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26. Memorandum From Paul B. Henze of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

SUBJECT

  • Greece-Turkey-Cyprus (U)

This memorandum responds to your request of 4 April relayed by Bob Gates.2 (U)

There has been no significant movement so far this year on the Cyprus issue, but it is no more the fault of the Turks than it is of the Greeks and Cypriots. In fact, one could make a fair case that Greeks and Greek Cypriots have been even more stubborn and uncooperative than the Turks or the Turkish Cypriots. Our consciously adopted tactic has been to leave Cyprus up to the UN so as not to becloud our own efforts to improve bilateral relations with both Greece and Turkey and this has proven wise. We have, quietly, continued to appeal both to Karamanlis and Ecevit to try to get some movement and to press their respective Cypriots. Karamanlis wants to continue to stay as far away from Cyprus as possible and Ecevit does not feel he can afford politically to be seen as accommodating on this issue in light of his own precarious domestic political situation. (C)

The Greek lobby in this country puts all the blame on the Turks and argues that Turkey’s need for more economic aid should be exploited to pressure her into a Cyprus settlement. (A crude attempt on our part to do this would probably only result in pushing Ecevit into an anti-American corner or causing him to fall.) Privately, we should continue to appeal to Ecevit to help us with Congress by at least demonstrating some political cleverness in making offers that put the Greeks on the defensive or force them to make some counter-offers. (C)

Greek Cyprus continues to enjoy an unprecedented economic boom—so there is not much incentive there to risk anything for a settlement. Turkish Cyprus, on the other hand, is still economically depressed and represents a net burden on the Turkish economy. (U)

We should not get ourselves into the middle of the Cyprus situation at this late stage, having avoided it for so long, much as both [Page 109]Greeks and Turks would welcome the drama of a Camp David type of involvement by the President (I had two informal requests last week from Turks that we do this—and, of course, rejected them). But we might, as a tactic and as a way of trying something different from the lackadaisical UN effort, consider appointment of a European mediator. (C)

There has been slight progress on other issues between Greece and Turkey and in the private sector (between businessmen, journalists) there have been intelligent efforts to further reconciliation. Aegean talks have resulted in slight progress on air and seabed issues. Delineation of military boundaries and the NATO reintegration have not progressed recently. On these issues we have a right to expect greater forthcomingness from the Turks. It is also on these issues that discreet pressure in connection with increases in aid would be most likely to produce results. (C)

We will be making the same mistake the Administration made last year and the year before if we let our approach in Congress to Turkish problems be taken primarily in the framework of the complaints and political machinations of the Greek lobby. We need to take the initiative with responsible, national-security-minded senators and congressmen to brief them straightforwardly on the key facts of the Greek-Turkish-Cyprus situation and to seek their support and initiative. We should not let Brademas and Sarbanes call the shots. (C)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Horn/Special, Box 3, Chron File: 4/79. Confidential. Sent for information. Copies were sent to Hunter, Larrabee, and Albright.
  2. Not found.