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

1402. Re Deptel 1179.2 I called on Prime Minister at his political office this noon at his request. Anschuetz accompanied me. FonMin Costopoulos, DefMin Garoufalias, UnderDefMin Papaconstantinou, and GOG Amb to Cyprus Alexandrakis were also present.

PriMin said he “agreed completely” with proposals contained in Deptel 1179 which I presented yesterday to Costopoulos (Embtel 1401)3 suggesting that if GOG can give assurances that GOG can prevent provocations for at least six months, US would be in a position to go to Turks and obtain clarification of GOT assurance they will take no military action unless provoked. Papandreou said that he could give assurances “without reservations” to six month moratorium on provocation from Greek side. He said he had just spoken to Grivas, who agreed in principle. Garoufalias and Alexandrakis will leave for Cyprus this afternoon in effort to obtain agreement of Makarios on this. PriMin emphasized that although he agreed in principle with proposals, implementation must be completely honest with “no hidden aspects.”

PriMin then went point by point over proposals.

Rotation of Turkish forces. GOG understands this to mean that no obstacles would be placed in face of rotation of Turks. However, he emphasized that unit must be composed of soldiers and must not constitute attempt to infiltrate Turkish officers. I asked if in accepting rotation PriMin meant that Greek side would not ask for exchange, or try to bargain. He answered yes.
No customs or import restrictions on Red Crescent shipments. PriMin said this unimportant matter and that GOG completely in agreement on condition that it be “honestly implemented.”
Economic blockade. PriMin said this also “logical and reasonable”.
More cooperation with UNFICYP. PM said of course.
GOG guarantee that so far as it was within its power situation on island would remain “unprovoked.” PriMin said GOG agreed but with understanding that GOC is independent government. However, he assured me he would exert all possible influence on Makarios to accept this.
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PM then said that US proposals had given him “great satisfaction” and that ideas “correspond to what we believe.” At same time he asked that USG exert all its influence on GOT to accept same principles.

I pointed out to PriMin that Department’s proposals were result of my meeting with him last Monday (Embtel 1364)4 at which time he had asked for guarantee against Turkish attack. I recalled that while I had said a guarantee against military intervention was impossible, the USG is proposing that if PriMin can give assurances there will be no provocation from Greek side for six months then we would be able to use all our diplomatic power to obtain clarification and agreement from Turks against intervention. PriMin answered that he considered it essential to have harmonization of USG and GOG views, all other points being minor and can be worked out. He said he was sending Garoufalias, who has his complete confidence, to arrange matters with Grivas and Makarios. PriMin said that GOG wants peace and he believes that GOT does also. However, he fears that misunderstanding could cause conflict. For this reason he said this latest American initiative is “praiseworthy.”

I then pointed out that proposals did not include certain points which were so obvious as to not need mentioning, such as GOG and GOC refraining from attack on Turkish contingent or proclaiming instant enosis. PriMin said “I give my guarantee on this” at which time Garoufalias interjected “unless you request it.”

I said I wanted to be perfectly sure that we understood one another’s positions clearly. I said that it was my understanding that the PM accepted completely the proposals contained in Deptel 1179. He said yes, on condition that proposals be “honestly applied.”

I asked then if Makarios accepted proposals, to which PM replied that that is why he is sending Garoufalias to Nicosia. Garoufalias interjected that Grivas accepted proposals in principle although he wanted clarification of some details, but there remained question of Makarios, and that he hoped to have Makarios’ answer when he returned, probably on Tuesday.

I then brought up question of Ambelikou and asked if Grivas is willing to accept UN control of position. Garoufalias answered that Grivas did not accept this but had counterproposed that UN forces be stationed there together with GOC forces. PriMin noted Grivas maintains it was Turks who started trouble by building road and then moving in platoon of troops. Therefore, Grivas insists that he remain in his position there but that UN force can join him. Grivas is reluctant to turn position over to UN because he claims that Turks built road even though UN was there. I pointed out that such a move by Grivas of turning over his positions to [Page 385] UN would be example of good faith and evidence of cooperation with UN that was needed.

Garoufalias then spoke at some length defending Grivas’ position. He also asked us to inform Ambassador Belcher to ask Thimayya to be “more objective” re situation. He said Grivas believed there was tendency in UNFICYP of support for Turkish position because of what they believed was their “underdog” status.

I asked for more details on what FonMin told me yesterday about the Turks blocking the road between Nicosia and Limassol.

Garoufalias answered that Turks had not actually blockaded road as yet but had constructed block houses near it. I said Grivas should not take action on his own but should go to see Thimayya even if Turks move. He said Grivas would not take any initiative but it was essential that Thimayya do so. He said he would tell Thimayya and Grivas when he saw them to try and settle this and other questions.

Costopoulos asked me what I knew about press reports of GOT plans to deliver ultimatum to GOG. I said I did not know any details but I was aware that within GOT there are those advocating hard line and those following more conciliatory policy. I said thing of most immediate concern to Turks is the “inhuman treatment” of the Turkish Cypriots. For that reason, every measure must be taken not to provide examples of “inhuman treatment”. PriMin said that as far as he knew everyone was free to move on the island and that there is no extreme hardship except for those in the Turkish created pockets.

When I left Amb Alexandrakis accompanied us to door, and I emphasized upon him once more necessity of avoiding incidents on island. I said that the Greeks are in incomparably stronger position and should be able to act with restraint toward any Turkish moves. Alexandrakis answered that while it is true Greek Cypriots are in top position on island itself, fact that Turkey is so close and constantly threatening attack makes Greeks underdogs as far as overall situation concerned.

Comment: Seriousness and importance with which Greeks view our proposals was highlighted by fact that Prime Minister had come into town on Sunday, contrary to custom, and had been holding conferences all morning with Grivas and high GOG officials before seeing me. I believe Papandreou genuinely pleased at Department’s response which he considers is obviously a step toward reduction of GOT threat. Key question remains as to whether, assuming Makarios’ acceptance in principle, GOG can enforce observance of conditions. Another factor of prime importance is that Turks refrain from sabre-rattling.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Ankara, Nicosia, London, and Paris for USRO. Passed to the White House, DOD, and CIA.
  2. Document 181.
  3. Telegram 1401, March 20, described a meeting in which Labouisse presented the proposals outlined in telegrams 1179 and 1187 (see footnote 3, Document 181) to Athens. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)
  4. Document 180.