411. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1
Athens, March 17, 1972, 1546Z.
1519. Subj: Cyprus and U.S. Interests.
- We think it might be useful at this point, particularly in view of upcoming Erim visit to Washington, briefly to summarize this Embassyʼs assessment of current Cyprus situation. Basically, we see situation as follows:
- Makarios has scored a number of points. However, rather than easing crisis, Archbishopʼs apparent tactical victories have made it even more likely that Greece will pursue aims set forth in its February 11 note.2
- Turkish Government has made it quite clear that its security interests and those of Turkish community on island will be protected. At same time, GOT has taken stance that has encouraged Greek Government in its attempt to get Makarios to meet its demands. At this point much good will exists between our two NATO allies. (We note from [Page 1017] Ankara 18903 that Turks seem to be mellowing somewhat even on questions of ecumenical patriarchate and minorities.) However, this good will could be quickly dissipated if GOG is unable to deal constructively with Cyprus issues important to Turks.
- Our fundamental interest in this situation is in maintaining and strengthening friendly relations between Greece and Turkey. If Makarios can sit tight and continue to score propaganda points, thus frustrating both Greek and Turkish aims, it is not likely that our interests will be well served.
- Most immediate problem is Czech arms. If arrangement agreed on between Makarios and UN not satisfactory to Turks, GOT may put strong pressure on Greek Government to settle this question. GOG then might issue ultimatum to Makarios that arms must be handed over to National Guard or UN. If, however, Turks accept present arrangement, or if they do not and Makarios subsequently agrees to improved arrangement, we may surmount immediate problem. Crisis would then enter new phase.
- As we suggested at time current crisis began (Athens 971),4 best solution from our point of view may be for entire argument to return to arena of intercommunal talks (and this also probably best way of preventing eventual outbreak of violence). If arms question settled, best next development might be concerted effort by Greece and Turkey to get intercommunal talks immediately under way. If this could be accomplished we would assume, after what has taken place in past month, that Greece and Turkey would be able to play strong and constructive role in developing compromise solution.
- We cannot predict what direction events will actually take. We should continue to avoid direct involvement, allowing our NATO allies, Greece, Turkey and U.K., to carry most of the burden. Nevertheless, to extent we can quietly influence events it should be in direction of getting intercommunal talks going—if and when arms question satisfactorily resolved.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. III Jan 72–Oct 73. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to Nicosia, Ankara, London, USNATO, and USUN. Another copy is ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CYP.↩
- See footnote 4, Document 396.↩
- Dated March 16, it reported that Turkey expected Bishop Meleton to succeed the Patriarch. (Ibid., POL GREECE–TUR)↩
- Document 406.↩