154. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1
448. We had just completed drafting following telegram when we received Deptel 240.2 Believe that it, if taken with Embtel 4313 (Notal) provides lines of action which are complementary to those proposed in 240.[Page 305]
Suspension of Geneva negotiations and GOG-GOC communiqué announcing agreement of two governments to take Cyprus problem to UNGA has led us to explore among ourselves ways and means whereby lid could be kept on situation here while at same time doing something to impede present rapid drift to left. We still believe that some variety of “instant enosis” before UNGA along lines proposed Embtel 1744 and 3455 would be course of action most in US interest. However if, as it appears from here, Turkish agreement to “instant enosis” cannot be obtained on terms which would assure successful operation, we think that determined effort by USG of sort we are proposing could be valid second-best policy. This policy would have as its objectives keeping the peace on island, preventing Communist domination and producing for the post UNGA period a more rational and internationally responsible attitude on part of Cyprus leadership. Presumably enosis would still be our ultimate solution to Cyprus problem but none of our proposed lines of action would appear to stand in way of that goal.
Keep the peace. Basic assumption upon which whole policy is based is, of course, that Turks do not invade Cyprus during this period. This means that on island provocations to them are held to a minimum. At moment, as USUN’s 589 to Dept6 expressed very well, two most inflammatory issues are troop rotation and economic blockade. These show some chance of being alleviated or fuzzed over but there will be other difficulties which will immediately arise. We foresee no basic change prior UNGA in present impasse which manifests itself in virtual absence intercommunal area travel, continuing Greek Cypriot pressure aimed at stimulating defection among Turks to end de facto separate entity, lack of all direct official Cypriot Greek/Turk contact and steady deterioration Turkish Cypriot living conditions.
On food and living condition for Turks we can see no new or imaginative alternative to unremitting and coordinated pressure on GOC at all levels by USG through Embassy here, UNSYG through his representative on island and other interested governments. All of us are engaged in this now but are seeking ways improve coordination. (Galo Plaza’s modest successes in raising blockade indicate that he should be kept on if at all possible.) We would also try direct world press attention more sharply at pressures on Turks. At same time, we would continue (as now in our weekly luncheon meetings with leaders) to try to prevent Turkish Cypriots from creating their own provocations by over-exaggerating their plight.
On military side of keeping the peace, believe that continued UNFICYP presence with hopefully wider or at least more discretionary powers [Page 306] remains important. However, determining factor will be degree of restraint GOG can exert through its forces here and through Grivas. We have made proposals in Embtel 431 (Notal) for strengthening GOG hand in Cyprus and would hope that these could be pursued actively.
Political action in Cyprus. The West still retains certain basic assets in its competition with Communist forces for Cyprus. These are: ideological affinity of Greek Cypriot people with the West growing out of their age-old yearning to return to Mother Greece, a Western country; fear of a Communist take-over on part of business, educated, and professional groups who, while they lack political strength, have some if dwindling influence; presence substantial number Greek troops, loyal, well-disciplined and anti-Communist, Greek Cypriot National Guard as yet not extensively penetrated by Communists; several Ministers and General Grivas who are anti-Communist and oppose Makarios’ policy on this subject. In addition, USG has worked with non-Communist nationalist Greek Cypriot organizations in fields of labor, youth, veterans affairs, farmer unions and certain newspapers.
Unfortunately, due sharp anti-US hysteria which prevails in Cyprus today because of what Greek Cypriots believe to be US pro-Turk policy we are precluded from taking full advantage of contacts in anti-Communist forces listed above. There are two possibilities which occur to us to get out of box we are in:
- [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] seek take advantage of contacts with certain carefully selected key figures on only grounds possible under present circumstances, namely by privately indicating that USG fully supports concept of enosis with NATO base and is working covertly now and will be openly later to bring this about, and
- Assess and support anti-Communist programs through Greek Embassy (perhaps using Greek Embassy Political Counselor proposed Embtel 431 Notal).
Number one has serious risks in our opinion since it could lead to leaks with bad Turkish reaction thereto and increased pressure for overt commitment to enosis. Therefore after consideration we strongly prefer number two.
Meanwhile as far as possible we would try to establish appearance of business as usual. Fulbright and other student exchange programs would be carried forward as if there were no question that Cyprus was going to emerge on Western side from present difficulties, trade promotion activities and contacts in economic community would be pursued with same principle in mind, our aid program would be continued along lines set forth Embtel Toaid 45.7
Other random suggestions are that: [Page 307]
- Greek language VOA broadcasts should be increased in number of hours. We have noted that Greek Cypriots are indefatigable radio listeners and great comparers of news broadcasts.
- Greek American associations could be utilized as means keeping some American lines open into Greek Cypriot community. Aside from limited objective of Embtel 4438 Notal believe real effort in “people to people” type program would pay dividends; scholarships to village boys to American farm school at Thessaloniki; direct contact with moribund Cyprus American Academic Assn as an agent on island; support of sports clubs along lines one-shot deal arranged through Eugene Rossides; community to community program; visits here by prominent Greek Americans traveling in Greece or general area, etc, etc.
In interim before UNGA, image of US as pro-Turk would tend to grow due to Greek Cypriot propaganda campaign and open Soviet support of GOC position. There is little we can do except attempt to present impression of strength, calm and faith in eventual mutually satisfactory Cyprus solution; here on island we will avoid air of impatience in such official contacts as remain since this is inevitably taken as sign of exasperation at “failure” of Geneva talks and “frenzy” to achieve “NATO” settlement prior to UNGA.
Additionally I would hope be able establish more meaningful relationship with President than has been possible in recent months about which we will submit further comments septel.
Most difficult to handle big problem remains that of Soviet penetration and, of that problem, most dangerous aspect is Makarios tendency to try to play US off against Soviet Union (Embtel 4419 provides very good example of how GOC naively thinks it can do this). We know Soviet game here is receiving close attention from Dept so will only suggest that somehow US should put Soviet themselves on notice through diplomatic channels that Cyprus is in Western sphere of influence and that further Soviet penetration into this area will not be tolerated.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, London, USUN, and Paris for USRO. Passed to the White House, DOD, and CIA.↩
- Telegram 432 to Athens (Document 152) was repeated to Nicosia as telegram 240.↩
- Telegram 431 from Nicosia, September 2, noted concern regarding the declining influence of the Greek Government over Makarios and suggested means by which Greece could improve its leverage. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)↩
- Dated August 5. (Ibid., POL 23–8 CYP)↩
- Dated August 19. (Ibid, POL 27 CYP)↩
- Dated September 1. (Ibid.)↩
- Not found.↩
- Telegram 443 from Nicosia, September 4, suggested a U.S.-Greek effort to dissuade Makarios from sending Kyprianou to Moscow. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)↩
- Telegram 441 from Nicosia, September 3, reported on Belcher’s presentation to Kyprianou on the issue of the Moscow trip. (Ibid.)↩