183. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State0

225. Paris for USRO. ReContel 224.1 At meeting with Governor today he told Jones (GTI) and me he and his government found themselves [Page 588]in “horrifying” dilemma. He and his advisers have been in session since 4 a.m. considering various ramifications of problem evidently arising out of Cabinet consideration and action on recommendations sent from here. It was intimated a decision might be made in London within next few days but its nature was not indicated. Although Governor aware gravity of situation on Greek side as evidenced by his statement on EOKA violence (Contel 220)2 and although he feels need for new approaches to Athens if we are to stave off Greek Cypriot violence, his and HMG’s actions severely inhibited by extremely hard Turkish bargaining. Foot said they were faced with impossible situation of trying negotiate with Turks at time when latter admit they willing and able turn mob violence in Cyprus on or off to suit their case. Within this context he saw no immediate prospects for self-government.

The question which now so plagues British, evidently in London as well as here, is how to disengage without giving either or both Greeks and Turks excuse for further resort to violence. If British able disengage and Cyprus question enters new period of uneasy stalemate without violence, then deputy governor considered return to tripartite discussions including idea of condominium was possible next step.

Governor told me before he left for London in December3 that any plan for final solution would be unsatisfactory in view inflamed situation. He is faced with this problem now with Turks evidently rejecting base offer and partition in seven years and pressing their advantage hard for a final solution now in form of partition.

British here now viewing problem as one involving whole future of NATO and Baghdad Pact and say situation rapidly unfolding where they may be forced to choose between Greece and Turkey, an eventuality which we have tried so assiduously to avoid. Here it seems clear that if forced to do so, they would choose Turkey and this is position into which Turks seem implacably to be forcing British.

While British here seem prepared face up to EOKA if necessary and appear confident that after initial severe losses they have force control it, they do not want face situation in which they obliged put down Turk Cypriot violence and consequent adverse impact on British-Turkish relations.

Belcher
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2–458. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, and Paris.
  2. Telegram 224 from Nicosia, February 4, reported on press reaction to the return to Cyprus of Kuchuk and to Foot’s appeal to EOKA for an end to violence. (Ibid., 747C.00/2–458)
  3. Telegram 220 from Nicosia, February 2, transmitted the text of Foot’s February 2 appeal for an end of violence on Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/2–258)
  4. Foot arrived in Cyprus on December 4, 1957, and left for London for consultations with the British Government on January 1, 1958.