Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 382
Prime Minister Churchill to President Eisenhower1

top secret
private and personal

My Dear Friend: I did not complicate my long telegram to you about Europe2 by referring to the isolated question of Cyprus about which you wrote to me on August 20.3

[Page 710]

A factual note is being prepared which I will send by airmail,4 but I understand our Embassy in Washington has already supplied the State Department with information.5 A simple test is to compare the conditions prevailing in Cyprus with those in the Greek Islands and particularly in Rhodes since the Greeks took them over from the Italians. Cyprus has never known more rapid progress while in the others there is a grievous decline.

I feel it is my duty to tell you that the failure of the United States to support us at U.N.O. would cause deep distress over here and add greatly to my difficulties in guiding public opinion into the right channels in much larger matters.

It cannot be disputed that our claim against the inscription of this question affecting our own external affairs is justified by the Statutes and spirit of U.N.O. If any such item were discussed by the Assembly, we would of course walk out. Injury would be done to that institution of which the United States and Britain and her Commonwealth are the main pillars. Cyprus would acquire utterly disproportionate publicity and be magnified by the enemies of the English speaking world on both sides of the ocean into a marked difference between us. I do trust therefore that we shall not be confronted with American abstention.

Kindest regards, As ever,

  1. This message was transmitted by Makins, Sept. 18, through the White House to Eisenhower, who was at a ranch near Fraser, Colorado. Makins also sent a copy to Smith. A handwritten notation on another copy notes that Eisenhower saw it on Sept. 20, and phoned Smith. (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file, “Dulles–Herter series”)
  2. Transmitted Sept. 17; for text, see vol. V, Part 2, p. 1225.
  3. The portion of this letter on the Cyprus question reads as follows:

    “Right now I am wondering how you will handle the Cyprus situation. This, of course, is strictly one of your family problems and I am not mentioning it with any thought that my own opinions should have a bearing on such a matter. My indirect concern, though, arises out of resultant effects upon American opinion. You and I have devoted a lot of time and thought to keeping relationships between our two peoples both durable and cordial, and I am anxious to be in a position to be as helpful as possible when there appears to be any chance of damage to those relationships.

    “If you should like to give me a little briefing on the matter, I might be in a position to do something. Incidentally, some of our people who have been travelling recently in Greece have come back and spread stories to the effect that Greece and Cyprus are quite ready to be reasonable and conciliatory—of course I do not know how accurate are their observations and their reporting. But this kind of thing does serve to give you some idea of why I am interested in the other side of the story.” (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file)

  4. Transmitted by Makins to Eisenhower, Sept. 20; for text, see infra.
  5. Reference is possibly to the fact that on Aug. 25 the British Chargé handed Dulles a memorandum requesting U.S. support in resisting inscription of the Cyprus item on the U.N. General Assembly’s agenda. On the following day, Salt gave Allen (EUR) a longer paper setting forth the British position. (747C.00/8–2654) Makins also handed to Smith the paper prepared by the British Chiefs of Staff on the “Strategic Importance of Cyprus to the United Kingdom,” Sept. 17. (747C.00/9–2054)