102. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and Director of Central Intelligence Colby1

K: Hello.

C: Hello, Henry.

K: Bill, how are you? Sorry to have kept you on the line.

C: That’s OK.

K: I just wanted to check in with you and to make sure you would of course be keeping a close watch on this thing. Can you get us out here—I’m in San Clemente—your estimate of how this thing is going to evolve.

C: All right. Fine.

K: And also what the Turkish capability is to put troops ashore. What is it, do you know?

C: It’s very good. They’ve got about I’d say about a regiment or so on the ships. They’ve got about 20 odd ships.

K: A regiment is what, 2000?

C: It’s 2 or 3 thousand, yes.

K: And then how many can they send?

C: And they’ve got some airborne also. They have an airborne brigade.

K: How many is that?

C: They apparently are going for Kyrenia on the north coast. That’s the first step.

K: But what do you think they’re after? They’re not after the whole island are they?

C: No, no. What they would be after would be Famagusta and Kyrenia and kind of a line between the two.

K: That kind of a quadrangle in the northeast.

C: Yeah. Well, call it almost the (inaudible) from roughly Baranaka on up and then just assert themselves and give themselves a position to bargain with.

K: What do you think the Greeks are going to do?

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C: Well, the local Greeks will fight and there are some reports that there is some bombing at Kyrenia already. And the National Guard particularly will fight. This is the one with the Greek officers in them.

K: They will fight.

C: You will have a very unpleasant thing in Cyprus itself. The Greeks themselves are a bit far away, quite frankly. They are about at the range of their aircraft and they can’t do very much from there.

K: Even from Rhodes?

C: Pardon.

K: Even from Rhodes?

C: Well, but their basic airfield is back in Greece and Athens and that area.

K: What is the relative strength of those two armies?

C: The Turks are about 300,000 and the Greeks about 100,000. But most of the Greek forces are up in the north, up in Thrace. And if you had kind of a mixup, that’s where it would take place. Up in the northern area there, around Salonika.

K: Do you have any good ideas what we should do?

C: Well, I think the biggest thing is to get the Greeks not to fight. To say all right, let’s negotiate and discuss what ought to be done.

K: OK.

C: Their basic position has been that this is an internal affair in Cyprus. You know, so they have a face saving basis for saying, “Well, that was just a local affair. It’s not Greece.”

K: Yeah, OK. Thank you.

C: So in a sense they could say “Well, that was a great mistake down there in the island, but we’re above that.” I think the most important thing is to limit it to Cyprus and not let it go out beyond that.

K: OK, thank you.

C: We’ll pass on anything else we get, Henry.

K: Thank you. Bye.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. Kissinger was in San Clemente; Colby was in Washington.