119. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Greece1

4. Your 2853.2 Greek Ambassador Melas called in emotional state yesterday and denounced UK invitation re Cyprus in bitter terms and at length, due to inclusion of Turkey. He was informed that acceptance was naturally question for Greek Government to determine but we felt his Government should consider matter carefully and we hoped invitation would be accepted. He was reminded that Greece should not make it difficult for her friends to support her and that discussion of defense questions made inclusion of Greece’s ally Turkey not inappropriate. He was in no way mollified and went away repeating imprecations against UK for “once more following its policy of divide and rule”.

You may inform Greek Government that … since our opinion is requested we regard invitation as progressive step and believe it is important to accept the invitation and enter negotiations in good faith. This is first time British have been willing discuss Cyprus with other powers and if Greeks refused offer they would not only lose sympathy but would place themselves in difficult position as members of UN, NATO and Balkan Pact. Acceptance invitation does not commit Greeks on policy matters. Greece, Turkey and UK have primary interest in area and to us it seems eminently reasonable they [Page 274]should discuss their problems. We favor discussions but take no position on their substance.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/6–3055. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Allen. Repeated to London, Ankara, and Nicosia.
  2. In telegram 2853, June 30, the Embassy at Athens informed the Department that it conveyed to the Greek Government the views outlined in telegram 3463. The Embassy also noted that it believed it important to be in a position to convey the “considered” views of the Department to the Foreign Minister and if appropriate to the Greek Prime Minister not later than July 1. (Telegram 2853, ibid.; telegram 3463 to Athens, June 29, ibid., 747C.00/6–2955)
  3. In telegram 24 from Athens, July 2, Thurston conveyed the U.S. position along the lines outlined in telegram 4 to Panagiotis Canelopoulos. Thurston reported that Canelopoulos read an instruction prepared by him and the Prime Minister that outlined the Greek position on the British proposal. According to Thurston, the “essence” of the Greek position is the acceptance in principle of Britain’s invitation with “certain reservations” about the rights of Turkey on the subject of self-determination. (Ibid., 747C.00/7–255)