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

3448. 1. Coming just before convening new Greek Parliament, which for first time has in it substantial, vocal and resourceful Neo-Communist opposition,1 news of Sunday’s Turkish riots in Cyprus2 could not have been better calculated to give rise to explosive outburst from Greek people. Apparent delay by British in bringing Turkish rioters under control will support widespread Greek belief that British basically on Turkish side. US also blamed, since, as several newspapers point out today, US failure to take more forthright position, September [Page 624] 19553 and later, considered by many Greeks (and was constantly presented in this manner to electorate during recent campaign) as abdication, in face unjustified Turkish demands, of historic US position of support for self-determination.

2. As separately reported, today’s Athens press takes unanimously strong line in condemnation of Turkey and some papers criticize GOG for appealing to “colonial NATO4 rather than UNSC. In Greek eyes, therefore, NATO appeal is not only real test solidarity Greece’s alliance system but may influence fate Karamanlis Government. Greek frustration over apparent Turkish success in using weapon of violence is so great that it could lead to serious threat of Greek withdrawal from NATO if they feel that organization lets them down. Fact that Turks are only taking leaf from Greek book only increases this frustration. I therefore strongly urge that we make every possible effort to stimulate NATO action which can be presented here as evidence real determination to grapple with problem on fair and objective basis.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/6–1058. Secret; Niact. Repeated to Paris for USRO, Ankara, London, and Nicosia.
  2. In the May 11 national elections in Greece, the Communist-dominated United Democratic Left (EDA) won 79 seats making it the second largest party in Parliament.
  3. Reference is to widespread anti-Greek rioting by Turkish Cypriots which began on June 7.
  4. Reference is to the U.S. decision not to support the Greek position during the Tripartite Conference on Cyprus (Cyprus 29–September 7, 1955) and the Greek resolution on Cyprus during the September 21–23, 1955, debate at the 10th U.N. General Assembly.
  5. On June 10, in response to a Greek request for NATO consideration of the Cyprus question, the North Atlantic Council met in private session in Paris. The Council heard long and impassioned statements by the Greek and Turkish Representatives of their nations’ positions on Cyprus. A special meeting was set for June 13 to hear the viewpoint of the British Government. W. Randolph Burgess, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, reported on the June 10 meeting in Polto 4096, June 10. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/6–1058)