161. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

601. Embtel 596.2 Made pre-arranged call on Erkin this morning for purpose general discussion.

As might have been expected he was very upset re recent turn of events affecting questions rotation and Cyprus road, saying he had just talked to Inonu and was at wit’s end know what to do. Feeling in country is very strong and “pressures” (unspecified but presumably military) being exerted on govt. U Thant has turned out be just as bad as Makarios. GOT had been criticized before for using air force but they will do so again if necessary to effect rotation and be prepared “to fight it out”.

I asked Erkin if he could clarify situation as he sees it. Following is distillation of what he had to say:

Rotation and opening Kyrenia Road are separate questions and must go ahead with first regardless of second. However, if we happened to be susceptible of simultaneous solution that would cause no problem.

As regards Kyrenia Road, both sides are agreed re Nicosia by-pass, Turks also agree that, with exception of Turk contingent and UNFICYP no armed forces would be allowed on road. Turks had agreed remove Turkish police against strong Cypriot Turk objection and Cypriot Turk armed forces would also not be allowed use (since this contrary to what we told yesterday, I managed get this repeated three times in effort avoid misunderstanding).

What GOT cannot stomach, however, and what it never agreed to in contacts with SYG was that Turk contingent could only use road without arms. GOT has given assurance that contingent would only use road for normal “requirements of service and liaison”. It has also stated that contingent commander would maintain close contact and cooperation with UN commander. What further could reasonably be asked of GOT? After all there are limits to concessions and GOT cannot take action which would undermine integrity of a duly constituted military unit.

Emphasizing that contingent is only question as far as road concerned, Erkin asked that I communicate most urgently with Washington and seek its views with minimum delay since this could be most important in influencing current decision making here.

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Comment: It will be noted that foregoing differs importantly from situation as presented yesterday by Turkemen in sense that it reduces problem to Turk contingent use of road by eliminating Cypriot Turk fighters, which in line with what Eralp presumably informed SYG in writing (Nicosia’s 562 to Dept).3 Would also constitute point which, according USUN’s 926 to Dept,4 is regarded as negotiable by Bunche.

How to reconcile difference between reftel and situation as postulated by Erkin is unclear. Hopefully, since Erkin had just gone over with Inonu, it represents a modification in position following report from Eralp and I believe we should proceed on that assumption, although confusion in this connection has been so great throughout that it is difficult know when on firm ground.

Would strongly recommend we take this opportunity flash something back here for communication to Erkin by tomorrow morning. This would serve two purposes; firstly, to capitalize on what could be settlement of rotation at time when pressure building up here to go off deep end; secondly, to give concrete evidence of our continuing interest in Cyprus problem at time when, despite full explanation, there is strong feeling here that we have abandoned Turks to their fate. In fact, Erkin made this pretty clear this morning and, although we cannot always pander to psychological reactions, I believe that in this case there is sufficient substance to it to justify recognition, especially since the context in which problem now raised would seem to be potentially constructive and not involve our getting into unduly deep water.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Immediate. Also sent to USUN and repeated to Athens, Nicosia, and London. Passed to the White House, DOD, and CIA.
  2. Telegram 596 from Ankara, September 30, reported rising Turkish concern over the issue of troop rotation and the latest Turkish diplomatic efforts to deal with this issue. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 562 from Nicosia, September 30, transmitted the purported text of a Turkish note to the UNFICYP Commander on the rotation and Kyrenia Road problems. (Ibid.)
  4. Telegram 926 from USUN, September 30, reported on U.N. officials’ discussions with Makarios over the rotation issue (Ibid.)
  5. Telegram 978 from USUN, October 5, reported that an agreement on control of the Kyrenia Road had been reached. (Ibid.)