29. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

1078. Cyprus mediation. Deptel 707.2 Department may recall that during 1959 Constitution-drafting period I was reporting from Nicosia that Rube Goldberg contraption could work, but only given magnanimity on part of Greeks and good will from all.

So much has happened since then to show that neither quality has many exponents on this unhappy island that another attempt at a patchwork solution can only breed further trouble. Situation obviously calls for drastic action involving major effort by NATO allies to support solution based on security needs of area, but also recognizing generally accepted democratic principle of majority rule.

Our own ideas as to once-for-all (para 5 Deptel 707) solution somewhat like Alexander’s approach to Gordian Knot, although without resultant “partition” as in myth. Our recommendations will require considerable selling to GOT since we are proposing recognize Greek Cypriot ascendancy and intransigence and their insistence on a solution in accord with generally accepted standards of self-determination based on majority rule. On this basis following proposals submitted as outline of plan designed achieve over-all peace and security in area.

Constitutional framework providing for one person-one vote majority rule, with elections on basis of proportional representation.
Adequate safeguards for minorities (perhaps as with Swedes in Finland).
Cyprus to be tied to Greece either by enosis or in some “associated” status such as Puerto Rico. Greece would at minimum control foreign policy and defense, perhaps leaving other facets of government to Cypriots.

Would seem that only through some such device could GOT be convinced that security interests being preserved and safeguarded. Do not see how independent Cyprus with strong Communist Party organization could be accepted by Turks. Cyprus could continue to be “used” in one way or another as shuttlecock in Soviet-Western cold war in the area. Only as part of Greece and thereby included in NATO security system could GOT fears be mitigated. Part of such concept could be transferring [Page 59] of Izmir joint Greek-Turkish headquarters to one of British bases (probably Dhekelia) and UK giving up sovereignty over all or most of area in favor of NATO base on sovereign “Greek” territory.

Whatever Mediator may propose that would be acceptable to Greek Cypriots in their present ascendant position will require major selling effort with Turks, and in this respect Greek Ambassador Delivanis correct in his statement to Ambassador Wilkins (Embtel 1070)3 that US must play major persuasive role—but this does not mean that efforts other NATO partners will not be needed.

Further factor which Embassy considers essential to any lasting solution is some form of assisted emigration for Turks who are convinced they can no longer live with Greeks in Cyprus. This should involve setting up of commission to handle transfer of properties on equitable basis as well as other details of moves, including some provision for compensation for damages. Agree with Department’s observations para 3 Deptel re best course of action for Mediator except with regards manner handling proposals once formulated. Experience with Cyprus “solutions” which presented publicly or leaked in some fashion not encouraging in past and no reason believe one or other side would not act same way now, particularly given existing inflamed and emotional situation.

At very least, believe proposals should be worked out and accepted by GOG and GOT (USUN’s 3598 to Department)4 before being “surfaced” in effort bring international pressure on Cypriots. (This would require support of Erkin’s desire for Greek-Turkish “summit” meeting—Ottawa’s 1270 to Department.)5

We must bear in mind how sensitive is Cypriot pride and how convinced Greeks here are of right and justice their cause—and that they can win out eventually even if this means going to UNGA.

In summary, advantages we see in enosis or “associated” status would be:

Tie Cyprus firmly to West, thus eliminating security concerns of UK, Turkey and ourselves.
Reduce danger of further growth of Communism on island.
End nuisance of Cypriot “neutralist” foreign policy maneuvering.
Remove constant irritant in Greek politics and same time weaken Soviet ability exploit issue in Greece.
Effect set-back for Soviet (and UAR) policy in area, which is adamantly opposed to enosis.
Give us friendly government with which to negotiate satisfactory status for our communications facilities.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Secret. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, London, Paris for USRO, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 707 to Nicosia, April 1, stressed the Department of State’s desire for a quick solution to the Cyprus problem and requested comments on the shape of a permanent political solution to the Cyprus question. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 1070 from Nicosia, April 5, reported that Delivanis appeared to be taking a harder political line after his return from consultations in Athens. (Ibid., POL 17 GR–CYP)
  4. Telegram 3598 from USUN, April 2, reported USUN’s belief that the mediation should be carried forward with a minimum of public comment. (Ibid., POL 23–8 CYP)
  5. Telegram 1270 from Ottawa, April 1, reported that the Canadian Government was interested in an active U.S. mediation role in Cyprus. (Ibid.)
  6. In telegrams 1510 from Athens, April 8, and 1315 from Ankara, April 8, the Embassies reported similar conclusions: that either independence or enosis was the only likely solution to the Cyprus issue and that union with Greece would require political concessions to Turkey. (Ibid.)