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

2145. Approach along lines suggested Deptel 2344, February 1,1 made to Foreign Minister February 2. Five other members Government also present. Presentation mainly made by Rountree,2 who carefully reiterated US policy toward Cyprus issue and urgently requested Foreign Minister use influence upon EOKA prevent resumption violence.

Foreign Minister presented usual Greek argumentation, and alleged Turks not party to dispute but only rightfully concerned two points, security and protection Turk minority. Re Turkish security, GOG had already agreed international agency be empowered ensure military situation Cyprus would never constitute menace Cyprus. Re Turk minority, GOG had proposed neutral committee be set up safeguard such rights. No danger of subversion because EOKA had crushed Communists. Thus, Averoff alleged, recently intensified Turk intransigence, due in part desire divert attention internal domestic difficulties, not justified. Averoff believes US desires definite solution and confident Labor Party when in power will fix date for self-determination without reference to partition.3

Foreign Minister, joined by other members government, called for definitive and positive statement US policy. Rountree explained why unable depart from present position. Foreign Minister then called for expression US “opinion” which, coming from leader free world, would indicate right and wrong various sides. Rountree emphasized US not concerned fixation right and wrong, but in amicable settlement project by parties concerned.

Averoff and other Ministers elaborated at some length on necessity of and their desire for good long-term Greek-Turk relations.

Rountree strongly requested Averoff exert influence upon EOKA not resume violence. Averoff replied he “had no contact with EOKA.” Rountree suggested admonition be passed EOKA through those having contact.

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February 3, Averoff handed Rountree 8-page memo re Cyprus. Memo makes following points (full text by pouch):4

Question has reached critical phase, for which GOG cannot be held responsible.
GOG has shown moderation, but present or any future government cannot go beyond point of compromise already agreed to by GOG.
Right of self-determination can be reasonably postponed, given establishment truly democratic transition self-government, but right of self-determination cannot be abandoned.
GOG cannot accept partition.
Turkey not a “party directly concerned” in question.
Some quarters, even official, allege possibility that British will sicken of situation and retire, whereupon Turks will occupy part of island. Such an eventuality would not “remain without an answer” and would constitute threat not only against Greece but against others. If such threat materializes and international organizations unable correct situation, “let us all be ready see Cyprus turned into a blasting powder shop.”
GOG once more warns of situation, regrets it has not received support its allies, and reaffirms anxiety see problem solved basis political possibilities.

Memo much stiffer in tone and substance than Averoff’s oral remarks and was obviously written to put official Greek position on the record for possible future use, particularly in connection internal political situation. Our present recommendation is to ignore it.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2–458. Secret. Repeated to London, Ankara, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 181.
  3. Rountree and Jones accompanied the Secretary of State to Iran (January 25–26) and to the Baghdad Pact talks (January 27–30). They traveled to Athens for talks on Cyprus with the Greek Government February 1–3.
  4. The British Parliament’s 5-year term was to expire at the end of 1959 and elections had to be held prior to the expiration.
  5. The Greek Government’s memorandum was sent to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 578 from Athens, February 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 110.15–RO/2–758)