142. Letter From Foreign Secretary Macmillan to Secretary of State Dulles1

Dear Foster: It was good of you to let me have, in your letter of October 5,2 your thoughts on Cyprus. I agree entirely with you that the Cyprus situation remains a cause of concern both in the island itself and because of its effects elsewhere.

The rejection by the Greek and Turkish Governments, for opposite reasons, of our proposals for self-government in Cyprus is bound to remain a cause of real difficulty. There are perhaps grounds for hope that the new Greek Government may be less uncompromising than its predecessor. But there remains the Turkish objection to any form of self-government until the Greek demand for self-determination has been withdrawn. This is a formidable obstacle.

Nonetheless we have every intention of doing whatever is possible to break the deadlock in Cyprus. The new Governor has lost no time in consulting the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities. He has also explained the meaning of the British proposals in a broadcast of which I enclose a copy.3 I commend to your attention especially the concluding passages of this broadcast, in which Harding makes it clear that we are closing no doors.

To our regret (and perhaps also to his own) Archbishop Makarios has told the Governor that he cannot accept our formula as satisfactory. This is unfortunate, the more so as there is some reason to believe that the Archbishop personally may now be willing to consider some compromise solution. But so long as the extremists are dominant and men of goodwill are intimidated, it is hard for the leaders to be conciliatory. Thus our first task in Cyprus is to restore conditions of security and order in which reason and conciliation can gain a foothold.

However, the new Greek Foreign Minister4 has asked to see me in Paris, and we have heard from our ambassador in Athens that he [Page 307]would like to take a more helpful line. I am not without hope that the talks with the Archbishop may be resumed.

Meanwhile we are working on the details of the constitutional arrangements which I outlined at the London Conference last month. Just when these will be published must partly depend on circumstances, including political developments in Cyprus and any changes in the attitudes of Greece and Turkey. But, despite the obstacles, it is our firm intention to press forward, and in this I know we can count on your continued understanding and support.

Yours ever,

Harold Macmillan
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/10–2155. Secret. The typewritten source text signed by Macmillan was apparently delivered to Dulles in Paris; see footnote 1, infra.

    On October 24, the Embassy in London transmitted the text of Macmillan’s message in telegram 1652. (Ibid., 747C.00/10–2455)

  2. Supra.
  3. The text of the broadcast by Field Marshal Sir John Harding, appointed September 25 as Governor of Cyprus, is not printed.
  4. On October 6, following the death of Papogos, Constantine Karamanlis organized a new government with Spyros Theotokis as Foreign Minister; see Document 287.