179. Text of Statement To Be Made by Her Majesty’s Government on the Cyprus Question1

Her Majesty’s Government intend to press ahead with the framing of a constitution for Cyprus on the lines which have been previously offered for consideration. For this purpose they have decided to ask Lord Radcliffe as Constitutional Commissioner to start work forthwith on the framing of a constitution. It is their hope that, at an early stage, the Constitutional Commissioner will be able to bring into consultation representatives of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus.

Her Majesty’s Government will put such a constitution into effect as soon as possible, provided that terrorism has been eliminated and law and order have been fully restored.

As regards the future status of the Island, Her Majesty’s Government have already accepted the principle of self-determination. It shall be a condition of any change in the international status of Cyprus that a treaty shall be concluded between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey, regulating in their common interest the use of Cyprus for military purposes. Such a treaty, which would be terminable only by agreement between the parties, would provide that the United Kingdom should continue to be responsible for the external defence of Cyprus and to enjoy such facilities in the Island as may be necessary for this purpose and for that of discharging British Treaty obligations in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Middle East. Provision would be made in the Treaty for defence zones over which the United Kingdom would retain permanent sovereignty.

It shall similarly be a condition that the implementation of a decision to change the international status of Cyprus would be made dependent on a special treaty arrangement by which the interests of minority racial groups were fully safeguarded.

At the end of ten years from the date on which the new constitution comes into effect, Her Majesty’s Government will be prepared to raise with their fellow members of N.A.T.O. the question whether, in the situation then obtaining, a change in the international status of Cyprus would be compatible with the interests of Western defence in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

If not fewer than two-thirds of the members of N.A.T.O. answer the question put to them in the affirmative and the treaties referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 above have been concluded, a plebiscite will be [Page 371] held with satisfactory safeguards against improper political or personal pressure on those entitled to vote. A majority of not less than two-thirds of those voting would be required in order that a decision involving a change in international status should take effect. It is an essential element of this plan that:—

The question of self-determination shall not be raised internationally by the three governments, or be discussed between them, during the intervening period of ten years, and
All parties concerned shall cooperate sincerely in the restoration and maintenance of law and order in Cyprus.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Secret.