33. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1

2670. Re Cyprus. For USUN: Following aspects of Cyprus situation give cause for concern. In view seriousness of problem, including current reports Turkish contingent under fire, request you raise matter directly with SYG. (Nicosia’s 11142 just received reinforces this concern.)

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While Dept considers Aide-mémoire (S/5653)3 issued by SYG generally good directive to UN Force, we both surprised and concerned by that section which deals with reaction of UNFICYP when unit arrives at scene of actual conflict. As we understand para, it would in effect give both parties veto over effective UNFICYP action in circumstances described. Either side could refuse interposition of UN Force, and whoever enjoyed advantage at time likely do so, thereby nullifying UN’s peacekeeping potential. We disagree with Narasimhan’s view that UNFICYP mandate less broad than that of UNOC. March 4 Resolution calls upon UN Force prevent recurrence fighting and contribute to restoration and maintenance law and order and return normal conditions. Certainly this mandate sufficiently broad permit UNFICYP unit commanders insist on cease-fire and, if this refused, interpose force between combatants or take any other action necessary end fighting. We recall that Bunche explicitly envisaged this possibility in conversation with Yost March 16. (Urtel 3400)4

We understand, of course, that document having been made public, it not feasible get it modified on public record in near future. We would hope, however, that in actual practice UNFICYP will exert every reasonable effort in stopping violence. Perhaps this could be accomplished by insuring that Gyani encouraged interpret liberally phrase interposition should not “normally” be done if not acceptable to those involved in conflict. It is for him to determine what is norm for situation. At minimum he should be given to understand he has broad flexibility in interpreting force directive. Should be emphasized to Thant that, if UN Force action limited as in para cited above, this would practically give Greek Cypriots carte blanche to bring Turk Cypriot community to its knees since they enjoy such numerical superiority. Clearly this is not intent of SC res.

(Dept notes Rolz-Bennett statement UNFICYP directives stronger than those of UK Force. This does not appear to square with our understanding of role UK troops during Limassol and Ktima episodes and explicit UK authority to fire on individuals crossing truce line in Nicosia. You may wish check this with UKUN.)


Dept disturbed also by almost daily eruptions fighting in Cyprus and fact that Greek Cypriot forces apparently continue move about at will in their campaign against Turk Cypriots. These forces today estimated to number 15,000, or more than twice planned strength of UNFICYP. (Rolz-Bennett assertion UN Force now at 7,000 does not agree [Page 70] with our figures which place operational strength at less than 5,500.) We recognize impracticability seeking disarm Greek Cypriot forces. We believe, however, that unless they are soon disbanded or otherwise stopped from continuing their campaign against Turk Cypriots, UNFICYP will not be able successfully carry out its mission. We believe Makarios cannot be permitted flout SC res and intent by continuing maintain or utilize what amounts to small army of armed guerrillas. GOC accepted terms of SC res and should be held to them. We think that Thant should make an appeal to Makarios, either publicly or privately. There is urgent need as deterrent, lest situation get out of hand, for some concrete step by UN demonstrating its intent take vigorous action.

As you note (USUN 3719),5 Ankara becoming disillusioned with UN role in Cyprus, and we can expect further protests from GOT unless UN acts effectively re guerrilla force. Dept would make same points re Turk irregulars but would be unrealistic call for their disbandment while numerically superior Greek Cypriots move about with impunity. We recognize number of recent incidents actually provoked by Turk Cypriots, but feel burden of evidence makes clear Greek Cypriot intention bend Turk Cypriots to their will.

We note (USUN’s 3719) that SYG is continuing his efforts bring Greek and Turkish contingents under Gyani’s command and Eralp statement GOT would accept this provided Turk contingent not ordered to return to barracks. We see immediate problem as need to move Turk contingent from Kyrenia road area making it possible open this road to regular traffic. We understand UN prepared assure GOT that road, which runs through Turk business and residential areas, would be patrolled by UN Force and not Greek Cypriot police. We can appreciate SYG’s unwillingness publicly accept any conditions to placing contingent under UN command. We feel might accomplish this through suggestion you have already made, i.e., that contingent not be asked return to barracks but be permitted encamp in location which would clear Kyrenia road without forcing GOT lose face by appearing bow to UN request which essentially same as that made by Makarios on March 29 prior to repudiating Treaty of Alliance.

Dept feels it important that problem of Turk contingent be resolved quickly. Ankara has put Makarios on notice that any move against contingent would bring vigorous response. Although GOG appears understand serious consequences any incident involving contingent and has probably made this clear to Makarios, there is always possibility fractious Greek Cypriot irregulars who not completely controllable may provoke situation to which Ankara would feel called on react.

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Please also suggest that SYG defer publication next report to SC if possible until GOT responds to our suggestions re putting its contingent under Gyani.

Request you inform Eralp of efforts we making with UN and urge he strongly recommend to Ankara that GOT adopt liberal attitude toward placing Turkish contingents under UN command.

For Ankara: You authorized inform GOT we making repeated demarches with UN in effort assure that SC res of March 4 equitably implemented and that Turks on Cyprus given fair play. With GOT suggest you stress generally satisfactory nature of force directive, which Eralp has also recognized (see USUN’s tel 3719).

In addition to standard urging that Turks do nothing rash now that UNFICYP nearing full effectiveness, you should strongly urge GOT agree give serious consideration to making counter proposals re location of Turk force which mentioned to Turk Ambassador Saturday by Acting Secretary Ball.6 There may be other ways that Turks can develop to put force under Gyani without requiring it return barracks.

For Nicosia: Request you maintain particularly close contact with Turkish Ambassador in effort improve his reporting to Ankara.

Would also appreciate your evaluation of performance of UN Force during most recent incidents.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential. Drafted by Buffum and Moffitt, cleared by Jernegan and Sisco, and approved by Sisco. Also sent to Ankara and Nicosia and repeated to London, Athens, Stockholm, Dublin, Ottawa, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and to USDOCOSouth (Naples) for POLAD.
  2. Telegram 1114 from Nicosia, April 14, transmitted the “terms of reference” for UNFICYP. (Ibid.)
  3. Dated April 10; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 573–575.
  4. Telegram 3400 from USUN, March 16, reported the intention of U.N. officials to interpose UNFICYP troops between the factions in Cyprus. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP)
  5. Telegram 3719 from USUN, April 13, reported the U.N. estimate of the military situation on Cyprus and on subsequent discussions of Yost with Turkish officials. (Ibid.)
  6. See Document 32.