358. Letter From the Ambassador to Cyprus (Popper) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco)1

Dear Joe:

It was a pleasure to see you in Naples and to see how well you were coping with the various trials and tribulations of the worldʼs most unsettled areas.

I know from my own talks with the other Ambassadors that the meeting with the President was a great morale builder.2 This was not only because the President was so obviously buoyant, relaxed, and thoroughly master of the situation. It was also because he listened [Page 880] so knowledgeably to each of us and took note of our particular concerns.

I was of course delighted to get the Presidentʼs indication that he would be seeing the Archbishop. Following up on the Presidentʼs questions, we are preparing a Talking Paper giving our ideas on the points which might be brought up in a NixonMakarios conversation.3

We are considering here just how the more visible presence of the US in the Eastern Mediterranean should affect our operations in Cyprus. The change brought about by the Presidentʼs visit and the movements of the Sixth Fleet is still too new to have produced any very obvious effect in Cyprus. This change coincides with evidence that the Soviets, on their side, are showing increased interest in Cyprus. When we have the results of the Archbishopʼs trip to the US, we will want to analyze carefully the possibilities for a somewhat higher profile on the island. But we will of course be very careful not to jump the gun on this until we are sure that the circumstances are right.

Meanwhile, we will plug away at the old themes—urging serious pursuit of the intercommunal negotiations, more normalization and de-confrontation measures, and greater contacts between the two sides. We will also be looking into ways in which we can more effectively counteract local Communist influence and propaganda. This last is not easy, but it must be done.

All hands appreciate your letter of commendation in connection with the passage through Nicosia of hijacked aircraft passengers.4 We were fortunate to be able to help. This is certainly one case in which the work itself was its own reward.

Every good wish.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Cyprus Desk Files: Lot 74 D 139, Pol 17 US in Cyprus. Secret; Official–Informal. A notation on the letter indicates that Sisco, Davies, and Davis also saw it.
  2. President Nixon visited Europe September 27–October 4. The meeting with the Ambassadors took place on September 30. No record of this conversation was found. Briefing papers, including a draft Presidential speech Nixon heavily underlined, are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 468, Presidentʼs Trip Files, Presidential Visit to NATO Headquarters (AFSOUTH), Naples, Italy. According to an October 6 letter from Popper to Davis, the Ambassador came away with a sense that the decision for a NixonMakarios meeting had already been made prior to his presentation. Popper had informed Makarios that approval was likely. (Ibid.)
  3. Transmitted in telegram 1758 from Nicosia, October 8. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CYP)
  4. Not found. Fighting between Palestinian and Jordanian forces broke out on August 26. Beginning on September 6, Palestinian terrorist units seized a series of Western airliners, flew them to Jordan and held crew and passengers hostage. Syria invaded Jordan in support of the Palestinians. By September 27 Jordan had succeeded in releasing the hostages, expelling the Syrians, and defeating the Palestinians. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–72, Documents 4577.