469. Memorandum From Samuel Belk of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Rundown of how we now stand on the matter of Cyprus in the Security Council

At yesterday’s meeting, the Ivory Coast Delegate spoke in favor of our position; Czechoslovakia took the Soviet line; Morocco wavered, although took the position that the Security Council was not the proper forum to change a treaty; and the Cyprus Delegate put the question straight to the UK, Turkey and Greece as to their interpretation of Article 4 of the Treaty of Guarantee. With regard to the latter, the Greek Delegate said categorically that his country did not regard this Article as granting the right of military intervention. The UK and Turkish delegates did not respond to the question. (Please see the text of the Treaty of Guarantee attached.)2

The Department, i.e., Abe Chayes and Co., have come up with nothing to indicate that the US ever has taken a stand in the interpretation of the Treaty. The best that has been offered is the difference between the language of the Treaty in which “each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves [italics mine]3 the right to “take action”, and the argument that this does not grant the right to take action. Presumably this would depend on the particular interpretation each Power would choose to give it. The Turks have made it clear that their interpretation is that the Treaty grants the right to intervene.

The Department is now in the process of drafting an instruction to USUN4 to urge the Turks to steer as clear of the language of the Treaty as possible in the Council; to insist that it is not the proper forum to discuss the validity of existing treaties; and that the purpose of the Council should be to restore peace and order in Cyprus.

As a backdrop of the Security Council’s consideration of the problem is the possibility that the matter might get into the General Assembly. This would happen in case there was a veto and as many as seven Council members (permanent or non-permanent) voted to send it to the Assembly or, alternatively, if a simple majority of the Assembly [Page 1002] (57) voted to accept the problem in the Assembly. Should this happen, we would be in a most awkward situation, with the whole issue of Article 19, financing and Chirep suddenly placed before us. There is good reason to doubt that this will happen. Although opinion is divided, there is reason to believe that the Russians are not yet ready to face up to these problems in view of their repeated statements that they would like to enter into bilateral negotiations with the US on the matter of financing. Also, if the Russians cast a veto on behalf of Makarios and allowed the matter to get into the GA, they would be acting counter to their often stated position that the right place for peacekeeping operations is in the Security Council, not in the GA.

There may be some hope in a draft resolution sponsored by the six non-members of the Council which is now under discussion in New York. However, if Makarios holds to his past position, he will reject it because of references to the Treaty of Guarantee. On the other hand, there is reason to believe, from a statement by the Cypriot Delegate to Stevenson yesterday, that the Cypriots may be concerned lest they move too far in aligning themselves with the Soviet Union and, as a result, might be moving toward some sort of compromise.

The next Council meeting is tomorrow, when the UK and Turkey will be hard pressed to answer the Cypriot inquiry as to their interpretation of the Treaty.

Samuel E. Belk 5
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Komer Files, Cyprus. Confidential.
  2. Not attached; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1959, pp. 765–775.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. Telegram 2290 to New York, February 26. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 CYP)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typewritten signature.