38. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1
I explained that during my stay in Washington I had been particularly impressed by fact that very difficult situation in island was a matter of great concern at highest levels USA. I said President himself was kept [Page 79] fully informed of developments on day-to-day basis and that he had taken personal interest in events in Cyprus. Said we were pledged to support UN efforts find solution and added that one of most difficult events to place in proper perspective had been fighting around St. Hilarion which appeared to have been deliberate use of force to gain purely military objective during time when all govts concerned had been pledged to carry out terms of SC res.
The President said he could appreciate fact that fighting at St. Hilarion might not be fully explicable to people abroad but that in his view this was defensible objective on part of his govt (Gen Pantelides, Comander of Home Guard, had made similar presentation to me just before going in see President). He claimed that Turks had been extending their positions both to east and west of Castle and that UN had appeared unwilling or powerless to stop them. He added that UN appeared to be acting as “conciliatory commission” rather than peace-keeping force. He asked what might be expected on the part of Greek Cypriots in face of this sort of “provocation” which was not so easily identifiable as gun fire. Quiet infiltration by Turks in effort to consolidate their hold on northern range was more difficult pinpoint than outright hostility involving gun fire. Having accomplished objective of rolling back Turkish forward positions, he had issued the statement claiming Greeks had reached their objective and they had no need to take the Castle itself.
He added that something had to be done about continued harassing indiscriminate fire from Castle into Karmi village. Roll-back helped but probably would not completely stop. (Comment: Turks were extending positions and have been firing into Karmi but Greeks have accomplished more than mere roll-back. They now command Turk airfield at Krini as well as Aghirda and other villages on south slope.)
I said that everyone in Washington had been much relieved and encouraged at recent statements by both himself and Dr. Kutchuk of renewed determination to cooperate with UN in creating a situation which might be more conducive to finding of a political solution.
In discussing need to avoid further violence and take steps restore confidence among Turk Cypriots I raised question of SecGen’s report.4 President said that he felt that this was a very useful report and that his govt was ready to cooperate in every possible way toward achievement of UNSYG’s objectives. He did say that there would be great difficulty with some of items mentioned, in particular reintegration of police force and the opening of area north of Nicosia. With regard to Kyrenia Road, I said I hoped that some compromise might be worked out whereby his govt would not necessarily insist on Greek Cypriot patrols but might as first step agree to merely UN patrols. His Beatitude said he was prepared [Page 80] cooperate on this point but that he felt UN presence would not be sufficient to permit Greek community to use road. He pointed to fact that the road through Kokkina area was presently being patrolled by UN but there were many new Turkish fortifications and Greeks were most reluctant to use it.
We discussed arrival of Gen Karayannis5 and Archbishop indicated that there were two purposes in bringing him here. First was establishment of discipline among various fighter elements in hope of avoiding undirected and dangerous action by irresponsible elements within armed groups. Second was to create disciplined, well-trained and well equipped force which could meet at least for time the external threat posed by possibility of Turkish invasion. He said Karayannis was not needed for purpose of bringing Greek Cypriot force efficiency up to enable it control Turkish Cypriots. They were already in position to do so.
We discussed briefly question of General Grivas with me expressing opinion that it was perhaps better that objective be accomplished through Gen Karayannis because of predictably adverse Turkish reaction to Grivas’ return. The Archbishop agreed but added that in his own opinion General would not have directed his energies against Turks but on contrary would purposely have asserted restraining influence on those elements in fighter group who were particularly anti-Turkish.
Archbishop said he had had very interesting talk with Mediator after his return from Ankara confirming that he had received from Mr. Tuomioja written copy of Turkish position as given in Ankara. He said that Turkish position was so far from anything which could be considered by Greeks that he feared Mediator’s job would require much longer time than anyone had at first expected. He was seeing him Monday or Tuesday when he returned from his trip to Athens, Paris and London and he hoped there might be something more encouraging to tell me when he next saw me. President reiterated his oft-repeated pledge that he hoped work with Mediator Gyani in spirit of cooperation and in atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
Conversation concluded with reference to my looking forward to an early opportunity present credentials once signed copy arrived from Washington.
As usual, Archbishop was pleasant, witty and the soul of reason. However, I have no reason be encouraged believe he will keep his word to the letter, although I doubt we shall see more such direct actions as that at St. Hilarion unless there is direct provocation.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Secret. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, London, Paris for USRO, and USUN.↩
- Belcher’s appointment as Ambassador to Cyprus was confirmed by the Senate on May 1.↩
- Telegram 807, April 30, instructed Belcher to inform Makarios of both the U.S. concern about the situation on Cyprus and its support for U.N. peacekeeping and mediation efforts. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP)↩
- For text of this report, dated April 29, see U.N. Doc. S/5671. Annex I to the report is printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 576–577.↩
- Newly-appointed Commander of the Cypriot National Guard.↩