247. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • 1. United States Foreign Policy
  • 2. Economic Aid to Cyprus
  • 3. Cypriot Commonwealth Membership
  • 4. Cypriot Role in the United Nations


  • Zenon Rossides, Ambassador of Cyprus
  • The Secretary
  • Robert G. Miner, GTI
  • Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., GTI

Ambassador Rossides extended congratulations to the Secretary on his appointment, and expressed gratification with regard to the foreign policy positions taken by the new Administration. He considered it essential to adhere to moral principles in international relations, and felt the United States could and should provide moral leadership for the Free World.

The Ambassador then stated that he wanted to explain briefly to the Secretary the problems of Cyprus. The London–Zurich Agreements which created the Republic were in many ways divisive.1 This was unfortunate but a fact with which Cyprus had to live. The problems which this caused were compounded by economic difficulties. Archbishop Makarios was a strong and effective leader, but he needed support. Some help would be forthcoming from the United Nations, with which Cyprus had just concluded a technical cooperation agreement.2 In addition, [Page 513] however, Cyprus looked to the United States for technical and economic aid. In this connection he understood that a proposed Technical Cooperation Agreement between the United States and Cyprus was now awaiting approval in the Department.3

The Secretary replied that this matter was well advanced and that we hoped to be able to do something very soon. The Secretary then inquired concerning the status of the Thorp Report on the Cypriot economy.4

Ambassador Rossides replied that publication of the Report was expected in the near future. He thought the Report generally a good one, but felt that it overestimated indigenous Cypriot investment capabilities. While there were Cypriots with investment capital, they were reluctant to take the lead. In his opinion, it would first be necessary to obtain outside help in order to encourage Cypriot investment. The Secretary commented that, in his opinion, it was psychologically important for the Cypriots themselves to set the example by investing in their country’s economic future. The Ambassador agreed but said that unfortunately private individuals tended to think first of their private interests. What was needed was to find a middle way, with investment capital coming from both Cypriot and outside sources.

Areas in which help was particularly needed, the Ambassador said, were port improvement and the development of water resources. Since Cyprus was basically an agricultural country, development in these fields was necessary in order to expand agricultural production and the facilities for exporting agricultural products. The Thorp Report stated that the water development program could be domestically financed, but the Ambassador doubted that this was possible.

In response to the Secretary’s question concerning the status of Cypriot Commonwealth membership, Ambassador Rossides explained the political and constitutional background of the parliamentary decision to apply for membership for a five year period, and opined that Cyprus would soon become a member. During a recent discussion with Prime Minister Macmillan, he had gathered that there were no obstacles to the acceptance of Cyprus as a full Commonwealth member.

As the Ambassador was leaving, the Secretary expressed gratification with regard to the Cypriot delegation’s role during the fall session of the General Assembly, to which the Ambassador was his country’s chief delegate. The Ambassador thanked the Secretary and commented [Page 514] that he had been particularly pleased by the United States position when the Congo question last came before the Security Council.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Atherton and approved in S on March 11. In a separate memorandum of conversation, Rossides brought up the possibility of a visit by Makarios to the United States. Rusk responded that the United States would defer a reply to this request, pending a study of problems related to the visit, but expressed a desire for a visit at a future date. (Ibid.)
  2. For text of the communique containing the Zurich agreements, see The New York Times, February 12, 1959. For text of the London agreements, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1959, pp. 765–775, or Conference on Cyprus. Documents Signed and Initialled at Lancaster House February 19. Command 680. (London, 1959)
  3. For text of the U.N.-Cyprus technical cooperation agreement, signed February 24 in Nicosia, see 3 UNTS 389.
  4. For text of the agreement, signed in Nicosia on June 29, 1961, and entered into force the same day, see TIAS 4792.
  5. Reference is to the report of a U.N. Economic Survey team, headed by Willard Thorp, provided to President Makarios in December 1960.