124. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State1

929. Foreign Secretary sent for me late this afternoon to describe reaction at today’s session tripartite Cyprus conference2 to his proposals of yesterday (Embel 9063 repeated Athens 32 Ankara 31 Nicosia 10). Macmillan indicated that Stephanopoulos had reacted as favorably to proposals as could be expected and in fact Macmillan had advised him privately not commit himself further than this without consulting his cabinet colleagues. Stephanopoulos took line that although Greek Government’s views concerning British proposals remained to be decided, he knew his government would be disappointed and concerned over failure of British proposals to give categorical assurance self-government and specific date for promulgation constitution.

On other hand Macmillan said that he had to speak very straight and very forcefully to Zorlu in order to prevent him from breaking up conference then and there. It was obvious that Zorlu was under strict instructions from Menderes and did not feel free to move without Ankara’s authority. Both Turks and Greeks had agreed to communicate their governments detailed reactions in writing. Zorlu had carefully avoided commenting on substance British [Page 280]proposals, indicating that given tension and violence in Cyprus created by enosis campaign pre-condition for consideration was withdrawal by Greece of claim for annexation.

Zorlu asked Macmillan in course of meeting whether United Kingdom believed in all circumstances in self-determination to which Macmillan replied in effect that this was one of basic principles on which British policy founded but it was not necessarily in all circumstances over-riding principle. He cited as example that he had recently at Vienna participated in conclusion of treaty4 which specifically denied Austria right of self-determination because peace of Europe in matter of Anschluss was more important than right of self-determination for six million Austrians. I imagine that improvisations on this theme will be numerous in days to come.

Macmillan said that he had indicated that as chairman he proposed to “suspend” conference which would give him freer hand after statements of Greeks and Turks are received. This he hoped to have accepted at conference to be resumed tonight when communiqué will be agreed and publication of pertinent documents authorized. In this instance British are pressing for full publication all substantive statements.5

Naturally events in Salonika, Istanbul and Izmir considerably clouded today’s proceedings. Stephanopoulos expressed profound regret over incident in Salonika and gave assurances Greek Government doing everything possible maintain law and order. Zorlu said regrettable tension over Cyprus had resulted in violence in Turkey—implication being that ultimate responsibility lay primarily with Greeks.

Turk delegation departs tomorrow for Ankara and Greek probably Friday for Athens.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/9–755. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Athens and Ankara and pouched to Nicosia.
  2. Regarding the conference on Cyprus, see footnote 4, Document 284.
  3. Telegram 906 from London, September 6, transmitted a summary of a statement made by Macmillan at a restricted session of the Cyprus Conference on that day. The Foreign Secretary’s statement outlined two proposals: first, self-government for Cyprus based on a new and “liberal” constitution, and second, the establishment of a special tripartite and continuing committee to be set up in London to consider problems relating to self-government in Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/9–655)
  4. For documentation on the Austrian State Treaty signed in Vienna on May 15, 1955, see vol. v, pp. 1 ff,
  5. On September 7, the Tripartite Conference was suspended until the Greek and Turkish Governments could consider British proposals for self-government on Cyprus. A summary of the views of the British, Turkish, and Greek Foreign Ministers, including Britain’s proposals for Cypriot self-government, and Macmillan’s and Zorlu’s exchanges on Britain’s attitude toward self-determination for Cyprus were made public that same day. Documentation is in Department of State, Central File 747C.00.