342. Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 0

CG–438. Re London 2894, Ankara 1386, Athens 1576, Nicosia 245.1 Useful exchange of views in reftels highlights problem of future role US might be called upon to play on Cyprus and degree of influence we should attempt to exert. We agree with general proposition that UK should take lead on Cypriot matters; that ours should be supplementary role; that we should, whenever appropriate, coordinate our approach with that of UK. Insofar as economic and military aid matters are concerned, this is consistent with current efforts to get European countries to carry greater burden.

Because of importance of our facilities on Cyprus and importance of Cyprus in Greek-Turkish relations and Eastern Mediterranean generally, it is desirable that US and UK keep in step re their assessments Cypriot problems and we hope that, consistent with our own interests on Island, UK will be willing and able assume main burden.

Embassy London therefore requested to seek early opportunity to discuss Cyprus problem with Foreign Office along following lines. Approach at Hoyer-Millar level suggested.

US Role

You might say we recognize British interests on Cyprus exceed those of any other power. We have kept HMG informed of significant approaches made to us by Cypriots and have assiduously avoided raising Cypriot hopes re US assistance in order, inter alia, not to jeopardize possibility Cypriots joining Commonwealth or to complicate work of implementing Cyprus Agreements. We also have refrained from positive response to various Cypriot approaches before obtaining British views. Our present approach promoted by desire to concert again with UK on assessment in several key areas and to assure in conjunction with UK our common objective—maintenance free world orientation of Cyprus.

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We believe UK as former sovereign power and principal user of strategic Cyprus real estate patently should take primary responsibility in helping young Republic meet economic problems and in stimulating other interested countries of Western Europe, including Greece and Turkey, to assist Cyprus. We would be interested in British estimate of Cypriot requirements for external assistance. In this connection we have noted one study by private US economist which, assuming UK military base transfers of $28 million yearly (about half of present level), copper tax-royalties of $7 million and emigrant remittances of $9 million, estimates foreign aid on order of $5 to $7 million annually will be required over next several years to preserve present levels of national income and assure minimum levels of economic growth required for political stability.

What are British intentions with regard level UK military expenditures in bases to be retained in Cyprus after independence, technical assistance, and development loans and grants in addition to those mentioned June 25 parliamentary statement? We were pleased to learn (London 3372)2 that UK has sent note to Greek and Turkish Governments on desirability of coordinating their contributions to Cypriot development. We hope UK will maintain this initiative. What are UK views on adequacy of Cypriot foreign exchange resources now and over next several years to meet minimum needs? What does UK think international agencies might do on Cyprus? Are British pressing IBRD to undertake economic survey of Cyprus? FYI. We understand from IBRD British inquired informally whether Bank would make survey, and Bank replied it was reluctant to do so since Cyprus not IBRD member, Cypriots themselves had not requested survey, and Cypriots had asked UNTAB for survey. According IBRD British have not raised matter again. End FYI.

It is clear Cypriots entertain exaggerated ideas concerning possible US aid. Aid we will be able to proffer will be modest; from point of view strictly UK interests, probably more modest the better. Does UK agree? Ex-Im Bank and DLF would be prepared consider applications for economic development credits, if justified, and appropriate US agencies would consider PL 4803 assistance, again if justified.

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We have already informed UK we have no desire become involved in direct military assistance to Cyprus. We plan tell Makarios this and at same time suggest he turn to UK, Greece and Turkey as more logical suppliers. In this connection we welcome British willingness consider request for equipment of Cypriot army (London tel 2655).4 We inclined doubt ability Greeks, Turks and Cypriots to solve by themselves problems involved in establishment and equipment Cypriot army and believe some coordination and monitoring by British may be necessary. Have British yet consulted with Greeks, Turks or Cypriots on these problems? If not, do they plan to do so? When? How?

Relations with Soviet and Neutralist Blocs

These could be conditioned significantly by developments during period prior to establishment of Cypriot Republic. While we assume UK, like US, would prefer see completely pro-Western Cyprus, cannot assume this will automatically come about since it would seem inevitable that some neutralist sentiment will manifest itself, strength of which will in all probability depend in great measure on developments in larger East-West framework. We would seem well advised to do nothing, either by omission or commission, which would tend to facilitate Cypriot Government to move in direction Soviet Bloc or neutralism. This was, inter alia, one of considerations US had in mind in endeavoring persuade UK not prejudge issue of legalization of AKEL. While it may be unrealistic to expect that Cypriot Government will refuse to permit any Soviet Bloc representation at all, in view important military and communication facilities as well as broader political implications, we hope representation can be held to minimum. In any event, we believe situation should not be prejudged by British in favor of broader Bloc contacts and/or representation prior to Cypriot independence. Has HMG received any feelers this connection? What are HMG intentions in event Soviet softening-up gestures such as proposals for high level visits during transitional period should eventuate?

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/1–1460. Secret. Drafted by Blood, Owen T. Jones, and G. Lewis Jones. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, Paris for USRO, and Nicosia.
  2. Telegram 2894 from London, December 3, recommended strategies available to the United States for ensuring a pro-Western orientation for Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/12–359) Telegram 1386 from Ankara, December 15, reported that the Turkish Government favored a multilateral approach to economic and military aid for Cyprus. (Ibid., 747C.00/12–1559) Telegram 1576 from Athens, December 7, warned that Cyprus would probably adopt a neutralist policy. (Ibid., 847C.00/12–759) Telegram 245 from Nicosia, December 10, recommended a large and active U.S. role in providing aid to Cyprus. (Ibid., 847C.00/12–1059)
  3. Telegram 3372 from London, January 6, 1960, summarized the contents of a British note which outlined the economic requirements of post-independence Cyprus. (Ibid., 847C.00/1–660)
  4. For text of P.L. 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, see 68 Stat. 454.
  5. Telegram 2655 from London, November 19, reported that the Foreign Office preferred to act on a combined and coordinated Greek-Turkish-Cypriot request for military assistance and hoped that the United States would encourage the three nations to coordinate their request. (Department of State, Central Files, 747C.56/11–1959)