13. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1
1031. For Read from Hainy. Following uncleared memo of conversation with Makarios. From Under Secretary. Mr. Pickard and I called on the Archbishop this morning.2 I reiterated the concern of the USG for the situation in Cyprus not merely because of the loss of life on the island but the threat to peace which was posed. I expressed my disappointment that we had not been able to arrive at an agreement on concrete measures but stated that my government was not prepared to abandon efforts to contribute to an alleviation of the dangers that threatened.
I said that I had been instructed to return to Washington today by way of the capitals of Turkey and Greece. I would try to use what influence we had to persuade the governments in Ankara and in Athens to exercise restraint. Of course, the effectiveness of that would depend on the absence of any incidents on the island. Before leaving I had been asked to obtain the assurances of the Archbishop that he would make a public declaration of the determination of his government to restore peace and order and to take effective measures toward that end.
I said that I did not intend to discuss further the question of the application by the GOC to the Security Council but could only reiterate my regret that they were pursuing this course before taking effective steps to bring about an international force that could contribute toward peace. I said also that the Archbishop and I had established, I thought, a basis of personal friendship during the past three days and that I felt it necessary to say to him that the debate in the Security Council in the manner in which the issue was being presented by the GOC would have a lamentable effect on the world’s conception not merely of the Government of Cyprus but of the leadership of the Archbishop.
Pickard then went on to say that he had also proposed to his government that he should return to London via Ankara and Athens to discuss the future of the British peace-keeping force on the island. He said that it was impossible for the British forces to carry out their tasks in present circumstances unless it was clear beyond all doubt that it was the intention of the Government of Cyprus to restrain their forces and avoid such attacks as have happened in Limassol.[Page 28]
The Archbishop had previously given assurance that the government forces would not retaliate even if attacked. In fact, however, an attack had been carried out in Limassol with very little provocation from the Turks. Peace could only be kept by the Cypriots themselves and no force however it was composed could do the job keeping the peace unless it was the intention of the Cypriots to find a peaceful basis of living together.
The Archbishop again reiterated his assurances about the peaceful intentions of the Cypriot Government. He agreed, however, that the present basis for peace-keeping was totally inadequate and that there must be discussion of practical measures to restore the life of the community on a normal basis. He undertook to proceed with such discussions immediately on Pickard’s return from London and to do his utmost to establish a basis of confidence with the Turks which would enable a return to normal conditions on the island.
Pickard stressed that this required compromise on the Greek side as well as on the side of the Turks. There was no question of forcing the Turks to comply with Greek requirements. What was required was an overall negotiated agreement on practical measures for restoring life on the island to normal. It was only on the basis of such a settlement that a peace-keeping force would have any reality.
The Archbishop accepted all this and undertook as a practical first step himself to visit Limassol in order to give public expression to his concern that the peace should be kept on both sides.
We left the meeting on the basis of a firm undertaking from the Archbishop that he will get to work at once on practical ways of reassuring and finding a basis for returning conditions to normality on the island.
The Archbishop also promised to make some form of public declaration asserting his government’s intention to keep the peace.
The Archbishop was undoubtedly sincere and on the face of it the proposal of working out the details of practical measures for peacekeeping is a sensible next step. It would, however, be a mistake to underestimate the great difficulties of bringing any such discussions to a conclusion acceptable to both sides.
I did not discuss the compromise plan at all with Makarios, and in view of Turkish and British anxieties, I believe the less said regarding it the better for the moment.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential; Immediate. Repeated to Athens, London, and USUN. Passed to the White House, JCS, OSD, CIA, CINCEUR, and CINCSTRIKE.↩
- Sir Cyril Pickard, Assistant Under Secretary of State for the Commonwealth Relations Office, was Acting U.K. High Commissioner for Cyprus. Pickard’s report to his government on this meeting was transmitted in telegram 748 from Nicosia, February 14. (Ibid.)↩