157. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1

545. I called on Costopoulos this morning and explained that in Washington we had been engaged in general review of Cyprus situation.2 I had come back with no specific new proposals, we still awaiting GOG response suggestions which we had made with regard to further initiatives under 1956 NAC resolution,3 and that although we continue to be ready actively to assist in reaching solution, willingness find solution must come in first instance from parties directly involved. The horses have been led to water but have refused to drink.

GOC-Soviet negotiations. Costopoulos said he was afraid something serious might be developing, perhaps Cypriot efforts to extract Soviet guarantee in integrity of Cyprus. GOG would be tempted to break with Makarios on this issue, but would it be in Western interest to do so and to withdraw Greek forces presently on the island? I replied that much of present embarrassment of GOG is due to fact Makarios has always succeeded in obtaining implied Greek endorsement of Makarios’ actions through continued reaffirmation of “complete identity of views” between the two governments. If GOG fails take strong public position in event creation of mutual GOC–USSR obligations, this fact would never be understood by Western opinion. GOG cannot avoid responsibility for taking firm line with Makarios during his visit here.

Costopoulos asserted that in recent conversation with Soviet Ambassador he had pointed out that a USSR–GOC agreement, quite aside from conflict with the provisions London-Zurich Accords, would probably cause serious difficulties at moment for consideration of Cyprus question by the UNGA. He said Kyprianou would probably request Secretary’s reaction during his call on Friday to possible Soviet-GOC agreement. I assured Costopoulos that Kyprianou could anticipate a candid statement of our position.4

Istanbul situation. Costopoulos said prospect of large number of Greeks being forced to leave Istanbul in next few days has made almost impossible continuation of GOG efforts to improve understanding with GOT. He noted GOG will probably be forced raise this matter again in SC [Page 313] and that GOG cannot accept policy which seems to justify Turkish treatment Greek community in Istanbul because of Cypriot pressures on Turks which, as USG knows, GOG is attempting to eliminate. Approach reflected by USG unworthy US traditions and principles, and unfortunately Security Council discussions this problem have gone virtually unnoticed in American press. I took occasion to read virtually verbatim USUN’s comments on Security Council debate last Friday (USUN 735 to Dept).5

Costopoulos asked me whether USG would be prepared make direct unilateral representation to GOT with regard to Istanbul situation expressing not only USG regret but also pointing up fact Turkish pressure in Istanbul is only discouraging Greek efforts reach some sort understanding with Turks. I said that I would transmit his request, but that he should understand that USG position had been stated by Mr. Stevenson. So long as GOG has never been able publicly disassociate itself from GOC policies, it is difficult not to relate Turk treatment Istanbul Greeks to Makarios treatment Turkish Cypriots. Costopoulos remonstrated that USG had been made fully aware of efforts which GOG has taken discourage provocatory measures on part of Makarios.

Brosio’s mediation. Costopoulos alluded to fact Greek NAC PermRep Palamas here and that Greek Ambassador to Ankara returning to join consultation. He reiterated that until now it has been Greek policy keep substance of Cyprus matter out of NATO forum, although question of precisely what aspects Greek-Turkish relations GOG would be prepared discuss in NAC now under review. He gave little intimation there is likely to be basic change in present policy, but said he would inform me results current deliberations. Although GOG cool to use 1956 resolution, GOG still prepared officially inform NATO SYG, in connection with his watching brief, as well as certain other interested NATO powers, of GOG intention not to provide support to Makarios in event of provocations.

However, Turkish threats vis-à-vis Istanbul Greeks make such GOG initiative difficult at this moment.

Economic blockade. Costopoulos was hopeful Makarios would, in fact, keep his promises with regard to elimination of economic blockade. Makarios has begun to realize that his policy runs directly counter to his hopes for sympathetic consideration Cyprus problem in UNGA. I commented that Washington has been disappointed by long series of Makarios’ broken promises and is watching with great interest as well as reservation current efforts eliminate economic blockade.

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Troop rotation. GOG has raised question UN supervision of rotation Turk contingent with Thimayya and with U Thant. Costopoulos himself mentioned possibility of UN supervision to Turkish Ambassador who did not seem to be inclined take exception to this suggestion. It would be helpful, Costopoulos said, if U Thant would send a message to Makarios indicating UN willingness to supervise the rotation. No date for rotation has been discussed.

Comment: Local press has been widely speculating on new US solution for Cyprus. If GOG shared in this anticipation (even to small degree and notwithstanding previous Embassy warnings to contrary), this morning’s session must have been disappointing and sobering for Costopoulos. I made it extremely clear US ability to be helpful could be based only on GOG’s determination seek reasonable solution. Conjuncture of visits by Makarios, Palamas, Greek Ambassador to Turkey, Soviet-Cypriot negotiations, termination of Treaty of Establishment, etc., may possibly produce within next few days a clearer indication GOG policy.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Ankara, London, Nicosia, USUN, and Paris for USRO.
  2. Labouisse, Hare, and Belcher returned to the United States on September 10 and met with Secretary Rusk on September 12. No record of this meeting has been found.
  3. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1957, p. 17.
  4. See Document 159.
  5. Telegram 735 from USUN, September 14, outlined the reasons that prompted the U.S. and other delegations to decline to link the issues of the Greek minority in Istanbul to the Cyprus blockade. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)
  6. In telegram 767 from USUN, September 16, the Mission reported a softening of the Cypriot position on troop rotation. (Ibid.)