323. Telegram From the Consulate General in Nicosia to the Department of State0
483. During course Hart1 conversation with Makarios latter described his attitude towards municipalities issue2 by reading excerpts from bill which he proposes present to transitional committee this week. In essence it is public position already known through press. It does not provide sine qua non of Turkish position, namely geographic partition of five main towns. Provides only for administrative division allowing Greeks to vote and pay taxes to Greek municipal council and Turks to vote and pay taxes to Turkish municipal council. When questioned regarding British bases Makarios expounded his belief that British should not insist on having populated centers in base areas. He believed they should accept his suggestion of series of enclaves connected by existing roads to which British would have unlimited access. He was fearful that inclusion of number Greek Cypriots, possible varying from 5 to 15,000 within base areas would be source of constant friction annoying both to British and to Cypriots. Such things should be avoided if possible.
When I questioned Makarios regarding failure of AKEL to join popular front organization, EDMA, and asked him what significance might be he said that when he had suggested EDMA be created shortly after he returned to island he had throught of EDMA as organization which could embrace all those factions on island who were against Communism. He had not anticipated truly united front and was glad that left wing had not joined. He believed way to beat Communists was for right wing to promote program which was as good or better than left wing. He understood that proposed program would be announced during next week or ten days. Archbishop did not mention aid program.
When we saw Kuchuk, who had the Minister of Agriculture and Acting Defense Minister3 with him, we spent most of time discussing municipality issue although Kuchuk and Plumer opened meeting with plea for substantial aid program. Turks are adamant insisting on Geographic Division. They indicated they could go along with situation [Page 785] whereby voting and tax payments would be to respective no matter in which area individual lived or owned property. [sic]
Significant part of discussion with Turkish leaders was theme of distrust which pervaded their statements. They do not believe in Greek good will toward them and within framework of Zurich they will attempt gain every possible advantage as insurance against future when British no longer here.
Comment: With regard to municipalities issue, believe Archbishop’s announced policy is actually negotiation position from which he and Greeks will retreat once they find that it is impossible to sway Turks. Although many Greeks speak in the most adamant terms on supporting idea of administrative versus geographic division, more sensible and realistic leaders, such as Minister of Justice Clerides, have told me that it is impossible to visualize anything but geographic division as implied in London agreement. If they can persuade Turks to give in on question of taxes and voting they will in final analysis accept geographic division. Neither Makarios nor Minister gave indication GOG representation reported Contel 469,4 but am certain Christopoulos has made position GOG clear to them.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/5–1959. Secret. Repeated to London, Ankara, Athens, and Paris for USRO.↩
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Parker T. Hart visited Cyprus May 16–17 during a five-nation familiarization tour (May 9–27).↩
- Article 20 of the London agreement of February 19 provided for the establishment of separate Greek and Turkish municipalities in the five largest towns of Cyprus with the provision that this arrangement would be examined before the end of 4 years to evaluate its effectiveness.↩
- Fazil Plumer was Minister of Agriculture; Osman Orek was Minister of Defense.↩
- Telegram 469 from Nicosia, May 13, reported that the Greek Government was pressing Makarios to break the deadlock on the municipalities issue through a compromise. (Department of State, Central Files, 800.0047C/5–1359)↩