218. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State0

3054. In carrying out instructions contained Deptel 3639,1 I chose to see Prime Minister Menderes rather than Foreign Minister Zorlu. Appointment was at 20:00 hours June 12. Menderes appeared tired but alert, and received me cordially. However as I went into message he became grave.

I said Secretary Dulles and top officials of USG had been much concerned by recent explosive events in Cyprus. Linking USA interest to disruptive effects upon NATO and present threatening international developments, and reading slowly and clearly from carefully prepared paper, I set forth three points in Deptel 3639 which I was instructed to present. Because we were alone and because Menderes made no notes, I left copy of paper with him.

After I had finished presentation Prime Minister spoke in this vein:

This is first time Turkey has reacted in Cyprus. For long years we have had to support terrorism in Cyprus, the work of EOKA, with backing of Greek Government. I do not know of events to which you refer. I shall learn about them. Anyway, it is first time it is said that Turk Cypriots are doing anything reprehensible. I remind you that GOT is subject to strongest pressure from Turk public, witness today’s Ankara meeting2 which, I may add, went off without incident. This pressure of Turk public opinion is so great that GOT cannot resist it and must take it into account. It is a sad thing that this issue has been raised between Turkey and Greece. It would have been possible for us to have gone on for years without this Greco-Turk conflict. Unfortunately, Greeks have launched endeavor which has resulted in this deadlock.

At this point, I said that I thought Secretary Dulles would want me to interject this idea: Regardless of how Greek-Turk issue has arisen, because the threat to NATO, to our good allies Turkey, Britain and Greece, and to the west is now so great, would it not be possible to consider this matter at this time solely in light of that peril?

Prime Minister responded: “I have stated what I want to say at this time.” Then, picking up my talking paper, he added that he would pass it to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ask them what he should say.

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In ending my part of conversation, I reiterated that I was relaying this message from Secretary Dulles, having in mind the USA-Turk association in NATO, our relations as allies, and our friendship and value of these relations under tremendous USSR threat that we all face today.

As I rose to go, the Prime Minister’s cordiality returned. Walking with me to door he said: “Good luck to you (USA) and to all of us in our present situation”.

Comment: Interview is yet another indication how important Zorlu has been in handling Cyprus matter (re Embdesp 755),3 but is also plain Zorlu has had full backing of Prime Minister. Fact that Menderes said he would refer my paper to “Ministry” rather than to “Minister” may just possibly be significant.

Unfortunately, I fear that Ambassador Riddleberger’s instructions to inform GOG “in strictest confidence” of substance my parallel approach Ankara will inevitably leak, and will do nothing but infuriate GOT. I venture to suggest that both Greek and Turk moods are not conducive to taking either one into confidence about the other.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/6–1358. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 9:41 a.m. Repeated to Athens, Nicosia, Paris for USRO, and London.
  2. Printed as telegram 3634 to Athens, Document 210.
  3. A mass demonstration in support of partition.
  4. Despatch 755 from Ankara, May 28, reported British speculation that Menderes may have delegated responsibility for Cyprus to Zorlu. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/5–2858)