53. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

1598. Have just completed three hour conversation with Inonu while Cabinet waited. From start it was made clear that decision firm as far as Inonu concerned. Only thing wanted from us was understanding attitude on grounds that purpose was to move into only part of island as only way to reduce problem to manageable proportions. We would see and agree once operation carried out. Argument was tough and sometimes got on very sensitive ground with Inonu holding ground firmly and saying not only Cyprus but our relationship could hinge on agreement with Turkish decision. When Inonu made another move to join Cabinet I said was certain what I had been told would be great disappointment to President who has stressed importance of consultation and was only being given opportunity to agree or disagree on single proposition. This could hardly be called consultation.

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Inonu and Erkin said that failure carry through as planned would cause great let down and results could be disastrous. Why hadn’t we put questions which could be answered? What would I suggest?

I said what we needed was time make our views known. Inonu asked how much time. I said twenty-four hours in belief that request for longer delay would be refused. Inonu agreed, saying would be difficult call off plans at this stage but that he would do so. He must however stress importance of strict secrecy. This I assured. Longer tel follows2 but this is guts of discussion and is being sent as preliminary report so you can get wheels turning since we shall need strongest and most forthcoming assurances and arguments possible if we are to head Turks off.

Although we didn’t finish till eleven o’clock they asked for our reply by nine o’clock (local time) tomorrow night.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–8 CYP. Secret; Flash; Limdis; Noforn. Repeated to Athens, Nicosia, London, and Paris for USRO. Passed to the White House, JCS, OSD, CIA, and USUN. The time of transmission on the source text is 1 p.m., which is incorrect.
  2. Telegram 1599 from Ankara, June 5. (Ibid.)