206. Letter From the British Ambassador (Caccia) to Secretary of State Dulles0
Dear Mr. Secretary: The Foreign Secretary has asked me to thank you for your message about Cyprus1 which he received through the United States Embassy on the 29th May. The Prime Minister hopes to discuss the problem with you when he is in Washington.2 Meanwhile both he and the Foreign Secretary thought that you might like to see for your personal and top secret information a copy of the draft statement which it is proposed to make, and which I enclose.
On the particular points which you made in your message, the Foreign Secretary believes that although there might be a reaction in Greece against the proposal for the participation of the Turkish Government, the Greek Government and the Greek Cypriots would be content to take their lead from Archbishop Makarios, who has recently declared his willingness to accept self-government within the Commonwealth and has placed less emphasis on arrangements being defined now for the exercise of self determination. It is our conviction that to attempt now to be more precise about self-determination would only alienate the Greeks or the Turks. Our view is that there is a great danger of a Turkish and Turkish Cypriot reaction and that unless Turkish Government participation and a Turkish communal house of representatives are offered now, there is not the least chance of Turkish acceptance of the plan. Indeed, it would be most difficult to persuade the Turks to accept the Greek Cypriot majority in the Governor’s Council.
We think that from the point of view of the Cypriots the plan is imaginative and offers them a hope of peace. It also has advantages for the Greeks. For example, it is designed to take the heat out of the Cyprus problem from the international point of view for the next seven years, and does not prejudice the position thereafter. It gives full opportunity to Archbishop Makarios on the Greek Cypriot side, to reach agreement with the Governor within the framework of the plan.
The advantages of the policy for the Greek people of Cyprus are these:— [Page 618]
Specially-favoured status of the people of Cyprus
The Greek people of Cyprus will enjoy the advantages of association with Greece without having to give up their association with the British Commonwealth. This policy will give them the best possible insurance for future progress and prosperity.
If Greece agrees, the Greeks in Cyprus will enjoy Greek nationality while retaining British nationality. Thus they will be able to satisfy their desire to be recognized as Greeks without giving up advantages from which they now benefit.
The island will be administered under a unitary system of representative government which takes account of the majority position of the Greek community, provides for the election of ministers who will exercise authority in regard to both legislation and administration in a very wide field of public affairs, and also places the control of Greek Cypriot communal affairs in the hands of a representative legislature drawn entirely from the Greek community.
Ending the Emergency
Subject to violence ceasing the Emergency Regulations3 will be relaxed, those now detained will be released, the State of Emergency will be brought to an end, and the exiles will return.
Co-operation between allies
The new policy provides the opportunity for friendly relations between Great Britain, Greece and Turkey to be restored and strengthened, so that Cyprus may become a symbol of co-operation instead of a cause of conflict between the three allied Governments.
For our part we hope and intend that our plan will lead to an eventual settlement based on the continuing unity of the island and possibly also on the idea of shared sovereignty between the three interested Governments. Nevertheless it may be salutary to let the Greeks understand that if to our regret our plan cannot be carried through successfully, there is a real and imminent danger of partition.
We intend of course to give both the Greek and the Turkish Governments reasonable advance notice of our statement of policy. We shall invite their comments and tell them that we shall take them into account. It will, however, be represented as a British plan which will be carried through on British responsibility. Our last experience has convinced us that there is no hope of negotiating a Greek and Turkish agreement to any plan. We think that it is a merit in our plan that it will enable the Governor to carry on with the administration of the island on a set course which will give hope for the future. Sir Hugh Foot and all his advisers are greatly heartened by the Government’s adoption of this set policy.[Page 619]
The Foreign Secretary greatly hopes that these explanations and considerations will enable you to give us full support for this plan. We believe that this may make all the difference between its success and failure.
- Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Top Secret and Personal. Notations on the source text indicate it was seen by Dulles, Rountree, and Whitney.↩
- Document 205.↩
- June 7–11.↩
- Effected by the proclamation of a state of emergency on the island of Cyprus, November 26, 1955.↩
- Top Secret; Personal.↩