440. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

2851. Cyprus.

When and if London conference breaks down, (which increasingly predicted) or when new communual troubles break out on island, it seems certain Cyprus problem will be brought back to SC by GOC. Each of parties to dispute likely want despatch additional outside forces to help control security situation. UK particularly anxious spread responsibility for law and order, and HMG seems determinined at least share, if not pull back from, responsibility for rapidly deteriorating security situation, lest it be obliged inflict and incur serious casualties in UK pre-electoral period.
UN force for Cyprus: Possibility suggested here most frequently has been that SC might send UN “peacekeeping force” to Cyprus. [Page 948] Whatever may be reasons arguing for eventual deployment of substantial UN force to Cyprus, there are serious practical difficulties to getting any UN force to Cyprus in time to prevent widening of communal disorders, which if not promptly controlled would almost certainly lead to early intervention of Turkish forces from mainland. In first place, UN would simply not be in position logistically send major force to Cyprus on short notice. Further, SC authorization would depend on who asks for force, on methods of financing, and on terms of reference. SC (and in first instance Soviets) would probably never authorize UN force unless GOC (with at least Turkish Cypriot acquiescence) asked for its despatch. It is questionable whether member states would provide forces which would clearly be required shoot civilians. Re financing, with fight on Article 19 with Soviet bloc in offing, doubt that financing by all UN members is practicable. Financing from contingency funds would not be appropriate or acceptable for despatch of substantial peacekeeping force. Thus only real possibility re financing we see is for Cyprus, UK, Greece and Turkey agree to share costs. This they would not want to do unless costs were manageable and unless there were acceptable time limit.
Allied Force for Cyprus: We have noted UK interest in allied force for Cyprus (including US contingent) as proposed by Greek FonMin (Deptel 4478 to London).2 Acceptability of allied force made up of units from NATO countries would depend on Cypriot consent as well as that of Greece and Turkey. We wonder whether Makarios, even if he recognized need for outside help in maintaining order, would agree to receive allied force as long as he thought he might get UN or Commonwealth force, latter presumably to have Asian and African participation. Of all alternatives, we agree with Caccia (London’s 3461 to Dept)3 that Makarios would prefer UN involvement so as to preserve expected ASAF backing in UN for control by Greek majority on island in name of self-determination. Makarios could well calculate that willingness receive allied force might prejudice that support. Unless Makarios can be brought to request allied force Soviets and some ASAF’s will no doubt scream and endeavor to block.
In contrast, primary US and general NATO interest is to avoid war between two NATO allies over Cyprus. We calculate it would be easier restrain Turks and Greeks with force of NATO members than with UN or Commonwealth group. With these factors in mind, we believe Dept [Page 949] should give careful consideration to allied contingent alternative, including US, as long as Greeks willing and able to obtain Cypriot approval. We doubt such force could be put together without US participation.
UN Observer Force: It may well develop however that because of difficulties outlined above, it will not be possible to line up support and despatch either UN, allied or Commonwealth force to Cyprus prior to breakdown of London conference and outbreak of new fighting on island, accompanied by new appeal to SC by Makarios. Under circumstances, SC might be called upon to establish some kind of expanded “presence” in Cyprus before irrevocable acts take place. Best course would seem to be immediate expansion of UN “Observer Group” already operating on Cyprus under Gyani, perhaps by immediate and temporary detail of officer observers from UK force on island or from UNEF and UNTSO. We can also imagine (particularly if Secretariat’s Military Staff makes appropriate quiet contingency plans) almost immediate despatch of additional military observers who could be stationed at neuralgic points on island and with UK, Cypriot, Greek and Turkish forces. Their responsibility would be to observe and report to SC through SYG and in meantime endeavor work out local ceasefires wherever possible.
Despatch of expanded Observer Group or any larger forces to Cyprus should be supplemented by SC request to parties to enter into further negotiations leading towards more firm settlement. Presence at such conference of “special rep” designated by SYG at request of parties, might be helpful in getting over sticky moments. Also such a rep and head of observer force should have enough authority and freedom of communication to blast Makarios and/or Kutchuk when obviously responsible for demagoguery or incendiary action.
There is some question whether it would be feasible to retain UN Observer Group if allied force despatched, but we are inclined to believe some token UN presence could be continued if Makarios so requested as he probably would.
US appeal to Makarios: I have known Makarios for many years and Sir Hugh Foot, now in New York, confirms view that regardless of above contingencies he is real key to peace in Cyprus. He has repeatedly showed himself prepared to shed blood, Greek or Turkish, in order achieve his political objectives. His tactics worked before and he probably calculates they will in present situation. He is undisputed leader of four-fifths of Cypriot population and, while he cannot prevent minor incidents, he can prevent major hostilities. At present he probably calculates this not to his advantage.
In light of very grave consequences to US and Western security which would very probably follow further major hostilities on the island, more positive US action seems called for, though of course not of [Page 950] a sort which would interfere with British efforts now underway. Specifically we recommend prompt high-level démarches to Makarios to effect that (1) we believe further outbreak of violence would be tragedy for Cyprus and for all others involved, (2) we are confident Makarios as chief of state and as leader of four-fifths of population has necessary authority and power prevent such a tragedy, (3) US and whole world cannot but hold him and Greek majority in Cyprus primarily responsible if this tragedy occurs, but (4) if he prevents it we will assist in checking any outside intervention in Cyprus and, as appropriate, in finding an equitable and generally acceptable solution for the problems which have given rise to present unrest. We should at same time inform Greek Govt of this démarche and urge them support it.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to London, Nicosia, Athens, and Ankara.
  2. Dated January 23, it transmitted the text of a British aide-memoire regarding Greece. (Ibid., NSC Histories, Cyprus)
  3. Dated January 23, it reported on British discussions with the Turks and concerns regarding their intentions. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 CYP)