263. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State 0

308. CODEL Johnson. Following is summary of conversation between Vice President and Makarios at Government House 6:45 PM August 30.1 Memorandum prepared by Ambassador Wilkins and Bowling. Also present were Ambassador Rossides, Komer and Foreign Minister Kyprianou. Mrs. Johnson was present during latter part of conversation only.

In course greetings and exchange of compliments, Makarios referred to his visit to Washington as greatest event of his life, and expressed gratitude to and esteem for President Kennedy.

VP praised GOC for way in which it was handling its development program, recalling how it had arranged for UN group headed by Dr. Willard Thorp to come out here and formulate suggestions for a program and how this step had been followed by an International Bank survey group.

VP continued that we continued to stand ready to help with technical assistance and development loans. He wished Cyprus well citing [Page 533] Makarios visit to US as Presidential guest and VP’s return visit to Cyprus. Vice President noted both US and Cyprus were new countries and thus had many similar problems.

Makarios said that Cyprus was greatly honored by Johnson’s visit and that GOC, although inexperienced in receiving State guests, in fact VP was first, was making every effort to make his short stay a happy and memorable one. Makarios continued that although they had perhaps set out in the right way on their development program he personally thought they were moving too slowly and that they must pick up speed. Makarios made no requests for any specific American aid.

Vice President noted danger of growing Communist threat for next election in 1965, and suggested need for Makarios to organize a non-Communist party, reminding Makarios of success Communist tactics in other countries.

Makarios spoke at some length about political parties in Cyprus to the effect that only left was organized, in AKEL, the Communist Party, and PEO, the left wing labor movement. The right wing, he said, was not organized, in fact each Greek was a political leader of his own political party as was case in Greece. Makarios said he could not lead a political party, in response to VP’s question, because he was of the Church and was President of Cyprus, and that he must be above politics—but added that his successor might well come from a political party. Makarios said that when John Clerides of the Orthodox Right had run for President against him in 1959 he had had Communist support and had commanded 33 per cent of the vote in the Greek Cypriot community. At same time Makarios did not think that all of this 33 per cent were true Communists but merely temporary followers of a well organized party and that, in fact, Communist strength was decreasing. What was important, Makarios said, was that the Cyprus development program move forward so that the general public would see the benefits flowing from the present regime.

Vice President commented that situation seemed to be one which should be watched with great care because, as had been the case in some other countries, the democratic leaders had wakened one morning and found that the Communists had taken over. VP said we would regret such a development in countries which were our friends. Makarios closed his eyes, nodded, and said another party might be formed some day, but there was plenty of time before the next elections.

Vice President mentioned VOA negotiations now in progress, bringing out economic benefits accruing to Cyprus and value of permitting world to hear unbiased news and facts.

Makarios replied that matter would be considered by the Council of Ministers before he departed for Commonwealth Conference in London [Page 534] on September 9 and a decision reached. He said he must consider this from two aspects: economic and political. He would not now discuss economic side in detail except to say that he understands that the US cannot help Cyprus as much as Cyprus would like. On political side he said he had doubts of effect which VOA station might have on Cyprus non-aligned policy.

He described Cyprus as extreme “right wing” of neutralist states. Other neutral nations would no longer regard Cyprus as neutral, he remarked, and Cyprus feels that it can be more effective on the international scene and of help to the US with whom its true bonds lie, than if it became merely another member of the Western bloc. He asked if Vice President did not think that Cyprus should be non-aligned for this reason.

Vice President replied that US wants only friendship and progress of Cyprus but failed to see how providing facilities for broadcasting the truth could damage Cypriot interests. Makarios said definition of difference between truth and propaganda was matter individual interpretation. Said he himself doubted that VOA agreement would be consistent policy non-alignment.

Wilkins added that Ceylon, which was generally considered more neutral than many, had only last spring signed a new VOA agreement and also that a VOA station in Cyprus would be called an IBS or an International Broadcasting Service station consisting of medium wave for Cyprus and short wave for us which might be heard in Cyprus but could not be understood because it would be in Eastern European, Central Asian and South Asian languages and the programs would not indicate that the programs were coming from Cyprus but from Washington through an Eastern Mediterranean station. In this context, he said, a station in Cyprus will have no real effect on Cyprus non-aligned policy.

Vice President, seconded by Mr. Komer, emphasized decision could not be delayed for long, because US had other opportunities obtain sites in the area, although we prefer Cyprus.

Makarios said all points made by Vice President were of interest and assured Vice President he would give careful consideration to the matter during the coming week.

Robert Komer at suggestion Vice President briefly stated US policy re Chinese representation urging support by Cyprus for continued seating of GRC and opposition to admission of Red China.

Makarios said he pleased state that Rossides as UN Representative had instructions follow US lead on Chinese representation question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–JO/9–362. Secret. Repeated to Ankara and Nicosia.
  2. Vice President Johnson visited Cyprus August 30–31 during a 5-nation tour of the Mediterranean and Near East.