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

3498. 1. Permanent Under Secretary at Foreign Office asked me call urgently and handed me following aide-memoire with request it be transmitted at once to Department:

“(Begin Translation)


The Greek population of the Island of Cyprus has, on many recent occasions, been subjected to attacks from the Turkish minority. But [Page 638] it is the first time that these attacks, instigated abroad, have reached such proportions during these last few days, causing several fatalities, more than one hundred wounded and the destruction by fire of an Orthodox Church and a large number of factories, stores and Greek property. Thus, only the Greeks have been the victims of these acts of violence.

These events have brought about an explosive situation on the Island and have brought Greco-Turkish relations to a particularly dangerous point of tension.

The Greek Government cannot remain indifferent in the face of these events. It already has had occasion to call the attention of the NATO Council and of certain of its allies to the very grave consequences that the development of the situation on Cyprus could have.

This crisis could reach a still more acute point if certain information received in Athens proved to be correct. Indeed, the Greek Government received information according to which, under pretext of the situation in Cyprus, the intention became apparent in Turkey to create disturbances which would result in the expulsion of the Greek population from Istanbul as well as that of the Oecumenical Patriarchate.

The Greek Government does not wish to believe that this information is true.

However, in view of the fact that events of the same nature have occurred in the past, the Greek Government feels obliged to call this matter to the attention of the United States Government.

If such excesses should occur against the Oecumenical Patriarchate or against Greeks, who, without interfering in the Cyprus question, live in Turkish territory by virtue of rights established by international treaties, the Greek Government would be obliged to resort to concrete measures.

Indeed, such action would be definitely hostile and completely contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter and international treaties. The result would be that all the states signatories to the Lausanne Treaty would have to contemplate the necessity of sanctions against the party guilty of having violated that Treaty. Be that as it may, and independently of possible recourse to the United Nations, the Greek Government would be obliged to resort to the following measures:
Sever its diplomatic relations with Turkey.
Denounce all bonds of alliance with Turkey. If, under the influence of various factors and despite the desire of the Greek Government, this measure were to result in putting an end to the role which devolves upon Greece within the Atlantic Alliance, the Greek Government would be obliged to consider such a possibility.
Reexamine, for its part, the status of the Moslems of Thrace and of the Dodecanese Islands.1
Resort to any other measure rendered necessary by the application of the points enumerated above.
Although the Greek Government has firmly resolved to adopt such a policy, it earnestly and sincerely hopes that the evolution of the situation will not require it to make such decisions, as it considers that cooperation with Turkey is in conformity with the interests of both countries.

(End Translation)”

Upon reading this I inquired if it represented firm intention of GOG irrespective obligations assumed under NATO. With reference to paragraph 4 of aide-memoire I pointed out that Greece has assumed obligations, together with number other countries not involved in Cyprus question, under NAT and asked whether this constituted notification intention withdraw unilaterally from NATO irrespective provisions NAT if certain circumstances arose which might be difficult control. Skefiris confirmed this was correct. At this point Averoff walked in and confirmed aide-memoire represented firm position of GOG. I recalled to Minister what I had said yesterday about our demarche in Ankara2 and said we hoped it would have calming effect.
This is no doubt Greek “reaction unpleasant for its allies” mentioned in paragraph 7 Embtel 3481.3
UK Ambassador was waiting as I left Foreign Office and is probably receiving same or similar communication now.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/6–1358. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 2:21 p.m. Repeated to London, Paris for USRO, Ankara, and Nicosia.
  2. A Turkish minority had been allowed to remain in Thrace under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne. The Greek Government reacquired the Dodecanese Islands with its Turkish minority from Italy in 1947.
  3. See Document 210.
  4. Document 215.