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

1227. Deptel 1032.2 For Jernegan from Ambassador. I share your concern over indications that Grivas, Makarios, and GOG are working at cross purposes and offer following comments:


GOG-Grivas relation

As we have previously noted, Grivas is under clear directive from GOG to prevent any provocative actions by Greek Cypriot forces (Embtel 1177).3 FonMin Costopoulos has told me Grivas was instructed during his recent visit to Athens to resist “another Mansoura”4 and to use his efforts to maintain calm on island. Recent CAS reports also confirm Papandreou’s and Costopoulos’ advice to Grivas to maintain status quo. I also note Nicosia’s 999 to Department5 reports Greek Ambassador Alexandrakis informed Thimayya this past week that he had been requested to repeat GOG instructions to Grivas to take no action which would increase tension.

Important question remains, however, whether Grivas will act according GOG wishes or will become persuaded, as Embassy Nicosia fears (Nicosia’s 992),6 that new adventures may be worth the risk. Since Grivas’ role or status on island has apparently never been clearly defined, it is difficult to know how much control GOG actually has over him. Greek General Staff members have always responded vaguely to our questions regarding their relationship to Grivas and to his calls at Greek Pentagon. They have emphasized, however, that he is individualistic, “stubborn mule from Cyprus.” King Constantine has told me he understands Greek General Staff can influence Grivas but that latter is not subject General Staff’s command. Costopoulos takes same line re fuzzy mil command channels, but considers Grivas will follow GOG policy guidance.

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We recognize Grivas may be toying with idea of a coup d’etat to take Makarios out of the play and to create situation in which Cyprus Government would be actively pro-enosis and anti-Communist; such coup might put Papandreou in extremely awkward position domestically if Grivas were publicly to offer enosis and Papandreou were not in a position to respond for fear of Turkish reaction. There is also reason to suspect that Grivas actually proposed during his Athens visit that Makarios be set aside and was disappointed by what he considered to be lack of GOG policy on the Cyprus issue. Greek sources have been very discreet about Grivas’ talks here. However, the King and today the Foreign Minister (contradicting his previous statement) told me General Staff making available some additional officers to Grivas to enable him strengthen command of Cyprus National Guard.


Cypriot elections and Turkish rotation

Costopoulos informed me that GOG was unaware of Makarios’ plan for new elections and did not approve his statement on this subject. FonMin also confirmed to me today that Papandreou had spoken sternly to Kyprianou when he stopped here last week on return from New York and had urged him to avoid any actions likely to aggravate situation, and specifically, to refrain from holding elections, proclaiming new Constitution, and preventing rotation of Turkish force. Re latter, Costopoulos told me he suggested to Turk Charge that rotation be under supervision Thimayya and that Turks had agreed.

Costopoulos hoped that, if Turks delay rotation short while, there would be no snags. He also said Plaza had agreed to try to help in persuading Makarios against changes in Constitution and to permit rotation.


GOG views on interim solution

To your question whether GOG appreciates problem of readjusting and adapting itself to prolongation of status quo, I think the answer is qualified yes. Soviet-Turkish rapprochement and postponement of UNGA debate have helped to make Greeks realize that unconditional enosis is out of question, although they still call for unfettered independence with right of self-determination. In these circumstances, GOG policy is to play for time, to avoid any incidents on island, and to await outcome of Plaza’s efforts. Costopoulos this morning expressed opinion that Mediator’s position was even more important in view postponement of UNGA. He observed, however, that when filed, his report would probably satisfy no one. Costopoulos also expressed hope Plaza would not file a final report in March, but would keep door open by simply submitting brief “temporary” report stating he had been unable find agreed solution and would be available for further talks. He will urge this on Plaza when he comes to Athens tomorrow and he believes Plaza may be willing extend his mediation efforts for some time to come. (This may [Page 366] well be wishful thinking.) Finally Costopoulos noted that there was little prospect of reaching agreed solution while political situation in Turkey in flux and until after Turk elections.

If Mediator, however, eventually outlined general plan for interim solution to problem and suggested talks, I think Greeks would find this face-saving way to get off hook of no negotiations—providing Plaza’s recommendations did not rule out enosis at some future date. There are, I believe, elements in GOG that may still be considering whether current situation might permit a new effort to find solution roughly along lines of August 20 Acheson formula, although Karpas area would probably not be acceptable as leased base area. More and more Greeks realize they must break out of current impasse, and Papandreou himself, I believe, knows continuation of tension and uncertainty is heavy drain on Greek economic resources and also potential threat to longevity of his government.7

If some kind of interim arrangement must be made for an independent, demilitarized Cyprus, Papandreou will probably prefer that responsibility fall on Makarios and that Makarios conduct the negotiations. (This factor also explains in part Makarios’ reluctance to talk to Turks.) In such an event, however, Papandreou will be increasingly vulnerable to attacks from the opposition asserting that he did not avail himself of his opportunities to assert his control over Makarios and to attempt to achieve at least a conditional enosis (subject to base rights, etc.).

In final analysis, what Papandreou could not accept, nor could any Greek leader, would be an agreement permanently forbidding enosis. In this respect, I believe the Greek position coincides with ours, i.e., enosis is the only solution which appears to hold out hope for lasting stability in the area.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Limited Distribution. Repeated to Ankara and Nicosia.
  2. Telegram 1032 to Athens, February 11, requested Labouisse’s analysis of requirements for aiding Greece in keeping the security situation in Cyprus under control. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 1177 from Athens, February 6, reported Greek desire to keep the situation on Cyprus calm and Costopoulos’ view that Makarios’ stand on troop rotation was not “irrevocable.” (Ibid.)
  4. Reference is to the fighting around this village in August 1964 that provoked Turkish air attacks and the subsequent crisis.
  5. Telegram 999, February 11, reported that UNFICYP officials had seen signs of Greek efforts to restrain Grivas. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)
  6. Telegram 922, February 10, reported UNFICYP concerns regarding arms build-up among Greek Cypriots. (Ibid.)
  7. In telegram 1217 from Athens, February 13, the Embassy reported information that Papandreou believed the Cyprus issue had entered a new phase. (Ibid.)