Volume #17 - 454.|
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
MEMBERSHIP OF GREECE AND TURKEY
Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Ambassador in United States
DESPATCH 51662 |
April 20th, 1951|
POSSIBILITY OF THE ADMISSION OF GREECE AND TURKEY TO NATO|
Reference: Your WA1406 of April 11.?
We were greatly interested in receiving your telegram WA1406 of April 11 on the possibility of the admission of Greece and Turkey in NATO. While we have not yet been in a position to discuss this matter with the Minister, you might be interested in our views at the departmental level.
2. We are rather hesitant to comment on the views expressed to you by the State Department about the method of improving the security of the Eastern Mediterranean because we feel that, apart from the possibility of the inclusion of Greece and Turkey in NATO, the area is one in which Canadian interests are remote except in a very general sense and we would not wish to give the impression that we are suggesting to the great powers methods whereby the security of the area under consideration could be increased by further commitments on their part while, at the same time, Canada would be unwilling to accept further commitments itself.
3. With these reservations in mind, you may wish to use the following views in your informal discussions with the State Department.
4. Four alternative methods for dealing with the security problem in the Eastern Mediterranean have been under discussion in recent months:
(a) The inclusion of Greece and Turkey in NATO. This problem has already been discussed and the reasons which were advanced in September for refusing to accede to the Turkish request for admission are, in our mind, still valid today.45 There is no doubt that such an association would be welcomed by both countries for reasons of prestige and because it would give them greater security in case of war as well as acting as a deterrent against the possibility of a Soviet attack. You have clearly indicated yourself the pros and cons in paragraph 4 of your telegram under reference. The cons are more convincing than the pros as far as we are concerned. We should continue to bear in mind that we have always given some priority to the economic and social aspects of the North Atlantic Treaty. We have little doubt that were Greece and Turkey to be accepted as NATO members those aspects of the Treaty would receive even less consideration than they do today. The North Atlantic Treaty would tend more and more to become an instrument of defence only and would no longer be the framework of an eventual "North Atlantic Community". On the whole we wonder whether such a move might not be a mistake unless all NATO partners are already prepared for the gradual extension of NATO to include all states desiring to prevent Soviet expansion.
(b) The conclusion of an Eastern Mediterranean pact to include Turkey, Greece and the Arab states, or Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia and Israel. Neither suggestion commands much support. Turkey considers that a military alliance with the Arab states in their present condition of weakness would cause a deterioration in its own position. The Arab states are preoccupied with the effort to establish some degree of unity among themselves before considering any military association with their immediate neighbours. Yugoslavia and Israel, for different reasons, are not prepared to enter into local alliances with other "small" powers. Greece is the only country which, so far, has actively attempted to explore the possibility of an Eastern Mediterranean union.
(c) United States guarantee of military aid to Turkey in case of Soviet attack. This would probably have the advantage of helping strategic defence planning and no single measure which has yet been suggested would be likely to have more immediate practical advantages.
(d) An extension of the direct responsibility already assumed in the Middle East by the United States, the United Kingdom and France through individual agreements or on a tripartite basis. (This would be likely to follow rather than to precede a United States commitment to come to the aid of Turkey if the latter is attacked). The United Kingdom and France already have a mutual assistance agreement with Turkey, and the United States has spent a great deal of money and energy in building up the efficiency of Turkish armed forces and in improving communications in Turkey. The United Kingdom and the United States also gave Greece military aid for several years. In a tripartite declaration of May 25, 1950, the United States, the United Kingdom and France undertook to intervene in case of threats to alter by force existing boundaries in the area between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. In May, 1950, the United States and the United Kingdom jointly declared their interest in the continued political independence and territorial integrity of Iran and they have recently confirmed their attitude in separate statements by official spokesmen.
5. In such a confused picture we are inclined to feel that ad hoc arrangements for the defence of the Middle East could be based more effectively on the foundations which have already been laid than on an altogether new arrangement such as an extension of NATO responsibilities in the area. Such arrangements could be considered in the following order:
(a) That the decision already arrived at by NATO to associate the Turkish and Greek Governments with the military planning of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization be, in fact, implemented. The insistence, particularly of the Turks, on being associated with NATO might spring mainly from the fact that those arrangements, according to paragraph 3 of your telegram under reference have not been given a fair trial. It is natural for the Turks to underestimate the value of such an association if no effort had been made to make it work.
(b) That the United States consider the possibility of making a fairly strongly worded declaration of its interests in the continued political independence and territorial integrity of Turkey, which would leave no room for speculation on the part of Moscow.
(c) That the governments of the United States and United Kingdom should continue the efforts they are now making to compose the differences which have become apparent in the views of their military leaders in the Eastern Mediterranean area, so as to present as quickly as possible a common front in their dealings with governments of the countries concerned. It would be particularly useful if they could reach a decision as to which of the great powers is to assume military leadership and the primary responsibility for military defence of the area. So long as governments of the Middle East are not sure that the United States and the United Kingdom, the two great powers most directly concerned, see eye to eye on this question, the impression of rivalry and uncertainty is bound to delay preparations for effective resistance to a possible Soviet attack. It would be reasonable to expect that at some stage, preferably when the United States and the United Kingdom have found a basis for composing their differences, France should be brought into the discussions with a view to participation in defensive planning.
(d) That the three great powers which have direct interests in the Middle East should discuss among themselves the possibility of a tripartite declaration on the defence of a more extended area than that to which the declaration of May 25, 1950 applied.
6. We do not wish to convey the impression that, were it so decided after careful consideration in Washington, we would be unwilling to consider the applications of Greece and Turkey for acceptance in NATO. We would then probably take the line that if the United Kingdom, the United States and France, and other NATO powers, are in agreement in favouring the admission of Turkey and Greece, Canada would not oppose it. We do hope, however, that serious consideration will be given to possible alternative courses of action such as those listed above, since we consider that the admission of Turkey to NATO is not to the best of our interests in present circumstances.
7. For your information, I may say that neither the Turkish nor the Greek Ambas
sadors here has raised the problem of the admission of their respective countries with us.
45 Voir/See Volume 16, Document 568.