260. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Meeting Between The President and Archbishop Makarios


  • United States
    • The President
    • Phillips Talbot, Assistant Secretary, NEA
    • William S. Gaud, Assistant Administrator, AID:AA/NESA
    • Fraser Wilkins, Ambassador to Cyprus
  • Cyprus
    • Archbishop Makarios, President
    • S. Kyprianou, Foreign Minister
    • Zenon Rossides, Ambassador to the United States
    • A. Gulen, Counselor of Embassy

The President opened with the comment that he knew our people had been speaking with the Archbishop’s government about establishing a VOA transmitter in Cyprus, and he hoped the Archbishop would be able to consider the suggestion sympathetically. Archbishop Makarios replied that personally he would like very much to approve the request. However, he must consider seriously the political implications. There were some fears that if the Government of Cyprus agreed to this proposal some other countries would no longer view it as being non-aligned. Apart from that one fear, he would like to have the installation in Cyprus “especially as I have been told that it would be established in my own region.” With a twinkle he added that this might be the main reason that would weigh in the balance when he came to a decision. The President thanked him for his willingness to weigh all the factors, adding that, as he had said in their previous session, he appreciated the Cypriot hospitality to our other communications on the island, without which we would be in difficulties with our communications farther east.

The President and the Archbishop agreed to the text of a communique to be issued at the conclusion of their talks.1

The Archbishop observed that he had had good talks in the morning with Secretary Rusk and Mr. Fowler Hamilton.2 The latter had [Page 528] taught him that in economic assistance matters the United States too knew how to remain “uncommitted.” Mr. Gaud reviewed the conversation between the Archbishop and Mr. Hamilton, who had discussed the various kinds of aid relationships. He thought everything was now on the tracks, including an assurance that we will do something about the water problem.

The President expressed himself as pleased with the Secretary of Labor’s statement at luncheon that a labor leaders’ exchange program has been arranged between Cyprus and the United States.3 A free and active labor movement contributes not only to the welfare of its members, but also helps society generally. The Foreign Minister mentioned in this connection that the Government of Cyprus regarded the establishment of a social insurance program as very important. He noted that the question of getting foreign assistance for this program had been raised with the AID officials. Ambassador Rossides added that the Government of Cyprus was also very much interested in having an American University established in Cyprus. He pointed out that in their view it would bring a useful Western influence into Cyprus and would have a beneficial effect on the local community by bringing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots into the same classes. He said that students might also be brought from neighboring countries to attend classes. In response to a question by the President, Ambassador Wilkins commented that this was a complicated matter that would need exploration before we could decide what could be done. Some had suggested that consulting the American University in Beirut might be useful. The President agreed that this might be a good thing to do.

Before the Archbishop left to meet with Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill, he and the President exchanged expressions of warm satisfaction that the Archbishop had come to this country and that they had opportunity for friendly and useful talks.

As the meeting broke up President Kennedy instructed Mr. Talbot and Mr. Gaud to pursue the questions of possible American help to the social insurance scheme and the American University scheme to an early decision, so that the Cypriots would get one answer or the other and not be left long in suspense.

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149. Secret. Drafted by Talbot and approved by the White House on June 25. The meeting was held in the White House.
  2. For text of the communique, see Department of State Bulletin, June 25, 1961, p. 1011.
  3. Memoranda of Makarios’ conversations with Rusk and Hamilton are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2115.
  4. Apparently a statement made to President Makarios by Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg during the luncheon at Blair House hosted by the President.