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

941. Paid routine call on President Friday.

After covering number of incidental items, raised problem of Cyprus issue in UNGA in view Article 19 problem. Said we would be interested knowing what GOC plans were for period after UN disposed of issue in General Assembly assuming voting problem settled. Makarios reminded me that he had always maintained that no matter what sort of resolution came out of General Assembly, whether good or bad from Greek Cypriot point of view, he realized UN had no capability for imposing whatever solution recommended. Therefore problem of future remained where it had always been—with people of Cyprus. Said he was giving serious consideration to promulgation of new Constitution (this is idea mentioned to me more than once by Clerides) which could be put forward on temporary ad referendum basis pending final approval by people as a whole. He observed that Turk Cypriots might or might not [Page 347] accept Constitution at that time, but this made little difference to him under circumstances. Whatever happens at UN and whatever his decision may be regarding possible new Constitution Archbishop assured me he had no intention using further violence to impose Greek Cypriot will on Turks. He would give GOT no excuse for intervention and certainly had no intention of declaring enosis with Greece until he certain Greece understood possible consequences and prepared accept them. In his mind this ruled out enosis for time being since appeared be casus belli for GOT. When I pointed out that it all very well to govern under some new constitutional framework but that this did not provide for “normalization” and eradication of physical barriers now existing between two communities, Archbishop said that this matter was up to Turks. They were free as far as he concerned to stay as they were behind Green Line and within their ghettoes if they chose not to play part in life of state under new Constitution. Said he was following Secretary Rusk’s good advice to Kyprianou given both in Washington and New York and would continue “peace offensive” expressing belief that in time more and more Turkish Cypriots would accept facts of life and return to normal existence. Makarios gave no indication he expected obtain favorable judgment in New York.

In view numerous press rumors of possibility GOC planning conversations with GOG or even with GOT, Makarios indicated he was not in favor of talks at this time since he feared they likely be unsuccessful and failure of talks to produce substantive progress might well only worsen situation. He would not be drawn out on question of possible trip to Athens but commented on my use of words “other interested parties” with reference to possible talks. With considerable emphasis Makarios said that as far as he concerned only interested parties to internal aspect of Cyprus disputes were two communities in Cyprus. Since Greek Cypriot community in majority they would determine fate of island, of course taking into account legitimate rights of Turk minority. Reiterated they had no intention using force in this connection but would rely on time being on their side. On several occasions he reiterated his ultimate aim for Cyprus was enosis but that as responsible leader and with Greek interests at heart he could not do anything which would be against the pursuit of this age-old aim of Greek Cypriots.

With regard Gromyko statement,2 Makarios said this was further evidence that Soviets like all nations were pursuing own national interests and it quite obvious that there was much more at stake for them in Turkey than in Cyprus. Said he believed Soviets had decided against wholehearted support of Greek Cypriots and were now obviously intensively [Page 348] wooing Turks. Said he felt there something basically inconsistent in Gromyko statement with regard federation as possible solution. This would merely perpetuate divisions within island and make even more difficult achievement of ostensible Soviet aim of viable independent unitary state. Said it obvious that Soviets (as well as UAR) against enosis for own national interest, but by proposing solution which perpetuated divisions, Soviets at same time were creating system in which dream of enosis and “double-enosis” would continue be ultimate aim of both Greeks and Turks in island. Added he personally utterly opposed to federation concept and could not see how it could be applied in Cyprus in view of distribution of minority throughout island.

While President did not say so specifically, it was obvious he not too perturbed by nature Gromyko statement since it contained many words having great appeal to Greeks. Federation concept merely mentioned as one possibility and Greek reject this but cling to remainder of statement supporting territorial integrity, no foreign intervention and continued independence of island. From his response to my comment Gromyko’s words would bolster Turks’ spirits considerably, it was obvious that this made little difference to him. (President later issued following press statement: “The Soviet Foreign Minister’s statement is open to various interpretations. In my view the Soviet Union supports, in the case of Cyprus, independence unfettered by treaties. But I cannot say that Moscow favors union of Cyprus with Greece.”)

In response suggestion that there might be something on which to find basis for common ground in fact that we now found Soviets, Turks and, at least for near future, Greek Cypriots supporting concept of independent Cyprus, President commented that he found no room for compromise beyond providing Turks with rights and guarantees offered minorities in other states. If this could constitute common ground then there should be possibility of Turk Cypriot participation in life of country.

With regard extension of UNFICYP mandate President reiterated statement he made to Thimayya yesterday to effect he would rely on his advice as to needs but hoped could reduce numbers.

Comments and suggestions to follow.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Confidential. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, USUN, London, and Paris for USRO.
  2. Reference is to the Soviet proposal for a “federal” form of government in Cyprus, made in an interview in Izvestia, January 21.