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

2259. Have talked with British Ambassador who confirms in general Averoff’s account of conversations (Embtel 2243)1 except that Greeks apparently did not go so far on assurances re controlling Greek Cypriot violence as Averoff did with me. British Ambassador does not admit to optimism but says he is less pessimistic as result talks, which turned out much better than he anticipated.

British have apparently decided to attempt settlement based on giving Greeks enosis and Turks a base on Cyprus. This of course involves many dangers and difficulties, most immediate being preservation of peace on Cyprus during essential period of negotiation. To do so, in addition to whatever may be necessary vis-a-vis Turks, Greek Cypriots must be given such hope of satisfactory settlement. This most [Page 593] difficult to do without arousing hopes and speculation here which could wreck any chance of success.

Aside from whatever difficulties there may be in getting GOG and GOT actually to agree, there is ever-present danger here that an unfortunate leak or maladroit statement or action in Athens, London or Ankara could cause situation here suddenly to revert to uncontrollable emotionalism.

Makarios is unpredictable quantity who could at any stage wreck or come close to wrecking plan.

Timing is all important. Difference between success and failure may well be whether self-government period is 10, 5 or 3 years, and whether Turk base installed immediately, in blank years, at end of self-government period but before self-determination plebiscite, after plebiscite but before enosis, or after enosis.

Despite all these and other potential difficulties there has in effect been a British offer in which GOG has shown definite interest (GOG commitment to examine a detailed plan (numbered point 5 Embtel 2243)2 was both given and received as more than casual statement). This fact alone creates most hopeful situation here since Makarios-Harding talks failed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2–1658. Secret; Limited Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to London, Ankara, Nicosia, and Paris for USRO.
  2. Telegram 2243 from Athens, February 14, summarized Averoff’s report on the British-Greek negotiations over the future of Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/2–1458)
  3. It reads: “GOG rejected idea of Turkish base on Cyprus because (A) Turkish troops would constitute continuing and serious potential source of trouble and violence, and (B) Cypriots would be violently opposed. However, GOG would be prepared to examine any plan including provision for Turkish base if provided with full details.”