168. Memorandum of a Conversation, London, March 15, 19561

PARTICIPANTS

  • Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign Office
  • Mr. George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington
  • Mr. Walworth Barbour, American Minister, London
  • Mr. Evan M. Wilson, First Secretary, London

SUBJECT

  • Cyprus

Mr. Allen asked whether the Foreign Office saw any signs of a solution of the Cyprus question.2 Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick said that he was very concerned over the problem of “squaring the circle”, by which he meant how to reconcile Turkish and Greek interests. …

Sir Ivone continued that the Turkish point of view was not sufficiently appreciated in the United States. The plain facts were that Cyprus could not be given to Greece without provoking a war between Greece and Turkey. Sir Ivone said he wished to make it plain that he was not defending the Turkish point of view. Mr. Zorlu and Mr. Birgi had taken the position at the London conference that Turkey did not want either self-determination or self-government for Cyprus and that if the British did not agree with the Turkish position, Turkey would have to reconsider its relations with Britain. Birgi had said as much right in Sir Ivone’s office and Sir Ivone had had to reply “with some acerbity”. The Turks insisted on equal representation for Turks and Greeks in any legislature that was set up in Cyprus. At the same time, the Archbishop in the negotiations had insisted on a Greek majority and the negotiations had broken down when the British, having in mind their pledge to the Turks to consult them regarding this point, had had to tell the Archbishop that they could not agree to his conditions in advance of the proposed constitutional consultations which were to be carried out by Lord Radcliffe.

Sir Ivone commented that as far as the Turkish attitude was concerned it was necessary to recall that for five hundred years the Greeks had been “shouting it from the house tops” that they would like to conquer and dismember Turkey. It was natural in view of this history that the Turks should oppose the cession to Greece of [Page 352]the last remaining block of Greek-speaking people outside Greek possession. Mr. Allen said that he was aware of this feeling on the part of the Turks but he wondered how justified it was. Sir Ivone replied that regardless of the justification, the feeling existed. …

Sir Ivone went on to read from a telegram in front of him which gave the text of a proposed U.S. Senate resolution regarding Cyprus, in which reference was made to the traditional American support of the principle of self-determination. He said that he would like to point out that the United States had not always supported the principle of self-determination in every given case, any more than had Great Britain. There were cases where national security or the preservation of world peace were overriding considerations. He cited the Sudeten Germans, Trieste, and Austria as instances in which the United States had not supported the principle of self-determination. … Mr. Barbour and Mr. Allen took issue with Sir Ivone’s comments regarding the exceptions which he had cited, pointing out that the Trieste problem had been solved along lines which very largely gave the Italians to Italy and the Slavs to Yugoslavia and that the United States had not been a party to the 1938 Munich agreement on Czechoslovakia. Mr. Allen agreed with Sir Ivone that Austria presented a difficult problem but expressed the personal view that if in the future the Austrian people should decide overwhelmingly that they wanted to join Germany it would be hard to deny this. Sir Ivone rejoined that while it was true that the Trieste problem had eventually been settled more or less along ethnic lines, neither the United States nor Great Britain had been very worried about the wishes of the inhabitants of the Zone at the time of the 1948 Italian elections, when we had come out in favor of the entire territory going to Italy. As far as the Sudetens were concerned, he thought that our concurrence in 1945 in the return of the territory to Czechoslovakia was proof of our real attitude.

Mr. Allen commented that while there might be some exceptions, it was certainly true that in the vast majority of cases the United States had been in favor of self-determination. With regard to the deportation of Archbishop Makarios to the Seychelles he said that some people in the Middle East and Asia were concerned over this development since they thought of other nationalist leaders like Zaghloul3 who had been sent to the Seychelles and who had eventually returned to their countries with increased stature. Sir Ivone remarked that he did not think it was possible for the Archbishop to have greater stature than he already possessed in [Page 353]Cyprus, and in Greece, where he was able to give orders to the Greek Government. He said that one thing which had struck him in talking to the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Lennox-Boyd, after latter’s return from a recent trip to Cyprus, was the extent to which it was commonly believed all over the Island that the Archbishop was behind the terrorists. Whatever the actual connection of the Archbishop with the terrorists the point was that this was the general impression in Cyprus. This of course greatly increased the standing of the terrorists in the community.

Mr. Barbour inquired whether it would not be possible to make public more of the evidence which the British Government apparently had, linking the Archbishop with the terrorist movement. Sir Ivone said he could see Mr. Barbour’s point, but the release of the information might raise certain difficulties. At all events, there was enough evidence, he felt, to show that the Archbishop was supporting the terrorists and was supplying them with money, especially money which he obtained in the United States, although whether he was actually directing the terrorist operations was another question. He was probably more the “chairman of the board” than the “managing director”.

Mr. Allen inquired regarding Sir Ivone’s reference to the collection of money by the Archbishop in the United States and said that he did not recall this. Sir Ivone said that the last time the Archbishop had gone to the United States, about eighteen months ago, he was reported to have raised and brought back considerable funds.

Mr. Allen said that he wanted to assure Sir Ivone that we fully understood the fact that the British were dealing with an immensely complex problem in Cyprus and that we were anxious to be as helpful and sympathetic as possible in bringing about a reasonable solution. Sir Ivone expressed his appreciation for this statement.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3–1556. Confidential. Drafted by Wilson.
  2. Allen accompanied Dulles to Karachi to attend the SEATO Council sessions. On March 12, he left the Secretary’s party, departing from Colombo for Cairo, then to Paris, and finally to London.
  3. Sa’d Zaghlul, Egyptian politician and prominent nationalist, who was exiled on two occasions for his nationalist activities—once to Malta in 1919 and a second time to Aden and Gibraltar in 1922.