266. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State0

234. Embtel 228;1 Deptel 798 [198].2 Makarios told me this morning that in addition to press reports on Mr. Bowles’ memorandum on American assistance,3 there was another subject which disturbed him. He referred to New York Times article of early September4 which reported on Vice President Johnson’s visit to Middle East and his conversations with Makarios. Makarios read excerpts touching on Makarios’ attitude re Communism and formation of right-wing political party and said that this account hardly did justice to his views and to what he was trying to do here.

Makarios continued that he had been trying to counter international Communist activities in Cyprus and was preparing way for 1965 elections in Cyprus. Gist of Makarios’ argument was that many Cypriot Communists were merely paying lip service to party and left-wing labor union for present benefits and that since they were supporting current GOC policies, it was preferable to retain their cooperation than to risk factions and possibly armed clashes within Greek Cypriot community. Makarios was convinced that Cypriot Communists did not now pose any serious threat here and that if danger should subsequently develop he would utilize any means to resolve matter.

Makarios said: “There is no doubt about my anti-Communist views. At same time I must make use of them now and concentrate on making new Cypriot Government work and getting economic development program under way. I cannot risk dissension within Greek Cypriot community, but I will crush Communists if they try to take over our democratic republic.” He said, for example, that former EOKA fighters [Page 539] continue hell-bent to attack Cypriot Communists with force, but that he had with difficulty restrained them in interests of peace in Cyprus.

Makarios commented re right-wing political party that we in US had well-established democratic system with educated electorate and only two political parties; Cyprus did not have well-established democratic system and many of its people were unsophisticated politically. It was true Communists were organized; at same time it was too early similarly to organize right wing because, as in Greece, every Cypriot wanted to be political leader. Makarios feared that instead of one right-wing political party there might be two or more. “What if one of them were called ‘party for union with Greece’? Could I disavow such a party or such a policy?”

Makarios added that it would be difficult for him as President and as Archbishop to engage directly in political affairs. For time being it was preferable to handle matter indirectly until Cypriot politicians themselves were conscious of need for single organization in opposition to left-wing grouping. Makarios thought that this development would not take place until eve of 1965 elections.

I recalled that, during conversation with Makarios last June, President Kennedy had referred to Mao’s reliance upon organization for successful political control and that Vice President Johnson had said that preparation for political elections could not be delayed until last moment. I said that I would make known to Washington his analysis of local situation and his judgment as to how it could best be handled. Meanwhile we could continue to watch situation and work together.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 811.0080A/10–1362. Confidential. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, and London.
  2. Telegram 228, October 11, reported on official and press reaction to the publication of a memorandum on economic assistance by special envoy Chester Bowles. (Ibid., 811.0080A/10–1162)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 265.
  4. In this memorandum, Bowles proposed ending aid to states lacking the “compassion, organization and will” to effectively utilize U.S. aid. A summary of the memorandum, with extensive quotations, was published in The New York Times, October 8, 1962. In telegram 233 from Nicosia, October 13, Wilkins reported that Makarios had complained that Bowles’ comments on the Cypriot economy failed to take into consideration Cyprus’ less than 2 years of existence and the progress it had made in that period. Wilkins had responded that Bowles’ views were personal, not an expression of U.S. policy. (Department of State, Central Files, 811.80A/10–1362)
  5. The article appeared in The New York Times, September 9, 1962.