448. Memorandum Prepared by Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff1


Aside from being kept informed by my staff on Cyprus developments, I was called immediately Saturday by Acting Secretary Ball of the high level UK appeal for help.2 I directed him to meet with McNamara and Taylor to examine their proposition urgently. I sent my staff man Komer to attend their meeting.3
Ball reported to me three times Saturday on developments.4 Komer filled me in too. I told both I wanted to look before we leaped, though fully prepared to do what was necessary.
Sunday—Ball and Komer reported to me on exchanges with the British. I sent out messages to our ambassadors in Ankara, Athens, Nicosia to tell all concerned at my request to stay loose and keep London conference going.
Sunday evening I met with Ball, McNamara and my staff. I directed that we send Lemnitzer to calm down the Greeks and Turks. I told McNamara to bring over a senior UK general on the AG’s plane to explain what they had in mind.5
Monday6 early I asked State to firm up soonest a report on all alternatives open to us.
Monday night Ball filled me in on the UK pleas sent via the AG who just returned from London. I also heard from Komer and McNamara.7
Tuesday morning I asked the AG to give me the gist personally. Ball, McNamara, and Congressional leaders asked in to hear.8
Late Tuesday afternoon after being briefed during the day, I discussed with Ball a proposal by my own staff to and a high level US official to press the parties to see reason. He proposed alternative plan.9
Tuesday evening Ball, after discussing with McNamara, presented me with the final US proposals for tying US agreement to participate in peacekeeping to a third party mediator so as to limit US liability. I reserved judgment till we heard from Lemnitzer.10
At 9:10 Wednesday morning, after sleeping on matter, and seeing morning cables, I called Ball who gave me Lemnitzer’s report. I then gave the green light. I stressed that all parts of our package must be inseparable.11
Wednesday12 afternoon and evening Ball and my staff kept me informed of UK questions.
Thursday afternoon I was informed that UK bought our proposals. Thursday night I got a brief note of thanks from Home.13
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, Cyprus. No classification marking. The memorandum was apparently drafted by Komer for the President’s use.
  2. For Ball’s memorandum of the January 25 conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XVI, Document 2.
  3. See ibid., Document 3, footnote 2.
  4. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Johnson talked with Ball twice that day, at 2:05 and 6:29 p.m. (Johnson Library)
  5. For a memorandum of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XVI, Document 3. The “AG” is Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The orginal of the memorandum of conversation at the LBJ Library is dated January 25, but other evidence that has come to light indicates that the meeting took place on Sunday, January 26.
  6. January 27.
  7. There is no record of an evening discussion between the President and Ball. The President’s Daily Diary indicates that the President and Ball met from 11:40 a.m. to 12:09 p.m. The President subsequently met with Secretary of Defense McNamara from 5:25 to 5:40 p.m. No other record of these discussions was found.
  8. January 28. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting took place at 9:50 a.m. (Johnson Library) No other record of discussion was found.
  9. January 28, 6:35 p.m. Recordings of this and subsequent telephone conversations with McNamara and Ball are in the Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Tape 64.08, Side B, PNO 1,2,3.
  10. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XVI, Document 5.
  11. Lemnitzer’s report was contained in an unnumbered telegram to Secretary of Defense McNamara. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2) According to the President’s Daily Diary the Johnson-Ball conversation of January 29, took place at 9 a.m. No other record of their discussion was found.
  12. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the President met with Ball and other senior advisers at 5 p.m. Subsequently at 6:12 p.m. he discussed the Cyprus issue again with Ball by telephone. A recording of the conversation is ibid., Recordings and Transcripts, Tape 64.09, Side A, PNO 2.
  13. A copy of the January 30 message is ibid., National Security File, NSC Histories, Cyprus.