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

148939. NATUS. Joint State/Defense cable. Subject: Considerations of NATO Presence on Cyprus. Ref: State 97095.2

Prior to suspension in December Greek-Turkish dialogue on Cyprus included consideration of base on Cyprus as compensation to Turkey for enosis. Reftel explored possibility of a “NATO base” on Cyprus in very general terms as part of a Cyprus solution. Responses at that time indicated that:
While a NATO peacekeeping force on Cyprus was not considered advisable, a NATO presence such as a headquarters, command, airfield, port or support base (possibly for AMF) might provide a Turkish and/or multinational military presence on the Island that could satisfy the Turks in the interests of reaching a solution to the problem.
The major problems to overcome are the possible opposition of Makarios, the Turkish stand against enosis and the requirement for guarantee of the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
The Turks (according to Ambassador Hart) might be willing to accept enosis provided the right formula could be found. This formula must include Turkish troops on the Island under a Turkish-dominated joint or NATO base at Dhekelia and guarantee of Turkish Cypriot rights by the UN.
Other NATO nations might go along with such an idea if it becomes a critical factor in a solution. Subsequently, the situation has been altered: (1) Recently the Greek Crown Council (including Makarios) agreed to accept NATO base concept after enosis, and (2) the problems of troop rotations, fortifications, and Czech arms have increased tensions. In order to provide some ideas for further consideration, a closer look at the possibility of utilizing NATO in a Cyprus solution appears necessary, even though we have no assurance this will satisfy the Turks who were “offered more” during 1964 Acheson effort.
General concepts in para 3 below might be developed in an attempt to accommodate Turkish-Greek requirements. Their consideration [Page 550] along with response to questions in para 4 is requested. These ideas are entirely exploratory, are aimed at providing plausible NATO role for continued presence of Turkish forces on Cyprus, and represent an expansion of the ideas contained reftel. The US would not initiate or advocate them but would propose them discreetly to the Greeks and/or Turks for their use or sponsorship if NATO base idea proves feasible. They do not represent a US position. These concepts presuppose enosis, adequate guarantees of the rights of Turkish Cypriots, demilitarization of the Island less the SBA bases and the retention of a UN presence on Cyprus as observers. Additionally, all parties involved must accept and have valid assurance of fulfillment of all conditions in advance of execution.
The following are listed as possible concepts for utilizing NATO forces on Cyprus at the Dhekelia Base:
A Greek-Turkish joint command with the possible addition of UK forces as an extension of LANDSOUTHEAST with a mission of planning and training ground forces. The forces assigned would be from those now on Cyprus.
A headquarters and/or exercise base for units of the AMF or other NATO force. The same Greek, Turkish and UK forces as in 3a, above, would be based at Dhekelia as a permanent nucleus force with the addition of limited numbers or representatives of nations providing forces to the AMF as a part of the staff.
The questions listed are issues that should be considered and answered in connection with the above concepts:
What is the probable reaction of host nations to these ideas at this time?
Should sovereignty of Dhekelia be retained by UK?
Who should the commander and vice commander of such a force be and should these positions be rotated among the nations involved?
Should there be an honorary base commanding officer (Turkish) in addition to the force commander to enlarge the number of prestige positions?
Should the size of the Greek, Turkish and UK forces be limited in size to possibly a battalion each?
Should the Greeks and Turks contribute to the cost of such a concept particularly in view each spends over $10 million annually on Cyprus?
Should other NATO nations contribute towards financing, and to what degree?
Would participation by the Turks, by having a military force on Cyprus and a degree of command, satisfy their requirements?
Your comments on these ideas and questions are requested by March 10. This material should be closely held. NATO base concept [Page 551] should not be discussed with SYG Brosio at this time. However we realize necessity discuss base concept with Brosio at appropriate stage.3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret; Noforn; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Smith; cleared by NEA, EUR/RPM, OSD, JCS, and L; and approved by Rockwell. Also sent to Ankara, Nicosia, London, Paris, USCINCEUR, and Naples for USDOCO South and repeated to Rome and USUN.
  2. Telegram 97095, December 6, requested the views of concerned posts regarding the possibility of creating a NATO base area on Cyprus with a Turkish contingent attached to it. (Ibid., DEF 15 CYP)
  3. In telegram 4344 from Ankara, March 10, the Embassy commented that Turkey remained very guarded about its positions, and no Turkish official had ever suggested a willingness to accept enosis in exchange for participation in a NATO base on Cyprus. (Ibid.)