18. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Greece1

933. We are pleased to see from urtels 1279 and 12802 that Papandreou (a) aware of Communist dangers in Cyprus; (b) working on Makarios to accept U Thant proposal; and (c) agrees that main thing now is for Greeks and Turks to sit down together and work out solution.

Dept gratified at constructive dialogue which you have conducted with Papandreou since election. We are anxious have you continue full and frank exchange with him on all aspects of Cyprus problem both to establish mutual confidence and to create positive atmosphere for eventual Greco-Turkish (or tripartite) meeting. This connection, we wish give him our appraisal of current situation in New York, as follows:

As we read situation at UN, there has been substantial agreement among all concerned on same basic elements accepted in earlier US–UK proposal, to wit, need for international peacekeeping force and need for mediator. However, in our judgment, prospects are extremely remote that SC session will result in any kind of action giving reality to either of these two concepts. Reason for this perfectly clear: Makarios remains [Page 38] obdurate in opposing any UN resolution which does not have effect of negating Treaty of Guarantee. He presumably has Soviet veto in his pocket and we assume will not hesitate to use it. We and the UK, on the other hand, are equally determined that SC shall not be exploited to nullify Treaty of Guarantee, and most members of Council agree this should not be the case. We are not seeking get SC reaffirm Treaty of Guarantee; however, we cannot agree to type of resolution sought by Makarios which by completely ignoring Treaty and by giving an international force mandate that appears to be directed against Turkish intervention has effect of negating Treaty.

We hope GOG is under no illusion about futility of Makarios’ efforts get kind of action from Council he wants. (We assume Bitsios has so reported to Athens.) Only way we can see to prevent total impasse at UN is if Makarios relents in his position. We hope GOG doing what it can get him adopt more flexible attitude toward SC resolution. SC President Bernardes (Brazil) is now consulting with non-permanent SC members in hope of working out a formula which both sides can accept. We wish them well in this endeavor, but looking at problem realistically, we are convinced Bernardes will fare no better than U Thant has unless Makarios prepared abandon his objective of getting SC to vitiate Treaty.

Our present assessment is that efforts to get an acceptable resolution in Council may run for another two or three days. But we deeply concerned that if SC produces nothing, as we anticipate, vacuum may be created in which there will be further violence in Cyprus and renewed temptation for Turks to move in. We would be interested in any thoughts Papandreou has on possible lines of approach to Inonu. We glad he planned to see Turkish Ambassador and would be interested to learn whether he did so and what came of meeting. If US, as friend of both sides, can in any way facilitate Greek-Turkish dialogue, we shall be most happy to do so.

With future course of events in Cyprus murky in face of almost certain Council inaction, we would warmly welcome any thoughts Papandreou has on steps that might be taken now to avoid a dangerous vacuum when deadlock reached in SC.

FYI: We think an early Papandreou-Inonu meeting would be best next step. This could be without prejudice to later participation of UK (and US) if this proves desirable. We believe such meeting could provide vehicle for keeping lid on situation in Cyprus and convincing Makarios to accept international peacekeeping force along lines of Thant Plan.3 Possible outcome of such meeting could be to: (a) address an appeal to Makarios to take all possible measures to maintain law and order; (b) [Page 39] urge him to accept international force along lines of Thant Plan; and (c) reassure Makarios, as in Allied Plan, that rights of intervention under Treaty of Guarantee would be suspended for period during which international force operating and while mutually-agreed mediator was seeking political solution. We also believe that Makarios’ willingness accept international peacekeeping force along lines of Thant Plan would be decisively influenced if the Greeks and Turks could make clear to him that alternative to such an international peacekeeping force would be tripartite military intervention under Treaty of Guarantee. Confronted with choice between international force along lines of Thant Plan and tripartite military intervention, Makarios might well see former as lesser of two evils.

We have outlined the above rather fully to give you the flavor of our present tentative thinking. We leave it to your discretion as to how much of this would be appropriate for you to reveal to Papandreou at this time. We would like you to see Papandreou soonest, largely in context of an exchange of views on where we are in New York, and to have you probe further possibility of an early high-level meeting.4 End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Buffum and Sisco; cleared by Bracken, Talbot, and Cleveland; and approved by Ball. Repeated to Ankara, Nicosia, London, and USUN.
  2. Telegrams 1279 and 1280, February 20, reported on discussions with Papandreou regarding Cyprus. (Ibid.)
  3. This plan, which was rejected, proposed establishment of an international peacekeeping force and provided for a mediator under special circumstances. For text, see U.N. Doc. S/5554, February 15, 1964.
  4. In telegram 1298 from Athens, February 26, Labouisse reported he had passed on the Department’s views to Papandreou who outlined his efforts to restrain Makarios and stressed the need for the United States to restrain Turkey. (Ibid)