207. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Cyprus


  • Hasan Isik, Turkish Foreign Minister
  • Ambassador Turgut Menemencioglu, Turkish Embassy
  • Haluk Bayulken, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ilter Turkmen, Chairman for Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The Under Secretary
  • Raymond A. Hare, Assistant Secretary for NEA
  • George T. Churchill, Officer-in-Charge, Turkish Affairs

Isik opened the discussion on Cyprus with the observation that the governmental crisis in Greece had brought efforts to settle the Cyprus question to a standstill. Even with Papandreou in office, there had been only a slim chance of reaching a mutual understanding; now there is no reason to hope for progress. He said he had just spoken with the Greek Ambassador (to the United Nations)2 who said his government was trying to find a solution. However, it was clear that even with the good intentions of Greek officials, the situation in Greece was not conducive for a settlement. At the same time, Isik said, time is running out. It would be unfortunate if Cyprus developed along the same lines as Kashmir. We must act promptly to prevent this. He said he realizes the United States [Page 435] Government wants to help find a solution, but it would be helpful to know what the United States now proposes to do.

Mr. Ball agreed that the present situation in Greece complicates the problem. Any Greek Government for the foreseeable future will be working with a very narrow margin and will not be in a strong position to negotiate. It was the presumption at London that any Greek Government would have to negotiate on the basis of enosis with compensation to Turkey. A weak government in Athens, such as we can expect for some time, would be unable to cede territory. This does make the prospect for settlement very difficult. If we accept the premise that Greece can only negotiate on the basis of enosis, we would have to examine the alternatives. One of these is negotiations between the Turkish Government and the Government of Cyprus, although we recognize this presents difficulties for the Turks, and is, therefore, an unlikely avenue.

Being frank, Mr. Ball said it is very difficult to say what the United States might be able to do under these circumstances. We want to see some kind of agreed solution, which is the only kind that could be permanent. Even if we were in a position to bring about a settlement by force, it would be unlikely to be a permanent solution. We had hoped a period of calm on the island would allow an evolution toward some kind of solution. This apparently has not happened. However, Mr. Ball said, we are not entirely clear as to what is happening on the island, or what shape Makarios’ ambitions are taking. He said he would be interested in Mr. Isik’s assessment of the situation and his suggestions as to what the United States might usefully do.

Isik responded that the United States must do its best to avoid a settlement that would not be satisfactory to Turkey. This was the most important element. Makarios is moving continuously toward his objectives. He is always trying to create unrest. Now Makarios is offering to improve the living conditions of the Turkish refugees. This seems a good sign on the surface, but is really only another attempt to maneuver the Turkish Cypriots into accepting the status of a minority. The Turkish community rejects these blandishments, but individuals, of course, are only human. The Turks have been living under conditions of hardship for a long time, and Makarios’ offer will undermine morale in the community. Isik said that Makarios’ action on the electoral law showed clearly what his real intentions are. But Turkey cannot accept further faits accomplis. We must find a way, he said, to prevent a further deterioration of the situation. If Makarios feels he can act, he will continue to move along his present path, and this will prove disastrous. Security lies in preventing Makarios from acting.

Isik went on to say that Turkey’s relations with Greece could not be improved unless the Cyprus problem could be resolved. Turkey and Greece have implicitly agreed to avoid either enosis or partition, unless [Page 436] as part of a negotiated settlement. Annexation by Greece at this point would result in a direct confrontation.

Mr. Ball said we had made clear to Makarios on a number of occasions that we objected to unilateral revision of the London/Zurich Agreements, and we would continue to do so. We have also pointed out to him that if he proceeded with constitutional revisions, this would be a course of action unacceptable to the entire international community and a source of danger. It has been our feeling, Mr. Ball said, that Makarios has been more cautious after this warning. Isik responded that his actions were cautious but continuous.

Isik confessed that his Government was at a loss as to how to act under present circumstances. He said he was studying the situation carefully, and was interested in discovering what Turkey and the United States might do together. Mr. Ball assured Isik that the United States was prepared to do anything possible to facilitate a solution.

On the question of Cyprus in the United Nations General Assembly, Bayulken commented on the assignment of this issue to the First (Political) Committee. The Committee, he said, would determine when the issue would come up before the Assembly. He said the Turkish Government was working for a “procedural” (non-substantive) resolution. He felt that at least some of the unaligned countries would support such a resolution, although certain of these countries might feel themselves bound by the previous Cairo Conference resolution on Cyprus.3 The up-coming Afro-Asian Conference in Algiers on October 28 might also affect the situation. A non-substantive resolution might be backed by NATO and other key countries. The attitude of India and the UAR is still unknown. Bayulken felt the chances for a non-substantive resolution were about fifty-fifty at present, but that strong support from the United States and the Latin American countries would ensure success, or at least prevent a resolution favoring Makarios. The danger, Bayulken pointed out, is that a resolution might be passed which would seem harmless but could be read by the Greek-Cypriots as a victory. If this were to happen, it would ruin any chance of working out a solution to the Cyprus problem.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Confidential. Drafted by Churchill and approved in U on October 4. Isik was in the United States to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting. According to telegram 279 to Ankara, September 25, this meeting was “essentially a probing session by Hare” to determine Turkish plans for the post-General Assembly discussions on Cyprus. (Ibid.) Hare left Ankara on August 27 and was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs on September 11.
  2. Alexis Liatis.
  3. The Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Cairo October 5–10, 1964, issued a declaration that, among other things, called for the “unrestricted and unfettered” sovereignty and independence of Cyprus. For extracts of the declaration, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 691–698.

    Mr. Ball agreed with this assessment and said he would speak personally with Ambassador Yost in New York on this subject.