24. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

1143. Embtel 1136.2 I had rather expected that completeness with which reftel and Embtel 11343 covered GOT misgivings re Cyprus would give breathing space for their consideration but on contrary I was again called in by Erkin this morning for presentation which, from standpoint of intensity and gravity, unequalled since that of Christmas day.

As I came in Erkin had report in his hand of new attacks this morning by Greeks in western part of Cyprus using mortars, bazookas, heavy machine guns, etc. At first I assumed this was immediate cause of his agitation but it later came out that he had asked see me before receiving this report on basis of general deterioration of situation on island, including presumed death of large number of Turk hostages, and increased dissatisfaction with implementation of resolution. Specific points mentioned were:

GOT had always assumed that Turkish contingent would be included in peace force but it now learns that GOG has told SYG it prepared withdraw its contingent and that, at their instigation together with GOC, SYG has confirmed he considering their recommendation that withdrawal of Greek contingent be accompanied by that of Turks. GOT is lodging strong protest with SYG on this point.
Report received yesterday which causes GOT have increased reservations re Gyani4 since appears that he has made statements to effect that Turks must as minority give in to Greeks; that he has seen much of Makarios and Greek Ministers but Kucuk practically ignored; that he has been available to Greek journalists but only received Turks reluctantly, etc. In circumstances, GOT will advise SYG it remains unconvinced that Gyani man for job but will give him benefit of doubt for time being. However, if events should give reason for dissatisfaction, GOT will say so publicly and give reasons.
Specification of qualification for mediator mentioned reftel will now be followed by clear-cut refusal to accept [garble—Gyani?].
Deterioration of situation in Cyprus is direct result of SC resolution. We can now see what “additional measures” mentioned in Article 2 really mean.
GOT addressing notes to SYG, UK and US stressing need for British forces in Cyprus being more effective in peacekeeping until new force arrives.
Cabinet met this morning and was very dissatisfied with way things going.
GOT listened to our advice re exerting restraint and then accepting resolution, only to find itself in steadily deteriorating situation.
Throughout crisis Inonu has been very patient but this morning he said for first time that situation approaching point where Turkey would be forced intervene unless effective measures taken to bring it under control, and asked Erkin so advise me.

I spent some time trying reassure Erkin and at same time ferret out what had happened since we talked on Saturday to generate so much heat. Among other things I stressed danger of becoming overly exercised re reports from Cyprus which had been notoriously inaccurate in past; observed that BBC and VOA this morning credited Gyani with having been helpful in effecting a cease-fire in Paphos area; said I still felt GOT had been wise accept resolution and would be stretching things pretty far for GOC to attempt justify recent incidents under Article 2, etc.5

In end Erkin was perhaps a little less tense but there was certain note of finality on which conversation closed that was disturbing. I hope I am not imagining things but impression Erkin seemed to be trying convey was that GOT had gone long way with us but was now finding situation very hard to bear and might have to strike out on own unless present trend reversed both in New York and in Cyprus.

British Amb Allen immediately followed me and we compared notes afterward. Apparently conversation covered same points including message from Inonu, and, although Erkin had begun on lower key, he had ended on bitter note that GOT now in backwash of resolution it should not have approved and at loss defend itself before Turkish people and Parliament. (Fact that High Military Council opened semi-annual meeting here this morning and had Cyprus as first item on agenda may have been another contributing factor.)

Allen and I carefully checked our memories on Inonu message concerning possible intervention and agreed it did not reflect indication of intention to intervene but rather that intervention could become necessary unless something done to avert present deterioration in New York and Cyprus and that it was especially up to UK and US to see that action taken.

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Comment: It is possible that conversation which Barnes happened have simultaneously with SecGen Bayramoglu6 may cast some light on what troubling Turks, at least as far as we concerned. After expressing similar unhappiness re resolution and other developments, Bayramoglu wondered whether we still as interested in Cyprus as before or whether now that resolution was passed, we would not be inclined pull out. If, as possible, this may be doubt which Erkin hesitated mention, it could partially explain vigor of his approach, i.e., to try to keep us interested while at same time seeking goad British to bear down harder until peace force arrives.

In sum, this may not be crisis but no doubt that we have some very restive Turks on our hands and that it would be helpful if we could do something to make them feel our interest is continuing and active.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to USUN, Athens, Nicosia, London, and Paris. Passed to the White House, CIA, JCS, OSD, CINCEUR, and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. Telegram 1136, March 8, reported Turkish concerns about the Secretary-General’s proposals for a Cyprus settlement. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 1134, March 7, reported on Barnes’ farewell talks with senior Turkish officials. (Ibid.)
  4. Lieutenant General Prem Singh Gyani, the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative in Cyprus since January 17 and his nominee to command the peacekeeping force.
  5. Reference is to Article 2 of the Treaty of Guarantee signed at London on February 19, 1959. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1959, p. 770.
  6. Barnes’ talk with Bayramoglu was reported in telegram 1134.
  7. In telegram 934 to Ankara, March 10, the Department replied that while it agreed with the Turkish position on the right to intervention, it believed that more attention needed to be paid to putting a peacekeeping force into place. The telegram also urged the Embassy to stress the need for cooperation with the U.N. efforts to establish a peacekeeping force and outlined steps the United States had taken to promote peaceful resolution of the problem. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP)