479. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

3292. Cyprus.

Bunche called Yost late last evening to say that in course SYG-Menemencioglu mtg yesterday afternoon latter had expressed objection to (1) appointment Gyani as commander UN force, (2) presence Indian contingent in UN force, and (3) proposed appointment Rolz-Bennett as mediator.

As to “(1)”, Bunche said SYG takes position approval interested parties to designation UN commander not required by SC res and he was merely informing Turks as courtesy. As to “(2)”, approval of parties is required and, in view Turk attitude, SYG will not seek Indian contingent.

As to “(3)”, Bunche said he was not sure, since SYG had been somewhat reticent in his explanation, that Menemencioglu understood SYG intends himself to play major role in mediation and that Rolz-Bennett would be merely his representative. Bunche requested US help in making this point clear to Turks. Yost agreed to pass on this point but made no commitment to support proposed appointment.

This morning Yost called Menemencioglu to get his reaction to yesterday’s interview. Menemencioglu said he had objected to designation [Page 1016] Gyani because he is Indian and because he considered his report on Polis affair to be biased. He recognized, however, that SYG was not formally seeking Turkish agreement to his designation. Menemencioglu was gratified at SYG’s decision not to seek Indian contingent. He said that he had been astonished by SYG’s proposal to appoint as mediator Rolz-Bennett, who had been working very closely with Cypriots all through recent weeks. He had assumed that figure of world stature who would report only occasionally to SYG would be appointed. Yost informed him of SYG’s intention himself to play major role in mediation. Menemencioglu said he thought this unwise in SYG’s own interest. He had expressed objection to Rolz-Bennett appointment but is seeking definitive instructions from Ankara on this question. (His objection must have been mild since British tell us SYG remarked to them that Menemencioglu, while raising questions, had not dissented strongly.)

Upon checking with UKUN, Jackling informed us that they had been equally surprised by SYG’s proposal to appoint Rolz-Bennett and himself to play major role in mediation. They shared our doubts as to wisdom this arrangement from SYG’s own viewpoint. However, they had sought instructions from London and London is not disposed, in view of delicacy of matter, to raise any objection. Dean proposed to inform SYG later in morning that HMG has no objection. Pursuant to Yost-Sisco telecon, Yost called Jackling again and urged UKUN not convey HMG approval to SYG until Dept had had opportunity to review question at higher level and until we knew whether GOT reaction would be mild or serious. Jackling said he would check with Dean, who was not immediately available, and, since telegraphic confirmation their oral instruction not yet received, recommend they say at this morning’s meeting they are not yet ready to reply on this point. Jackling thought they might at minimum say that, while HMG has no objection to appointment, it would feel that any mediator would have to be fully acceptable to all parties concerned. Subsequently, Dean informed us he had taken this line and had moreover added that UK would not wish to express final opinion on this point until other parties had been heard from.

In conversation with Bunche this afternoon Yost stressed our belief that mediator in order to be effective must be fully acceptable to all parties. Bunche concurred entirely and said SYG would not appoint Rolz-Bennett if Turks presented strong objection. On personal basis, Yost raised question whether it was desirable in SYG’s own interest for him to be so deeply involved in this highly controversial and time-consuming assignment and whether he would not be better protected by appointing someone like Plimsoll, Schurman or Boland to carry main burden. Bunche replied that, since SC res provides mediator report periodically to SYG, latter would in any case have main responsibility and preferred to have mediator who would keep him closely informed at [Page 1017] every step rather than have someone who might turn out to be prima donna and make SYG’s role more difficult. As to other individuals suggested, he was sure because of Makarios’ attitude toward NATO force that he would object to any mediator from NATO country, Turks would certainly reject Boland, and Plimsoll is no better known outside UN circles than Rolz-Bennett. (Bunche was quite clear that, while Rolz-Bennett would not be appointed if Turks objected strongly, otherwise he would be. It appears SYG wishes keep firm hand on rudder and may have judged from Yemen experience he can not control mediator not directly under his authority.)

As to Gyani, we understand that SYG had wished to announce today or tomorrow that he is immediately assuming command of “UN” (i.e., British) forces in Cyprus. HMG is objecting very strongly that this is premature, at least until composition of UN force, including number of British participating, is known. Bunche indicated SYG also wishes give Turks opportunity comment further even though their approval is not required. However, it is hoped to make announcement tomorrow that Gyani is being appointed and will assume command at early date. Appointment UK Gen Carver as Deputy Commander will be announced at same time.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 CYP. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to London, Athens, Ankara, Nicosia, and USDOCOSouth. Passed to the White House, JCS, OSD, CIA, and CINCEUR and CINCSTRIKE for POLADs.