7. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Clark Clifford
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Mathew Nimetz, Counselor-designate, Department of State
  • Gregory F. Treverton, NSC Staff

1. The President outlined his understanding of the current situation: we need the bases in Greece and Turkey. There is a strong Greek-American political force that must be recognized. There may be some feeling in Turkey that the President is biased towards Greece. The President noted the progress made in the intercommunal talks under [Page 23] Waldheim’s auspices.2 He also noted the leverage provided by West Germany’s relationship with Turkey, and he indicated that Clifford should see Schmidt if he thought it useful.

2. The President said we want to let Greece and Turkey know we are prepared to help but will not intrude. We need a Greek DCA to go forward with the Turkish DCA. At the same time, we need help from Turkey. There will be no public link between Cyprus and the DCA, but no matter how we feel, Congress and the public see a tie.

3. Clifford called the mission wise and timely, though it is unlikely to result in a major breakthrough. He described his discussions with Congress and emphasized the apparent impasse between Congress and the Turks over passage of the DCA. He suggested that the Makarios-Denktash meetings, a hopeful development, are unlikely to result in a settlement without pressure from Greece and Turkey.

4. Clifford indicated that the United States is not too popular in Greece. He felt the Greeks might be prepared to give up their DCA if that would prevent the Turks from obtaining theirs.

5. In Turkey, Clifford said he would emphasize that the situation has changed from the previous Administration. Congress and the Executive will work together. He will say explicitly that we want the DCA to pass, but that we will need help from the Turks.

6. Clifford indicated we have no plan to take to the area. After the trip, however, we should have a better sense of the situation, the constraints, and the possibilities for movement. If that enables us to develop a plan about how to proceed, perhaps that plan should be passed to the UN. Brzezinski concurred in the outline of Clifford’s strategy. It seems sensible to him to try to solve the Cyprus issue by improving relations between ourselves and Greece and Turkey, and between the two of them, rather than through a head-on approach.

7. In closing, Clifford indicated the deadline imposed by Congressional action on the budget. The Ford budget contains $250 million in Turkish aid. This Administration will have to make its intentions known about that aid, perhaps as early as late March.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 34, Memcons: President: 2/77. Confidential. The meeting took place in the Oval Office.
  2. On the origins of intercommunal talks mediated by the UN, which commenced in January 1975, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1975, pp. 273–277. Talks continued intermittently over the next two years with Greek and Turkish participation. According to a report issued by Waldheim on December 9, 1976, tensions between the two communities had quieted over the previous several months, although the fundamental problems arising from the conflict in 1974 remained unresolved. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1976, pp. 296–297)