274. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 0

4387. Cyprus municipalities dispute has reached a point where we feel we must supplement our present policy of counseling moderation with more positive action. We fully agree that any direct US approach to the factions in Cyprus would be counterproductive and would saddle us with problem for indefinite future. On other hand, UK is in peculiarly strategic position as Guarantor Power with abiding interest in island and with significant influence on parties concerned. In past few days British have demonstrated willingness to involve themselves more [Page 549] deeply in question by approaches to Turks in London and Ankara and to factions in Cyprus. However, indications are that their approach is too piecemeal and is not having desired effect. We note that GOT and GOG positions are remarkably close although neither seems fully aware of this (Erkin position reported in Ankara’s 930 to Dept;1 similar position described by Pilavaki, in Athens’ 808 to Dept,2 as possibly providing basis for negotiation). Formal tripartite consultations might promote a common position but are undesirable because they would formalize positions in propaganda arena, leave less room for maneuvering, reduce possible areas of compromise, etc.

We believe US–UK estimate of situation now basically in accord. We feel time has come for British consistently push informal approach in all three capitals. We want British to emphasize to Greeks and Turks similarities their present positions and guide them to common stance and coordinated 3-power pressure on Cypriot communities.

We are calling in a senior British Embassy officer, probably on Tuesday, to urge this course of action.3 Embassy London should, if it agrees, make a similar approach to CRO. If British demur, we will offer to join them in their approach to Greeks and Turks or, if necessary, tell them we will make the approach ourselves and ask for their support.

At same time, we are asking Ambassador Labouisse to utilize his return to Athens to point out to GOG closeness its position with that of GOT.

Request comments from both action and info posts.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 18 Cyp. Confidential. Drafted by King, cleared by GTI and BNA, and approved by Talbot. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, and Nicosia.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 272.
  3. Telegram 808 from Athens, February 13, reported on discussions with the Greek Foreign Office on developments in Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 18 Cyp)
  4. The demarche was made on February 20, when Assistant Secretary Talbot met with British Counselor Killick. In the course of their discussion, Killick stated that his government was concerned by apparent Turkish intransigence and by its control over the Turkish Cypriot negotiators. A memorandum of their conversation is ibid., POL Cyp.
  5. Telegram 3190 from London, February 18, endorsed the suggestion of prompting the British Government to take more decisive action, but also noted that the United Kingdom already was active in both Athens and Nicosia. (Ibid., POL 18 Cyp) Telegram 376 from Nicosia, February 18, endorsed the proposed action but stressed the need for leaving the United Kingdom with the greatest possible latitude. (Ibid.)