No. 371
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs (Baxter)1



  • Cyprus


  • Mr. Athanase Politis, Greek Ambassador
  • Mr. Henry A. Byroade, Assistant Secretary, NEA
  • Mr. William O. Baxter, Deputy Director, GTI

The Greek Ambassador called today at his request. He asked whether the Department had any information to give him on the Cyprus problem and whether recent discussions in Washington had evolved a formula which might make it possible for the Greek Government to avoid raising this subject in the UN. In a brief conversation at a social gathering a few days earlier, he had understood Mr. Dulles to say that the British had brought up the question during the ChurchillEden visit2 and that Mr. Byroade was in full possession of the details.

Mr. Byroade explained that he thought there must be some misunderstanding. To the best of his knowledge Cyprus was not mentioned by Eden or the Secretary. Of course, the President and Churchill had discussions at which no one else was present. Cyprus might conceivably have been brought up at that time, but, if so, no decision had been reached, as there was an agreement that any policy decisions made at such private sessions would be committed to writing. However, some time ago the British Embassy had asked [Page 693] the Department for its views on the Cyprus problem.3 On the day of Eden’s arrival, Mr. Byroade had called in a representative of the British Embassy4 to talk informally along the same lines as the discussions a week ago with the Greek Ambassador5—that is, a tentative exploration of the possibility that the British might recognize the interest of the Greek Government in the Cypriots because of ethnic, cultural and religious ties and be willing to talk to the Greeks about British plans for the future welfare of the Cypriot people without any reference to a change in sovereignty. It might have been this discussion with the British which the Secretary had in mind.

The Ambassador appeared disappointed that nothing concrete had emerged during the ChurchillEden visit and said that Greek newspapers were already interpreting, as directly applicable to Cyprus, the section of the ChurchillEisenhower Declaration6 which referred to “the principle of self-government.” He asked Mr. Byroade if he could find out definitely whether the Secretary’s remark to him meant that the Secretary had knowledge of some discussion of Cyprus of which Mr. Byroade was not aware.

Later Mr. Byroade telephoned the Greek Ambassador to say that, after checking with the Secretary, he had nothing to add to what had been said in his office earlier the same afternoon.

  1. Drafted July 7.
  2. June 25–29; regarding the question of discussion on Cyprus during that visit, see Document 369.
  3. Reference is to the British aide-mémoire of Jan. 28, outlined in Document 361.
  4. A memorandum of conversation with Beeley is in file 747C.00/6–2554.
  5. See supra.
  6. June 29; text in AFP, vol. I, p. 1707.