167. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Hoover) to the President1

SUBJECT

  • Cyprus

In commenting on recent developments in the Cyprus question, the Department has maintained impartiality as between the British and Greek positions and, without assigning blame to either, has focused United States concern on the ultimate objective which is the re-establishment of an atmosphere in which negotiations could be resumed. A statement along those lines read to the press on March 12 is enclosed.2

On the following day, after an interview with the Greek Foreign Minister, Ambassador Cannon issued a statement in Athens (enclosed). Although we are confident Ambassador Cannon intended to follow the Department line of impartiality, the tone of the statement and certain phraseology give it a partisan ring, which is capable of exploitation as an implied criticism of British moves. We understand that the British Foreign Office has instructed Ambassador Makins to ask for an explanation of this statement.3

In order to set the record straight, you may wish to make a statement along the lines of the enclosed draft at your press conference on March 14.4 If you do not consider it appropriate to issue the statement yourself, I hope you will authorize its release by the Department of State.

Herbert Hoover, Jr. 5
[Page 350]

[Enclosure]

STATEMENT RELEASED BY AMERICAN EMBASSY, ATHENS

March 13, 1956

American Ambassador Cavendish W. Cannon called on Foreign Minister Theotokis shortly after noon today to discuss matters of mutual interest. He took occasion to express the sympathetic concern of the United States Government and the American people over the recent developments in Cyprus and to convey to the Foreign Minister the text of the statement issued in Washington yesterday by the State Department.

This statement emphasized that the United States Government had no advance information of the deportation of Archbishop Makarios. It disclosed that the United States is making a careful study of the situation and expects to make certain recommendations when that study is completed. It recalled the continued interest of the United States in the establishment of a government truly representative of the people of Cyprus, and said that until the negotiations were interrupted recently the United States had been encouraged by the steady progress made during the last few months.

The Ambassador himself, in reviewing this progress, recalled that agreement had been reached on the principle of self-determination, on a wide measure of self-government as a transitory stage and on satisfying the aspirations of the Cypriot people in the final solution.

The Ambassador expressed the confident belief that, taking into account the very substantial progress along the lines of these broad principles, a way could surely be found to work out the details and the timing, complicated and difficult though these may be. The important thing is to re-create an atmosphere in which the questions can be calmly re-examined.

Finally, Ambassador Cannon said he had taken particular note of the dignity and statesmanship with which the Greek Government had dealt with the current situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3–1356. Drafted by Baxter.
  2. Printed in Department of State Bulletin, March 26, 1956, p. 505.
  3. On March 13 at 8:50 p.m., a Department spokesman, presumably in an effort to clarify Cannon’s statement, made an official statement about Cyprus; for text, see ibid.
  4. Not printed. At his press conference of March 14, the President noted that “we are ready to do anything that is reasonable and practicable to help in reaching some solution, but the solution itself is going to have to be reached by the people most greatly concerned.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower 1956, pp. 301–313)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.