456. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Redraft of Proposal on Cyprus

PARTICIPANTS

  • Ambassador Turgut Menemencioglu
  • Mr. Ilter Turkmen, Counselor of Turkish Embassy
  • NEA-Phillips Talbot
  • GTI-William A. Helseth

Mr. Talbot noted that Mr. Sandys had spoken to Cypriot Foreign Minister Kyprianou on February 5 on a personal and exploratory basis. He had informed us, and we understand also the Governments of Greece and Turkey, subsequently about the conversation and said he had agreed to meet again with Kyprianou on February 7 to learn Makarios’ response. We did not think this was a good idea and we understand that the Turkish Government also suggested the meeting on February 7 not take place; consequently, the meeting with Kyprianou has been deferred.

Talbot handed Ambassador Menemencioglu a copy of the “redraft of the joint proposal regarding Cyprus”, which did not include annexes B and C.2 After reading the paper very carefully, the Ambassador remarked that it was “very good”, but that he did not understand a few things. Noting that he was speaking, of course, personally and without instructions, he referred to paragraph 8 which states that the mediator “shall keep the Secretary General of the United Nations advised on his progress”. He thought this was even worse than having the international force under the control of the Security Council and he inquired whether Makarios wanted this. He pointed out that the mediator might wish to make recommendations concerning the Cypriot Constitution and the United Nations could not act upon this because it was strictly an internal document. (In this connection, he cited the case of the Congo.) He then noted that this instruction for the mediator was for information only, but the United Nations practice, he added, was to allow any country to raise objections, to discuss or to comment on any paper that was circulated.

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In response, Mr. Talbot noted that this language was similar if not identical to the language used for Ambassador Bunker when he undertook the Yemeni mediation.3

Ambassador Menemencioglu then referred to paragraph 94 and its reference to the Government of Cyprus having the initiative. He was afraid this might cause trouble because the Cypriot Government might wish to establish its own terms and otherwise act to dominate the arrangements. He pointed out that other powers were there as a result of a treaty. He also raised the question of Soviet action in the Security Council. Mr. Talbot responded that if we went to the Security Council with an agreed package, the Soviet Union would have a lot of trouble in upsetting it. The Ambassador agreed and stated that the Soviets couldn’t do that so long as we have a united front.

Mr. Talbot stated that we understood that Khrushchev had sent letters to the Governments of the United States, UK, Turkey and Greece. Ours was reportedly in the form of a letter to President Johnson,5 but we as yet do not have the text. An early message from our Embassy in Moscow, he continued, stated that the letter to be delivered calls for the exercise of restraint, states that NATO is attempting to impose its will on an independent country, and claims that this problem is an international dispute which must therefore be brought to the Security Council. The Turkish Ambassador said this was only legalistic talk and was nothing like the harsh language the Soviet Union had used several years ago during the crisis over Syria. (Note: While the Ambassador did not elaborate, he probably was referring to the Turkish-Syrian crisis in the fall of 1957 when the Soviet Union used very blunt language toward the Turkish Government.)6

The Ambassador said that he was “keeping his fingers crossed” about the future of this document and that it might need a little touching [Page 975]up here and there. Mr. Talbot noted that we had flatly rejected some of Makarios’ points.

In making his farewells, Ambassador Menemencioglu noted how pleased he was that Ambassador Hare was now in Ankara.7 He stated that the Ambassador has the full confidence of Turkish officials and said that this had been reaffirmed in the messages he has received during the course of these negotiations on Cyprus.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8, CYP. Confidential. Drafted by Helseth. The Greek Ambassador was called to the Department of State for a similar discussion. A memorandum of that February 7 conversation, which includes a copy of the draft proposal, is ibid.
  2. Not attached.
  3. Documentation relating to the mediation is in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume XVIII.
  4. It reads: “The Government of Cyprus will ask the Security Council to take note by consensus of the arrangements made for the creation of a peacekeeping force and for the appointment of a mediator. The Government of Cyprus will also request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to arrange for his representatives to remain in Cyprus, so that he may keep in continuous touch with developments and may maintain liaison with the commander of the peacekeeping force. The parties concerned will instruct their representatives at the United Nations to support these arrangements in the Security Council. ” (Attachment to memorandum of conversation with Greek Ambassador Matsas, February 7, 1964; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 CYP)
  5. For text of Khrushchev’s February 7 letter and the President’s reply, see Department of State Bulletin, March 23, 1964, pp. 446–448.
  6. Reference is to the September 10, 1957, letter from Prime Minister Bulganin to Turkish Prime Minister Menderes accusing Turkey of planning an invasion of Syria. (For extracts, see Keesings Contemporary Archives, 1957, p. 15811.) Subsequently Soviet naval forces made a show of force and Syria brought its complaint before the United Nations. Turkey denied the accusations.
  7. Apparently after a return to the United States for consultations. Hare presented his credentials on April 5, 1961.