130. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1

694. Department pass USUN. In exploring areas in which progress might be made on Cyprus issue, we believe NATO and UN mechanisms hold greatest promise.

All responsible Greeks fully appreciate overriding importance for Greece of maintenance NATO relationships and are determined do everything possible to maintain them within limits imposed by Greek public opinion. Nevertheless, Greeks say further public expression of contrition by Turks is essential to progress. View these [Page 290] attitudes and because army is strongest single element in this country, we should maintain pressure on Greeks and Turks through NATO mechanism. For the moment, however, possibilities for progress through NATO mechanism are additionally limited by fact that in last few days Greek press, including government papers, has intensified anti-NATO campaign. Indications are Greek Government encouraging this line in large measure because they consider it as most likely method pressure US into some public expression reaction to recent events. (As Department is aware, US silence on events in Turkey has become dominant theme here, second only to shock and revulsion at riots themselves in emphasis given by government, opposition, army, press and man in street.) Now, more recently, this plea for public voicing US views on events is coupled with expression of hope that we will not take public position against Greece at UNGA.

With approach UNGA, Greek Government increasingly worried over cumulative effect possible US position at GA adverse to Greece, on top of continued US silence on Turkish events. While government believes it can hold the line until GA convenes, it seems clear that Foreign Minister Stephanopoulos’ political future depends on his achieving something in New York. Moreover, Rallis, Minister to Prime Minister, told me yesterday he fears demonstrations here if things go badly for Greece in UN.

Given situation outlined above, we believe UN mechanism offers best immediate hope for progress. Since US attitude is key to problem, we strongly urge that most serious consideration be given to reaffirmation our traditional position by affirmative vote for inscription Cyprus issue on GA agenda, accompanied by explanatory statement expressing US hope that interested parties will devote intervening period of time prior reaching item on agenda to serious exploration (or re-examination as case may be) of British proposals or other fruitful avenues leading to development representative Cypriot political institutions.

Affirmative vote on inscription would not only accurately reflect true present status Cyprus issue as situation clearly involving maintenance international peace and security but also would put US in position to exert useful influence for solution of problem. View London conference and subsequent events, it will be difficult support position this year that Cyprus question falls within scope Article 2 (7) UN Charter.2

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We suggest possible uses such influence along following lines: US to use its good offices to get Greek and UK delegates together to try and work out a mutually acceptable formula which could then be put up to the Turks in such a way as to make it difficult for latter to reject. Meanwhile, similar quiet efforts could be made with Turks to lead them away from their present intransigent attitude.

We believe both Greek and British sincerely desire find some solution Cyprus issue (strong indication Greek desires this respect contained recent statement by Foreign Minister Stephanopoulos (see Embtel 6873)) demonstrates realistic effort prepare Greek public for possible disappointment at UNGA and keep door open for further negotiations with UK. As to British, they appear severely shocked by outcome of events and willing to do something about it. Moreover, they apparently intend to go ahead with constructive steps in Cyprus, if necessary alone. In recent conversation British Embassy officer told us that while his indications are Greeks will turn down British proposals, he thought Greeks would be smart to take more flexible position and leave door open, thus “leaving Turks out on limb.” Queried re probable UK reaction such flexible Greek position, he said UK considers Cyprus question as kind of poison in blood stream of Anglo-Greek relations which UK would do good deal to get rid of “if given half a chance by Greeks.”

Times and timing call for injection catalytic agent, which only US can supply.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/9–1655. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London, Ankara, Paris for Knight, and Rome for Maffitt.
  2. Article 2 (7) of the U.N. Charter stipulates that nothing in the Charter authorized the United Nations to intervene in matters that were essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.
  3. Telegram 687, September 16, transmitted the highlights of Stephanopoulos’ speech replying to the opposition. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/ 9–1655)