187. Editorial Note

Secretary of State Dulles discussed the situation in Cyprus with Ambassador James W. Riddleberger on February 11, just before Riddleberger’s departure for Athens to assume his new post:

“The Secretary said that he thought the Turks had a good case regarding Cyprus when they put it on a basis of security and said he thought the Turks had to be satisfied on this aspect of their claims regarding Cyprus. This satisfaction should be provided by something more than a paper guarantee. He thought that it might conceivably be provided by a Turkish base on the Island. As he saw it the idea of such a base made some sense. The Secretary said that he regarded partition as basically bad, since the Greeks and Turks were pretty widely dispersed all over the Island and drawing a partition line would not be easy. It was pretty clear that the Island was basically Greek and there could be [no?] [Page 592]doubt that the Turks formed a definite minority within a basically Greek community. The Secretary was careful to point out that this was only the rudimentary framework of a plan which might have some chance of success and that he had not had time to consider all aspects of it.

“In response to a question from Ambassador Riddleberger as to whether the United States would have to become involved before the Cyprus issue could be settled, the Secretary expressed considerable doubt. However, he said that if asked by the three countries involved he thought that we should. One had always to keep in mind that our potential influence in helping bring about a settlement in this issue was not great and that we should be careful in the way we brought it to bear on the problem. He said he thought Ambassador Riddleberger, on arriving in Athens, would be best advised to take some soundings and then to think about the matter for some time before making any public statements in Athens.” (Memorandum of conversation by L. Bruce Laingen, April 4; Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4–458)

Riddleberger, nominated on February 5 to replace Ambassador Allen, arrived in Athens on February 27 and presented his credentials to King Paul on March 4.