268. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cyprus0

276. Ankara tel 738.1 Department is concerned lest current dispute between Cypriot communities develop into serious conflict between hardened and irreconcilable positions. Such conflict could afford opportunities for expansion communist power in Cyprus, endanger Greek and Turkish Governments and seriously weaken NATO.

We continue to believe that prospect of politically viable Cyprus lies not in inflexible constitutional provisions nor in solutions imposed from abroad but in pragmatic adjustments of relations between two communities and gradual development of Cypriot rather than communal interests and values.

We believe at present that any effort by either party to draw us into dispute should be politely but firmly rejected. We feel that belief on part either community that it has solid foreign backing will discourage compromise and encourage extremism.

It appears that efforts at solution should concentrate on informal negotiation between communities and ad hoc, though perhaps awkward, [Page 541] accommodations. To the extent either party uses formal legal procedures, positions will probably harden. Thus Greek Cypriot action in legally dissolving municipalities and Turk Cypriot reliance on letter of London–Zurich agreements cannot be constructive in long range.

For Nicosia: Avoid indications undue U.S. concern. Counsel moderation and mutual adjustment to leaders both communities. Continue report developments, emphasizing temper of rank and file two communities.

For Ankara: Indicate to GOT our sympathy for difficult position in which GOT has been placed, and our hope that GOT will exercise its influence on Kutchuk to end that he will continue seek ad hoc compromise with Makarios. Report any indication GOT considering formally invoking right as Guarantor Power to intervene directly, through calling Guarantor Power conference or otherwise.

For Athens: At convenient opportunities, continue counsel GOG to urge Makarios to seek solution with Kutchuk. Emphasize our feeling that a viable future for Cyprus depends to great extent on common sense and moderation these two leaders, and that any successor to Kutchuk would probably be less receptive to moderate pragmatic adjustments.

For London: You may inform British that while we feel formal consultations between guarantor powers would be counterproductive at this time, Britain, as a guarantor power, has unique opportunity consult at length very informally with Turkish and Greek Governments. Such consultation, we hope, would be based on general considerations outlined above and would assist in obviating adoption of hard uncompromising position in either Athens or Ankara.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780A.00/1–763. Confidential. Drafted by Bowling; cleared by Bracken, RPM, and BNA; and approved by Grant. Also sent to Ankara, Athens, and London and repeated to Istanbul.
  2. Telegram 738 from Ankara, January 7, reported that Turkish Foreign Office representatives had expressed concern about the hardening of positions by Greek and Turkish Cypriots and warned that Turkey would support the Turkish Cypriot position. (Ibid.)