329. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 0

2380. Rome for Liaison Officer. Paris for USRO and USCINCEUR. Ref (a) Deptel 601 to Athens, rptd London 1965,1 (b) London 1221.2 (c) Nicosia 98.3 Embassy requested informally raise with Foreign Office question financial and equipment support for Cypriot armed forces and endeavor ascertain British views on how problem can best be resolved.

As point of departure suggest Embassy refer informal Greek sounding re our receptivity to joint Greek-Turk demarche on possibility US support Cypriot forces (Athens 656).4 Before answering Greeks we desire compare notes with British.

In explaining preliminary US views Embassy may draw upon reftel (a) less sections pertaining Greek contingent Cyprus, emphasizing our reluctance become involved in direct assistance Cypriot forces and our desire see Greeks and Turks concert their planning in this field. Tentatively we propose in reply Greeks to say (1) we do not want to become involved in matter support Cypriot armed forces, and (2) we believe appropriate course action would be for GOG to work out plans for Cypriot forces with GOT and appropriate Cypriot representatives and then discuss their plans with British.

FYI: We believe principal reason behind provision for Cypriot armed forces in Zurich Agreement was need to effect compromise solution, i.e., tripartite headquarters which would make Turkish military presence on island palatable Greeks. As practical matter, responsibility defense Cyprus will in first instance fall to British garrisons on island and secondarily to Greece and Turkey as military allies Cyprus. Internal security will presumably be job 2000-man gendarmerie and police. We would therefore find it exceedingly difficult endeavor justify military assistance to Cyprus.

[Page 793]

While we see merit in idea minimizing problem of supporting Cypriot forces by reduction Cypriot troops (Nicosia 92)5 and presumably proportionate reduction Greek and Turkish contingents to be sent Cyprus, we believe we should avoid discussing this idea lest we appear to encourage renegotiation London Agreements. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/9–359. Secret. Drafted by Blood. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, Paris for USRO, Rome, and Nicosia.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 328.
  3. Telegram 1221 from London, September 3, endorsed the suggestion of an approach to the British on the question of arms supply for Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/9–359)
  4. Telegram 98 from Nicosia, September 9, reported that British officials on Cyprus were operating on the assumption that the Cypriot National Guard would be equipped similarly to the Turkish and Greek contingents on the island. (Ibid., 747C.56/9–959)
  5. Telegram 656 from Athens, September 4, reported on discussions with Demetrios Bitsios, a senior official of the Greek Foreign Office. (Ibid., 747C.00/9–459)
  6. Telegram 92 from Nicosia, September 2, reported on Turkish concern about Greek plans for training Cypriot forces and for labor policy. (Ibid., 741.56347C/9–259)