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September 8, 1979

Bulgarian Intelligence Analysis of US-Greek Relations


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RE: State of US-Greek relations

Greco-American relations continue to be in a state not typical for two allies. Both governments admit that their bilateral relations are stagnating. Greece rejected the US formula for its return into NATO's military structure, refused to extend the broadcasting rights of the two radio-stations of
The Voice of America, and postponed ratification of the contract concerning the American military bases in Greece.

Greece's actions are a direct result from that country's increased opportunities to pursue a less US-dependent pro-Western foreign policy, as well as from the intensified anti-American feelings that are a constant element of the internal political situation. This is typical not only for the opposition, but also for the greater part of the Greek bourgeoisie, which has already reoriented its economic interests towards Western Europe. At present there is no organized political power that is openly defending American interests. Only the extreme right reactionary elements, which are ideologically and politically denounced and organizationally defeated, actively use their propaganda machine against Karamanlis' foreign policy.

Greece's accession to the European Economic Community /EEC/ guarantees that Karamanlis' regime will be protected against the actions of the US-backed extreme right elements. The support of France and the other EEC members gives Greece the opportunity to be firm against the US pressure.

As a result of the increased nationalist feelings, the US efforts for a compromise between Greece and Turkey in the interest of NATO met a stern opposition. These feelings are typical for both the Greek bourgeoisie and the Armed Forces. Karamanlis government hopes that the US will exert considerable pressure so that Turkey changes its position on the Cyprus problem and the other disputes in the Aegean Sea. They see Carter's election campaign declarations in support of Greece, as well as Turkey's economic difficulties and Ecevit's unstable political position, as prerequisites for reaching a favorable solution. Karamanlis understands Greece's importance to the US after closing of the American bases in Iran, and the American need to control the implementation of the SALT-2 treaty from the territory of Greece and Turkey. Both government and opposition openly declare that the US pursues protection of Turkey, and this is the main reason for the setback in the Greco-American relations. After the failure of Waldheim's initiatives on Cyprus and General Haig's mission on the “special” statute of Greece in NATO, Karamanlis took up a tougher stance towards the US.

Even though the bilateral relations have deteriorated, the US still keeps its military presence in Greece. They have started silently, although in limited quantities, to transfer electronic and telecommunication devices from Iran to their bases on the island of Crete. Since the beginning of 1979 a reorganization of the American Intelligence Services in Greece has started. During his visit in Athens the US Assistant Secretary of State, Warren Christopher put the question for the extension of the American bases. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller, Carter's personal envoy, insisted on the Greek government's official agreement for transfer of the American military equipmenet from Iran to Greece. The Greek government continues to hold aloof because of the progressive and democratic internal opposition it is facing, and also because it is seeking to obtain economic benefits and political advantages with respect to Turkey by exploiting the increased American interest. Greece has also been looking into the legal consequences of the decision not to extend the use of the military bases.

Together with its military presence, the US is striving to expand its economic interests in Greece. In July 1979 the US Department of Commerce hosted a workshop on the Greco-American economic relations. Meanwhile, a big group of American businessmen is expected to visit Greece in October to investigate the opportunities for capital investments and signing of trade agreements.

Karamanlis government has [successfully] tied the issues of the US bases and radio stations, and the expansion of the American military presence in Greece to the acceptance of the Greek requirement for a “special” status within NATO and respect for their interests in the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.

By using the strength and influence of the Greek lobby in the US Congress, Karamanlis has put pressure on Carter's administration to discontinue its support for Turkey and to work for preserving the balance of powers in the Aegean region. Greece's refusal to participate in NATO maneuvers in the fall of 1979 is also directed against the US. Karamanlis is also exerting indirect pressure on the US through his Balkan policy and his “openness” to the socialist states. The US considers a negative factor in the Greco-American relations Karamanlis' initiatives for Balkan cooperation and his attempts to neutralize China's influence on the Balkans—actions that are allegedly at odds with NATO's strategy.

With preserved American military and economic presence in Greece, and with weakened US influence, Greco-American relations will continue to stagnate.

While not seriously threatening US military and economic interests, the Karamanlis government is in fact preventing further development of the bilateral relations. It pursues a line of further distancing its political course from the direct American influence.

Although Carter's administration is dissatisfied with the Greek policy, given the present domestic and international situation, the US government is not in the position to take actions against Karamanlis. Besides, [it is clear that] there is no real alternative for his post.

(Signature, seal)

Reg. No 16463a


A report on the state of bilateral relations with emphasis on military co-operation and the US mediation of the Greco-Turkish disputes.

Document Information


Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 378-B, File 1190/4. Translated by Vanja Petkova, Edited by Dr. Rositza Ishpekova and Kalin Kanchev, and obtained by the Bulgarian Cold War Research Group.


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