8. Report by the President’s Personal Emissary to Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus (Clifford) to President Carter1

The mission you assigned to me and my associates has proved to be a fascinating one and we are gratified that progress was made in the various areas of concern that the United States has felt over developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

There was assigned to me an unusually able and experienced staff. Messrs. Nimetz, Ledsky, Treverton and Hopper made an invaluable contribution to the mission. We had team strategy sessions before going to each country and reached agreement as to the proper approach to be employed. The United States Ambassadors and their staffs in the countries we visited also made important contributions to our efforts and fully participated in our discussions.

In analyzing the conversation that you and I had, plus the briefings that I received at the State Department and from the National Security Council, I felt that you had given me four assignments:

1. Gather the facts regarding the problems of the Eastern Mediterranean and get the attitudes of the various leaders of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

2. Begin making a preliminary effort to lessen tensions that exist between Greece and Turkey over the Aegean.

3. Search for ways to improve the bilateral relationships that exist between the United States and Greece and the United States and Turkey.

4. Ascertain what contribution, if any, the United States could make toward obtaining progress in the solution of the bitter dispute in Cyprus.

In an assignment of this kind, my experience leads me to believe that one of the first orders of business is to ascertain where the pressure points are. What leverage do we have on the various parties that we can properly utilize to pursuade them to make a contribution toward peace in the area? To illustrate: it was already clear before we left Washington that if the question of the settlement of the Cyprus question were left solely to the two Cypriot communities, there was virtually no chance [Page 25] that progress would be made. For two and a half years the parties have scarcely been talking. United Nations machinery has been ineffective in getting the parties to negotiate seriously. Some new effort was clearly needed.

I shall now address myself to the four assignments that you gave us.

1. Gather the facts and obtain the attitudes of the leaders. We have learned a great deal about the area. Our meetings in the various countries were with the heads of government and their senior advisers, as well as with Secretary General Waldheim. In each country we visited, I held several private conversations with the national leader, and as a team we held lengthy substantive discussions on major issues of concern with the foreign ministers, defense ministers and senior officials. As personal relationships were developed, the talks became franker and more forthright. By the time we left each country we had a clear picture of the attitude of each government and the personalities of the men who were involved. We not only directed our inquiries to the governments now in office, but in each instance had excellent meetings with opposition leaders. This resulted in the acquisition of much valuable information that will be useful to us in the future. Appended to this report is a chronology of our meetings and general summary reports of our discussions in each country we visited. We have also attached memoranda of conversations prepared with respect to certain particularly important meetings.

2. Make an effort to lessen the tension in the Aegean. I believe we all received the clear impression that the dispute between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean could result in an incident leading to confrontation or even war. Prime Minister Caramanlis lectured us with intense feeling on his perception of Turkish expansionism in the Aegean. The controversies between Greece and Turkey center upon the following: (a) questions regarding the continental shelf in the Aegean; (b) the air control zone over the Aegean; (c) the boundaries of territorial waters; (d) militarization of certain Greek islands contrary to treaty obligations; and (e) the creation of a Turkish amphibious military force along the Aegean coast.

We noted with care Prime Minister Caramanlis’ points and presented them to the Turkish Government. Turkish officials went to great length to explain the Turkish position in each instance and argued vehemently that Turkey was not expansionist.

I believe that this discussion had a number of benefits. It acquainted Turkey with the intensity of Caramanlis’ feeling about these Aegean problems. It may persuade both sides to negotiate more seriously during the forthcoming round of continental shelf talks in Paris. The expression of our deep concern about possible incidents may re [Page 26] duce the risk of unilateral research operations by Turkey in sensitive disputed areas of the Aegean, but it should be noted that we received no assurance in this regard. Turkey has been made aware of our deep concern about difficulties in the Aegean and of our opinion that hostilities between the two countries would mean an immediate cessation of US arms flow to the area. We should build upon this understanding in Turkey to discuss the Aegean issues more forthrightly with the Greek Government with a view to encouraging substantive negotiations and avoiding unfortunate incidents.

3. Improve bilateral relationships between United States and Greece and United States and Turkey. The delivery of personal letters from you to the leaders of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus was well received and provided an opening toward better relations.2 The appointment of Secretary Vance was particularly well received in the area, as was the knowledge that the new United States Administration was reviewing its policies in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Lengthy and valuable conversations were held on a range of bilateral issues. Both Greece and Turkey are dissatisfied with their relationships with the United States and we gave them full opportunity to air all their grievances. There is now a better understanding on the part of these nations regarding the attitude of the United States.

For a considerable period of time the Greeks have taken a relaxed attitude toward resuming negotiations regarding the US-Greek Defense Cooperation Agreement. During our discussions we pressed them to set a date for resumption of the talks. On the last day of our stay in Athens, the Foreign Minister informed us that he had been instructed by Caramanlis to say that by the middle of March the Greeks would have a team ready to negotiate. In our discussions with the Greeks about their NATO relationship, we obtained their fundamental support for a gradual reintegration in NATO’s military wing, but we believe this will proceed slowly until the Cyprus and Aegean issues are closer to solution.

We discussed United States-Turkish bilateral relations at some length in Ankara, and we believe the Turkish leaders now understand as never before that improved relations depend on movement in Cyprus. However, we emphasized, publicly and privately, our desire [Page 27] to restore close relations and the importance we attach to Turkey’s contribution to NATO. We were heartened that these feelings were reciprocated, and that we did not hear any threats that Turkey was considering leaving NATO or taking an anti-Western attitude.

4. Ascertain what contribution, if any, the United States could make to getting progress in the solution of the bitter dispute in Cyprus. This is the toughest nut of them all to crack. The parties operate within a framework of a long history of bitterness, recrimination and intercommunal violence. We all recognized that this was the problem that would take the greatest efforts if any concrete commitments were to be obtained.

Our strategy began in Turkey. We informed the Turks flatly that there was no chance that the United States Congress would pass a Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Turkish Government until substantial continuing progress was made in Cyprus. The Turks repeated their long-standing objection to linking the defense agreement with Cyprus and said that they felt they had been treated very unfairly by the United States Congress and in fact had been humiliated by the imposition of the embargo. They believe they have a strong legal case and a strong moral case for their intervention in Cyprus. As the talks progressed, however, they became more realistic. The Turks were finally convinced that it did them no good to rail at the Congress, but that if they wished to improve their position with the United States in the defense field, they would have to make a substantial contribution to the solution of the Cyprus question.

Late on the last day of our visit in Ankara, the Foreign Minister informed us that, after intense deliberations, his government would give us its commitment that the Turkish Cypriot negotiator would place upon the table, at the March 31 Vienna intercommunal talks, a concrete and reasonable proposal for the constitutional structure of a new government in Cyprus. They also agreed to serious and sustained negotiations in the future.

We consider this Turkish commitment to be an important step forward. The parties have talked intermittently at each other for some time but each has refused to make written proposals or to talk seriously about substance. We made no reciprocal United States commitment in response to this decision other than to say that the Turkish action would have a favorable impact upon our policy review, and that we would seek to obtain a reciprocal territorial proposal from Archbishop Makarios.

After this forward step in Ankara, we proceeded to Cyprus for conferences with Archbishop Makarios and the Turkish leader, Mr. Denktash. I had two lengthy visits with Archbishop Makarios. Our team decided on the strategy that Makarios must be told that United States interest in Cyprus, while at the present time at a high level, is [Page 28] fairly certain to decline. Makarios was told that if a settlement in Cyprus was not reached during this year, he could expect the United States interest to decline to the point where his bargaining posture would deteriorate substantially. In addition, we told Makarios that our concern over our bilateral relationship with Turkey and the condition of the NATO alliance was such that we could not endanger those relationships much longer by using whatever leverage we had to obtain the cooperation of other nations in working toward a settlement in Cyprus. Noting the great importance of the territorial issue to the Greek Cypriots, we suggested that the most valuable contribution that Makarios could make would be for him to agree to place upon the table a specific proposal covering the division of territory.

The impact of this argument on Makarios was profound. At our second meeting, he was more forthcoming and stated that he had reached the decision to place upon the table in Vienna on March 31 a map which would recognize the principle of bizonality (a concession he has never before made directly to the Turks), and would provide for a 20% Turkish zone. Such a proposal would form the basis of the negotiations over the territorial division in a federal state between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Furthermore, Makarios and his Foreign Minister promised to engage in sustained negotiations and indicated they would welcome continued help from the United States.

The conference with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash, was the most difficult of all because he resented the pressure toward a settlement he was receiving from the Turks and further resented the fact that there was nothing he could do about it. However, Denktash and his Turkish Cypriot associates did confirm that they would present a written constitutional proposal in Vienna. In addition, Denktash did agree that serious and sustained negotiations would be undertaken.

The negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots will continue to take place under United Nations auspices, and we assured Secretary General Waldheim that our involvement was in no way in competition with his prominent role. Waldheim, however, is eager for our assistance and support. Now that the parties are committed to submit concrete, responsible proposals (the Turks on constitutional arrangements and the Greeks on territorial division) and to negotiate responsibly, a supportive role in encouraging further progress seems appropriate for the United States.

A supportive role for the British and perhaps other European powers may also be helpful at an appropriate time. We discussed the Cyprus part of our mission in detail with Foreign Minister Owen in London at the conclusion of our travels. The British are guarantors, along with Greece and Turkey, of the 1960 Cyprus constitution and also retain two sovereign base areas on the island which we believe to be of [Page 29] great value to the United States and Western Europe and to the present delicate stability of Cyprus.3 The British may discuss these base areas with you during Prime Minister Callaghan’s visit next week, for they have been seeking to reduce their commitments on Cyprus. This concerns us. Both the Turkish leaders and Makarios explicitly requested that the other Europeans not be brought into the detailed Cyprus negotiations at this time, and we have honored their request in our discussions with the British.

No one can guarantee that once the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots actually begin in Vienna, the parties will act in good faith. Each has, however, been given the clear impression that if the proposal each presents is merely formal, or is plainly unreasonable, and if substantive negotiations do not ensue, that fact will not be lost upon us.

The only way that Makarios and Denktash can reach agreement will be under the continued leverage that has now been introduced and that must be continued, certainly during the balance of this year. We believe that this leverage can be successful because both the Turkish and the Cypriot leaders now understand that they have more to gain from making a serious effort to seek a solution through the creation of a unitary, bizonal, federal state on Cyprus then to remain intransigent and inflexible and risk United States displeasure.

The interest displayed by the President of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean, in itself, has had a profound impact upon the area. Everyone took note of the fact that you chose in the first month of your new term to give such important attention to the problems of that area and that you were seriously reviewing United States policies in the region. The nations involved would like to establish a good working relationship with the new Administration, and we emphasized the fact that the next eight-year period of the Carter Administration would be extremely critical for their political, military and economic interests.

We have a delicate task in the future to relax certain restrictions regarding Turkey, to strengthen relationships with Greece without incurring Turkish displeasure, and at the same time to maintain sufficient leverage to obtain their continued interest in assisting in the settlement of the Cyprus question. We believe that this task is well worth undertaking to further the important interests of the United States in strengthening the southern flank of NATO, in restoring solid relation [Page 30] ships with two old friends and in resolving a problem of great humanitarian concern on Cyprus.


On the basis of the facts we have gathered, the efforts we have made, and the progress already achieved in improving United States relations with the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, we believe that our policies in the months ahead should be directed toward the following ends:

1. Given the importance we attach to NATO, the rebuilding of its Southeastern flank, and our own bilateral security relationship with Turkey, as well as the positive attitude we encountered in Ankara, we recommend that at an early date the Administration endorse in principle the United States-Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement which has already been submitted to Congress. This endorsement should be coupled, however, with an indication that the Administration will not press for Congressional approval of this agreement at this time. It would be understood that the Administration would take an active role in seeking enactment of the DCA only after substantial progress has been made toward achieving a Cyprus settlement, which we believe can occur in 1977.

2. We recommend, as an interim measure, that you request Congress to enact legislation for FY 1978 that will permit foreign military sales to Turkey, as well as FMS financing of $175 million, through credits or guaranties. This recommendation to Congress could be coupled with a request to selected NATO allies that they provide additional military equipment which Turkey needs to fulfill NATO commitments. We believe this positive approach to Turkish military needs would be appreciated in Ankara, but would not be seen in Greece or Cyprus as inimical to their interests.

3. We strongly believe that the United States must continue to play an active role in the Cyprus negotiating process. This role should be supportive of United Nations Secretary General Waldheim, and closely coordinated with our principal European allies.

4. Especially with respect to Cyprus, we consider it important that between now and the resumption of intercommunal negotiations in Vienna on March 31, our efforts be directed to ensuring that Greek Cypriot proposals on territory, and Turkish Cypriot proposals on a future Cyprus constitution, be sufficiently realistic and constructive as to form the basis for sustained negotiations. Assistance to the parties might also be necessary in connection with the meetings, so as to avoid the procedural breakdowns that have occurred in the past. We should maintain a supportive role with the parties to the intercommunal talks, to encourage a sustained negotiating tempo. This will probably entail [Page 31] maintaining effective leverage on Turkey, Cyprus and Greece to make the reasonable concessions and accommodations that will be essential.

5. Further with respect to Cyprus, we recommend that you ask the Congress to appropriate assistance funds to be made available once the two Cypriot communities reach a settlement. The funds would be designed for reconstruction and development of the island and would be apportioned on a fair basis so that both the Greek and Turkish zones would benefit.

6. A strong effort should be made to persuade the British to retain their two important sovereign base areas on Cyprus. As a last resort, some United States financial support for these bases may be necessary, but we need not decide upon any such arrangement before consultations with the British on this subject are held. Prime Minister Callaghan will very likely have a request in this regard when he talks with you in Washington next week.

7. With respect to Greece, we believe it is important to resume talks as soon as possible to conclude a United States-Greek Defense Cooperation Agreement. We must anticipate, however, that the Greek Government may move slowly since it has little incentive to conclude the agreement until it is convinced that your Administration will recommend Congressional approval of the United States-Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement.

8. To preserve and rebuild the Southeastern flank of NATO, we recommend continuing to work for the reintroduction of Greece into the military wing of NATO as early as possible. We should pursue this goal through the alliance structure and with our individual NATO partners.

9. The Aegean controversy between Greece and Turkey is potentially the most explosive dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean. We do not believe that our Government’s own views on the complex underlying issues are as yet clearly formed. Accordingly, we propose that a comprehensive study of Aegean issues be undertaken under the leadership of the Secretary of State and that once firm conclusions are rendered, both Greece and Turkey be counseled as to our conclusions and asked whether we might be of further assistance in resolving Aegean difficulties. Until this study is completed, we recommend that the United States steer an even-handed course and refrain from giving the Greek Government the type of written security guarantee that it is seeking from us. Instead, we should continue to tell both the Greeks and the Turks of our strong desire that these complex issues be resolved by substantive negotiation between them or by mutually agreed upon third-party procedures.

I wish to express my gratitude to the President for this opportunity to serve in this important area of international concern.

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We remain available to be of assistance in any manner in which the President should desire.

Respectfully submitted,

Clark M. Clifford4


Record of Meeting With Secretary-General Waldheim 5

Meeting with Waldheim

Clifford met for two hours over breakfast February 17 with UN Secretary General Waldheim in Vienna to review the results of Waldheim’s meeting in Nicosia the weekend of February 12–13 with Cypriot President Makarios and Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash.

Clifford thanked the Secretary General for making time available on his busy schedule, and noted how valuable Waldheim’s personal views would be to the US team which was just beginning a trip to the Eastern Mediterranean. Nuances which Waldheim could provide of the meeting last weekend in Nicosia would be of great value.

Waldheim described the meeting in Nicosia in a positive fashion. While noting that no solution could be expected soon, he said he was pleased that things were moving again. A new spirit was visible in Cyprus. Both Makarios and Denktash seemed interested in making progress and were now prepared to discuss substantive issues in a way that had been impossible before. Waldheim said Makarios in particular appeared anxious to negotiate, and while the verbal exchange between Denktash and Makarios had been extremely tough, the atmosphere between the two was friendly throughout most of their long four-hour meeting together.

Waldheim then reviewed in some detail the background of each of the four principles which had been agreed upon, principles which he described as “sufficiently clear” to offer a basis for subsequent negotiations. The key word in the first principle, according to Waldheim, was “bicommunal”. Use of this word allowed Makarios to keep his options open, although Waldheim conceded that Denktash had made it adamantly clear that no solution other than a bi-zonal one was possible.

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Waldheim said that there had been an endless discussion of the second principle which dealt with territory. The Turks had repeated their earlier figure of 32.8 or 20 percent. Waldheim said it was his personal feeling on the basis of this and earlier discussions that an eventual settlement somewhere between 25 and 27 percent was obtainable. As for the third point, Waldheim said that Denktash had made it clear that “freedom of settlement” could be no more than a statement of principle. The phrase “certain practical difficulties” in this principle was shorthand for Turkish security considerations. Waldheim said there had been general agreement in discussion of the fourth principle that foreign affairs, defense and finance would be among those powers reserved to the central government.

Waldheim said that with respect to subsequent negotiations, he had in mind convening intercommunal talks in Vienna on March 30, or March 31. Waldheim would stay in Vienna only for the first four or five days, and then turn the negotiations over to Ambassador De Cuellar. Waldheim said he hoped this next round would last four to five weeks, and that a final solution to the Cyprus problem could be achieved before the end of 1977. Waldheim cited two reasons for the “breakthrough” which resulted in agreement to resume the intercommunal talks. The first was Greek understanding that support by the international community, as expressed through a succession of US [ UN] resolutions, had provided no real basis for movement toward a Cyprus settlement. The second reason was Turkish recognition that despite their power on the ground, no international recognition for the new Turkish status on Cyprus was possible without a negotiated settlement. Waldheim said he had no doubt also that Turkish desire to have the United States approve the US-Turkish base agreement also had played an important role in getting Ankara to be more flexible.

Clifford expressed his appreciation to Waldheim for his description and analysis. He explained briefly the nature of his own mission to the area, putting emphasis on the US desire to begin a resolution of the bilateral difficulties we faced in both Greece and Turkey. He noted that our real interest centered on these bilateral security questions though we recognize that continuing difficulties in Cyprus prevented early progress in solving them.

With respect to Cyprus, Clifford emphasized US interest in having the UN play a leading role. We wanted to contribute in any way we could to this UN effort. Our preference was to adopt and maintain a low profile. We felt this was not only in our interest, but also better for the UN as well. In this regard, Clifford said we would be interested in Waldheim’s judgment as to what we could do to be of help in assisting the Cyprus negotiating process.

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Waldheim expressed appreciation for this offer of US assistance. He agreed that the US had a vital role to play, particularly through the contacts we have and the influence we can exert in Ankara and Athens. Waldheim noted that US and UN efforts could and should be complementary. The key to movement on Cyprus lay in Ankara, and it was here that Waldheim thought we could be of most assistance. The territorial issue was central for the Greek Cypriots, and US influence would be most welcome in getting the Turks to show flexibility in this area. Waldheim noted at the same time that this could not come from direct US pressure, since the Turks resisted any form of direct linkage of their DCA to Cyprus.

Clifford thanked Waldheim for his comments and noted again that we did not wish to take a leading role in Cyprus ourselves, but to contribute to maintaining the momentum which had been established through the initiative of UN Secretary General Waldheim. We wanted to help in any way we could. In this regard, Clifford suggested that Waldheim pass to the US any request he had for our assistance in moving the parties closer to an agreement.

Waldheim thanked Secretary Clifford for this frank exchange of views, and the offer of future US assistance. A solution to the Cyprus problem could only come about through the kind of complementary action by the US and the UN which had been discussed. It was agreed that we would work together in the months ahead, in an effort to move the Cyprus negotiations as quickly and constructively as possible toward a successful solution.


Report by the President’s Personal Emissary to Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus (Clifford) to President Carter 6

Vienna/Athens Report

Clifford had a good meeting in Vienna on February 17 with United Nations Secretary General Waldheim. Waldheim gave a full report on the Makarios-Denktash meeting, expressing cautious optimism based on the apparent willingness of the parties to discuss issues. Waldheim welcomed U.S. help, noting U.S. influence in Ankara. Clifford stressed [Page 35] the U.N. lead in this matter and the willingness of the U.S. to support his efforts.

Clifford met with Chancellor Kreisky and conveyed the President’s personal regards and thanks for Austria’s bicentennial gift to the U.S. (Professorships in Austrian History at Stanford University and the University of Minnesota). Kreisky spoke mostly about the Middle East, where he believes the time is right for a settlement; otherwise, less moderate Arab leaders will emerge in the PLO and in Arab nations.

In Athens, Clifford first paid courtesy calls on President Tsatsos and Prime Minister Karamanlis, delivering President Carter’s letters, which were very much appreciated. Press coverage has been particularly positive, given the great unpopularity of the U.S. in Greece during the last few years. Long substantive meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and other top officials went extremely well.7

The Greeks presented their positions clearly and with great force. These positions were not unlike those expressed in the past, but there was a new sense of urgency and pessimism, especially in the way Prime Minister Karamanlis outlined his current problems. Greek leaders clearly appreciated the chance to present their views to the President’s personal emissary.

The major impression the Greeks wanted us to have was that Turkey had become over the past two years a fundamentally expansionist power, and that Turkish expansionism was aimed directly at Greece. The Greeks cited as evidence of this:

A. Turkey’s second offensive in Cyprus in August 1974, and Turkish failure to negotiate in Cyprus in good faith on the territorial issue.

B. Disputes relating to the air zone over the Aegean.

C. Disputes over the Aegean continental shelf.

D. Other so-called Turkish provocative acts and statements.

In all their presentations, the Greeks stressed that the fault for all their current problems lay with Turkey. The Greeks insisted they were moderate and conciliatory, ready for negotiations and compromise. All progress, however, was blocked because of Turkey’s basically expansionist orientation. Thus, there was an air of pessimism in every position. The Prime Minister stated with the utmost seriousness that he would no longer be able to follow a policy of moderation regarding Turkish provocations. He stated that Greece could be humiliated no longer because the Greek people would not stand for it. As an illustration, he stated flatly that if the Turks sent out an exploratory ship again, [Page 36] Greece could no longer rely on diplomacy. With considerable emotion he informed us that the continuance of the present Turkish attitude, in his opinion, would lead to war between the two countries.

With reference to individual issues, the Greek positions can be summarized as follows:

A. We requested the Greeks to set a date for resumption of base negotiations. At formal meetings they were evasive. However, at our final lunch, the Foreign Minister stated that the Prime Minister had agreed to our request. He indicated an announcement to this effect will not be made until after the Clifford party leaves, ostensibly because of Greek domestic sensitivities, but also possibly because the Greeks are waiting to see what position the Clifford party will take with respect to the Turkish Defense Cooperation Agreement. We agreed to a delay in the Greek announcement, and we expect the negotiations to resume either in Washington or Athens on or about March 15.

B. While Greek officials acknowledged that the position on the Turkish DCA was fully a matter solely for the U.S. to decide, both Karamanlis and Bitsios expressed a “private” view that U.S. military aid to Turkey should not be resumed until after a settlement of both the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish difficulties in the Aegean. This latter condition, which would link the resumption of Turkish military aid to resolution of the Aegean problem, constitutes a new and more rigid Greek position. The Greeks did suggest that both base agreements might be completed and ratified, but that the respective aid packages should be separated from the general documents.

C. With respect to NATO, the Greeks indicated they were in favor of the Alliance and wanted to move back towards full membership. But until there was progress on Cyprus and the Aegean, this re-entry would have to take a slow and measured pace, and therefore had to be organized on the basis of a special relationship.

D. The Greeks refrained from giving an indication of how the U.S. might be of assistance in facilitating a Cyprus settlement, although we put the question directly several times. The Greeks made clear that they themselves could not adopt an active role at present, but would continue to be helpful behind the scenes. The Greeks maintained that Makarios was now reasonable and wanted to negotiate and that therefore our most important service would be to press the Turks to make a reasonable territorial proposal. The Greeks, however, were not optimistic about the prospects for forthcoming intercommunal talks in Vienna in March.

The Greek Foreign Minister asked that the Kissinger letter of April 10, 1976, which the Greeks see as a mild form of security guarantee against Turkish actions in the Aegean, be reissued by Secretary Vance [Page 37] and, if possible, strengthened to provide assurances against provocations by either side.8

Clifford and party listened to the Greek presentation, asked questions but made no commitments, except to take back their views to Washington, and to consider them carefully in the Government’s review of policies in this area. Clifford expressed the view that the U.S. wishes to promote a strong NATO, to restore good U.S. relations with both Greece and Turkey, and to help Greece and Turkey resolve their differences.

Greek leaders expressed throughout their presentations their strong fears of Turkish intentions, including possible ultimate threats against the Greek islands in the Aegean. At the same time the Greeks, while insisting they were moderate, seemed to have no idea as to how they might resolve their problems with Turkey themselves. While talking of further negotiations they appeared to have no plan as to how to proceed, and they seem to have prepared no substantive proposals of their own, particularly with respect to the Aegean question which they claim is the most dangerous.

Greek moderation indeed appears based on a realization of Greece’s fundamental weaknesses vis-a-vis Turkey. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister emphasized that hostilities between the two countries might occur and that he might not be able to restrain the Greek military and populace if what Greeks fear is Turkish provocation continues (such as seismic research operations by the Turks in the Aegean this spring and summer).


Report by the President’s Personal Emissary to Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus (Clifford) to President Carter 9

Ankara Report

Clifford met on February 21 and 22 with the top officials of the Turkish Government, including the President of the Republic, the [Page 38] Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Chief of the General Staff and other military leaders, the Defense Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Ecevit, and other officials.

These meetings were long, intensive and frank. Throughout Clifford received the most courteous reception and evidence of a strong desire of Turkish leaders to improve the present relationship. More important, although his message was tough, Clifford believes he received, somewhat unexpectedly, a positive, constructive response that may lead to movement in the Cyprus negotiations.

Basic Message. Clifford told the Turkish leaders the following: Our Government believed in a strong US-Turkish relationship; we believed it to be in our interest and in Turkey’s interest to maintain and strengthen the NATO relationship; it was the basic desire of the United States Government to promote the defense cooperation agreement that had been signed; the attitude of our Congress was largely unchanged; and discernible improvement in the Cyprus situation was necessary if the DCA was to be pushed to enactment by the Administration. The United States and Turkey should be partners in a process of strengthening our relationship and getting the DCA enacted. Turkey’s role in the partnership must be to encourage substantial progress in the Cyprus negotiations. We recognized Turkish sensitivities about linking Cyprus to the DCA and also the potential impact of this issue in their forthcoming election. Clifford made no public mention of any Cyprus/DCA link, and seldom referred publicly to Cyprus at all.

Turkish Response. The Turkish leaders expressed great concern about the arms embargo and the need for Congressional approval of the DCA. They described their long association as a trusted NATO ally; the long history of Cyprus which has no clear rights or wrongs; and emphasized that an arms embargo was not a proper way to treat an ally. This presentation of the Turkish position was generally mild and was not coupled with any threat to pull out of NATO or to permit the US-Turkish relationship to deteriorate. On the contrary, the Turks seemed—in private, of course—to accept the fact that Cyprus and the DCA are in reality linked at least in the eyes of the Congress. With respect to Cyprus, the Turks go back to 1959 and present a long list of grievances, including use by the Greeks of US arms in Cyprus, which they point out did not result in a US embargo of Greece. They are convinced, furthermore, that they made a major contribution by getting the recent round of Makarios/Denktash meetings started.

The Aegean. Clifford stated that he had found a fear in Greece of possible expansionist intentions on the part of Turkey, particularly with reference to the Aegean. This was evidenced, in Greek eyes, by the occupation of Cyprus, the dispute over air space, the continental shelf [Page 39] and territorial waters, and the Sismik voyages.10 Clifford indicated that the United States took no position on the Aegean issues and had no desire to interfere between the two nations, but that the United States was always concerned when two of its allies had disputes between them.

Turkish Response on the Aegean. In response, the Turks argued that they had good historical, equitable and legal arguments with respect to the complex Aegean issues and noted that Greece was turned down by both the Security Council and the World Court. To them, Greece appears now to be raising procedural issues to impede and delay substantive talks. The Turks further noted that Greece has militarized islands off their coast in clear contravention of provisions of the treaties by which Greece acquired the islands, including the Treaty of Paris to which the United States is a signatory. They asked why the United States does not embargo arms to Greece in response to this treaty violation. The Turks categorically reject the idea that they are an expansionist power. They disclaim any hostile intentions against Greece and any desire to take any of the Greek Aegean islands. This view was especially eloquently presented by Opposition Leader Ecevit who insisted that he and the present Turkish Government stood together in this matter. They view the Aegean problems as similar to those of other countries over difficult maritime resource issues, and believe they can be resolved by the two countries themselves through substantive negotiations. They believe that Greece takes an unreasonable position in viewing the Aegean as an exclusive Greek sea.

The Positive Response. During the course of his presentation to the Turkish officials, Clifford stated the need for movement on Cyprus in the strongest possible way. He told the Turks that he hoped they would actively consider their discussions and that he did not expect an immediate response. The message clearly registered upon the Turkish leaders. At the final meeting with the Foreign Minister and his top aides, Clifford did receive a response. The Foreign Minister, in a carefully worded statement, first repeated the basic Turkish position, but then went on to say that Turkey wished to be cooperative in this matter, and that the Turkish Cypriots would present a concrete proposal at the March 31 intercommunal meeting in Vienna, which we agreed to hold in the closest confidence. The Foreign Minister proposed further that it would be helpful if the Greek side would present a concrete territorial proposal, and implied that the United States might be helpful in Athens and Nicosia in obtaining such a step by the Greek Cypriot negotiator.

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Clifford responded to the Turks, after a caucus with Ambassador Macomber and the members of his mission, as follows:

(a) We were gratified by the serious thought they had given these matters and the promptness and constructive nature of their response;

(b) Their commitment to make such a concrete proposal in the Vienna meeting could help lead to progress;

(c) We assumed this proposal would be reasonable, for obviously a polemical proposal would be counter-productive;

(d) We agreed that it would be useful if serious territorial proposals could also be on the table;

(e) We should obviously not disclose their proposed initiative, but would discuss the possibilities of a territorial proposal in Nicosia, London and Washington, and would keep the Government of Turkey informed, and they should do the same with us.

Clifford did not, however, give them much reason for optimism in expecting Archbishop Makarios to table such a proposal. He reiterated that this would be one of the matters we would discuss in London and in Washington and would remain in touch with both Ankara and Athens. Clifford suggested the possibility of one or more third parties presenting a territorial proposal through Waldheim if for political reasons Makarios would not.

Clifford also made the point that the negotiators in Vienna should work on a sustained and serious basis rather than have a mere pro forma meeting. The Turks said they agreed with this and would do their best to assure Turkish Cypriot cooperation.

Clifford promised the Turkish leaders that their proposed initiative would not be disclosed by him. Because the initiative might be imperiled if it were publicly associated with his visit to Ankara, Clifford has requested that the greatest confidentiality be accorded this information until such time as it is made public by the parties themselves.

Clifford is not certain this commitment by the Turkish Government will lead to real progress, but it does constitute a concrete commitment. He was pleased with the attitude of the Turkish leaders.

[Page 41]


Report by the President’s Personal Emissary to Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus (Clifford) to President Carter 11

Nicosia Report

The Clifford Mission met on February 23, 24 and 25 with the leading officials of the Cypriot Government, including President Makarios, the Foreign Minister, the leader of the opposition party, Mr. Clerides, the Greek Cypriot negotiators in the Cyprus talks and other officials. The Mission also visited the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot negotiator and most of the members of the Turkish Cypriot leadership. Mr. Clifford’s two private meetings with Archbishop Makarios were extremely productive, leading to a concrete response. The Archbishop agreed, after a long and frank discussion, to accept the principle of bizonality and to present a bizonal map with a 20 per cent Turkish zone at Vienna to serve as the basis for negotiation of the territorial issue.

Basic Message: Clifford’s approach to President Makarios and to all of the Greek Cypriots was that he brought a message of friendship and concern from our new President. He alluded to the Administration’s deep humanitarian concern and its desire to assist in a just resolution of the Cyprus problem. Clifford indicated to President Makarios and the Foreign Minister that this was the best possible time to reach a settlement because United States and world opinion was presently sympathetic to the problem of Cyprus. However, he stated quite frankly that this sympathetic attitude would change if the Cypriots did not make progress in their discussions. He noted that the U.S.-Turkish rift over Cyprus had impaired our defense relationships and that a time would come when we would have to remedy that situation. Clifford implied that if the negotiations were prolonged, especially by unrealistic Greek Cypriot demands, our sympathy might dissipate.

Cypriot Response: Archbishop Makarios understood Clifford’s message. We believe he has decided to make a real attempt to reach a solution this year. His agreement to table a bizonal map, referred to above, is an important step. The Turks in Ankara had suggested that he try to get Archbishop Makarios to table such a proposal. Clifford had expressed pessimism about getting him to do so. The Greek Cypriots also agreed with Clifford’s suggestion that the forthcoming Vienna negotia [Page 42] tions be sustained and serious. They indicated their interest in finding a procedural approach that would be mutually satisfactory and would permit substantive discussion.

Discussions with the Turkish Cypriots: The Turkish Cypriots were unhappy about U.S. involvement. Mr. Denktash explained at great length the history of Turkish grievances at the hands of the Greek majority between 1960 and 1974. He expressed his belief that a solution could be reached if the United States and the European nations left the Turkish Cypriots (and the mainland Turks) alone to deal with the Greek Cypriots. Western intervention, he argued, is always manipulated by Makarios. However, Denktash did clearly state that his negotiators would present a written memorandum about the allocation of authority between the central government and the two bizonal states at the March 31 Vienna meetings, and that they would negotiate in good faith. Clifford believes that Mr. Denktash’s negative attitude is primarily a result of his aggravation over being pressed from Ankara. His associates were considerably more forthcoming and positively inclined than Mr. Denktash himself.

Visits to Refugee Camps: On both the Greek side and the Turkish side, the mission visited refugee areas as well as new housing projects built with U.S. assistance. The mission heard testimonials from both Greeks and Turks to the tragic circumstances of men still missing and unaccounted for. Clifford received delegations of homeless people. He also received many words of praise for the considerable refugee assistance that the U.S. has provided.

London Consultations: Both Turkish and Cypriot officials have requested that Clifford not draw the European Community (or the British) into the negotiations because both sides feel such a step would overly complicate these sensitive negotiations. Clifford did not intend at this stage to disclose the specific proposals that each side will make.

In summary, except for Mr. Denktash’s unhappiness at being pushed into a constructive step by Ankara, Clifford believes his mission to Cyprus to have been successful beyond expectations. The leaders of both sides, for domestic political reasons, have requested the highest level of confidentiality to these commitments, and Clifford gave assurances that these requests would be honored.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 9, Cyprus: 1977. Secret. Clifford’s mission to the Eastern Mediterranean was from February 15 to March 1, which included a visit to London February 27–March 1. Clifford discussed the report with President Carter on March 4; see Document 10.
  2. Carter sent letters on February 15 to Fahri Korutürk, President of the Republic of Turkey; Constantine Tsatsos, President of the Hellenic Republic; and Archbishop Makarios III, President of the Republic of Cyprus. In each letter, Carter expressed his appreciation for the good wishes he received from the leaders’ respective countries, and cast the Clifford mission as a way to reduce tensions. The text of the three letters is in telegram 35392 to Athens, Ankara, and Nicosia, February 16. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770055–1157) He also sent letters to Karamanlis and Demirel. See Document 87.
  3. The Governments of Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom signed an agreement on February 19, 1959, in London which, among other provisions, gave each country guarantor status to ensure the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus. (Department of State Bulletin, March 16, 1959, pp. 367–368) The Cypriot constitution was agreed on in Zurich on February 11, 1960, leading to Cypriot independence on August 16, 1960. The United Kingdom retained sovereignty over two military bases on the island.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  5. Secret.
  6. Secret; Nodis.
  7. See footnote 5, Document 164.
  8. The letter was signed by President Ford and sent through Kissinger to Athens on April 9. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXX, Greece; Cyprus; Turkey, 1973–1976, Document 63.
  9. Secret. The report is marked both Nodis and Exdis. See also Document 88.
  10. The Sismik was a Turkish oil exploration vessel operating in the Aegean in 1976. Greece considered the presence of the Sismik a provocation and threatened to deploy its navy to intercept the ship. News reports quoted Turkish Prime Minister Demirel as responding, “Interception of the Sismik will be an act of piracy. Short work is made of pirates.” (“The Aegean: Acts of Piracy?,” Time, August 23, 1976)
  11. Secret; Nodis. See also Document 32.