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

1999. We wish to avoid SC consideration of Cyprus question. Since Allied response would be at the request of Makarios, we believe any UN problems would be manageable.

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Purpose of Allied force would be to promote pacific settlement of Cyprus issue. Allied force would be in Cyprus to maintain law and order at the request of Cypriot Government and would not constitute action within terms of Article 51 of Charter.2 Therefore, no obligation exists to make a report to SC.

However, our judgment is that it will probably be politically desirable to do so, precisely to make point under UN dateline that this is not NATO action but ad hoc response by group of Atlantic nations at request Government of Cyprus. Request USUN consult with UKUN and report joint judgment as to whether reporting this action to SC would likely stir up USSR or other uninvolved UN members.

Our present judgment is that if strong pitch is made by USSR or other UNSC members, we would not fight inscription.

In event SC meeting is called, either because unfriendly members wish to complain of Allied action or because Makarios believes he needs UN meeting to keep his Afro-Asian friends from objecting to Allied intervention, our present thinking is along lines following guidance. Request you discuss with UKUN on contingency basis and comment:

We would of course oppose any SC action designed to inhibit Allied action.
Best outcome would be SC consensus taking note of Makarios’ request, Allied response, and mediation effort, and urging all concerned to keep shirts on. USSR would probably not be willing to go this far.
In absence of consensus that blesses action being taken, any resolution should be limited to asking all concerned to avoid any action designed to exacerbate the situation.
Failing this, we would seek to limit SC consideration to speeches with SC remaining seized of Cyprus question, but without taking any formal action.
In course of debate we would urge SYG to keep limited presence in Cyprus for its potential future usefulness. This is not vital.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Cleveland and Sisco; cleared in NEA, EUR, and S/S; and approved by Ball. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, and Nicosia.
  2. Article 51 of the UN Charter required members to report exercises in self-defense against armed attack to the Security Council. Text of the Charter is in A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941–1949 (Revised Edition), pp. 95–110.
  3. In telegram 2895 from New York, January 29, the Mission to the United Nations reported on its talks with British and UN representatives. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2)