470. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

2693. Gromyko on Cyprus.

After discussion of disarmament prospects (reported separately),2 Gromyko asked me how we viewed Cyprus situation. I said, obviously our principal concern, like that of UK, was to insure that situation did not deteriorate to point of internecine warfare and we felt best way to do this was through observance treaty obligations by all parties concerned and not their abrogation as proposed by Soviets. Frankly, I felt Soviet policy would result in fierce fighting between Turkish and Greek elements and ultimately massacre although I was sure this could not be Soviet objective.

Gromyko said he was discouraged by my remarks. Obviously, Soviet objective is peace and quiet on island but interference from without cannot achieve this. Soviets attach more credence to assessment of situation by Cyprus Government than by outsiders, and Cyprus Government believes outside interference can only worsen problem.

I pointed out that in assessing position of Cyprus Government necessary take into account views of both elements this government—Turkish minority as well as Greek majority.

Gromyko remarked that certainly US, like Soviets, have nothing to gain from continued tension in Cyprus area. If regard for treaty obligations and not assurance of Cyprus right to independence and territorial integrity is cornerstone of US policy, then Soviets could not agree with US position. We must be aware that where treaties are in conflict with UN Charter, latter must prevail. Since Cyprus has requested SC to insure independence and integrity, UN responsibility and not treaty obligations must be cornerstone of policy.

I again pointed out to Gromyko that Cyprus has two voices and both must be taken into account—and statement by Makarios without concurrence of Kutchuk cannot be regarded as position of Cyprus Government, as Soviets contend. In any case, it is vital that we avoid massacre on island and this is precisely aim of our, as well as UK, policy.

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Gromyko said outside interference inflames emotions of two communities and this makes situation more precarious. We should not accede to “one-sided” demands of UK and Turkey.

I ended conversation by reminding Gromyko that it is only natural that Greece and Turkey should be partisan, but UK is strictly neutral, its aim is to avoid bloodshed and war danger, and it is incumbent upon Soviets to join us in supporting British efforts toward this end.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential. Repeated to London, Paris, Athens, Ankara, USUN, and Nicosia and passed to the White House, JCS, OSD, CIA, and CINCEUR and CINCSTRIKE for POLADs.
  2. Telegram 2692 from Moscow, February 28. (Ibid., POL 7 US–USSR)