123. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

383. From Acheson. As I had anticipated, Turks took Greek counter proposal very hard, but they were even less flexible than I had hoped.

When we met at eleven this morning with Erim and Sunalp, I began by expounding fairly fully proposals which Nikolareisis and Sossides had outlined to me last night (Mission tel 382).2 Showed them on map exactly where Greeks proposed Turkish base should be and gave them brief oral summary of proposals for protection of minority. Turks listened closely, had a few questions of fact, and Erim said European Commission on Human Rights would probably not be best organ from Turkish point of view because it did not have power to issue binding decisions. We said we saw no objection to use of ICJ or subsidiary body instead.

When I got through, both Erim and Sunalp made it very clear that Greek position was unacceptable. Erim pointed out proposal involved complete abandonment of London-Zurich Agreements, especially concept of separate Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus. Turks had been willing to accept changes, in agreements, but only on condition that every change in favor of Greece was balanced by something for Turkey. No GOT, he said, could accept what Greeks were now proposing. Turkish people would not stand for it. GOT was already under heavy pressure from public opinion and army which considered it was not tough enough. It would not be realistic for him to discuss with me what Greeks had offered. In any case, he had authority from Ankara only to talk on basis of my own earlier proposals; anything else, he said, he would have to refer to Ankara, and he would do this with report I had just given him.

Erim went on to reiterate that my proposals were about the least Turkey could have considered. Sunalp interjected that Greek base suggestion was ridiculous and that Greeks were “being comic” in putting it forward. Erim emphasized that he was prepared to continue discussion on basis my suggestions provided Greeks would do likewise. If they did not, Turkey would have to make its own proposals. In this connection he gave us map of Cyprus showing four zones. First enclosed all of Karpas Peninsula and something more, which he said would be Turkish military base. Second enclosed area stretching from Famagusta [Page 251] through northern Nicosia and up to north coast between Kyrenia and Lapithos; this, he said, would be Turkish territory but demilitarized. Third covered everything south and west of this line down to a line drawn along watershed from Pomos on coast of Tylliria through Mt. Olympus southwestward to coast at Petounda Point, between Larnaca and Limassol. This zone would be Greek but demilitarized. Fourth zone began from this line and covered rest of island, which he said would be Greek without limitation.

I commented this was merely another form of partition and left us where we were six weeks ago.

We had back-and-forth discussion for some time. I admitted Greeks had been slow to make proposals and had refused to accept my ideas. But what was the alternative to reaching agreement somewhere along their lines? I was convinced that there would very soon be a major fresh outbreak of violence on Cyprus. Sunalp agreed and said violence would come from Turkey too. “Then what?”, I said. There would be a first-class mess. Suggested they should start from broad Greek-Turkish treaty I had put forward and thus get everything in far wider context. Erim said this was all very well but Turkey could not accept it if price was enosis. They could not trust Greece to keep any agreement, look at how quickly GOG had repudiated London-Zurich. It would be better for Turkey to stand on London-Zurich than to accept what Greeks were proposing.

I said if Cyprus case went to UNGA there would certainly be resolution calling for full and complete independence. Erim objected GA could not terminate treaties. I agreed but said nevertheless it would do so. Turkey would have to fight to block full Cypriot independence. To this, Erim replied it would be better for internal position GOT to accept independence under UN resolution than to go along with Greek proposition. He thought GA should be stopped, in any case, from ignoring Turkish rights, because it had recognized them by resolutions passed in 1957 and 1958. I pointed out GA would not be likely to be influenced by this. I added that Turkey could not afford to wait for Assembly to meet; major trouble in Cyprus would happen long before that. Sunalp said Turkey would intervene.

Throughout discussion I kept bearing down as strongly as I could on disastrous results of failure to reach agreement and inevitable consequent Greek-Turkish war. Turks repeatedly assured me they understood this and did not want war. Nevertheless, they were not afraid of war and did not see why they should be ones to make all concessions while Greeks made none. Sunalp commented that he hated war, having been in one (Korean) but also hated to see Turkey lose its rights and have its people suffer on Cyprus.

I observed that there was no way of telling where war would end; Russia might intervene. Turks should recognize that Makarios was like [Page 252] mad man whom Greeks could not stop. They had made grave mistake in giving him so much leeway. To this Sunalp remarked Turkey would have to pay for their mistake; I agreed but added that if Turkey made a grave mistake of its own in going to war it would have to pay for that too.

It seemed to me that the only alternatives left were violence and war on the one hand and acceptance of something like the Greek proposals on the other. The latter would at least get rid of Makarios. Turks should realize they could not get anything resembling partition from Greeks. Sunalp retorted that Greeks could not get enosis from Turkey. I said I realized it was tough decision for them to make, but there it was.

In conclusion, I asked Erim if he wanted me to tell Greeks that their offer of base at Cape Greco was totally unacceptable, or if he wanted to consult Ankara first. He said I should go ahead and tell them. Even with regard to whole Karpas Peninsula, GOT had rejected idea of leased base, and it would find present Greek proposal quite out of question. I said I would talk to Greeks again today and see Turks again tomorrow or Monday.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Priority; Exdis-TAG. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, London, USUN, DOD, CIA, and the White House.
  2. Telegram 382 from Geneva, August 15, outlined Greek proposals for a Turkish base area leased for a period of 25 years. (Ibid.)