257. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1
3874. Cyprus. NATUS Info. A good deal of familiar ground was covered in seven hour discussion of Cyprus today with Prime Minister Paraskevopoulos.
He also opened up some new terrain, however, particularly on resumption of dialogue and on base question.
When Prime Minister said he ready resume dialogue immediately and couldn’t understand why Turks delaying, I replied we believe major misunderstanding must have developed between Greeks and Turks.
It is our impression Turks consider they have not received GOG assurances of willingness to resume dialogue at point where interrupted by fall of Stephanopoulos government. Paraskevopoulos replied flatly that he had told GOT and had announced to Greek Parliament his willingness to do just that. I asked if this meant GOG prepared to talk on basis of full faith and credence in Toumbas-Caglayangil discussions. He replied that since no agreement had been reached it was a question of continuing from point at which it had broken off and that GOG is ready and eager to pick up dialogue even today from point at which it was interrupted in December. He reminded me that Toumbas and Caglayangil had agreed to meet again soon. That is exactly what his government wishes to do.
Paraskevopoulos showed some reluctance to resume dialogue with Turkish Ambassador Athens2 (or, presumably, Greek Ambassador Ankara). He suggested Bonn as site where Greek and Turkish Ambassadors are both able men and enjoy good relations. He would be ready to instruct his Ambassador to Bonn immediately, he said, if this agreeable to Turks.
After suggesting that GOG would want to clear up apparent misunderstanding with GOT I asked if it would be helpful for me to inform my colleague in Ankara of Paraskevopoulos government’s position on resuming dialogue so that if appropriate Ambassador Hart might advise GOT of our understanding of Greek position. PriMin immediately agreed, and asked our help in getting Turks to respond quickly.
These comments were made in context of exchange between us on value and importance of reactivating dialogue promptly. Paraskevopoulos [Page 547] asserted that his government is well positioned for serious discussions with Turks since Crown Council has given it all-party mandate to proceed.
On substance of dialogue, Paraskevopoulos said that at point Toumbas dropped out Turkey had proposed to Greece that a Turkish military base be established on Cyprus as quid pro quo for enosis. (I did not understand clearly, nor perhaps does Paraskevopoulos, whether Turks had actually agreed that a base would compensate them for straight enosis, or for something less jarring to their ears, such as Greek-Cyprus federation or commonwealth, or whether enosis bridge had not been crossed.) Turks had not indicated extent or nature of base, but were awaiting Greek reply on acceptability of concept. Obviously, Prime Minister said, reply could only be given when dialogue reactivated.
After lengthy review of dangers embedded in Cyprus issue, Para-skevopoulos then made pitch United States support of NATO base idea. He argued that a Turkish military base could guarantee only permanency of tensions that have already so gravely damaged life on island. In contrast, NATO base with Turkish presence along with Greek, British, American and possibly other national components would give all possible protection to security of southern Turkey. It would also help normalize living conditions in rest of island. Prime Minister expressed hope that logic of NATO base would commend itself to Turks. He also expressed certainty that with settlement of base issue other problems such as guarantees for minority community on island could be solved. If base question left unresolved, he said, explosive potentials on island could damage not only Greek and Turk interests but those of Western Alliance since Soviets obviously eager to turn Cyprus into Mediterranean Cuba.
I responded that we have indeed [been] long aware of explosive possibilities both on island and between Greece and Turkey. As Prime Minister knows, United States is not supporting any particular plan for solution of Cyprus issue. We believe parties must reach solution by agreement, and I could say confidently that U.S. would support any agreed solution. We have supported dialogue so strongly, I said, because only hope lies in their direct and common search for accommodation with which each can live. Moreover, as demonstrated more than once during Toumbas period, commitment to dialogue of high officials in Athens and Ankara enables them to communicate directly when dangers emerge on such related subjects as might arise this spring over Czech arms, fortification programs, or the next Turkish rotation. Commenting that some people seem to believe Eastern Mediterranean could live without solving this problem because at last moment United States would somehow prevent explosions, I said that situation obviously not that simplistic. Indeed, I was under instructions to remind Prime Minister [Page 548] that United States had made no undertaking to intervene and that it would be quite dangerous to make any assumption regarding future U.S. position in this regard. He said he understood.
Describing Crown Council meeting to me, Prime Minister said Greek political leaders had started out in considerable disagreement. After eight hours of hard discussion, they had come to virtually full agreement. Makarios strongly opposed political leaders’ views, but came around after two more hours so Prime Minister could accurately announce unanimity of views. He took obvious pride in noting that unanimity had been achieved this time even though it has been quite rare not only in course of Cyprus issue but in Greek political history generally. I commented that this another reason to proceed with all speed toward agreement with Turkey, lest unusual unanimity of support for his course be eroded with passage of time. He heartily concurred, and again asked that we help to get the Turks agreement to immediate resumption of dialogue.
I believe Ambassador Hart could appropriately mention to GOT that in view apparent confusion we had checked with Greek PriMin, who had confirmed GOG readiness to resume dialogue at point it broke off.3
With each high-level conversation here I am becoming more convinced that Greece is preparing to call upon U.S. to persuade Turkey to accept formula consisting basically of a NATO base in Dhekelia and protection of minorities according to best international practices as compensation for substance of enosis. In any case, I avoided probing further on content of understanding between Greece and Turkey in order not to encourage request for further U.S. involvement at this stage.4
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to Ankara, Nicosia, London, and Paris.↩
- In telegram 3869, February 17, Talbot reported on Tuluy’s perplexity about Greek intentions. Talbot stated that he had assured Tuluy that, based on talks with Paraskevopoulos, Greece wanted to continue the dialogue. (Ibid.)↩
- In telegram 3977 from Ankara, February 18, Hart reported that he had passed on Talbot’s report to the Turkish Government. (Ibid.)↩
- In telegram 3893 from Athens, February 17, Talbot further reported that the Prime Minister also stated that Makarios had confirmed that he would not distribute the Czech arms and added that armored cars were among the Czech weapons. (Ibid.)↩