328. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State0
Athens, August 13, 1959, 5 p.m.
411. This is Country Team message.
- Believe Greek plans for 950-man army contingent they are committed to supply Cyprus under agreement probably include furnishing unit with MAP equipment. We believe that such use of MAP equipment clearly in US interests, and that we should raise no objections. However, seems that among possible arrangements under which Greeks might discharge commitment, some might raise fewer problems for US than others. For example, might be desirable that unit chosen be MAP-supported national unit not among forces specifically committed to NATO. This solution would avoid problems of whether MAP equipment being diverted, of whether such diversion created further deficiencies to be filled by MAP, or whether NATO committed forces being diverted from [Page 791] proper tasks. Purpose this message to alert Washington to problem, and to inquire whether these are views which we should communicate to Greeks, before their planning has proceeded too far.
- Closely allied subject which we believe should begin to receive consideration is problem of equipping native Cypriot force of 2,000 called for by agreement. This subject has not been raised with us by Greeks, and obviously not one on which we should take initiative. We have noted Deptel 32291 that US would be most reluctant to enter into bilateral military assistance agreement with Cyprus, and hope that needs of small Cypriot force could be met by GOG and GOT. This is obviously desirable solution, but complicated to achieve. Only, surplus material Greeks have is British, thus question of GOG supplying surplus MAP equipment to Cyprus does not arise. Adequate quantities of British equipment available in certain categories, such as rifles, bren guns and possibly radio equipment, but vehicles and support weapons not available, and GOG will not be able to supply foreign exchange to purchase them. Moreover, there is problem of integration Greek contribution with that of Turks, who so far as known here, have no disposable British equipment.
- Seems to us here that given above factors possible solution to problems of arming Cypriot native forces might lie in combined Greek, British, Turkish action. Greeks would supply their surplus British equipment, British supply those items Greeks do not have, Ankara may wish comment on nature of possible Turkish contribution.
- Request advice pt. 1 for early discussion with Greeks and in event Greeks should raise pt. 2. At that time, would appreciate such guidance as Washington able provide.2
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.56/8–1359. Secret. Repeated to Ankara, Nicosia, and London.↩
- Printed as telegram 477 to Nicosia, Document 324.↩
- In telegram 601 to Athens, August 28, the Department instructed the Embassy to avoid raising the matter of the Greek contingent with the Greek Government and reaffirmed its reluctance to supply military equipment to Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.56/8–1359)↩