194. Telegram From the Consulate in Nicosia to the Department of State0
304. Foot told last night in strictest confidence that UK-Turk talks in Ankara at critical stage and on point breaking down completely. Sensitivity of position there completely frustrates any moves he might possibly make here in attempt calm Greek-Cypriots. Turkish reaction to anything remotely resembling gesture to Greeks typified by action Zorlu in protesting British Ambassador Ankara over fact UK subject, [Page 599] Makarios, might be allowed go London near future at invitation private groups.1
When shooting reported Contel 2992 occurred Foot said he spent rest of day almost “in despair” realizing crying need some action here yet being unable move for above reasons. He was hoping use forthcoming budget announcement as excuse make further “hold-the-line” statement, but anything along lines suggested Contel 3013 would have come from London. HMG position extremely difficult. GOG had requested British not indicate publicly they unable talk “interim” government. Foot pressing London make statement, however, and thought HMG might ignore request GOG and at any rate could not long hold line in face above demands for debate. Statement would require very careful wording in view talks Ankara. Unfortunate that preparation statement would take time and situation very explosive.
As during events leading March 25 celebrations4 Foot asked me during next few days, in eleventh-hour effort prevent further deterioration, if opportunity arose convey following ideas to Greek Cypriots whose voices might carry as far as EOKA and Grivas:
- Talks impossible in Athens until new GOG, but talks proceeding “elsewhere” as stated by Lloyd, on urgent basis. Such talks severely jeopardized by new outbreak violence.
- Refer to recent Turkish party at restaurant where announcement new bombings brought Turk toasts to EOKA. As Foot said to Archbishop in Athens—”If EOKA resorts to fighting it will be fighting for partition”.
- Foot did not see Makarios because he had half hour waste-seeing him was recognition of him as essential figure this problem.5
- Did say to Makarios in all sincerity “hope we shall be working together soon on Cyprus problem” (Contel 239).6
- his greatest wish is see end emergency which would mean release detainees, revocation emergency regulations and return of Archbishop.
- None these things presently possible in view present talks and in face continued violence.
Foot ended his outline by emphasizing again delicacy situation in Ankara, saying he acutely aware need for action and understood Greek Cypriot impatience, but he and his advisors feared Turk resort to violence (as on January 27–28)7 as means pressuring British—and felt consequences EOKA violence (as result British failure make gesture now) possibly less severe and less lasting than violent Turk reaction to new British initiative which to Turks might seem pro-Greek.
Comment: As always Foot impresses with his candor and sincerity. He obviously frustrated by inability act here and hopes I will say things to key Greek Cypriots he would like say but can't.
Subsequently have had long and very friendly conversation Paschalides, Acting Secretary Ethnarchy and most direct contact we have with organization which may still have some influence with Grivas. Made most above points. Paschalides seemed impressed with logic of arguments but as usual with Greek Cypriots included caveat to effect may not be possible hold line till June and that “there comes time when men will fight for principle no matter what the consequences”. his comments were further indication as suggested Contel 301, that control movement may no longer be in hands more sophisticated leaders who are capable weighing consequences their actions.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4–1658. Secret; Limit Distribution; Noforn. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, and Paris for USRO.↩
- Makarios, as Archbishop of Cyprus, had been invited to a Church of England-sponsored conference at Lambeth, England.↩
- Telegram 299 from Nicosia, April 15, reported on EOKA threats to widen its terroristic actions to include all British nationals. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/4–1558)↩
- Telegram 301 from Nicosia, April 15, outlined a proposed statement that the United States might suggest to the British Government to head off a reprise of EOKA violence. Belcher noted that the proposal had the support of British officials on Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/4–1558)↩
- Greek independence day. EOKA marked the event by murdering members of the Communist trade union front, AKEL, and with a passive resistance campaign that included a boycott of all British goods.↩
- Reference is to Foot’s February 13 meeting with Makarios in Athens; see Document 186.↩
- Telegram 239 from Nicosia, February 17, reported on discussions with Greek Cypriot leaders and on Makarios' efforts to prevent a renewal of EOKA violence. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/2–1758)↩
- Reference is to the Turkish Cypriot riots in Nicosia in which 8 Turks were killed and 40 policemen injured.↩