438. Memorandum From Robert Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Talbot)1

It now seems clear that not only Makarios but the UK want to dump Cyprus in the UN lap if London Conference fails.2 The British obviously feel that this would take them off the hook.

Since the Greek and Turkish Cypriot positions are so far apart that the London talks will probably be abortive, we ought to consider whether the UN route would serve our interests. With the Soviets and non-aligned thus able to play a major role, Greek Cypriots would be the gainers. This would inevitably lead to strong Turk pressure on us to forestall such a step. How do we handle the Turks at a time when the Turk political scene is so unstable?3 And wouldn’t the trend toward a non-aligned Cyprus under UN rather than Greek/Turk/UK auspices be a threat to US/UK base rights?

I raise these questions not because I see a good alternative solution, but because I see the Cyprus crisis drifting in a direction which will harm our interests. At the minimum shouldn’t we make a greater effort to assure success of the London Conference, perhaps by joining with the UK in warning both Greeks and Turks of the consequences of failure (along lines of my 11 January note to you)?4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSC Histories, Cyprus. Secret. A copy was sent to Jernegan.
  2. Reference is to the January 15–February 5 meeting of representatives of the Guarantor Powers, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Turkey with Greek and Turkish Cypriot spokesman. Documentation on the United States role in the Cyprus crisis is in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XVI.
  3. Turkey was being governed by a minority government.
  4. A copy is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2.