312. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, October 22, 1957, 3:35 p.m.1


  • Cyprus Problem


  • Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, British Foreign Secretary
  • Sir Harold Caccia, British Ambassador to the United States
  • Lord Samuel Hood, British Minister
  • Mr. Roger Jackling, Head of Chancery
  • Mr. Denis Laskey, Private Secretary to the British Foreign Secretary
  • Mr. W. Morris, First Secretary of Embassy
  • Mr. John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State
  • Mr. C. Burke Elbrick, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Mr. John Hay Whitney, Ambassador to Great Britain
  • Mr. Lane Timmons, Director, European Regional Affairs
  • Mr. William N. Dale, Officer in Charge, United Kingdom and Ireland Affairs

Mr. Lloyd noted that General Harding’s2 resignation as Governor of Cyprus has been announced and then pointed out that the Greeks have become more obdurate since the Cyprus resolution adopted by the Labor Party Conference.3 Mr. Lloyd did not think that much could be done now until after the Turkish elections.4 He said that the British had hoped that, if they could get the parties concerned around a table, eventually they would come to agree on some compromise which everyone could accept. In this context they had developed the tridominium concept, not expecting that it would be accepted to begin with but that it might be useful as an eventual compromise. He noted that at first the US officials appeared to like the idea but that now we seemed to feel it has disadvantages.

The Secretary replied that we were not so much concerned over the disadvantages of the plan as with its practicability. He did not think that the Greeks could accept it because it would give the Turks a legal status on Cyprus.

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The Foreign Secretary said that the British would be in a state of suspended animation regarding the Cyprus problem until after the Turkish elections. He noted that there would be a thirty-day gap between these elections and the date when the Cyprus item is scheduled for UN debate in December, during which time he hoped fruitful discussions might take place. He believed that the Greeks will probably start a campaign about November 1st, to get Britain’s friends to bring pressure to bear on the UK in preparation for the UN debate. Mr. Lloyd observed that the present situation on the Island is precarious and that terrorism could start again at any moment. He stated that the British could no longer, in terms of money or manpower, afford to keep the same number of troops on Cyprus as Harding had had to suppress terrorism and that a reduction will take place phased over the next three to four years.

Mr. Elbrick said that Mr. Spaak will probably have something to say on the Cyprus question when he comes later this week.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Secret. Drafted by Dale. The time of the meeting is taken from the Secretary’s appointment book. (Eisenhower Library, Secretary’s Appointment Book) Other subjects discussed at this meeting were recorded in separate memoranda which are printed as Documents 313315.
  2. General Sir John Harding, Governor and Commander in Chief, Cyprus, 1955–November 1957.
  3. On October 4, the Labour Party Conference affirmed its intention of solving the Cyprus question by granting the island self-determination.
  4. The elections were held on October 27.