211. Telegram From the Department of State to the United States National Military Representative, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe1

330939. Following Secto 10014 dtd Dec 12 sent action State Athens Ankara Nicosia being repeated to you. Quote: Secto 10014. Subject: NATOMin: MuskieMitsotakis Bilateral, Dec. 11.

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1. (S-entire text).

2. Summary: This was a warm, relaxed meeting in which Mitsotakis made a special effort to indicate his appreciation for the Secretary’s help on Greek reintegration, and his government’s belief that the outcome was well received in Greece and was contributing to possibilities for progress in Greek-Turkish bilateral relations as well as on Cyprus. Regarding the Greek-US base negotiations Mitsotakis promised to provide a draft soon and hoped agreement could be reached soon, but he mentioned no specific period and did not appear concerned about pace of negotiations. End summary.

3. Greek reintegration. Mitsotakis offered personal thanks and that of his entire government to the Secretary for his understanding and assistance on this difficult issue. The Foreign Minister explained that the political situation within Greece had evolved well following the DPC decision in October.2 He now believed that a clear majority of Greek public favored Greece’s association with the Alliance. The government was pleased that it had received more votes within Parliament in favor of reintegration than it held seats. He said that the reaction of the opposition has been moderate except for the orthodox Communist Party. Even Papandreou has been less intense than anticipated, though his position remains ambiguous.

4. The Secretary said that he also took pleasure in the reintegration of Greek forces. He recalled his first meeting with Mitsotakis in Ankara, which had convinced him to make it a high priority item.3 He also complimented the Greek and Turkish Governments for their statemanship. Muskie noted that the reaction of all concerned groups in the United States had also been positive.

5. Base negotiations. Mitsotakis noted that with the accomplishment of Greek reintegration the GOG was proceeding with negotiations on the US bases. He said his government is preparing a draft text which he hoped would be ready in several days.4 He promised good faith movement towards the conclusion of an agreement as soon as possible. Muskie agreed that it was important to move forward on this issue and said he was glad the defense relationship was moving in a normal and healthy way. The Secretary made a special point of asking if the Foreign Minister felt there were any unusual problems in the ne[Page 634]gotiations. Mitsotakis responded that there should be no insurmountable problems, especially since the US side accepts that the Greeks would need an agreement comparable to the one the US reached with Turkey. He then described foundations for the work; (a) the 1976 US/Greek agreement signed by Foreign Minister Bitsios, and (b) the 1979 US/Turkey DECA.5 He felt that from these two documents agreeable solutions could be found.

6. The Secretary said he would be delighted if agreement could be reached before he left office, though he realized any negotiations of this type were complicated. Mitsotakis answered that he could not specify when he thought an agreement might be ready for signature. He noted that it might not be possible really soon, but that it should be closer to fruition by the time the Secretary left office.

7. Cyprus. The Secretary expressed hope that positive outcome of Greek reintegration would spill over to help progress on Cyprus as well as to facilitate progress on other issues that need to be worked on between Greece and Turkey. Mitsotakis noted that the intercommunal talks on Cyprus were now moving in a way that let him feel more optimistic about the outcome. He felt the present Turkish Government was taking positions that he hoped would make possible a just and permanent solution. The Secretary added that Turkish Foreign Minister Turkmen had given him a similar impression the day before.6 The Secretary wondered whether this more positive attitude was made possible by confidence of new Turkish authorities that they had backing of Turkish public opinion. Mitsotakis agreed and also noted that since Turkish military had been the ones to occupy territory on Cyprus they could more easily negotiate a solution.

8. Greek-Turkish relations. Mitsotakis reported that the general improvement in the political climate in the area, including within Greek and Turkish domestic political arenas, has contributed to improving the dialogue between the two countries. He reported that he would be meeting Saturday December 13 with Turkmen and that the two Secretaries General of the MFAs had met earlier in the week. While the tone had improved, he expected no final results from his meeting since real differences remained. They would move closer together, however. In this regard he said he was particularly happy with the attitude the new authorities in Ankara had taken toward bilateral relations with Athens, and that this made him hopeful that it would eventually be possible to reach a global, package solution.

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9. Grace notes. After a warm discussion of relations between the two countries Mitsotakis went beyond normal courtesy in inviting the Secretary to visit Greece—and Crete—as either his official or personal guest. New York meeting was never mentioned.

Muskie Unquote

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800595–0397. Secret. Drafted by M. Dworken; approved by Dillery. Sent for information. Also sent for information to USDOCOSouth, USCINCEUR, CINCUSAFE, CINCUSAREUR, and CINCUSNAVEUR.
  2. See Document 209.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 203.
  4. In telegram 16168 from Athens, December 24, the Embassy reported that Ambassador McCloskey received the Greek draft of the basic preambular text on December 23. McCloskey transmitted the text to Washington with a request for “vetting by concerned Washington agencies to permit negotiations to begin as soon after the New Year as possible.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D810014–1058)
  5. Regarding the 1976 agreement with Greece, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXX, Greece; Cyprus; Turkey, 1973–1976, Document 64. The U.S.-Turkish DECA was signed on March 29, 1980.
  6. See Document 160.