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

840. In present circumstances, I am convinced General Assembly discussion Cyprus question would lead to intemperate debate and might well cause incidents in Greece and Turkey which would destroy remains of Greek-Turkish cooperation. Importance free world unity and threat to NATO far exceeds that of Cyprus question. I have therefore decided we must seek persuade Greece not press for consideration Cyprus item in GA and that we must actively seek prevent inscription if Greeks insist upon pressing consideration Cyprus item this session. In reaching this conclusion I am aware U.S. will be criticized for opposing aspirations dependent people and that SovBloc may take advantage situation. Also realize that for present we will probably lose ability influence Greek Government. However importance maintaining maximum possible free world unity is overriding.

I therefore ask you use best efforts persuade Greek Government not press for consideration Cyprus item this session and suggest approach somewhat as follows:

In U.S. opinion present grave crisis between Greece and Turkey would become even more serious if discussed in GA. We believe this might be fatal blow Balkan Pact and cause grave breach NATO defense which is basis our unity and strength. Also such a public [Page 298]discussion Cyprus question now would make possibility any solution even more difficult. We convinced that after recent deplorable events best and most statesmanlike course is to let question remain in abeyance for immediate present as far as UN is concerned. We do not feel question should be ignored or forgotten. We are not supporting colonialism or opposing self-determination.

It is our belief sincere efforts of parties most concerned to work toward mutually satisfactory solution represents best and perhaps only feasible way of resolving Cyprus problem. This is also within spirit UN, whose members are pledged to employ all possible methods of solving problems among themselves before resorting to UN forum. In our considered opinion recent UK proposals represent progress and development self-government for Cypriot people offers best prospect for ultimate solution acceptable to parties concerned and in interests free world unity. We have been assured by UK that, despite inconclusive outcome London talks, UK prepared proceed with sincere and determined efforts give self-government to Cypriot people and UK further prepared give sympathetic consideration to any amendments or counter-proposals to suggestions they made in London. UK position can be interpreted as carrying implication that international status Cyprus need not remain unchanged in perpetuity. We believe Greek Government, which we know desires eventual application principle self-determination to Cyprus, would be well-advised to cooperate now with UK and use its influence with Cypriot people to participate in orderly steps toward self-government. We can further assure Greek Government that U.S. will actively and vigorously use its influence induce and assist UK to move toward this end.

We hope Greek leaders will continue show statesmanship by remembering free world unity must be placed ahead problems existing between individual members. Since this our conviction, we ask Greek Government not press for consideration Cyprus this session and must state that in view shortness time we cannot delay making known confidentially to other delegations we intend oppose inscription Cyprus item. We hope Greek Government will quickly decide not press question so that we will not have to come into open opposition and actively oppose inscription. If Greek Government agrees, we will do all in our power assist it to carry out this decision with dignity.

There are at least two ways in which Greeks could do this.

It would be possible Greeks send letter to SYG informing him Greek intention not press for consideration Cyprus item. President General Committee (Steering Committee of GA) would merely notify General Committee receipt communication by SYG this effect [Page 299]and no action would be taken on matter in GC or subsequently in GA.
Greece could make statement of its position this matter in GC. We would hope such statement would be as non-controversial as possible and would conclude with statement by Greece of its decision not to press consideration Cyprus item at this time with view permit parties renew efforts find solution problem. Statement might also stress Greek desire to maintain free world unity as basis for this desire. No further action would then be necessary by Assembly.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/9–2055. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by Wood, Baxter, and Jernegan. Repeated to Ankara and London and pouched to Salonika and Nicosia.