U.S. Department of State
Vol. X, Part 1, FRUS, 1958-60: E. Europe Region; Soviet Union; Cyprus
Office of the Historian
[Section 14 of ]
JANUARY - APRIL 1958: U.S. SUPPORT FOR THE FOOT PROPOSALS
169. Memorandum From L. Bruce Laingen of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs to the Director of the Office (Jones)
Washington, January 2, 1958.
Outlook for Cyprus
For the present, two avenues of approach appear to offer some hope for progress toward eventual solution of the Cyprus question. The first is in new British proposals based on recommendations by Governor Sir Hugh Foot./1/ The second is through Mr. Spaak./2/ From present reports, the first appears likely to concern itself chiefly with self-government; the second must be primarily concerned with the international aspect. There should be no reason why these cannot proceed concurrently. The United States should provide all appropriate support and encouragement to these two approaches.
//Source: Department of State, NEA/GTI Files: Lot 61 D 249, Background and Briefing. Secret.
/1/Sir Hugh Foot assumed the post of Governor of Cyprus on December 3, 1957. After 4 weeks of meetings with Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives, he returned to London on January 1 for discussions with officials in the Foreign and Colonial Offices on future British policy toward Cyprus.
/2/In May 1957, NATO Secretary General Paul-Henri Spaak informally approached the Turkish Government with a proposal for the creation of an independent Cyprus. The Turkish Government rejected this proposal and Spaak suspended his diplomatic efforts. For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1955 - 1957, vol. XXIV, pp. 269 ff.
For the immediate future, progress depends almost entirely on Governor Foot and the recommendations he is now making to HMG. Should his efforts lead to no progress the situation on the Island will deteriorate into a shaky truce at best and full scale violence at worst, with increased intransigence in their respective positions by both Greece and Turkey. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that Foot's efforts have some success.
Foot is reported to have concluded that a long term settlement is not possible now. He may propose that HMG therefore buy time now by strenuous efforts to get agreement in the field of self-government, thereby helping to dissipate prejudices and build confidence--both between Cypriots and British and between Turks and Greeks on the Island. Once this is done he reportedly believes that the atmosphere can be created in which talks on the future international status of the Island can lead to some measure of agreement. (Greek Ambassador to London Seferiades is reported to feel much the same way.)
Foot therefore disagrees with HMG's present thinking that there is no chance for progress toward self-government on the Island until agreement has been reached among the parties concerned on the international level.
We have no indication as yet of the details of Foot's recommendations. They are not likely to have much chance of success with the Greeks unless they include an offer to resume negotiations with the Cypriots and unless they indicate a willingness for open discussion on broad principles of self-government, stated by HMG without insistence on the lines of previous offers such as the Radcliffe Proposals./3/ They will need to be liberal. They should be dramatic in nature--such as the setting of a definite date for a conference in London and a future date to follow for Island-wide elections. Such a conference would have to include both Turk and Greek-Cypriot participants. Greek and Turk Cypriots can both present good arguments why it would be hard for each to accept such an invitation. But it would be hard for them to refuse, especially if the proposals are liberal, dramatic and include timetables.
/3/The Radcliffe Plan of December 1956 offered Cyprus a constitution under British sovereignty. The United Kingdom would retain its bases and control over the foreign affairs, defense, and internal security of Cyprus while a locally-elected legislature would be responsible for all other areas of policy. The Greeks were to have a guaranteed majority in the legislature.
The British offer would have to refer to self-determination. HMG's present position on this was stated in December 1956. At that time HMG reaffirmed its previous recognition of the principle, "when the international and strategic situation permits and provided that self- government is working satisfactorily." This statement also referred to partition as one of the options which must be available when self- determination is applied.
A restatement of this kind is not likely to be acceptable to the Greeks now. On the other hand, a watering-down of this statement would be unacceptable to the Turks. In these circumstances it should suffice for the British to simply re-affirm acceptance of the principle and to pledge continued efforts in the international field for its application in a manner recognizing the legitimate interests of all concerned.
This, in other words, would be embarking upon discussions on self- government and self-determination simultaneously and concurrently. There is no reason why this cannot be done. Spaak has not exhausted his possibilities, especially by using the Trieste type negotiations./4/ Spaak is reluctant to approach the Turks directly. We are not prepared to do so. Moreover, Spaak does not personally have the time which the continuing exchange of views is likely to require. It is time that we approached Spaak again to suggest again that the methods used to settle Trieste might usefully be tried in the Cyprus problem.
/4/Negotiations over the final disposition of the Free Territory of Trieste began in February 1954 among the three powers that provided the military government for the area, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. In June 1954, the three powers agreed to a draft agreement that was then presented to Italy. The Italian Government directly participated in the final stages of the negotiations, which were concluded in October 1954.
Would British proposals along these lines stand a chance of accept-ance? The problem will be least with the Greeks, although Turk-Cypriot participation in all aspects of self-government talks will be hard for Makarios to accept. The Turk-Cypriots in their present mood will be extremely suspicious of any self-government proposals, since they see even self-government as only another road to enosis on the part of a Greek-Cypriot dominated government.
However, the Turks could hardly refuse to permit consideration of self- government proposals. And they would still be assured of talks on the international level as a forum for their insistence on something that could be seen as a variant on partition. Moreover, while a Greek-Cypriot dominated legislature may quickly begin demanding enosis, it may be restrained in doing so by the realization that to do so would only encourage the Turk-Cypriots in demands for partition. Finally, the Turks would have a good guarantee against enosis in continued control over foreign affairs by the British.
A new beginning must be made on Cyprus and there is hope for it in both of the types of talks envisaged above. It is of overriding importance that the improved atmosphere which has resulted from Foot's efforts to date not be dissipated by new British proposals which succeed in taking us no further than have others since the Harding-Makarios talks broke down./5/
/5/These talks, held intermittently from October 4, 1955, to March 9, 1956, were broken off by the arrest and deportation of Makarios. The talks centered on the terms of Cypriot self-determination.
We should, therefore
(1) be prepared to give our support to new proposals which HMG may make based on the Foot recommendations, especially if they are along the above lines,
(2) encourage the British to make new and liberal proposals along these lines in self-government if HMG asks our views,
(3) depending upon British intentions, give consideration to instructing USRO to encourage Spaak (as set forth in CA - 3732, October 21, 1957)/6/ to consider further moves on the Trieste pattern as offering the best chances at this time for a NATO contribution toward settlement of the international aspects of the question.
/6/CA - 3732 transmitted a memorandum on Cyprus for the use of USRO in discussions with Spaak. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/10 - 2157)
170. Letter From Foreign Secretary Lloyd to Secretary of State Dulles
London, January 9, 1958.
DEAR FOSTER: I should like you to regard this message as personal for you yourself for the present (except of course we would have no objection at all to your telling the President anything you wish of its contents).
We have decided to have another attempt to make progress over Cyprus.
Sir Hugh Foot, the new Governor, has done a remarkable job in the four weeks in December that he was in Cyprus. He has achieved a marked change in the atmosphere by his personal courage in his public appearances notwithstanding the risk of terrorist attack, by acts of clemency and by successfully getting into contact with many Cypriots publicly and privately. He has been back with us for a few days and he is in complete agreement with all of us on the plan set out in the enclosures to this letter./1/
//Source: Department of State, PPS Files: Lot 67 D 548, Cyprus. Top Secret. Attached to a letter from Caccia to Dulles, January 9.
/1/Not printed. The proposals were: 1) a 7-year period of self- government for Cyprus under the aegis of the British Government, 2) self-determination on equal terms for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots at the end of this period, and 3) the retention of British bases on Cyprus. The British Government also expressed its willingness to accept at any time a solution that had the agreement of the Greek and Turkish Governments and the two Cypriot communities. Further, the British Government offered to end the state of emergency in force on Cyprus and release persons detained by British authorities on condition that the cease-fire proclaimed by EOKA on August 5, 1957, continue. The British Government had imposed a state of emergency throughout Cyrpus on Novermber 26, 1955.
We cannot abandon the assurances which we have given to the Turks, i.e. that the Turkish Cypriot community should have the right to determine its future as a community in just the same way as the Greek Cypriot community. We cannot abandon that position because:
(a) We publicly pledged ourselves to it;
(b) It would have a fatal effect on the Turkish Government if we did;
(c) Opinion here would be very difficult over a change;
(d) Unless we maintain that ultimate position there is no chance of the Turkish Cypriots co-operating in anything else.
Therefore we propose to maintain our pledge that partition will be one of the options open in the event of self-determination.
On the other hand, partition is very difficult and dangerous, and any attempt to do it could lead to all sorts of consequences. Therefore we have to leave the way open for some settlement which would be neither Enosis nor partition. Foot believes that if he is given five years without terrorism he can build up a feeling in the island against both these extreme courses and produce a situation in which both communities in Cyprus will decide to remain united.
The plan enclosed is put for convenience in the form of statements which would be made in Parliament and in Cyprus. This cannot happen for at least a fortnight.
You will see that the plan provides for the retention of bases to meet the strategic requirements of Her Majesty's Government and her allies. Such British bases would be under British sovereignty, but the possibility of there being a base to be operated by the Turks is left open. The Turks have hinted once or twice that if they had a base on the island they might regard that as a substitute for partition.
One advantage of the scheme as set out is that it offers to the people of Cyprus the immediate prospect of the ending of the state of emergency and the release of most of the detainees, after which Makarios would be allowed to return to Cyprus./2/ Foot feels that Makarios will not dare come out against a plan which has this as one of its features. He feels passionately that he can persuade Makarios and the Cypriots to cooperate in the plan. He feels that if Makarios does not condemn it the Greek Government will hesitate to do so. He also wants personally to expound the plan to Makarios before the Greek Government are told.
/2/Makarios was deported to the Seychelles Island on March 9, 1956. On March 28, 1957, he was released from detention with permission to live wherever he chose except Cyprus. The Archbishop moved to Athens.
There are now so many pitfalls surrounding this subject that I am not at all confident that we shall get acquiescence in the scheme. Nevertheless we propose to let Foot have a shot at it. We propose to tell the Turks about the plan rather in advance of the Greeks. We hope that they will agree to see Foot to hear his explanations and also to satisfy themselves that he is the sort of man who will keep his word about treatment of the Turks and will not give in to terrorism should it be renewed. According to the development of those conversations, we should start to tell the Greeks and Foot will be available to go to Athens where he would see Makarios. The meeting of the Baghdad Pact/3/ is particularly awkward, but I believe it better to try and get this over with the Turks before the Pact meeting. Anyhow, we cannot easily wait because Foot must return to Cyprus and every day after he returns, and nothing is said, increases the likelihood of terrorism again.
/3/Scheduled for January 27 - 30 in Ankara.
We shall of course tell Spaak something of this fairly soon and we have it in mind that Foot should see Barbour in London before he leaves. In the meantime however I am asking you to keep the contents of this to yourself, because I want to delay to the last possible moment knowledge that a plan has been made.
I would think that the best help that you could give, if you were willing to do so at the appropriate time, would be appeals to Menderes and Karamanlis to be statesmen enough to see that this dispute is poisoning the atmosphere in the Eastern Mediterranean and if the chance is not taken to get some peaceful development in Cyprus without prejudice to the final solution, the chances of disaster are greatly increased. I am sure that to get even the degree of acquiescence from the Turks and Greeks which is necessary if the plan is to work at all, your help will be vital.
Our Ambassador in Ankara will put the plan to the Turks as soon as possible./4/ How we proceed after that will depend upon their reactions. I will keep closely in touch with you./5/
/4/The British proposal was presented to the Turkish Government on January 10. In telegram 1856 from Ankara, January 10, Ambassador Warren reported the Turkish Government's version of the meeting with the British Ambassador and initial Turkish reaction. The Turkish Foreign Ministry continued to favor partition of Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 1058)
/5/Printed from an unsigned copy.
171. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State
Athens, January 14, 1958, 4 p.m.
1936. Ankara telegram to Department 1856./1/ Present self-determination formula will obviously mean partition to Greeks and hence in normal course of events would be promptly, emphatically and emotionally rejected. There is, however, a faint possibility that Foot might prove sufficiently persuasive in direct conversation to convince Makarios he had nothing to lose by agreeing to plan. In this case GOG could almost certainly be counted on to go along. However, in order to give such approach even its slight chance of success, plan must be presented secretly and GOG and Makarios be given time consider it. That is, Foot's meeting with Makarios must be exact opposite of Lennox-Boyd's sensational arrival to present Radcliffe proposals./2/ A real covert operation is indicated.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 1458. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Ankara, London, Nicosia, and Paris.
/1/See footnote 4, Document 170.
/2/Alan Lennox-Boyd, the British Colonial Secretary, visited Athens and Ankara with little advance public warning December 13-16, 1956, to acquaint the Greek and Turkish Governments with the contents of the Radcliffe Plan. On December 19, Lennox-Boyd unveiled the plan, which included British willingness to consider partition, in a speech to Parliament. For text, see House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, 5th Series, vol. 562, col. 1268. The Greek Government rejected the Radcliffe Plan the same day.
There is also one other modification of Foot plan which it appears to us might have some minute possibility of success. Self-determination formula might be officially interpreted as meaning "on basis acceptable to both Greek and Turk Cypriot communities." This would be regarded by Greeks as giving minority equal voice with majority and hence unpalatable, as it would certainly also be to Turks, but there might be bare chance of both accepting it if GOT and GOG could at same time be persuaded agree that continuation Cyprus problem seriously prejudices national interests of both, endangers unity of western alliance and plays into Soviet hands; that no solution is viable unless it is willingly accepted by both sides; and that both governments are therefore determined to negotiate secretly and present to HMG for approval an agreement on international status of island.
This procedure would give GOT direct hand in determining Cyprus future as well as the prompt settlement it considers essential. To GOG it would give opportunity to negotiate under conditions enabling concessions to be made backed by approval of Makarios on Cyprus (this depends, of course, on always questionable assumption that Makarios would "play ball" and that he would prove flexible enough to meet Turk requirements).
I have discussed above with British Ambassador/3/ and found completely pessimistic, both re possibility Greek acceptance Foot plan and re possibility developing any other formula capable of winning sufficient acceptance from parties concerned to prevent serious deterioration Cyprus situation. Turkish Ambassador Vergin has talked to him along same relatively flexible lines he has to Averoff (Embtel 1850)/4/ and me (Embtel 1819),/5/ but British Ambassador is convinced that Vergin does not mean what he seems to imply and that there does not exist any potential basis for direct Greek-Turk negotiation. [3 lines of source text not declassified]
While situation looks extremely discouraging, it is obviously of utmost importance that every possible effort be made to make Foot plan succeed and if this impossible to try immediately to find some alternative or at least stop-gap to prevent Cyprus situation from again getting out of hand. Above suggestions made with this thought in mind. In present circumstances we consider them worth a try.
/3/Sir Roger Allen.
/4/Telegram 1850 from Athens, January 2, reported that Averoff had recounted his talks with the British and Turkish Ambassadors in which he stated that any settlement regarding Cyprus must include self- determination for the population of the island and the return of Makarios. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 258)
/5/Telegram 1819 from Athens, December 27, reported that the Turkish Ambassador expressed his government's willingness to hold discussions on Cyprus and its openness to new suggestions for a settlement. (Ibid., 747C.00/12 - 2757)
172. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State
London, January 14, 1958, 7 p.m.
4121. Eyes only for Secretary. On British initiative I saw Governor Foot of Cyprus this afternoon in office of FonOff Assistant Under Secretary Rose at whose request report of conversation is being sent on this eyes only basis.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 1458. Top Secret; Priority.
Conversation which lasted an hour consisted of exposition by Foot of his thinking underlying plan for new step re Cyprus which is essentially set forth in Ankara's 1856 rptd London 172, January 10./1/ Foot does not expect enthusiastic reception this plan on part either of Turks or Greeks but he is hopeful that extent protest both sides can be minimized to degree which will in fact constitute reluctant acquiescence. Re the Turks he emphasizes that plan does not constitute change from UK assurances already given on December 19, 1956/2/ that no final solution will be reached without the concurrence of the Turkish community and that plan envisages partition as minimum possibility to be considered at end seven year period in the event no better solution is then presented or is reached in meantime. In his public statements in regard to this plan Foot will make clear that he does not like partition and is determined to work for better solution although partition cannot be ruled out now. Re the Greeks Foot proposes to present plan in person to Makarios and to take line that he convinced this is Archbishop's last opportunity to participate in forward progress of island, that if he does not acquiesce in termination of the emergency and participate in negotiations for constitution he may expect to remain in exile indefinitely and that in fact present plan gives Archbishop all he has been demanding in that it is directly aimed toward self-determination after a specified period and self-determination on the only basis which is realistic in the light of the interests of the communities on the island. While Foot anticipates Makarios will protest and may raise conditions to acceptance, Foot is hopeful that he can convince Makarios of the soundness of this plan sufficiently so that the Archbishop will in effect acquiesce. In that case Foot feels that the Greek Government although also protesting would have no choice but to similarly acquiesce.
/1/See footnote 4, Document 170.
/2/In Colonial Secretary Alan Lennox-Boyd's speech to Parliament. See footnote 2, Document 171.
Insofar as the reaction among the Greek and Turkish Cypriots is concerned the Governor estimates that the plan will be welcomed by the large majority who are increasingly fed up with current uncertain conditions on the island. He appreciates the risk that will be taken in terminating the emergency but thinks that the risk is acceptable and will be minimized by relief among those whose relatives will be released from detention who now constitute a wide percentage of the families on the island.
In regard to procedure Foot is awaiting the agreement of the Turkish Government to his proceeding immediately to Ankara if possible tomorrow or the next day, following which and if but only if he achieves satisfactory Turkish response to his proposals, he will proceed to Athens to see first Makarios and immediately after the Greek Government. If all goes well he would hope to be back in Cyprus early next week.
Foot reiterated with emphasis throughout conversation his conviction that this is last opportunity in foreseeable future to take useful forward step toward solution Cyprus problem and that he sees no alternative to plan as proposed. If plan falls through he anticipates renewal of violence and assesses EOKA's capabilities as greater now than heretofore. He would consequently expect violence on intensified scale and is not optimistic that UK would be able to pacify the island by force in any reasonable period. In this connection he noted that EOKA currently appears to enjoy wider sympathetic support among island inhabitants than at any time in the past which would enable relatively small number terrorists to create major trouble and enhance difficulties of security forces and inter-communal strife could be expected to be greater than heretofore.
In the circumstances Foot concluded that next few days are crucial and expressed firm hope that US whose intervention might be decisive would see its way to supporting this proposed plan with the Greeks and the Turks vigorously at the appropriate moment. His hope would be that we could instruct our Embassies in Ankara and Athens to coordinate with their British colleagues and make appropriate strong representations to the Turkish and Greek Governments immediately following the contemplated British presentations if and when Foot discusses proposal with those governments.
173. Letter From Foreign Secretary Lloyd to Secretary of State Dulles
London, January 16, 1958.
DEAR FOSTER: Harold Caccia will have told you of the Turkish Government's reaction to our ideas on Cyprus policy/1/ and of the further communication which I am today instructing our Ambassador in Ankara to make./2/ The Turkish Memorandum is about as bad as it could be, but I am not disposed to take their reply as a final refusal. I think that the best chance of persuading them to go along with the course of action on which we have decided will be in personal discussions with Menderes at the end of next week./3/ I much hope that when you arrive in Ankara you will give me your valuable support in inducing them to be more reasonable. Between now and then, it may be possible to clear up certain points in further diplomatic exchanges between the Turks and ourselves, but we shall not run after them. In any case we shall have enough trouble with the Greeks and Makarios.
I should be very glad to have any comments you might care to make on the whole correspondence./4/
//Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Top Secret. Attached to a letter from Caccia to Dulles, January 17.
/1/On January 14, the Turkish Government rejected the Foot Plan and suggested that the British Government instead announce that Cyprus would be partitioned at the end of one year and simultaneously invite the Greek and Turkish Governments to a meeting to discuss final disposition of the island. In the event of a Greek refusal to attend such a meeting, the British and Turkish Governments would then settle the Cyprus issue between themselves. The Turkish proposals were summarized in telegram 1910 from Ankara, January 16. (Ibid., Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 1658)
/2/A copy of the instructions sent from London to the British Embassy in Ankara was attached. In it the British Government repeated that it would continue to rule Cyprus until a political solution satisfactory to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots was found. The British Government accused the Turkish Government and press of stirring up unrest among Turkish Cypriots. The British Government also stated that it would refrain from further public statements on Cyprus and consultations with the Greek Government until Lloyd had met with Turkish leaders in Ankara.
/3/In his covering letter to Dulles, Caccia reported that Lloyd proposed to fly to Ankara on January 24 and hold bilateral talks with the Turks January 25-26.
/4/In a January 18 letter which he handed to Caccia for delivery to Lloyd, Dulles praised the British Government for its efforts to promote a settlement in Cyprus and encouraged the continuance of these efforts. He added: "I suppose that it is highly unlikely that the Turkish position will be amended to the extent that the proposals in their present form will ever be found fully acceptable. Indeed, the Greeks too can be expected to raise serious questions, particularly with respect to the possibility of partition on which we share your own reservations. We had hoped, however, that the plan would be near enough to the mark so that it might offer a basis for starting negotiations toward a settlement." Dulles then offered U.S. assistance in persuading the Greeks and Turks to accept the plan "as a point of departure for discussions." (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204)
/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
174. Letter From Prime Minister Karamanlis to President Eisenhower
Athens, January 17, 1958.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: It was a great pleasure for me to receive your letter of December 31st,/1/ which gives me the opportunity to express to you once more my deep appreciation of the personal contact that we had in Paris./2/
//Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 64 D 174, Karamanlis. No classification marking.
/1/In his letter, Eisenhower stressed the need for cooperation among the NATO allies, encouraged Greece to seek a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem through consultations with Turkey, and indicated that the United States was ready to offer "appropriate assistance" to further a settlement. (Ibid., Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 458)
/2/At the NATO Heads of Government meeting in Paris, December 16 - 19, 1957. For a memorandum of Eisenhower's December 18, 1957, conversation with Karamanlis, see Foreign Relations, 1955 - 1957, vol. XXIV, pp. 523 - 525.
Although the last meeting of NATO could have been more constructive, it undoubtedly contributed, thanks to your presence and to your sincere and generous suggestions, to the reaching of a closer cooperation between the members of the North Atlantic Alliance and to the strengthening of the morale of the Free World.
I have studied with great attention the part of your letter concerning the British colony of Cyprus, which has been struggling for years in order to obtain its freedom. I regret that, as it appears from the contents of your letter, I was not able during my visit to you to explain fully the Greek views on the question.
The diplomatic talks, which you advocate between the immediately concerned Governments, could and should solve some particular subsequent questions.
However, it is almost impossible from the practical point of view to solve the main question if the fundamentally concerned part, i.e. the Cypriot People, were not to participate to [in] the elaboration of any solution and were not to be given the clear perspective that they will at some time be able to decide upon their own fate.
Let us suppose that a decision not acceptable to the Cypriots were taken without them being consulted. Would we then be called upon to cooperate with the ruling Power in order to impose by force such a decision?
Greece, without betraying her duty towards her oppressed children, but at the same time conscious of her obligations towards the Free World, has always pursued solutions apt to combine the satisfaction of the fair claim of the Cypriot people not only with the particular interests of Gt. Britain and Turkey, but also, in a general way, with those of the Atlantic Alliance. In this endeavour, Greece has suggested ways of solving the problem, which have been warmly praised by personalities of international weight. Consequently, Greece is not to blame for the non- solution of the Cypriot question. Greece has always shown understanding. It is time for the other parts concerned to show a similar spirit. And indeed it is high time, because the invincible might of the ideals which guide today the fortunes of Mankind, is bound to bring sometime freedom to Cyprus. But it is possible in the meantime that the Cypriot question should provoke new complications which could have perilous repercussions in the Balkans, the Middle East, and even on the general policy of my country.
As you know, Mr. President, Communism in Greece presents no danger from the viewpoint of numerical force. However, on account of the Cypriot question, the attitude of our Allies on that matter and the tragic events of Istanbul and Smyrna,/3/ the Greek people were subjected to a bitterness that has encouraged, at the time of the last general election, the formation of a "Popular Front" of which the averted access to power might have created a crisis in the relations of Greece and the Free World.
/3/Reference is to serious anti-Greek riots which took place in these two cities in September 1955. The riots were sparked by the bombing of the Turkish Consulate in Salonika.
/4/Prior to the February 16, 1956, general elections in Greece, the parties of the center and left formed the "Democratic Union" coalition. The Communist-dominated United Democratic Left Party (EDA) was a part of this coalition.
In spite of this, the Greek people, linked traditionally to the Western World, followed my leadership,/5/ having faith as well in my assurance that the Allies of Greece would show the proper understanding and that the misunderstandings brought about by the Cypriot question would be cleared.
/5/Karamanlis' National Radical Union Party won a majority of 165 seats in the February 1956 elections.
I am sure that you will not fail to appreciate, Mr. President, the difficulties which are created for my Government by the frustration of the expectations of the Greek people.
Nevertheless, despite these hindrances, I wish to assure you, Mr. President, that, as long as my Government are in power, they will continue to handle the Cypriot question in a manner which, without driving them away from their national duty, will serve as well the interests of the Free World. In this arduous endeavour, your support, to which my Government attaches a particular importance and for which I wish to thank you, will be of the greatest help.
Please accept, Mr. President, with the expression of my sincere feelings of friendship, the assurance of my highest regard.
175. Letter From Prime Minister Menderes to President Eisenhower
Ankara, January 18, 1958.
MR. PRESIDENT: I wish to thank you for your kind letter of December 31, 1957,/1/ handed to me by Ambassador Warren.
I was indeed very happy to meet with you again in Paris/2/ and to have the honor to exchange views on various very important problems interesting our two countries, the NATO Alliance, as well as the whole community of free nations.
//Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Menderes. No classification marking.
/1/This letter was similar to the one sent to Prime Minister Karamanlis; see footnote 1, Document 174. A copy of Eisenhower's letter to Menderes is in Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Menderes.
/2/Memoranda of President Eisenhower's conversation with Menderes, December 18, 1957, are printed in Foreign Relations, 1955 - 1957, vol. XXIV, pp. 747 - 749. The two Presidents were in Paris to attend the NATO Heads of Government meeting.
I fully concur with your views that the Paris meeting further strengthened the unity and cooperation among NATO members and that it served the peaceful purposes of our Alliance.
Turkey, imbued with the same spirit of solidarity, has made and continues to undertake sincere and serious efforts in order to bring about an early and just solution to the Cyprus dispute which has been created through no fault of hers.
As I have endeavoured to explain in detail when I had the honor of meeting with you, the importance of Cyprus for the security of Turkey is indeed very great. Moreover the future and fate of our brothers in Cyprus constitutes a national cause upon which the Turkish nation dwells with utmost sensitivity. Consequently, it would have been logical for Turkey to insist on the retrocession of the Island to its former possessor, in the event of a change in the international status of Cyprus. Turkey, however, fully aware of the necessity of finding an early solution to this dispute which is upsetting the unity of the free world, at the expense of sacrificing her rights in this cause, followed a conciliatory and moderate course of action and accepted the principle of partition which was advanced as a compromise solution. In this connection, I would like to emphasize this important point: The idea of partition is not a proposal advanced by Turkey. This idea was first put forth by Greece and then supported by the United Kingdom as a compromise solution, and was accepted as such by Turkey./3/
/3/The reference is unclear. The first British Parliamentary discussions on a possible partition took place in July 1956. The British regarded partition as the least favorable solution to the Cyprus problem. No references to a Greek proposal for partition were found.
This should suffice to indicate that the solution of the dispute through partition should in no way represent a strange and adverse solution and should not, therefore be considered as an unwelcome solution by the interested parties. It should be realized that since 80% of the Greek population of the Island is known to be communistic any solution which would make it possible for the communist elements to assume a dominating position on the Island would constitute a danger for all peace loving nations and particularly for the NATO community. Viewed in this context and considering the security of Turkey, the true extent of Turkey's sacrifice in accepting partition will be duly appreciated and accepted.
As it can be seen, there is no doubt that the position of the Island represents as such a very serious problem. Yet the struggles which have been going on for years and the regrettable developments of the last few years have made it crystal clear to every single Turk that the solution of this problem is of primordial importance not only for the existence of the Turks in Cyprus but also for Turkey's own security. Consequently, permit me to assure you, Mr. President, in the most sincere manner that the freedom of action of my Government or any other future Turkish Government has been extremely restricted by the national will and desire.
The Government of the United Kingdom has recently brought to the attention of the Turkish Government certain proposals which that Government is considering to adopt in order to solve the Cyprus question, and has requested the Turkish Government's opinion in this respect. We have studied these proposals with the utmost care and goodwill and have already communicated to the Government of the United Kingdom our own views on these proposals.
I consider it my duty to note with great satisfaction your efforts for finding a just and equitable solution to this problem between the interested parties.
I have no doubt that your continued efforts will constitute an important element in facilitating the early solution of this problem.
It is our earnest hope that the sacrifices made by Turkey in order to arrive at an agreement will not be in vain and that, sooner or later, the other interested parties will deem it necessary to follow the same path. Turkey considers herself, by all means justified to expect such a response from the other interested Governments.
While ending my letter, I wish to thank you once again for your message which is an expression of your close concern for the solution of this problem which is of such vital importance for Turkey and the maintenance of NATO solidarity.
176. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State
Athens, January 22, 1958, noon.
2015. I have had long talk with Averoff on Cyprus. He has what he considers reliable information that British statement will provide period self-government to be followed by self-determination on following basis. Greek Cypriots will be asked their wishes; if they choose Enosis, Turk Cypriots will also be given opportunity join Turkey. At same time this statement made by HMG Foot will make statement opposing partition. Although this formula much more favorable to Greeks than one put to Turks/1/ (about which Averoff appears to have no knowledge), Averoff says he is convinced it would cause violent adverse reaction both on Cyprus and in Greece which neither Makarios nor any Greek Government could control. Only suggestion he had was to leave formula for realization self-determination completely vague which might give GOG some possibility controlling reaction. We agree that the vaguer the formula the better and suggest this point might be made with British. Averoff said he had no information on what British intend to do about Makarios but urged importance prompt return Cyprus.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 2258. Secret; Limited Distribution. Repeated to London and Ankara.
/1/For a summary of the British proposals, see footnote 1, Document 170.
Although he refused to be pinned down, Averoff seemed to be thinking along lines second and third paragraphs Embtel 1936./2/ I questioned him again about his conversation with Turkish Ambassador (Embtel 1850)/3/ and he stated emphatically and categorically his conviction that Vergin was in fact making a Turkish offer to settle on a basis of Greek acceptance two basic points, (1) Turkish troops on Cyprus and (2) special minority arrangements which would remove Turks from Greek domination. Vergin closed conversation by saying "whenever you have anything to tell me, I am authorized immediately to take plane to Ankara to report".
/3/See footnote 4, Document 171.
As usual, I emphasized to Averoff virtues of quiet diplomacy and particularly urged that whatever British statement might say, GOG [1 line of source text not declassified] if unable approve statement, at least play for time by reserving position on basis certain "clarifications" must first be sought.
It is very difficult to believe that Vergin would have talked to Averoff the way he apparently did (and certainly did to me) unless he was in fact authorized to hint at a new Turkish offer which is at least worth further exploration by GOG. In any event, important points are (1) Averoff thinks Turks mean business on basis possibly acceptable to GOG and (2) there seems little else on horizon which has possibilities for preventing disastrous deterioration Cyprus situation.
Assuming British do in fact act along lines Averoff anticipates, most important prerequisite to initiation secret Greek-Turkish negotiation would be further period calm until Makarios actually returns Cyprus and gives his blessing (we cannot expect GOG to move before this happens). It might well be impossible [possible] secure continued peace if Department were prepared issue statement to effect USG greatly concerned over possibility further deterioration Cyprus situation, is therefore reviewing possible action it might take to help and calls upon all parties to follow course of reason and moderation. We should promptly inform GOT and GOG of our willingness make such statement and emphasize that its purpose is to enable them to control situation until they are in position to enter into direct negotiations on basis Averoff - Vergin conversation. We should then be prepared issue statement very promptly after British statement and before probably unfavorable public reactions in both Greece and Turkey can snowball. Despite obvious risks involved, believe above has real chance of opening way to Cyprus solution but in any event would recommend Department urgently consider it in absence any other alternative to meet very serious present situation./4/
/4/In telegram 2318 to Athens, January 30, the Department of State declined to intervene publicly in the Cyprus issue, pointing out that a British statement on the future of the island would depend on the conclusions of the Lloyd - Menderes talks and that the content of the most recent Turkish proposals to Greece was unlikely to elicit a favorable response from the Greek Government. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 2258)
177. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State
Ankara, January 22, 1958, 5 p.m.
1973. Tehran for Secretary delegation. Re Nicosia telegram 198 to Department./1/ Embassy continues be sincerely concerned at reported drift on Cyprus toward new period violence. Renewal EOKA terrorism would be most unfortunate. Embassy sympathetic to Nicosia efforts encourage sufficient progress toward solution in order that Greek "moderates" be enabled control extremists.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 2258. Secret. Repeated to Athens, London, Paris, Nicosia, and Tehran.
/1/Telegram 198 from Nicosia, January 21, reported on Belcher's discussions with Foot on the possible resumption of EOKA terrorism and the prospects for Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot acceptance of the British Government's proposals. (Ibid., 747C.00/1 - 2158)
While recognizing seriousness situation Cyprus, Embassy strongly of opinion joint or separate Anglo-American appeal to Turks might provoke most positive unfavorable reaction by GOT. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Zorlu under various forms heavy pressures and are neither in mood change GOT position nor is it evident they feel politically strong enough to do so. Considering importance of reaching successful conclusion current BP meeting Ankara, Embassy strongly recommends Secretary State consider seriously probable unfavorable reaction to discussion Cyprus problem while in Ankara./2/
/2/Dulles was scheduled to visit Ankara January 27 - 30 for the meeting of the Baghdad Pact.
As indication intensity Turkish feeling, British Embassy represent-ative has quoted senior RPP leader Ismail Rustu Aksal as stating few days ago that Cyprus question now is entirely question Turkish prestige vis-a-vis Greeks. Aksal indicated he not particularly favorably inclined toward solution partition but national Turkish feeling against Greeks has revived spirit of 1920 war of independence./3/ Therefore, he strongly backs GOT determination not retreat one inch from insistence on partition.
/3/Reference is to the revolution led by Kemal Ataturk which overthrew the Ottoman state. The revolution was ignited by the Treaty of Sevres, which included in its provisions Greek occupation of large portions of Asia Minor. The Turkish Army subsequently drove the Greeks out of the areas they occupied.
Embassy believes Cyprus impasse has reached stage when, notwithstanding possibility renewed violence Cyprus, only safe course of US action (as we have indicated previous Embassy telegrams) is along line encourage parties directly concerned, i.e., UK, Greeks and Turks, use secret diplomacy to find means leading to solution. US has tremendous stakes at issue in ME today and our relations with Turkey vital and, so far as Embassy Ankara can see, non-involvement in Cyprus issue is vital to protection of US relationships with Turkey.
178. Telegram From Secretary of State Dulles to the Department of State
Ankara, January 29, 1958.
Secto 29. Re Secto to Dept 20, rptd info London 201, Athens 177, Nicosia 75, and Paris for USRO 97./1/ In brief conversation with Secretary afternoon Jan 27, Lloyd said discussions which he and Foot had with Zorlu were very disappointing. He said he had subsequently told Menderes that he wished thereafter to talk with no one other than latter.
//Source: Department of State, NEA/GTI Files: Lot 61 D 220, Negotiations--January 1958. Secret. Repeated to London, Athens, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO. Dulles was in Ankara for the meeting of the Baghdad Pact Ministerial Council January 27 - 30.
/1/Secto 20 from Ankara, January 27, reported the substance of Lloyd's January 25 meeting with Zorlu and January 26 discussions with Menderes. (Ibid., Central Files, 396.1 - AN/1 - 2758)
Zorlu had insisted upon three points contained reftel as minimum conditions to Turk acquiescence Brit plan. Lloyd said, however, that of three most important from Turkish viewpoint might be availability of base. That was not to say that Zorlu was any less insistent than heretofore upon assurances that Turkish community would have right to decide its future status after period self government.
Lloyd asked Secretary his evaluation whether Greeks might be persuaded go along with plan on these conditions. Secretary thought there might be some possibility Greeks agreeing to some sort arrangement for base (such as undertaking that Turks would have right to obtain from British base if it were ever abandoned by British) if conditions did not also include undertaking which would lead to likelihood of partition.
Lloyd felt somewhat optimistic that the Turkish reservation regarding "federal political elements"/2/ could be met without causing great difficulty for Greeks.
Lloyd said discussions with Menderes would be held over next few days and he would keep us informed./3/ Secretary observed time might have come for British make definitive decision on basis plan most nearly acceptable to Greeks and Turks, but not fully acceptable to either. It appeared unlikely in view wide difference that there could ever be agreement on all points.
/2/Reference is to the Turkish desire that any solution to the Cyprus question provide the Turkish Cypriot minority with autonomous institutions.
/3/Lloyd held further discussions with Menderes January 28 - 30.
Lloyd commented Turks seemed be relying upon British not taking any action until agreement reached, but there was limit beyond which British could not go. There was great fear that widescale terrorism would be resumed on Cyprus at any moment. He did not know how long UKG would be able continue present regime on Cyprus under such terroristic activities.
179. Memorandum of Conversation
Ankara, January 29, 1958.
US OBSERVER DELEGATION, FOURTH SESSION, MINISTERIAL COUNCIL, BAGHDAD PACT
US Participants The Secretary
Turkish Participants Prime Minister Menderes
The Prime Minister said that he knew that I was discussing with Mr. Lloyd a possible solution of the Cyprus issue. I said I was not familiar with the details but wished to express three thoughts: (1) I felt that the Cyprus issue should be settled. The times were too difficult and dangerous to permit the growing unrest attendant upon this issue; (2) I thought that Turkey was entitled to strategic security in the sense that it should have dependable and not mere paper guarantees that Cyprus would never fall into hands hostile to Turkey; (3) providing Turkey got assurance on point two, I thought Turkey should be flexible with respect to all other aspects of the settlement.
The Prime Minister thanked me and said that he too thought the problem ought to be solved and he deplored the very heavy responsibilities that rested upon me all around the world and said he would like to lighten them.
John Foster Dulles/1/
//Source: Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Secret. Drafted by Dulles. The discussion was held during dinner at the Ankara Palas Hotel.
/1/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
180. Editorial Note
The National Security Council heard the following summary of the Cyprus situation at its 353d meeting on January 30:
"General Cabell said Cyprus had been the scene of repeated violence during January as the Turkish Cypriots had attacked the British for the first time in an effort to force a partition of Cyprus. However, the U.K. had 23,000 troops on the island and could probably maintain control. The position of the Turkish Government with respect to Cyprus had recently hardened. The Greeks wanted an undivided Cyprus and the Greek terrorist organizations were probably capable of extensive violence. In the next few weeks London was expected to announce a new plan for Cyprus, but both the Turks and the Greeks would probably find the plan unacceptable and a new wave of violence might be touched off. Eventual self-determination for Cyprus could not be ruled out of consideration." (Memorandum of discussion prepared by Marion W. Boggs, January 31; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)
181. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State
Nicosia, January 31, 1958, 6 p.m.
217. Paris for USRO. Re Deptel 2318 to Athens and Athens 2015 (which not sent Nicosia) and Contel 216./1/ Believe deteriorating situation here/2/ grave enough warrant USG urging GOG use influence with Makarios to persuade him consider again repercussions further recourse to violence and urge him consider other means of achieving justice for Greek Cypriot cause.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 3158. Secret; Priority; Noforn. Repeated to London, Ankara, Athens, and Paris.
/1/Telegram 2318 is summarized in footnote 4, Document 176. In telegram 216 from Nicosia, January 31, Belcher reported that current British proposals on the future of Cyprus would be unacceptable to the Greek majority on the island since they would lead to partition, and renewed violence was likely once they became public. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 3158)
/2/Severe rioting broke out among the Turkish Cypriot populace on January 27 - 29.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] report Athens today that Ethnarchy Council here is recommending to Grivas that resumption violence too costly their cause and proposing institute intensified passive resistance campaign involving economic boycotts British firms, public ostracism of individuals and possibly refusal pay taxes. Such program to be progressively applied after testing mood of people who would be "persuaded" by EOKA if elements proved unenthusiastic [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] contact alleged decision taken recommend change in policy because of fear further violence might vitiate present favorable world opinion gained at UN. Also Labor Party might react unfavorably as suggested in recent Callaghan statement./3/ No indication what part Makarios has played so far in this proposal but visit Bishop of Kitium to Athens may be link./4/
/3/Apparently a reference to a statement by Callaghan during a January 23 question session in Parliament. For text, see House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, 5th Series, vol. 580, col. 1235.
/4/Bishop Anthimis of Kitium, the Acting Ethnarch of Cyprus, visited Athens during the first 3 weeks of February.
Altho no such admission given [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], could well be Ethnarchy also influenced by recent evidence strength Turkey feeling and by thought that British reaction violence would be all-out campaign in which EOKA right-wing leadership would be either eliminated or severely limited in action thus leaving field open to Communists to usurp leadership.
Whether or not [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] report has substance a degree of judicious pressure by US, perhaps using some of foregoing reasoning, might be useful at present time before Greeks learn nature of British proposal and decide they must react as suggested previous telegram./5/
/5/In telegram 2344 to Athens, February 1, the Department of State relayed the proposals in this telegram to the Embassy in Greece and instructed the Ambassador at his direction to make an approach to the Greek Government to restrain violence if after consultation with the British representatives in Greece such action seemed warranted. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1 - 3158)
182. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State
Athens, February 4, 1958, 4 p.m.
2145. Approach along lines suggested Deptel 2344, February 1,/1/ made to Foreign Minister February 2. Five other members Government also present. Presentation mainly made by Rountree,/2/ who carefully reiterated US policy toward Cyprus issue and urgently requested Foreign Minister use influence upon EOKA prevent resumption violence.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 458. Secret. Repeated to London, Ankara, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
/1/See footnote 5, Document 181.
/2/Rountree and Jones accompanied the Secretary of State to Iran (January 25 - 26) and to the Baghdad Pact talks (January 27 - 30). They traveled to Athens for talks on Cyprus with the Greek Government February 1 - 3.
Foreign Minister presented usual Greek argumentation, and alleged Turks not party to dispute but only rightfully concerned two points, security and protection Turk minority. Re Turkish security, GOG had already agreed international agency be empowered ensure military situation Cyprus would never constitute menace Cyprus. Re Turk minority, GOG had proposed neutral committee be set up safeguard such rights. No danger of subversion because EOKA had crushed Communists. Thus, Averoff alleged, recently intensified Turk intransigence, due in part desire divert attention internal domestic difficulties, not justified. Averoff believes US desires definite solution and confident Labor Party when in power will fix date for self-determination without reference to partition./3/
/3/The British Parliament's 5-year term was to expire at the end of 1959 and elections had to be held prior to the expiration.
Foreign Minister, joined by other members government, called for definitive and positive statement US policy. Rountree explained why unable depart from present position. Foreign Minister then called for expression US "opinion" which, coming from leader free world, would indicate right and wrong various sides. Rountree emphasized US not concerned fixation right and wrong, but in amicable settlement project by parties concerned.
Averoff and other Ministers elaborated at some length on necessity of and their desire for good long-term Greek-Turk relations.
Rountree strongly requested Averoff exert influence upon EOKA not resume violence. Averoff replied he "had no contact with EOKA." Rountree suggested admonition be passed EOKA through those having contact.
February 3, Averoff handed Rountree 8-page memo re Cyprus. Memo makes following points (full text by pouch):/4/
/4/The Greek Government's memorandum was sent to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 578 from Athens, February 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 110.15 - RO/2 - 758)
1. Question has reached critical phase, for which GOG cannot be held responsible.
2. GOG has shown moderation, but present or any future government cannot go beyond point of compromise already agreed to by GOG.
3. Right of self-determination can be reasonably postponed, given establishment truly democratic transition self-government, but right of self-determination cannot be abandoned.
4. GOG cannot accept partition.
5. Turkey not a "party directly concerned" in question.
6. Some quarters, even official, allege possibility that British will sicken of situation and retire, whereupon Turks will occupy part of island. Such an eventuality would not "remain without an answer" and would constitute threat not only against Greece but against others. If such threat materializes and international organizations unable correct situation, "let us all be ready see Cyprus turned into a blasting powder shop."
7. GOG once more warns of situation, regrets it has not received support its allies, and reaffirms anxiety see problem solved basis political possibilities.
Memo much stiffer in tone and substance than Averoff's oral remarks and was obviously written to put official Greek position on the record for possible future use, particularly in connection internal political situation. Our present recommendation is to ignore it.
183. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State
Nicosia, February 4, 1958, 6 p.m.
225. Paris for USRO. ReContel 224./1/ At meeting with Governor today he told Jones (GTI) and me he and his government found themselves in "horrifying" dilemma. He and his advisers have been in session since 4 a.m. considering various ramifications of problem evidently arising out of Cabinet consideration and action on recommendations sent from here. It was intimated a decision might be made in London within next few days but its nature was not indicated. Although Governor aware gravity of situation on Greek side as evidenced by his statement on EOKA violence (Contel 220)/2/ and although he feels need for new approaches to Athens if we are to stave off Greek Cypriot violence, his and HMG's actions severely inhibited by extremely hard Turkish bargaining. Foot said they were faced with impossible situation of trying negotiate with Turks at time when latter admit they willing and able turn mob violence in Cyprus on or off to suit their case. Within this context he saw no immediate prospects for self-government.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 458. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, and Paris.
/1/Telegram 224 from Nicosia, February 4, reported on press reaction to the return to Cyprus of Kuchuk and to Foot's appeal to EOKA for an end to violence. (Ibid., 747C.00/2 - 458)
/2/Telegram 220 from Nicosia, February 2, transmitted the text of Foot's February 2 appeal for an end of violence on Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/2 - 258)
The question which now so plagues British, evidently in London as well as here, is how to disengage without giving either or both Greeks and Turks excuse for further resort to violence. If British able disengage and Cyprus question enters new period of uneasy stalemate without violence, then deputy governor considered return to tripartite discussions including idea of condominium was possible next step.
Governor told me before he left for London in December/3/ that any plan for final solution would be unsatisfactory in view inflamed situation. He is faced with this problem now with Turks evidently rejecting base offer and partition in seven years and pressing their advantage hard for a final solution now in form of partition.
/3/Foot arrived in Cyprus on December 4, 1957, and left for London for consultations with the British Government on January 1, 1958.
British here now viewing problem as one involving whole future of NATO and Baghdad Pact and say situation rapidly unfolding where they may be forced to choose between Greece and Turkey, an eventuality which we have tried so assiduously to avoid. Here it seems clear that if forced to do so, they would choose Turkey and this is position into which Turks seem implacably to be forcing British.
While British here seem prepared face up to EOKA if necessary and appear confident that after initial severe losses they have force control it, they do not want face situation in which they obliged put down Turk Cypriot violence and consequent adverse impact on British-Turkish relations.
184. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, February 5, 1958.
Cyprus--Message from Mr. Selwyn Lloyd regarding proposed talks in Athens
PARTICIPANTS Sir Harold Caccia, the British Ambassador Viscount Hood, British Minister The Secretary Mr. C. Burke Elbrick, Assistant Secretary, EUR Mr. Lampton Berry, Acting Assistant Secretary, NEA Mr. Murat W. Williams, Deputy Director, GTI
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 558. Top Secret. Drafted by Williams and initialed by Berry.
The British Ambassador called on the Secretary today to give him a "private message" from Mr. Selwyn Lloyd regarding Cyprus:
The British Ambassador in Athens was being instructed to tell Prime Minister Karamanlis that Mr. Selwyn Lloyd would like to come to Athens about February 10 to talk about Cyprus. The form of the talks would be very much the same as those last week in Ankara between Mr. Selwyn Lloyd and Prime Minister Menderes, that is, there would be no formal "cut-and- dried" proposals. Mr. Lloyd would intend to concentrate on the external or strategic aspects of the problem and the desirability of a three- power conference to discuss the external, strategic requirements. The Ambassador said that Mr. Lloyd was not too confident that this would be acceptable to the Greeks, but that he thought it was the best thing to do. Whether or not Sir Hugh Foot joins Mr. Lloyd in Athens will depend on how the talks go. The British were informing Menderes of these proposed talks and they hope that he and the Greeks keep it secret for the present.
In answer to a question, the Ambassador said that he did not know what the position was in regard to Mr. Spaak's participating in a three power conference. He asked what the Secretary would think about this.
The Secretary replied that he thought it would help to have Spaak take part in a conference with the Greeks and Turks, especially, he said, because the Greeks are fearful of being isolated in such discussions. He added that having a fourth element present would be an inducement for the Greeks to take part.
Note: After leaving the Secretary's office, Mr. Berry proposed to the Ambassador that we inform our Embassy in Athens on an "Eyes Only Basis" and suggest that our charge d'Affaires coordinate with the British Ambassador. If the British Ambassador in Athens has no objections, our charge d'Affaires might see Karamanlis and tell him that the United States Government hopes that the Greek Government will look favorably upon Mr. Lloyd's proposal to come to Athens for these private talks. Sir Harold Caccia said he thought this would be helpful.
/1/Telegram 2386 to Athens, February 5, summarized the conversation between Dulles and Caccia and instructed the Embassy as follows: "You should coordinate with British Ambassador and if he perceives no objection you should tell Karamanlis we hope he will look favorably upon Lloyd's desire for private discussions with him in Athens." (Ibid.)
185. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State
Athens, February 9, 1958, 11 a.m.
2191. I had long conversation with Karamanlis yesterday during which I concentrated on trying to convince him of necessity of facing Turkish problem directly and realistically. He at first seemed to get point but later relapsed into line of thought epitomized by excerpt from his letter to President quoted Embassy telegram 2016./1/ He repeated at some length his offer to agree to any kind of independence buttressed by any and all guarantees and sanctions considered by any disinterested body or individual as reasonably necessary to protect legitimate Turkish interests. His emphatic insistence on fairness and reasonableness of this position increases difficulty of persuading him to take more realistic and less purely moral view of Turkish problem.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 958. Secret; Presidential Handling.
/1/Telegram 2016 from Athens, January 22, quoted the second half of the seventh paragraph of Karamanlis' January 17 letter to Eisenhower, beginning with "Greece is not to blame" and commented that the quoted paragraph indicated Karamanlis' "present frustration over Cyprus question." (Ibid., 747C.00/1 - 2258) Karamanlis' letter is printed as Document 174.
He said he feels faced with choice of accepting partition and being traitor to Greek people or refusing and wrecking Western alliance. Both courses equally repugnant and impossible to him and if decision unavoidable he must resign. [3 lines of source text not declassified]
Karamanlis seems perfectly willing to talk amicably with Selwyn Lloyd but his mood and reasoning do not augur well for constructive results.
186. Editorial Note
Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd and Governor Sir Hugh Foot held talks with Greek leaders in Athens February 11 - 13 on the Cyprus issue. Foot also met privately with Archbishop Makarios. The British representatives urged Greek officials to use their influence to prevent further terrorist violence by EOKA and assured the Greeks that the United Kingdom would continue to govern the island until a solution satisfactory to all parties was achieved. Greek officials expressed qualified approval of the Foot Plan but rejected self-determination by the Greek and Turkish communities as a cover for a partition of the island and objected to a proposal for the establishment of a Turkish base on the island. Documentation on the British-Greek meetings is in Department of State, Central File 747C.00.
187. Editorial Note
Secretary of State Dulles discussed the situation in Cyprus with Ambassador James W. Riddleberger on February 11, just before Riddleberger's departure for Athens to assume his new post:
"The Secretary said that he thought the Turks had a good case regarding Cyprus when they put it on a basis of security and said he thought the Turks had to be satisfied on this aspect of their claims regarding Cyprus. This satisfaction should be provided by something more than a paper guarantee. He thought that it might conceivably be provided by a Turkish base on the Island. As he saw it the idea of such a base made some sense. The Secretary said that he regarded partition as basically bad, since the Greeks and Turks were pretty widely dispersed all over the Island and drawing a partition line would not be easy. It was pretty clear that the Island was basically Greek and there could be [no?] doubt that the Turks formed a definite minority within a basically Greek community. The Secretary was careful to point out that this was only the rudimentary framework of a plan which might have some chance of success and that he had not had time to consider all aspects of it.
"In response to a question from Ambassador Riddleberger as to whether the United States would have to become involved before the Cyprus issue could be settled, the Secretary expressed considerable doubt. However, he said that if asked by the three countries involved he thought that we should. One had always to keep in mind that our potential influence in helping bring about a settlement in this issue was not great and that we should be careful in the way we brought it to bear on the problem. He said he thought Ambassador Riddleberger, on arriving in Athens, would be best advised to take some soundings and then to think about the matter for some time before making any public statements in Athens." (Memorandum of conversation by L. Bruce Laingen, April 4; Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4 - 458)
Riddleberger, nominated on February 5 to replace Ambassador Allen, arrived in Athens on February 27 and presented his credentials to King Paul on March 4.
188. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State
Athens, February 16, 1958, 11 a.m.
2259. Have talked with British Ambassador who confirms in general Averoff's account of conversations (Embtel 2243)/1/ except that Greeks apparently did not go so far on assurances re controlling Greek Cypriot violence as Averoff did with me. British Ambassador does not admit to optimism but says he is less pessimistic as result talks, which turned out much better than he anticipated.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 1658. Secret; Limited Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to London, Ankara, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
/1/Telegram 2243 from Athens, February 14, summarized Averoff's report on the British-Greek negotiations over the future of Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/2 - 1458)
British have apparently decided to attempt settlement based on giving Greeks enosis and Turks a base on Cyprus. This of course involves many dangers and difficulties, most immediate being preservation of peace on Cyprus during essential period of negotiation. To do so, in addition to whatever may be necessary vis-a-vis Turks, Greek Cypriots must be given such hope of satisfactory settlement. This most difficult to do without arousing hopes and speculation here which could wreck any chance of success.
Aside from whatever difficulties there may be in getting GOG and GOT actually to agree, there is ever-present danger here that an unfortunate leak or maladroit statement or action in Athens, London or Ankara could cause situation here suddenly to revert to uncontrollable emotionalism.
Makarios is unpredictable quantity who could at any stage wreck or come close to wrecking plan.
Timing is all important. Difference between success and failure may well be whether self-government period is 10, 5 or 3 years, and whether Turk base installed immediately, in blank years, at end of self-government period but before self-determination plebiscite, after plebiscite but before enosis, or after enosis.
Despite all these and other potential difficulties there has in effect been a British offer in which GOG has shown definite interest (GOG commitment to examine a detailed plan (numbered point 5 Embtel 2243)/2/ was both given and received as more than casual statement). This fact alone creates most hopeful situation here since Makarios - Harding talks failed.
/2/It reads: "GOG rejected idea of Turkish base on Cyprus because (A) Turkish troops would constitute continuing and serious potential source of trouble and violence, and (B) Cypriots would be violently opposed. However, GOG would be prepared to examine any plan including provision for Turkish base if provided with full details."
189. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom
Washington, February 22, 1958, 1:11 p.m.
5929. Following is text message from Lloyd to Secretary transmitted by Caccia Feb 21. Message should be treated on Noforn, need-to-know basis.
"You will have heard from Harold Caccia/1/ that Averoff was by no means entirely negative about the possibility of eventual agreement on the basis of our compromise plan. The essence of this, you will recall, is to try to wean the Turks away from partition by giving them some tangible guarantee covering their security and strategic interests; and to induce the Greeks to accept the idea of Turkish presence in a limited military enclave as the only means of achieving the evolution of the rest of the island (apart from British bases) towards a settlement on a unitary basis.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 2258. Secret; Limit Distribution. also sent to Athens, Ankara and Nicosia and pouoched to Paris for USRO.
/1/In a February 17 letter, Caccia provided Dulles with a summary of Lloyd's account of his February 11 - 13 negotiations with the Greek Government. (Ibid.)
"Unfortunately the Greeks are not at present prepared to face up to any tripartite approach to the problem; and we must therefore try to bring the two sides closer together in a series of separate discussions with each party. We feel that the next step should be for us to talk to the Turks with the object of finding out more precisely what minimum guarantee of their security they might be induced to accept. We shall not at this stage attempt to argue them out of partition. Indeed, we expect them publicly to go on demanding it if only to discourage the Greeks from raising their own bid. But privately we shall hope to whittle Turkish demands down to the form of a concrete proposal which might eventually be reconcilable with the existence of a unitary Cyprus state.
"I have sent a message to Zorlu inviting him to initiate with us a joint study of Turkish security and strategic requirements. I propose to keep Spaak generally informed, on a personal basis, but otherwise to preserve absolute secrecy both about the fact and the scope of these talks.
"I shall of course let you know how we get on. I am sure that we shall need your help with the Turks as soon as we get to grips with the problem."/2/
/2/In a February 27 letter to Lloyd, Dulles pledged U.S. support for British efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus and commented on the British proposals: "I agree that a compromise plan involving a Turkish base in lieu of partition, coupled with self-determination, would require a great deal of hard bargaining with both Greeks and Turks. The Greek Cypriots might be even harder to convince than the Greek Government. I believe, however, that this approach to this problem is worth pushing, and I am glad to know that you are planning to move ahead along these lines by discussing with the Turks their strategic security requirements." (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 64 D 204, Cyprus)
190. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State
London, March 11, 1958, 6 p.m.
5368. Foreign Office (Ross) informed Barbour today present status Cyprus negotiations.
As foreshadowed Department telegram 5929,/1/ HMG has approached Turkish Government to explore Turk views regarding bases on Cyprus. Results this probing now received and Turks seem willing accept idea of base provided:
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3 - 1158. Secret; Limit Distribution; Noforn; Need-To-Know. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
1. Turkey obtains in effect three bases in Cyprus. These mostly in cities. Foreign Office considers proposed sites not very realistic.
2. Turkey obtains these bases immediately, or at least in very near future. Turks also stress concern that any constitution for island be federal in nature, that is, give extensive autonomy to Turk Cypriots.
Ross says that HMG actively considering Turk reply but is not rushing ahead with next step in negotiations, for which Cabinet approval will be required in any case. As result, Foreign Office not unduly disturbed by recent Greek election developments,/2/ even though this means some delay before obtaining Greek Government able and willing deal with problem. At same time, head Southern Department (Addis) speculates this delay has disadvantages and advantages with respect to Cyprus itself. The longer things continued in uncertain state, the greater danger of inter communal violence. At same time, if Cyprus could be kept peaceful, on plea it impossible take action until May, chances of violence may decrease and influence of EOKA might decline. Addis also thought that Ethnarchy might be inclined to temporize during period when there was no Greek Government to support it, and might therefore be willing to avoid encouraging if not actually to restrain Grivas for time being. Addis stressed his thinking both personal and tentative.
/2/On March 2, the Karamanlis government resigned after 15 deputies, including 2 ministers, deserted it during a parliamentary vote on a bill to modify the electoral system. A caretaker government was formed by Constantine Georgakopoulos and new elections set for May 11.
191. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State
Ankara, March 13, 1958, noon.
2389. Embassy is pleased by evidence Turk flexibility on partition as reflected London 5368 to Department./1/
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3 - 1358. Secret; Limit Distribution; Noforn; Need-To-Know. Repeated to London, Athens, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
At same time we are surprised because Ross report (1) does not reflect in any sense attitude GOT and particularly Zorlu repeatedly manifested to me and others over past few months, and (2) is inconsistent with growing Turk resentfulness of British over Cyprus which noticeable to many observers Ankara (including British Embassy personnel) and which taking form of (a) refusal permit UK Embassy military and civilian personnel travel to restricted zones of country; (b) vocal hostility ranking Turk military to UK; (c) closing certain air corridors previously available to UK aircraft flying over Turkey en route Iraq; and (d) harassment UK Embassy by Foreign Office with respect importation supplies for British diplomatic personnel Ankara.
At same time, Ross report may indicate that Turks have come to rationalization [realization?] that several bases on island now would give them significant measure of control over its eventual disposition.
192. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State
Nicosia, March 17, 1958, 4 p.m.
270. During call on Foot this morning by Lyon, Goodyear and myself following personal observations by governor worthy of note:
1. Considers it virtually impossible find solution upon which GOG and GOT will agree.
2. HMG cannot simply mark time maintaining status quos; British electorate sick to death of Cyprus problem and he wonders how long they will continue to bear both economic cost (7-1/2 million from UK and 4 million from Cyprus budget in 1957) and international political cost of emergency.
3. Some way out must be found if we are to avoid another Palestine.
4. Agrees Secretary's suggestion (paragraph 5 Secto 29 from Ankara);/1/ HMG must go through with one more round "sounding" and then set forth new policy based best possible compromise of contending views and proceed implement that policy.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3 - 1758. Secret; Limit Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to London, Ankara, Athens, and Paris for USRO.
5. One such possible course action might well be Turkish base concept but timing of the essence. Base would have to be in lieu of partition and not merely stepping stone thereto.
6. Considered either partition or enosis would lead to Greco-Turk hostilities.
7. Cannot afford let situation drift and hopes whatever final HMG decision is USG will find it possible support internationally.
8. Gave no indication any new plans but we talked at some length of problems involved in setting up base and motives of Turks and Greeks if they agreed. Turks might well consider only as step to partition and Greeks might consider it possible make base untenable if they had sovereignty over rest of island.
9. Neither Turks nor Greeks will believe that British honestly sincerely want out of Cyprus; that their only need is maintain base in support strategic needs NATO and Baghdad Pact; their only wish is find some solution which will maintain peace in area and not lead to breakdown in relations which would comfort only Soviets.
10. Believed whatever course action adopted it would at least provide Turks with what HMG would consider was sufficient guarantee their legitimate interests in Cyprus.
11. Although he hoped eventuality would never arise, if situation were to deteriorate to extent where HMG forced make choice between Greece and Turkey, he considered it mandatory choose latter.
Comment: Foregoing Foot's personal views and do not necessarily reflect latest Foreign Office thinking. Foot was slightly more optimistic than when Owen Jones saw him,/2/ saying there was a "limited time" in which to find course least objectionable to all concerned and then embark upon it.
/2/On February 4; see Document 183.
193. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State
London, March 29, 1958, noon.
5725. Selwyn Lloyd last night said that he is concerned over Cyprus and believes necessary to take further steps without delay. He feels that despite absence of Greek Government and problem posed by forthcoming Greek elections, Greeks generally much more disposed to settlement now than they have been in past since they seem finally to have realized strength of Turkish feeling and that in light thereof time is not working in Greek favor. Turks on other hand are becoming increasingly more intransigent [5-1/2 lines of source text not declassified].
In circumstances, Lloyd contemplates making a further effort with Turks with view to modifying Turkish position on possible base in Cyprus to realistic proportions and he inclined to think that this may be appropriate time to enlist maximum US support for such renewed approach to Turks. He expects consider matter further over weekend and anticipates drafting personal letter to Secretary which may be transmitted first next week.
Department repeat as desired.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/5 - 2958. Secret; Limit Distribution.
194. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State
Nicosia, April 16, 1958, 2 p.m.
304. Foot told last night in strictest confidence that UK-Turk talks in Ankara at critical stage and on point breaking down completely. Sensitivity of position there completely frustrates any moves he might possibly make here in attempt calm Greek-Cypriots. Turkish reaction to anything remotely resembling gesture to Greeks typified by action Zorlu in protesting British Ambassador Ankara over fact UK subject, Makarios, might be allowed go London near future at invitation private groups./1/
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4 - 1658. Secret; Limit Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, and Paris for USRO.
/1/Makarios, as Archbishop of Cyprus, had been invited to a Church of England-sponsored conference at Lambeth, England.
When shooting reported Contel 299/2/ occurred Foot said he spent rest of day almost "in despair" realizing crying need some action here yet being unable move for above reasons. He was hoping use forthcoming budget announcement as excuse make further "hold-the-line" statement, but anything along lines suggested Contel 301/3/ would have come from London. HMG position extremely difficult. GOG had requested British not indicate publicly they unable talk "interim" government. Foot pressing London make statement, however, and thought HMG might ignore request GOG and at any rate could not long hold line in face above demands for debate. Statement would require very careful wording in view talks Ankara. Unfortunate that preparation statement would take time and situation very explosive.
As during events leading March 25 celebrations/4/ Foot asked me during next few days, in eleventh-hour effort prevent further deterioration, if opportunity arose convey following ideas to Greek Cypriots whose voices might carry as far as EOKA and Grivas:
/2/Telegram 299 from Nicosia, April 15, reported on EOKA threats to widen its terroristic actions to include all British nationals. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4 - 1558)
/3/Telegram 301 from Nicosia, April 15, outlined a proposed statement that the United States might suggest to the British Government to head off a reprise of EOKA violence. Belcher noted that the proposal had the support of British officials on Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/4 - 1558)
/4/Greek independence day. EOKA marked the event by murdering members of the Communist trade union front, AKEL, and with a passive resistance campaign that included a boycott of all British goods.
1. Talks impossible in Athens until new GOG, but talks proceeding "elsewhere" as stated by Lloyd, on urgent basis. Such talks severely jeopardized by new outbreak violence.
2. Refer to recent Turkish party at restaurant where announcement new bombings brought Turk toasts to EOKA. As Foot said to Archbishop in Athens--"If EOKA resorts to fighting it will be fighting for partition".
3. Foot did not see Makarios because he had half hour waste-seeing him was recognition of him as essential figure this problem./5/
4. Did say to Makarios in all sincerity "hope we shall be working together soon on Cyprus problem" (Contel 239)./6/
/5/Reference is to Foot's February 13 meeting with Makarios in Athens; see Document 186.
/6/Telegram 239 from Nicosia, February 17, reported on discussions with Greek Cypriot leaders and on Makarios' efforts to prevent a renewal of EOKA violence. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2 - 1758)
5. His greatest wish is see end emergency which would mean release detainees, revocation emergency regulations and return of Archbishop.
6. None these things presently possible in view present talks and in face continued violence.
Foot ended his outline by emphasizing again delicacy situation in Ankara, saying he acutely aware need for action and understood Greek Cypriot impatience, but he and his advisors feared Turk resort to violence (as on January 27 - 28)/7/ as means pressuring British--and felt consequences EOKA violence (as result British failure make gesture now) possibly less severe and less lasting than violent Turk reaction to new British initiative which to Turks might seem pro-Greek.
/7/Reference is to the Turkish Cypriot riots in Nicosia in which 8 Turks were killed and 40 policemen injured.
Comment: As always Foot impresses with his candor and sincerity. He obviously frustrated by inability act here and hopes I will say things to key Greek Cypriots he would like say but can't.
Subsequently have had long and very friendly conversation Paschalides, Acting Secretary Ethnarchy and most direct contact we have with organization which may still have some influence with Grivas. Made most above points. Paschalides seemed impressed with logic of arguments but as usual with Greek Cypriots included caveat to effect may not be possible hold line till June and that "there comes time when men will fight for principle no matter what the consequences". His comments were further indication as suggested Contel 301, that control movement may no longer be in hands more sophisticated leaders who are capable weighing consequences their actions.
195. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State
London, April 18, 1958, 4 p.m.
6058. London's 5985, Ankara's 2603, Department's 7380./1/ Foreign Office (Addis) April 17 told us following regarding Cyprus:
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4 - 1858. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.
/1/Telegram 5985 from London, April 15, reported the latest developments in British-Turk negotiations and British concern over the lack of progress. (Ibid., 747C.00/4 - 1558) Telegram 2603 from Ankara, April 16, reported that the British had terminated talks on Turkish bases on Cyprus and warned that the Cyprus question was entering a "new and extremely dangerous phase." (Ibid., 782.56347C/4 - 1658) Telegram 7380 to London, April 16, "urgently" requested the Embassy's comments on the information in telegram 2603 from Ankara. (Ibid.)
1. Telegraphic summary of memorandum from Zorlu received through British Embassy Ankara (paragraph 4 London reftel). Telegram, which Embassy officer allowed to read, states in essence, partition first put foward by Averoff in conversation with Turkish Ambassador and subsequently "highly recommended by British statesmen." Despite UN resolution of 1957,/2/ HMG has confined itself to discussing Cyprus through diplomatic channels and has refrained from calling conference. During Ankara talks Turkey made clear that its acceptance of a phased course on Cyprus instead of immediate partition depended upon immediate grant of base. Turks again invoked parliamentary statement of 1956./3/ "Instability of position of HMG is obstacle to solution Cyprus problem and threat to Anglo-Turkish relations." Turkey was led to accept idea of base, but it has turned out to be "mirage base" and subject to numerous conditions including Greek approval. Turkish Government is being subjected to pressure from public opinion and unstable British policy. Nevertheless, Turks "making every effort to avoid reversing their policy on Cyprus." (Foreign Office not clear re meaning this sentence.) If they are to succeed, "HMG should help by convening early conference in accordance with previous decision to reach final settlement."
Addis commented Turks maintain UK agreed to conference during Ankara talks./4/ British view is Ankara talks were not as explicit on this point. British are waiting receipt full text memorandum before considering response.
/2/For text of this resolution, adopted February 26, 1957, see U.N. doc. A/C.1/L.172 (XI).
/3/Presumably reference is to Colonial Secretary Alan Lennox - Boyd's statement of December 19, 1956. See footnote 2, Document 171.
/4/Reference is to Lloyd's January 27 - 30 talks with Zorlu and Menderes. Lloyd's talks with Zorlu are summarized in Document 178. 1 2 3 4
2. Foreign Office gave Birgi April 16 its comments on note left by Turkish Embassy summarizing Birgi - Lloyd meeting of April 3 (paragraph 2 London reftel)./5/ Addis said that British comments intended to make sure Turks understood points made by Lloyd. Addis also said Lloyd's remarks should be regarded as "ideas for exploration with Turks" rather than "proposals."
/5/It reads: "British anticipated that Birgi would consult Ankara and come back immediately with detailed analysis and counter-proposals. Instead, nothing happened until April 11 when Counselor of Turkish Embassy called on Addis and left with him long note which turned out to be nothing more than detailed and generally accurate account of Birgi - Lloyd meeting of April 3. Account had two or three minor errors."
3. Birgi scheduled leave London April 17 for meeting with Zorlu either in Ankara or during Zorlu's European trip./6/ Addis reiterated he remained convinced Birgi had reported to Ankara talk with Lloyd on April 3 and that Zorlu's memorandum diversionary move.
/6/Not further identified. Zorlu accompanied Prime Minister Menderes on an April 19 - May 2 trip to the Far East.
4. Zorlu's absence from Ankara might delay progress on Cyprus, but on other hand, could provide desirable opportunity for discussions directly with Menderes.
5. As situation now stands UK has advanced "ideas" regarding substance and awaiting Turkish reaction. Turkey has proposed methods of procedure and is awaiting British reaction. Should Turks show interest in British ideas on substance, conference suggested by Turks might be used to work out details. (Addis recalled that when idea of conference last discussed with Greeks, they insisted on advance preparations including consideration of substance of problem.)
6. Re Depreftel. Paragraph 1 Ankara reftel appears to be erroneous version of British suggestions of April 3. Paragraph 2 Ankara reftel concerns Zorlu memorandum described above, we have no way of knowing whether Birgi actually reported April 3 demarche. In any case, he can hardly avoid doing so at forthcoming meeting with Zorlu.
7. We do not believe UK or Governor Foot could make statement along lines suggested by Nicosia's 301/7/ without prejudicing Turkish consideration of April 3 ideas. Furthermore, Greeks have stated interim government prepared entertain proposals on Cyprus (Embtel 5483)/8/ and probably would resist effort to assign blame for inaction to Greece's lack of government.
/7/See footnote 3, Document 194.
/8/In telegram 5483 from London, March 17, Whitney reported that the British Government was surprised and skeptical at Greek insistence that a caretaker regime could carry on negotiations over Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3 - 1758)
8. From Nicosia's 304/9/ appears that Governor Foot naturally primarily concerned by threat to security on island, is inclined to go further in direction of trying to reassure Greeks than HMG would think advisable in view of status talks with Turks. We are somewhat apprehensive over possible US involvement in conveying any assurances to Greeks, believing best tactic for US is to remain inactive pending Turkish reaction to April 3 "ideas".
9. It appears to us there is growing British preoccupation to find quick way to divest themselves of their responsibilities for Cyprus, retaining only British bases. Department will have noted emphasis in April 3 suggestions (which go far to meet Greek views) on early action and especially move directly to self-determination. Plan along these lines would require minimum local cooperation in its implementation.
Government was again pressed in Commons on April 15 for statement on Cyprus and again declined to speak. Cabinet may be under increasing temptation publicly to announce a plan with specific timetable which could involve withdrawal by British to base areas and relinquishment of sovereignty over remainder of island, even in absence of agreed solution. While such move might result in Palestine-type situation, threat of proceeding along these lines could force both Greeks and Turks towards accommodation. We do not mean to imply by speculation in this paragraph that we believe HMG has reached actual decision in favor of rapid disengagement from responsibilities for island, but rather to flag direction of tide.
196. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State
London, April 29, 1958, 1 p.m.
6246. Paris for USRO. Embtel 6092./1/ Emboff asked FonOff April 28 re thinking behind Governor Foot's broadcast that he "hoped" soon after end of this month to go to London again for discussions with British Govt (Nicosia's 323)./2/ FonOff replied broadcast authorized by HMG on Foot's recommendation in effort forestall outbreak EOKA violence. Foot had wanted more categorical statement regarding return to London but Ministers decided wording should be kept ambiguous and conditional. HMG wished to end dilly dallying on Cyprus problem but was firm in belief no definitive proposals should be advanced to Greece before elections May 11. Otherwise news bound to leak and Greek attitude be affected by stresses of campaign. UK also wished to avoid repetition January situation when world attention focused on Foot's return and expectation of policy statement which had to be deferred. FonOff stressed HMG planning on timing any statement went no further than indicated above. Re substance HMG still hoped something would materialize from current secret talks with Turks but had reached no decision.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4 - 2958. Secret, Limit Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to Nicosia, Ankara, Athens, and Paris.
/1/Telegram 6092 from London, April 21, reported on the progress of the British-Turkish negotiations. (Ibid., 747C.00/4 - 2158)
/2/ Telegram 323 from Nicosia, April 27, transmitted the text of Foot's April 25 broadcast calling for an end to violence in Cyprus. (Ibid.)
Convergence several factors appears to be propelling Cyprus problem towards another "decisive" phase. These include: (1) Danger of eruption of new wave of EOKA terrorism; (2) Greek elections May 11; (3) Governor Foot's "hope" to return of consultations soon after end of April; (4) Labor Party's request for debate on Cyprus prior to Whitsun recess May 23 (govt has not yet responded to request).
At present signs point toward UK policy decision during early part of May after discussions with Governor Foot followed by statement and debate in Parliament. Same expectation arose in connection with Foot's visit to London in January./3/ Instead, HMG has sought through secret talks to find solution least objectionable to Greece and Turkey. Unfortunately, little common ground appears to have been found. UK likely have greater difficulty now than in January in securing tacit assent of parties to further delay for additional negots. This appears especially true in case EOKA which Nicosia's reports indicate is increasingly restive and unreceptive to moderate advice.
/3/Foot visited London January 1 - 9.
[End Section 14]