206. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Nixon 1

Dear Mr. President,

I have received your message of July 21, 1974,2 regarding Cyprus and want to give you a reply to it at once, since the situation there remains complicated and dangerous.

Your message says about the US readiness to cooperate with the Soviet Union in the matter of restoring peace and the previous constitu[Page 1031]tional arrangements in Cyprus. We welcome the general spirit of that statement and on our part have already proposed to the American side to act concertedly in Cyprus question.

And we have proposed and are proposing to determine as concretely as possible the goal of our concerted actions, namely: full restoration on Cyprus of the authority of the lawfully elected Government of that state headed by President Makarios, without limiting ourselves to general appeals about restoring constitutionality and so on.

Under existing conditions the achievement of this goal, in our view, can and should be promoted by a speedy implementation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution of July 20, 1974, which the USSR and the US, together with other states, voted for.3 That Resolution, in our opinion, could have been of a more decisive nature, but none the less we believe that on the whole it is consistent with two main prerequisites, compliance with which can really restore peace on Cyprus.

They are—an unequivocal support of the lawful Government of Cyprus headed by President Makarios (it is exactly in this capacity that he is mentioned in the Resolution) and immediate termination of foreign military intervention against the Republic of Cyprus with withdrawal from there of foreign military personnel.

In your message you, Mr. President, make a big stress on a question of cease-fire on Cyprus. We are also in favor of it. At the same time it is quite obvious that a simple cease-fire will not settle the problem if just after that and without delay effective measures are not taken to ensure that the cease-fire would really bring about peace and order on Cyprus in the interests of the Cypriot people, and would not turn to be only a temporary pause before a new and maybe more bloody outbreak.

We are convinced that only radical measures directed at restoring fully the position of Cyprus as an independent and sovereign state, which existed before the military intervention of Greece, can ensure the only acceptable for the Cypriot people way out from an acute situation, which has developed lately, and at the same time can eliminate a grave source of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. One should face the truth squarely. It was the very lack of such effective measures—as a result of the position taken by a number of Western countries including the US, that has brought the present bloodshed.

Then let us, Mr. President, do everything possible at least now, let us press together for the speediest fulfillment of the Security Council decision of July 20.

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On our part we shall continue to exert most active efforts in defense of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus in their concrete expression—in the sense of eliminating outside interference in the internal affairs of Cyprus and restoring there the legitimate Government headed by President Makarios.

We would like to hope that the United States of America will also make their position on Cyprus as much concrete as possible along the same lines.


L. Brezhnev 4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 70, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 24. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the letter reads, “Delivered by hand at 2145 July 23, 1974.”
  2. Document 205.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 202.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears Brezhnev’s typed signature.