291. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Cyprus


  • The Secretary
  • Fatin Rustu Zorlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey
  • Ali S.H. Urguplu, Turkish Ambassador
  • Ambassador Kural, Turkish UNGA Delegation
  • Mr. Rountree, NEA
  • Ambassador Warren
  • Mr. Owen Jones, GTI
  • Mr. Joseph Sisco, UNP

Foreign Minister Zorlu said he was here for the Cyprus debate1 and he hoped the United States would support the Turkish position in the United Nations. He recalled that the General Assembly had adopted a resolution in 1957 asking the parties to negotiate.2 He said this resolution had not been implemented. While the Greek Government may have been inclined to a conference, Makarios had insisted upon the United Nations being tried again.3

The Secretary said that it was unlikely that a solution could be found in the United Nations since a solution could only be achieved by talks between the parties. We do not know precisely what our position will be on the different resolutions which will be presented. He recalled that he had discussed this matter with the Greeks yesterday, who had asked for support of their resolution.4 The Secretary said he had responded that the United States cannot support a resolution, the content of which we do not know. He recalled also that he had expressed the hope to the Greeks that what takes place in the United Nations should facilitate a further evolution towards a solution of the Cyprus question through direct discussion by the parties concerned.

In response to the Secretary’s inquiry, Foreign Minister Zorlu said that the Turkish Government had not decided whether to submit a resolution [Page 746] to the Assembly. He described the UK plan as a kind of truce between the parties and affirmed that it has Turkish approbation. While the Turks believe that the Macmillan plan can be improved in certain ways, nevertheless they had given their support since it was a truce which would not prejudice an ultimate solution. It placed the Cyprus question in “refrigeration”, leaving open the ultimate solution. During the seven-year period called for by the Macmillan plan, spirits could quiet down and allow for greater understanding, and the spirit of cooperation could develop so that a solution could be reached. He said the Greek approach had been negative. This was somewhat surprising since the idea of a conference was initially a Greek idea. Zorlu said when ever-ybody accepted the idea, the Greeks then decided to turn it down and go to the United Nations instead. The Greeks had also made a similar reversal in the question of partition. When the UK and the Turks had agreed to partition, the Greeks had then changed their attitude. Foreign Minister Zorlu said that if the Greeks do not find a good climate in the United Nations, this will be conducive to greater understanding. Foreign Minister Zorlu stressed that the Turks have always been in favor of the idea of the conference, and he cited the Trieste case of how quiet discussions can lead to a solution.

Foreign Minister Zorlu then explained the Turkish concept of partition. He said that without dividing the stand [land?] they sought a “kind of an intellectual partition”; namely that the two communities must be given the idea that neither was being governed by the other. He believed the three governments principally concerned should cooperate to this end. He did not believe it was desirable to “mix the United Nations” in this matter. In particular, the Turks felt that it would be undesirable for the United Nations to establish a committee or some sort of machinery. The Turkish attitude was to keep this matter out of the United Nations as much as possible. As to the question of observers at any conference, the Foreign Minister said the Turks had agreed to the presence of Spaak, but in general the Turks favored a conference with limited participation since negotiations could then go on without speeches and demagoguery.

The Secretary said that we do not know at this point just what the Greeks intend to propose. Mr. Rountree said the principal Greek objective was to get the United Nations to support the idea of independence. He said the Greeks would be favorably disposed to negotiations outside the United Nations but they wanted prior endorsement by the Assembly of the principle of independence so that independence would constitute the basis for negotiations.

The Secretary said it would not be very easy to defeat an independence resolution in the United Nations. Zorlu was skeptical about this and said that while an independence resolution would have some [Page 747] appeal, he did not believe that independence was as popular at the United Nations as made out to be since a number of governments understood the difficulties involved with this concept as it related to Cyprus. Moreover, they would recall Averoff’s past tactics at the UN General Assembly5 and the different views of Makarios and Kyprianos6 on independence. He expressed the view that such a Greek proposal could not pass and he feared more the possible establishment of UN machinery. The Secretary demurred, and said in his view there was much more danger of a resolution on independence being adopted by the United Nations than a resolution which would have the United Nations take over the job of solving the Cyprus question. The Secretary said that such a resolution would be supported by the Soviet bloc, countries from Africa and Asia and would find some support among the Latin Americans. Foreign Minister Zorlu said he was much more hopeful than in the past regarding the Latin American attitude.

The Secretary said that we are in accord with the general views of the Turks. We hope the results of the General Assembly debate will lead to agreement on a conference of the type Spaak has had in mind. The question is how to bring about this objective. Mr. Rountree emphasized that one of our problems was to avoid compromises in the UNGA action that might jeopardize continuing negotiations outside the United Nations framework.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/11–1858. Confidential. Drafted by Sisco.
  2. Scheduled to begin November 25.
  3. Adopted by the General Assembly on February 26, 1957. For text, see U.N. doc. A/C.1/L.172 (XI).
  4. Presumably a reference to press reports of the substance of Makarios’ talks with Karamanlis on October 25.
  5. A memorandum of Dulles’ November 17 conversation with Liatis is in Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/11–1758.
  6. Presumably a reference to Averoff’s justification for EOKA terrorism at the 12th Session of the General Assembly. For text of the debate, see U.N. doc. A/C.1/PV. 847 (XI).
  7. The Bishop of Kyrenia, a supporter of enosis, had been exiled with Makarios in March 1956.