10. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

1017. From Under Secretary. We met this morning first with Foreign Minister Erkin and then went with him for session with PM Inonu. In both cases, I explained our interest in problem of Cyprus, our concern over its dangers and our support for peacekeeping-mediator proposals. At same time I made clear we and other non-guarantor powers could only participate if Makarios agreed, and I indicated considerable concern at what I understood to be his rather negative attitude. Said I was going to Nicosia tomorrow and intended to press hard for his agreement. They asked what could be done if he refused, to which I replied that this would depend upon nature of his refusal. We had no specific present plans in this regard.

I also discussed report that Makarios plans to appeal to UN after Greek elections are over and seek resolution warning against aggression or interference with independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus. Assured them I intended try to dissuade him from this and make point that there should be reference to Security Council only after full agreement reached among parties concerned. Turks agreed premature Security Council debate would be harmful and wished me well in my efforts.

I emphasized that continuing tense situation on island and Makarios’ idea of rushing to UN made it imperative for us to get quick decision and that I would work hard to this end. Was prepared stay over day or two in Nicosia if satisfactory answer not forthcoming tomorrow.

Erkin asked about Greek position. I said they supported peacekeeping plan but had told me they had little influence on Makarios. Erkin questioned latter statement, but we said our own information from various sources confirmed it. He commented some Greek moves had been displeasing to Turkey, but government exercised restraint despite heavy pressures on it to act, including severe criticism by Parliamentary opposition. I said we appreciated this and told him Greek Foreign Minister Palamas had himself expressed admiration for restraint displayed by Inonu.

Erkin indicated he fully realized dangers Turkish intervention, saying British would withdraw and Greeks would intervene “not with us but against us”.

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He asked whether we intended answer Soviet note. I said we were studying question, thought British answer was good one.2 Erkin commented Turkey would have something to say about note3 and referred to TASS articles criticizing Turkish position, which he said were particularly annoying because Soviet Ambassador had promised his government would support Turkey.

Both Inonu and Erkin remarked position Turkish community in Cyprus was getting worse rather than better, “massacres” still continuing. Longer international force delayed, worse situation would get, because Makarios and associates have “no scruples left”. Inonu added, Turks have no confidence in guarantee enforced solely by British, although British have enough troops on island for purpose. Problem was British instructions to their troops. They were instructed not to shoot but confine themselves to giving advice which was not enough. Asked if British could not be induced to act more effectively, I said I would talk to them about it.

They asked for our suggestions for proposed mediator, and I mentioned names of van Roijen, Plimsoll, van Kleffans. Said Spaak and Lange probably out of consideration because both occupied in important full time positions. Inonu said he was not familiar with first three names but made no suggestions of his own. Expressed hope man chosen would have full opportunity to learn facts and would realize Turkish community cannot be left to mercies of Makarios.

Erkin asked our reactions to proposed Turkish changes in joint proposals. I said we had given them consideration and thought we had been able to meet most important points. Jernegan would meet later with Foreign Office officials to explain what we had done.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Nicosia, London, USUN, and Athens. Passed to the White House, CIA, JCS, OSD, CINCEUR, and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. For text of the Soviet note and the U.S. reply, see Department of State Bulletin, March 23, 1964, pp. 446–448. For text of the British reply, see The New York Times, February 9, 1964.
  3. The Turkish reply was released on February 25. A copy is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Cyprus.