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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 21, 2007


Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Foreign Relations, Volume XXX, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, 1973-1976

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXX, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, 1973–1976. This volume includes documentation that illuminates the critical connections between regional concerns and bilateral issues, and provides a fascinating window into the ways in which the Nixon and Ford administrations managed a foreign crisis in the midst of a U.S. domestic one. The volume provides documentation on, among other things, the restoration of democracy in Greece, the problem of Turkish opium, the potential conflict between Greece and Turkey over oil exploration rights in the Aegean Sea, and U.S. policymakers’ efforts to develop a solution to the problem caused by the increasing tensions in the region. Taken as a whole, this volume highlights a significant shift in U.S. policymakers’ goals toward the region and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s unique role in U.S. foreign policy.

In mid-July 1974, the Nixon administration--then in the midst of the Watergate scandal--learned that Turkey had invaded the eastern portion of Cyprus to protect Turkish Cypriots. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried to facilitate a settlement of the crisis, conducting “shuttle diplomacy” between Athens, Ankara, Nicosia, and elsewhere. With the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, the crisis became the responsibility of President Gerald Ford. Even with Ford’s strong contacts in Congress, the new administration found itself at odds with the legislative branch, which had cut off U.S. arms to Turkey. Ford and Kissinger believed that such a prohibition limited their diplomatic options and their ability to influence the situation, and they complained about the influence of Greek-Americans in Congress. Kissinger pursued a negotiated settlement to end the partition of Cyprus at every opportunity, including the UN General Assembly, CENTO, and the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; however, a solution to this problem eluded him. The documentation indicates a significant shift in U.S. policy toward the region over the course of this crisis. Whereas previous policy had focused on trying to expedite a solution to the ongoing conflict between the two communities on Cyprus by encouraging internal and international discussion, this threat to NATO’s southern flank shifted the primary focus of U.S. policymakers away from encouraging discourse and towards ensuring that Greece and Turkey--two key NATO allies--did not come to blows over Cyprus.

In addition to the two U.S. administrations’ efforts to develop a solution to the problems caused by the situation in Cyprus, the documents in this volume provide a unique insight into how the Executive Branch operated during the Watergate scandal. Secretary of State Kissinger updated in person and by telephone an increasingly distracted President Nixon, who was vacationing in San Clemente during the July 1974 crisis. Transcripts of Kissinger’s telephone conversations thus provide a valuable addition to the documentary record, both of the crisis and of Kissinger’s relationship with President Nixon. As Nixon became increasingly entangled with Watergate and faced possible impeachment, he granted Kissinger considerable authority to manage the crisis. When Nixon resigned in August 1974, Kissinger made a virtually seamless transition to working with President Ford, who continued to let him take the lead in attempting to resolve the Cyprus crisis.

The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/xxx. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044–000–02600–7; ISBN 978–0–16–079017–1). For further information contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663–1131 or by e-mail to history@state.gov.

2007/1156


Released on December 21, 2007

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