322. Telegram From the Consulate General in Nicosia to the Department of State 0
454. Question military aid to Cyprus Republic raised very informally by Governor just prior my departure for Ankara-Athens consultation. Informed Ambassador Riddleberger that Foot and military advisers favored use British equipment for new 2,000 man army. Much equipment and repair facilities already here. However, in case British equipment required payment they favored US equipment if it could be given free.
Situation now changed. Foot now tells me his advisers have reconsidered and are in favor Cyprus Army being equipped with material similar to that to be used by Greek and Turkish contingents. Since Greek and Turkish officers will be responsible for training new Cypriot Army they should be able work with familiar equipment. This would mean primarily US material of kind used by NATO forces.
Appears therefore, that when inevitable planning for new army starts, Cypriots will in all probability turn to USG for assistance in equipping force. It is estimated some 2,000,000 pounds required annually just to clothe, feed, house and pay new force. Additional equipment costs would be too burdensome for new government even if it had viable economy to back it up.
Recommend USG reach early decision in principle regarding willingness supply arms if requested but that at all costs we avoid predominantly military aid program to new nation whose attention focussed on more desirable and needed economic assistance.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.56/5–459. Secret. Repeated to London, Ankara, Athens, and Paris for USRO.↩