174. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1
955. Deptel 495.2 Bernardes has had very interesting meeting with Makarios. Latter confirmed that Sov Chargé has made it very clear that if enosis is GOC goal then “deal is off.” If enosis is declared and Turks move in as they have threatened, then Sovs will stand aside; nor will they move if it is obvious that Turks take action as result of GOC attack against Turk Cypriots. Bernardes says Makarios told Satouchin that he could not specify GOC goals. Would appear that Sovs have indeed made clear to Makarios that he cannot count on them unless he prepared to deal enosis out of his future and they have at same time made clear what we have suspected all along: that they are quite pragmatic—as distinct from impression they made on gullible Cypriots—and would not get involved in nasty situation resulting from some GOC miscalculation.
There would seem to be no reason to doubt Makarios’ statement to Bernardes. It confirms reports we have been getting and sending on to Dept in recent days and although Greeks here only now and then suffer from pragmatism, they and GOC must now realize that there is real trouble ahead in their attempts to use UNGA and supposed “open-ended” Soviet backing to achieve their aims. They may therefore be more amenable to negotiation than at any time in recent months. We have suggested this in recent cables,3 but this is not to say that Makarios is now willing to accept dictation from Athens.
Which leads us to suggest that we should be very cautious indeed in proposing some new set of negotiations or talks (Deptel 495) between Greece and Turkey without being prepared to accept that the results may be abortive as the last time we did so. There is nothing that Makarios would like better than to have a chance now to burnish his somewhat, but not seriously, tarnished image a bit by appearing the super patriot again, as he did when he rejected Acheson Plan mark one once it was presented to him by Papandreou. In fact right now he needs another such chance in order to counter criticism that he had become too involved with the Soviets. As we have suggested, GOC-Makarios appear boxed in, and we should be careful not to give them opportunity get out.
We continue to believe that the time is ripe for some new initiative, whether or not along the lines of our suggestions, and that Plaza is our [Page 356] best bet, despite real or imagined unhappiness on part of Turks with him (which USG might do something to counter). We are convinced however that no new game will be productive that deals Makarios out of the first hand. He is in charge here and he has made it unmistakably clear that there are no “parties concerned” with the internal problem as far as he is concerned, except the people of Cyprus, consisting of a Greek majority and a Turk minority. This position has international appeal and from viewpoint US interests whether he has the right to feel this way is immaterial: he is in a position to sabotage any bilateral agreement reached between Greece and Turkey and emerge stronger domestically than ever before, as he did after the last time he was dealt out of the game. Had we not better promote the Clerides position—i.e., GOG and Makarios talks to line up a possible mutually acceptable position which might then be negotiated by GOC and GOT, or by GOG and GOT. Our own feeling is that interests of settlement would be better served by direct negotiations between Makarios and GOT. Trouble with GOG handling joint position for GOC–GOG is that latter will always be vulnerable to Makarios if he thinks GOG is moving in wrong direction to detriment of Cyprus or if he sees some personal advantage in pulling rug. On other hand direct GOC–GOT negotiations based on joint GOC–GOG position would seem to have effect of multiplying pressures on Makarios while giving him important psychological (and political) incentive of appearing to be master of own fate.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to USUN, London, Athens, and Ankara.↩
- Telegram 495 to Nicosia was sent for action to Athens as telegram 961, Document 172.↩
- These suggestions were made in telegrams 945 from Nicosia, January 26, 947 from Nicosia, January 27, and 953 from Nicosia, January 29, all in Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP.↩