vital interests of its member states are necessities transcending the day-to-day problems which inevitably complicate relations between vigorous and pluralistic societies.
For its part, the United States is proud to be associated with Greece in an enterprise which promotes the common security of fifteen free nations. For that reason I hope that you, your colleagues, and General Rogers will be able to make a decisive contribution to the rapid resolution of the reintegration problem. To fail in this effort would be tragic for us all.
I hope to see you again very soon, in a meeting marking Greece’s return to the NATO military structure.