360. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State 0

248. Situation in Cyprus, three months after independence, seems calm and orderly, but beneath surface there are economic and political developments taking place which will cause new government increasing difficulty and may be to disadvantage of US and free world.

[Page 840]

Economic developments relate to drought, withdrawal of British, unemployment and loss of tourist trade. We have taken initiative in urgent drought situation by offering PL 4801 and expect, with UK, Greece, Turkey and other countries, consider other kinds of economic assistance following completion UN survey report later in November.

Political developments pose real threat. On one hand AKEL, with strong apparatus in being, is expanding influence and gaining in respectability. Its Parliamentary spokesmen are effectively exploiting issues and government inertia. On other hand, Patriotic Front of Makarios is loose coalition which, with achievement of independence, has lost its common purpose and momentum. PF leaders neglecting party organization and grass roots contacts. In addition, Greek and Turkish communities remain preoccupied with communal phobia and post mortems on London-Zurich agreements, which divert attention from internal and external Communist threat. Greeks suffer from complacency while Turks handicapped by ineffectual leadership and divisions within community. Communist dangers will increase as Soviets open mission, step up economic relations through aid, barter and purchases of surpluses, and further expand existing energetic propaganda activities.

Basically, Cyprus continues friendly to West and clearly relies on it, especially US for support. At same time, Makarios is following policy in UN and elsewhere of equal friendship with all countries and avoiding thorny issues such as Israeli-Arab dispute.

To guard against Communist inroads and buttress new government, we have made several suggestions for US action, as follows:

PL 480 Title II program (Embtel 241).2
One-time military assistance for Cypriot Army (Embtel 205).3
Labor program including American trade union organizer to come to Cyprus (Embtel 180).4

[Page 841]

We are presently awaiting replies from Washington on these suggestions.5

There is also most imperative need for stepped-up American information and cultural program here. Before independence, Cyprus was British responsibility, but now it is wide open and Soviet voice is clearly heard. We urgently need information center, mobile van for rural areas, and series of cultural visits. Further suggestions will follow.6 Country Team concurs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780A.00/11–1860. Confidential. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, and London.
  2. The Cypriot Government requested P.L. 480 aid on November 3, and the United States announced its willingness to provide aid to Cyprus on November 8. The Cypriot Government’s formal request for aid was submitted on November 14. Agreements for deliveries of grain under P.L. 480 were signed in Nicosia on December 12. For texts of these agreements, see 11 UST 2687 and 2693.
  3. Telegram 241 from Nicosia, November 15, transmitted the specific list of Cypriot requests for assistance under P.L. 480. (Department of State, Central Files, 880A.49/11–1560)
  4. Telegram 205 from Nicosia, October 21, reported that during the visit of the U.S. Sixth Fleet commander the Cypriots again stressed their desire for U.S. military aid. (Ibid., 780A.062/10–2160)
  5. Telegram 180 from Nicosia, October 7, reported on Communist influences in the Cypriot trade union movement and the need for action to strengthen the non-Communist SEK. (Ibid., 880A.062/10–762)
  6. In telegram 173 to Nicosia, November 25, the Department outlined plans for increased shipment of grains to Cyprus. It to the request for military aid in Document 361. Plans for aiding Cypriot labor are in Document 362.
  7. Not further identified.