450. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1



  • Proposed Multinational Force for Cyprus (U)
In Appendix A2 hereto is a summary of the highlights of discussions with Lieutenant General Sir Geoffrey Baker, Vice Chief UK Imperial General Staff, concerning British proposals for a multinational force for Cyprus.
The British concept provides for a multinational force from NATO countries to deploy to Cyprus to maintain the peace there. The concept envisions a force of approximately 10,000 personnel with the United States providing one-third of the force, the United Kingdom one-third, and other NATO countries one-third. The force would not, however, be deployed under NATO auspices.
SACEUR, in reporting on his talks with Turkish officials in Ankara on 28 January 1964,3 stated, “NATO appears to be the only source of adequate security forces (to include Greek and Turkish) to restore peace in Cyprus and maintain firm control of the situation until such time as an agreed political solution can be worked out in a conference. Restoration of peace is an absolute requirement before any conference can be successful.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that a multinational force could maintain order in Cyprus by serving as a peace-keeping force to prevent a renewal of intercommunal strife. However, it is their view that such a force may find itself in Cyprus for an indefinite period with no end in sight because of failure of the Greeks, Turks, and Cypriots to reach a political solution to the Cyprus problem. Additionally, there is some doubt that the force proposed by the British will be effective in meeting the objective of fully maintaining the peace in Cyprus. Even if intercommunal fighting is not resumed, the force may still be unable to restore Cypriot morale and mutual confidence between the two communities sufficiently to permit the re-establishment of normal community services and commerce.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that it is militarily undesirable for the United States to participate in a multinational force for Cyprus, as this could result in maintaining an occupation type force, such as in Korea, for a prolonged period of time. Such action on the part of the United States could set a precedent in that other countries would believe that the United States would participate in future such contingencies throughout the world.
Nevertheless, on the assumption that the United States will participate, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that US ground force participation be limited to a reinforced battalion of approximately 1,200 troops. They consider that the US forces to be employed should be drawn, in order of priority, from one of the following sources:
The Long Thrust IX battalion, now in Germany, appropriately reinforced.
A reinforced infantry battalion from USSTRICOM.
Appropriate elements of the Marine Corps battalion landing team now in the Mediterranean.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the following modifications of the British concept are appropriate:
Participation by the British up to one-third of the total force does not appear to be adequate participation by that country since they are one of the guarantor powers for keeping the peace in Cyprus. In any event, it is considered that the bulk of overhead and administrative troops for the force should be provided by the British.
The British propose that the commander of the force report to an Ambassadorial Group in London, this group representing all the contributing nations. This command organization would be extremely unwieldy. A better plan would be to designate the United Kingdom as Executive Agent for the countries involved much like the United States is designated the Executive Agent for the United Nations in Korea. It is assumed that political guidance to the commander in the field will be provided through the Executive Agent.
Attached as Appendix B4 hereto are proposed Terms of Reference for a multinational force which the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend be used as the US position in any forthcoming negotiations. Further, USCINCEUR will provide the US representation, augmented as he deems necessary by personnel from other agencies, in any associated military staff discussions to be held in London.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, Cyprus. Top Secret. A covering memorandum is dated February 4.
  2. Not attached.
  3. Lemnitzer reported on his talks with Turkish officials in an unnumbered telegram to Secretary of Defense McNamara, January 29. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cyprus, Vol. 2)
  4. Not attached.
  5. The memorandum is unsigned.