747C.00/7–1852: Telegram

No. 357
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Greece2


236. Fol comments re Cyprus made in light recent tels from Athens and Nicosia re Cyprus problem:

Our views on Cyprus well known to parties directly concerned. Restated briefly, they are that US not party to problem but does not believe it useful for Grk Govt press matter. (Deptel 5076 to Athens May 14 rptd 172 to Nicosia).3 USUN has been instructed (Deptel 28 July 15)4 that Dept wld prefer that it not approach Brit rep at UN on this subj as recently suggested by Grk rep who stated he was actg without instructions. USUN was requested to intimate to Grk rep that as matter had in past been discussed by Grk Govt with Amer Emb Athens, Dept wld prefer Grk views be made available through that channel.

Public restatement our position at this time unlikely to alter approach of either Grks, Cypriots, or Brit to problem. On other hand, such reiteration wld probably provide additional propaganda material to those groups in ME and elsewhere which have belabored us [Page 675] for our approach to other problems involving aspirations of local groups in that area.

If Venizelos continues press for “official US reaction” to possible Grk initiative in UN (Athens 83 July 8)5 we believe reply shld include statement that our attitude as previously expressed and outlined above remains unchanged and that we have not considered any UN aspects. We still believe this be matter between friends rather than one for discussion in UN.

We realize that even foregoing line may be useful to Venizelos in his attempts shift responsibility from Grk Govt in matter. For example, he cld use it as basis for statement that US opposing Grk initiative or if he decides go ahead in UN, he might indicate we have expressed no opposition. However, as he has already used US position in his maneuvers around problem, it may be doubted that he can obtain much more advantage from that angle. If he promulgates idea that we do not oppose Grks bringing matter to UN we cld then consider statement re our non-involvement.

It may be possible for Emb Athens point out to Grks on suitable occasions that further agitation of Cyprus issue might well endanger whole structure of Grk-Turk amity, toward development of which Govts and peoples of both countries, have devoted much care with such outstanding results. Venizelos in particular may be impressed by this line, as he claims much credit for existing cordiality between two countries. Our own judgment is that regardless implications of Averoff version of Turk attitude toward problem (Athens tel 5387)6 sharp Turk reaction can be expected shld Grks bring matter to UN.

Emb London shld if occasion offers urge Brit avoid official public comment on Cyprus question. We have in mind fact that info from Athens (Embtel 5446)7 indicates that recent Nutting statement gave added impetus to public and press agitation this matter.

  1. Drafted by Porter and cleared with Richards, Anderson, Claude G. Ross (UND), Hamilton, and Edwin A. Plitt (NEA). Also sent to London, Ankara, Nicosia, and New York.
  2. Telegram 5076, sent also to Cairo, Beirut, and Damascus, suggested that if the question of enosis arose in connection with Archbishop Makarios’ visit there, the Embassies indicate that enosis agitation could only widen disagreement and render more difficult a solution later, when more pacific international relations existed.(747C.00/5–1252)
  3. Telegram 28 instructed the U.S. Mission at the United Nations not to approach Sir Gladwyn Jebb, British Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Cyprus question as suggested by Kyrou, because the Department of State did not want to become involved in Greek agitation over Cyprus. (747C.00/7–952)
  4. Telegram 83 reported that Venizelos was pressing Peurifoy to provide him with official U.S. reaction to a contemplated speech by the Greek Representative in the U.N. General Assembly, raising the issue of Cyprus. (747C.00/7–852)
  5. Telegram 5387, June 19, reported that Evangelos Averoff, Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, told Peurifoy in Athens on June 18, that in his discussions with the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during the Greek royal visit to Turkey, the Turks would not discuss Cyprus enosis, stating that they themselves had strong interests therein because of former possession of the island and the Turkish minority there. They assured the Greeks that they would not let the British play them off against the Greeks in discussing Cyprus. Peurifoy reported that Averoff said that if and when the Greeks secure Cyprus, they will make ample provision for the Turkish minority and will grant the British whatever bases they want on a 99-year lease. (781.11/6–1952)
  6. Dated June 24, telegram 5446 stated that remarks by Nutting to Greek journalists that the United Kingdom considered the Cyprus matter closed gave further impetus to Greek agitation. (747C.00/6–2452)