176. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State0

2015. I have had long talk with Averoff on Cyprus. He has what he considers reliable information that British statement will provide period self-government to be followed by self-determination on following basis. Greek Cypriots will be asked their wishes; if they choose Enosis, Turk Cypriots will also be given opportunity join Turkey. At same time this statement made by HMG Foot will make statement opposing partition. Although this formula much more favorable to Greeks than one put to Turks1 (about which Averoff appears to have no knowledge), Averoff says he is convinced it would cause violent adverse reaction both on Cyprus and in Greece which neither Makarios nor any Greek Government could control. Only suggestion he had was to leave formula for realization self-determination completely vague which might give GOG some possibility controlling reaction. We agree that the vaguer the formula the better and suggest this point might be made with British. Averoff said he had no information on what British intend to do about Makarios but urged importance prompt return Cyprus.

Although he refused to be pinned down, Averoff seemed to be thinking along lines second and third paragraphs Embtel 1936.2 I questioned him again about his conversation with Turkish Ambassador (Embtel 1850)3 and he stated emphatically and categorically his conviction that Vergin was in fact making a Turkish offer to settle on a basis of Greek acceptance two basic points, (1) Turkish troops on Cyprus and (2) special minority arrangements which would remove Turks from Greek domination. Vergin closed conversation by saying “whenever you have anything to tell me, I am authorized immediately to take plane to Ankara to report”.

As usual, I emphasized to Averoff virtues of quiet diplomacy and particularly urged that whatever British statement might say, GOG [1 line of source text not declassified] if unable approve statement, at least play for time by reserving position on basis certain “clarifications” must first be sought.

It is very difficult to believe that Vergin would have talked to Averoff the way he apparently did (and certainly did to me) unless he [Page 580] was in fact authorized to hint at a new Turkish offer which is at least worth further exploration by GOG. In any event, important points are (1) Averoff thinks Turks mean business on basis possibly acceptable to GOG and (2) there seems little else on horizon which has possibilities for preventing disastrous deterioration Cyprus situation.

Assuming British do in fact act along lines Averoff anticipates, most important prerequisite to initiation secret Greek-Turkish negotiation would be further period calm until Makarios actually returns Cyprus and gives his blessing (blessing cannot expect GOG to move before this happens). It might well be impossible [possible] secure continued peace if Department were prepared issue statement to effect USG greatly concerned over possibility further deterioration Cyprus situation, is therefore reviewing possible action it might take to help and calls upon all parties to follow course of reason and moderation. We should promptly inform GOT and GOG of our willingness make such statement and emphasize that its purpose is to enable them to control situation until they are in position to enter into direct negotiations on basis Averoff-Vergin conversation. We should then be prepared issue statement very promptly after British statement and before probably unfavorable public reactions in both Greece and Turkey can snowball. Despite obvious risks involved, believe above has real chance of opening way to Cyprus solution but in any event would recommend Department urgently consider it in absence any other alternative to meet very serious present situation.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1–2258. Secret; Limited Distribution. Repeated to London and Ankara.
  2. For a summary of the British proposals, see footnote 1, Document 170.
  3. Document 171.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 171.
  5. In telegram 2318 to Athens, January 30, the Department of State declined to intervene publicly in the Cyprus issue, pointing out that a British statement on the future of the island would depend on the conclusions of the Lloyd-Menderes talks and that the content of the most recent Turkish proposals to Greece was unlikely to elicit a favorable response from the Greek Government. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1–2258)