270. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State0
323. Vice President Kutchuk asked me to call this morning, saying he wanted to tell me about recent discussions re question of municipalities. Kutchuk had with him his Under Secretary Muftizade, who reviewed talks which had resumed following Makarios’ return from Turkey last November. Muftizade also gave me copies of relevant documents.
Kutchuk said he had made courtesy call on Makarios yesterday. They had discussed his recent visit to Ankara, but neither had mentioned question of municipalities, contrary to local press reports this morning which speculated that talks had been resumed and new proposals put forward.
Kutchuk and Muftizade said that Turkish Cypriots during recent conversations had sincerely tried to find solution, within Constitution, by agreeing to joint boards and at same time maintaining separate municipal councils. This was essence of agreement immediately before Christmas, but Makarios had subsequently insisted there could be no separate municipal councils, and had endeavored to place blame for breakdown of talks on Kutchuk by saying he had withdrawn his consent. Fact was Kutchuk had never given consent to abolishment of separate councils. Turkish Cypriot public opinion would not accept this change at this stage.
Kutchuk and Muftizade said that Makarios’ insistence on abolishing separate municipal councils and thus unilaterally changing Constitution illustrated his policy since independence. Makarios had from beginning believed that Turkish Cypriots had gained excessive privileges under Constitution and did not intend to let them have them. Makarios had also not permitted full implementation of provisions relating to civil service, taxation and Cypriot Army. Greek Cypriot officials had not withdrawn, as promised, civil service cases pending before Constitutional Court, nor had Public Service Commission functioned fairly. Turkish Cypriot rights relating to foreign affairs and executive power were being set aside. Turkish Cypriots were convinced that if they compromised with Makarios on municipalities, it would represent first legal breach in dike of Constitution which would thereafter be undermined and swept away.
Kutchuk and Muftizade said they were anxious to discuss all of these matters with Greek Cypriots, but had found Makarios and other [Page 544] Greek Cypriot officials basically unwilling fully to carry out provisions of Constitution. They planned, however, to await return to Cyprus of Glafkos Clerides, as they had more confidence in him and as they believed he might be able to develop new proposals within scope of Constitution. They thought it might be advisable first to discuss other unsettled issues and leave municipalities until last and thus arrange some sort of package deal.
Kutchuk and Muftizade said they had yesterday discussed these matters with British High Commissioner, who had told them Makarios was still opposed to separate municipalities, but would not for time being interfere with administration of Turkish Cypriot municipal councils. British High Commissioner had favored, they said, their plans for awaiting Clerides’ return and discussion of other matters prior to making further proposals re municipalities, and had said he would explain Turkish Cypriot attitude to Greek Cypriot Ministers.
Kutchuk said they hoped that we also would support Turkish Cypriot views. I said that we had all along counseled moderation and restraint on both sides in reconciling differences of opinion and that it would seem still to be possible to find some compromise for municipalities within framework of Constitution.
It also seemed to me that as several years had elapsed since drafting of Constitution, their subsequent experience might make possible practical changes without undermining the whole. We in US, for example, had found it necessary to make ten amendments to our Constitution not long after its adoption. I was not suggesting that they give up important rights, but that there might be adjustments which would be acceptable for good of all. I was glad to hear they stood ready to resume talks with Greek Cypriots, and expressed belief that, with Clerides’ assistance, they would be able to find some accommodation.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780A.00/1–1663. Confidential.↩