330. National Intelligence Estimate0

NIE 32.5–59


The Problem

To estimate the outlook for the prospective Republic of Cyprus and the resulting implications for other interested states.


Cyprus is slated to become independent by February 1960, according to agreements reached early in 1959 between the UK, Greece, and Turkey, and accepted by Cypriot representatives. These agreements established a most complicated framework for the new state and left many troublesome problems to be worked out before independence is achieved. Moreover, the settlement is under virulent attack by die-hard proponents of enosis (union with Greece). However, we believe that the new republic will emerge about on schedule. (Paras. 7–18)
Independence will not eradicate serious tensions between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. The settlement is replete with provisions which will tend to perpetuate divisions between them. Though the new constitution will prohibit enosis, sentiment for union with Greece will persist not only on Cyprus but in Greece itself. The island’s stability will depend in great part on whether the Greek and Turkish Governments continue to exert moderating influences on the two Cypriot communities. (Paras. 18–24, 28–29)
The Cypriot Communist Party is under able and disciplined leadership and has sufficient strength to create serious problems for the new state. It now controls the largest portion of organized labor and can disrupt government operations, industry, and commerce. Whether or not it is legalized, it will in fact probably control some 20 percent of the national legislature and will continue to play an important role in the municipal governments. (Paras. 25–27)
Cyprus’ political problems are likely to be complicated by unrealistic economic expectations. Prospects for moderate economic growth during the next few years are reasonably good if Cyprus continues to receive substantial income and investment from foreign sources. Nevertheless unemployment will almost certainly increase. Moreover, known reserves of copper, the island’s chief export, are limited. Cyprus will expect assistance from Greece, Turkey, the UK, and the US. The Soviet Union and Communist China would almost certainly extend aid if requested. The Bloc has indicated willingness to import substantial quantities of commodities which Cyprus has difficulty selling in world markets. (Paras. 31–39)
The settlement severely limits the Republic of Cyprus’ room for maneuver in international affairs. Cyprus will probably become a member of the UN and will remain in the sterling bloc. It may remain in the Commonwealth, but will probably not join NATO. (Paras. 39–42)
The British are to retain sovereignty over two base areas, which are likely in time to become the subject of increasing Cypriot opposition. The status of US communications facilities is not under any imminent threat, though the price asked will increase. (Paras. 43–44)

[Here follows the “Discussion” section of the estimate.]

  1. Source: Department of State, INR-NIE Files. Secret. A note on the cover sheet reads in part:

    “Submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence. The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.

    “Concurred in by the United States Intelligence Board on 6 October 1959.” The representatives of the AEC and FBI abstained because the subject was outside their jurisdiction.