167. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

785. Ankara’s 872 to Dept.2 Reftel has again clearly described painful dilemma in which US finds itself namely that we cannot press forward on course which would provide permanent solution to Cyprus problem without at same time seriously damaging, if not destroying, our important relationship with Turkey. Since this is so, agree with Ambassador Hare that practical question now before us is what kind of independent Cyprus and is there anything US can or should do to shape this independence. Stating question another way is what kind of independent Cyprus can Turkey live with over next few years.

Our analysis of proposals reftel is based on following assumptions: 1) federation of Cyprus really means partition of Cyprus and therefore will require force to be imposed; 2) Makarios is in no mood to negotiate precisely because as reftel puts it he has upper hand and 3) US has very little leverage on Makarios and because of our proposed stand in UNGA we are likely to have even less influence.

Federation as envisaged by Turk-Cypriot leaders and we suppose by GOT is solution which might possibly be imposed temporarily at great cost by force of arms. Admittedly we have not yet got a definition of this all important word but before we go any further down this dangerous road we should know exactly what is in mind in Ankara. Geographic separation of most of two communities with boundaries cutting Famagusta and Nicosia and running west to Kokkina area is Turk Cypriot meaning. This is not merely a horse which can’t go far down the track. It will stop any race which might possibly lead to an agreed solution through the efforts of the Mediator. Also worth noting again that Galo Plaza will need a lot of proselytizing on this one and obviously concept ought to be checked out thoroughly with him before we make any decision. We convinced there is no chance of selling this concept to Greek Cypriots generally or to Makarios in particular.

Since GOG has refused to agree to talk with GOT, possibility that Makarios who knows that he is master of Cypriot house would agree to talk with Turks would seem to be even more remote. As we have been regularly reporting and which reftel recognizes, Makarios and Greek Cypriots have preponderance of power, de facto control of government machinery, and strong determination to reach goal of “unfettered independence.” [Page 338] Makarios would react to suggestion to negotiate as another example of pressure to give up positions which he has already won over Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, not only would he refuse but if he follows past practice, would likely kick off another round of anti-US/NATO hysteria claiming foreign interference once again. Moreover, as long as GOC has indicated to Greek Cypriot public that answer to problem lies in resolution at UNGA, it would be politically impossible for GOC leadership to agree to undertake talks with GOC. In sum, we cannot detect any spirit of compromise here, at all. All shades of opinion, even those who deep down are for “instant enosis” at this stage of game agree with GOC public position that next step is UNGA and the best effort should be made there to obtain world consensus to invalidate treaties and resolution supporting unfettered independence and principle of self-determination.

GOC/Makarios current strategy is maintain facade of reasonableness combined with unilateral action of non-provocative nature. Meantime GOC proceeding step by step put into effect most of 13 points first promulgated year ago just prior to opening scene present tragedy. GOC already has accomplished de facto majority rule in Parliament, unified judiciary, abolished separate municipalities, and is considering new tax and measure to abolish Greek Communal Chamber. Such measures will continue to be applied between now and UNGA. After these “milestones” no matter what nature of resolution, Greeks here will probably promulgate new constitution providing framework for unitary state. The prospect is chilling for Turk Cypriots; they will be ignored and left to wither on vine like Arab refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza. At same time there is little likelihood that GOC will give new provocation to GOT to intervene.

Moreover, subsequent to UNGA and assuming GOC cannot get satisfaction in wording of resolution, we shall see not just continuation of series of faits accomplis establishing unitary state, but we shall also see accelerated leftward drift with all the trouble this means for USG installations and British bases. Therefore erosion of Western position, not to mention steady decay of Turkish Cypriot situation, both political and economic, to advantage only of Communists on island and elsewhere is something GOT must face. Turks (and we) must be prepared to live with this situation.

We must also recognize unhappy fact that except for our influence with GOG, US now has little influence on Makarios. Our modest aid programs are aimed chiefly at reestablishing some semblance of normality for Turkish community and to keep our foot in door while maintaining some momentum in Makarios’ “peace offensive.” They would have only marginal effect in getting GOC to do anything else. On other hand, GOC has relatively good leverage on us in shape of our communications facilities. After UNGA wherein we and UK will be villains of piece, GOC [Page 339] frustrations will be focused on US installations as most accessible target of vituperation and next on UK bases rather than on Turks (who strike back).

All these developments will involve no compensation to Turks and there will be no way of accurately measuring costly consequences to Alliance of which Turkey a vital link.

Under circumstances since we do not have means of persuading GOT to accept solution in best interests of Alliance, we must examine ways in which to ease burden for them. Perhaps as Galo Plaza and British seem to think, they will find UNGA educational experience and may emerge more malleable and thereby more susceptible to mediation effort, or failing that, when tempers have chance to cool they may be somewhat affected by realization US and West generally are losing on island. Even perhaps after dust settles and Turks can quietly come to realization that in fact there is no Turkish Cypriot position left on island, some face saving device can be devised where Turks bow to world opinion and to interests of Alliance in stemming leftward drift in Cyprus and perhaps also Greece. In meantime, if Turks, we and British can face sort of deterioration in all our positions described above, then we see the best intermediate policy for US as one of inaction combined with positive attempts to establish effective relationship with Makarios. If we do not choose even this path, then it is hard for us to see where we and Mediator can look further knowing that federation à la Turque is as much a casus belli for Greeks as enosis is for Turks.

This cable started out to be merely a somewhat strengthened reiteration of our previous commentary on hopelessness of selling peaceful federation here. We realize that Dept has in effect turned down (Deptel 403)3 our previous proposals for inaction at UNGA and thus what we feel is best method for starting useful dialogue with Makarios (Embtel 674).4 However since Ambassador Hare has argued cogently for new review of our Cyprus policy in light of GOT federation proposals we suggest that it might be appropriate to reconsider advantages of a policy of inaction at same time.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, Paris for USRO, London, USUN, and Moscow.
  2. Document 166.
  3. Dated November 17. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)
  4. Dated October 30. (Ibid.)