126. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Greece1

306. Please deliver soonest following message from President to Prime Minister Papandreou:

Begin verbatim text.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I have read with interest and appreciation your reply to Prime Minister Inonu’s message.2 Your readiness to look to the future and your sense of urgency about a negotiated solution are highly valued here.

I am sure you agree that nothing must interfere with the urgent business of achieving an agreement between Greece and Turkey. Yet today peace on Cyprus is precarious. Events could take the matter out of the hands of diplomacy at any moment. We know you are exercising your maximum influence and power on the Greek Cypriots in order to insure that they not provoke incidents in the days ahead. You and I both understand that if the Greek Cypriots renew their attacks or continue their present heavy pressure against the minority community, Turk Cypriots will call for assistance from Turkey and the situation might then become quite unmanageable.

I have followed with the keenest interest the discussions that Mr. Dean Acheson has been having in Geneva. No other question has taken so much of my own personal time and attention. I am pleased at the progress [Page 257] made on questions relating to the position of the minority community and on the principle of a Turkish base. The major remaining point appears to be the location and extent of the territory allocated for Turkish security arrangements.

I fully endorse Mr. Acheson’s conclusion that the Karpas Peninsula has a special logic in that it protects the approaches to Iskenderun. In my view this consideration overrides the difficulty that some Greek Cypriots in that area might not wish to reside on a Turkish base even under a lease arrangement. In any case this should not be an insuperable problem particularly since the numbers affected would be small. I urge you to empower your representatives at Geneva to concentrate seriously on the Karpas location in this critical phase of the negotiations.

Let me say to you quite frankly that the United States is distressed to find it necessary to inject itself into the Cyprus problem. The three guarantor powers are all NATO allies, with responsible governments that should be able to find a solution without our taking a part. We are involved, however, because of our concern for NATO and our friendship for Greece and Turkey whose own relations have become so fragile.

I do not know what the next days may bring forth in this tragic situation. But I urge upon you and Mr. Inonu that war between Greece and Turkey must never be allowed to occur. Both of you have an utterly fundamental obligation to seek the counsel of NATO at the Foreign Ministers level before you become involved with each other in conflict. When France and Germany both became NATO partners, they put behind them a long history of conflict. Greece and Turkey have the same obligations.

The primary purpose of this message is to ask two things of you.

The first is to urge you to come to an agreement with Turkey on the basis of Mr. Acheson’s suggestions. We must never suppose that the job of diplomacy is finished until an agreement is reached. An agreement between Greece and Turkey will not only avert a war between two NATO allies but will also provide an opportunity for the Greek and Cypriot peoples to combine their talents and energies to the greater good of Hellenism.

The second is that you continue to exert all your power and influence with the Greek Cypriots to maintain peace on the island. This includes securing their fullest cooperation with the United Nations and its forces as well as the lifting of blockades and obstructions that impair the ability of Turkish Cypriots to meet their daily requirements for food and other necessities.

Please be assured that I fully understand that you have very difficult political problems in your own country where feelings are at so high a pitch. I also understand your difficulties with Archbishop Makarios and other Greek Cypriots. But I am convinced that an agreement between [Page 258] you and Turkey is possible, that such an agreement could result in a definitive solution of the Cyprus problem and that this could be accomplished in such a way as to strengthen your NATO ties rather than destroy them.

You may be assured that I am making representations in other capitals and at the United Nations consistent with what I am now saying to you.

With personal good wishes

Sincerely yours,

End verbatim text.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Flash; Nodis-TAG. Drafted and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Ankara, London, and Geneva for Acheson. The President sent a parallel message to Prime Minister Inonu, transmitted in telegram 270 to Ankara, August 16. (Ibid.)
  2. See footnote 3, Document 121.
  3. In telegram 317 from Athens, August 17, Labouisse reported he delivered the President’s letter to Costopoulos who assured him that the Papandreou government would continue to negotiate in good faith at Geneva. (Ibid.)