259. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Meeting Between The President and Archbishop Makarios


  • The President
  • Mr. Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • Mr. Fraser Wilkins, Ambassador to Cyprus
  • Mr. William S. Gaud, Assistant Administrator for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, AID
  • Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus
  • H.E. Spyros Kyprianou, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • H.E. Zenon Rossides, Cyprus Ambassador
  • Mr. Alseddin Gulen, Counselor of Embassy of Cyprus


The President then turned to the subject of aid, saying we are eager to help Cyprus, although our balance of payments problems and our defense [Page 526] requirements impose heavy burdens upon us. We are now spending $3 billion for defense, one-half of which goes to NATO. We also have the problem of obtaining sufficient money from Congress to do what we would like to do. He hopes that European nations will assume an increasingly larger share of the aid program.

He understood that in Cyprus the problem had been partly one of a lack of proper planning and that the Archbishop might feel we had been rather slow. He then asked Mr. Gaud to summarize the aid situation as he saw it.

Mr. Gaud said that he believed the Archbishop would agree that there is a very satisfactory understanding between the Archbishop on the one hand, and our Ambassador and Mission Director on the other, as to our aid program and problems. Our program consists primarily of PL 480 and Technical Assistance—much of the latter in the planning field. Steps are underway to move from planning into projects and we are ready to examine whatever projects the Cypriots develop and see whether we can help with them.

The Archbishop declared that water was the main problem. There had been a delay in deciding what to do in this field, but he hoped he would soon be ready to move. He was not looking for any radical solution. He is thinking of changing the island’s legislation so as to nationalize water and control pumping. A geological survey is needed, decisions must be reached as to where dams should be built and experimental drilling is in order. He hopes that projects in this and other fields will be ready for discussions soon.

The Archbishop then stated that he was optimistic about the future of Cyprus. He hopes to make the island less dependent on agriculture by developing appropriate industries. An oil refinery and a fertilizer plant are now under discussion. Tourism is growing and the necessary accommodations—such as a new Hilton Hotel in Nicosia—are in prospect.

The President stated that it would be a fine thing if desalinized water could be produced at a commercial rate. The Archbishop agreed and pointed out that the British are putting up a plant in their base area. It is his understanding that at the present time, water can be produced at rates appropriate for drinking but not for irrigation. He has resisted the efforts of some experts who have tried to convince him that he should build several desalinization plants near the sea. He prefers to wait and see if the British plant succeeds.

Ambassador Wilkins suggested that the Office of Saline Water might take another look at Cyprus and see what, if anything, they thought could be done along this line. The President agreed that this might be desirable.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2115. Confidential. Drafted by Talbot and approved by the White House on July 2. Separate memoranda of this conversation on Cypriot communal problems and the EEC are not printed. (Ibid.) The President and Archbishop also met on June 6; see Document 260.