207. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

SUBJECT

  • Latest Soviet Note on Cyprus; Talk with Vorontsov

I called Vorontsov at 10:30 AM to tell him that I had promptly informed you of their note of last night (Tab A),2 that you were not, however, back in town yet and that I had no detailed response at this time. I did want him to know that round-the-clock efforts were continuing in Geneva to find a resolution among the parties. This being the case, we did not think that action through the UN Security Council was useful or desirable at this time. Vorontsov said that it was a good thing for people to work round-the-clock because the situation has to be brought under control. He said that perhaps the Security Council meetings would serve to put pressure on the people in Geneva to speed up matters. I said I was certain that work was proceeding in Geneva night and [Page 1033] day. I concluded by saying that if we had a further reaction to their latest note following your return I would be in touch. Vorontsov said: “Don’t disappear.”

As you are aware, the Soviets are working with Makarios in New York and Rossides3 is also in close touch with them. The Security Council is clearly the only real means the Soviets have at this point to inject themselves actively into the diplomatic game; and it is the best way they have to work with Makarios. Their only real program seems to be to keep Makarios in play and to somehow get him into the diplomatic process in Geneva.

Soviet demands for cessation of foreign intervention, withdrawal of troops, implementation of SC Resolution 353,4 etc., continue to be ambiguous as regards the Turks. Apparently, there has been some direct Soviet-Turkish contact (one was a meeting between the Soviet Ambassador and the Turkish Defense Minister), but just what the substance may be is not clear.

It is a truism that the longer the present situation continues the more entree the Soviets will acquire. Their idea of a Security Council mission to Cyprus may gain ground if the Turks really seek to exclude the UN forces from areas occupied by the Turks.

In any event, our best bet remains to keep the Russians at arms length, as we are doing and the Soviets obviously know we are doing. As long as we can point to progress in Geneva, this tactic will work; if there is a breakdown it will be much harder to make it work and the Soviets would of course have much better ground for direct dealings with Athens and Ankara as well as for UN intervention.

So far in New York, the British have carried the load of argument against the Soviet position. That is fine and we should keep it that way as long as possible.

I still see no value in sending a written communication to the Soviets, though we now have two from them which we have only reacted to orally. The only utility would be to satisfy the ritualistic Soviet desire for formal communication and to meet the seeming requirements of our agreements with the Russians to consult on international problems. But there would be little that we could say; and anything we say that implies some coordination of efforts will be immediately used by the Russians with the Greeks and Turks. (The Soviets told the Greeks that the dispatch of their observer to Geneva was the result of agreement between us; we have of course denied this, but any written communica[Page 1034]tion suggesting US-Soviet cooperation would undermine our position with the Greeks and Turks and imply US-Soviet collusion.)

In summary, therefore, if you agree, I think I should call Vorontsov toward the end of today (July 29) and tell him

—Their note and Government statement have been carefully reviewed by you;

—That we continue to believe that the focus of effort should be in Geneva where work continues intensively on an agreement among the guarantors;

—That of course the interests of the Cypriots are not being ignored;

—That we remain in close touch with the constitutional government on Cyprus and that you are having further talks with Makarios as well;

—That we don’t like the accusatory tone of Soviet statements and communications—they imply an adversary position when our entire purpose has been to find a solution acceptable to all directly concerned without making this an international dispute;

—That we continue to hope the Soviets will desist from anything that might inflame the situation or adversely affect the already difficult climate in which the parties are attempting to work out a solution.

Approve further talk with Vorontsov along above lines

Prefer a written communication along above lines

Do nothing further today, July 29

Other5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Lot 81 D 286, Box 8, Soviet Union, May–July 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for urgent action.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Zenon Rossides, Cypriot Ambassador to the United States.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 202.
  5. None of the options is initialed.