104. Editorial Note
On July 20, 1974, Joseph Sisco held meetings in Ankara and Athens, in the midst of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Excerpts of notes from his mission for that day summarized the meetings as follows:
“July 20—Early morning Sisco–Ecevit meeting.
“Sisco met during the early morning of July 20 with Ecevit. It was clear that Turks had already taken decision to intervene militarily and Ecevit refused to budge. Sisco told Ecevit that in Greek eyes, so far as Turkey is concerned, what had occurred in Cyprus had destroyed a large measure of confidence. Also GOG realized seriousness of situation and agreed to engage in dialogue. Sisco noted that Greeks said they were ready to fight. USG believes that intervention in Cyprus [Page 340] would not be in Turkish interest. Sisco also floated Clerides idea with the Turks and stated we have no preconceived notions and are flexible on this matter.
“Ecevit said that he would consult with his Council of Ministers on the situation. Later he informed Sisco—after his Council of Ministers meeting—that the Turkish decision was irrevocable.
“In the early morning hours of July 20 the Turkish invasion force landed on Cyprus and Sisco returned to Athens. He met with the Acting Foreign Minister who demanded the immediate cessation of Turkish action and also said that general mobilization had been ordered. Sisco said that the USG wanted an end to the hostilities and wanted both Greece and Turkey to negotiate settlement in London. We would work to this end. He added that Greece bears certain responsibilities for the present situation. He added that U.S. would be closely associated with negotiations in London. He then left immediately for Ankara to try to obtain Turkish agreement to a ceasefire.
“On July 20 Sisco saw Ecevit and in very tough language laid it on the line and gave him ceasefire proposal. He told Ecevit that GOT conditions for starting talks had been met and let him know that prolongation of the conflict would result in severe damage to U.S.-Turkish relations. Ecevit said he would talk to military and Cabinet as soon as possible and get back to Sisco. In reporting back to the Department, Sisco noted that it was his judgment that Ankara does not take very seriously the Greek threat to declare war.” (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, 1951–1976, Entry 5405, Box 21, Cyprus 1974–75)
Sisco reported his meetings to the Department in telegrams 4664 (ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 592, Country Files, Middle East, Cyprus, Vol. II), 4667, and 4742 from Athens, and 5745 and 5746 from Ankara, all dated July 20. (Ibid., RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, 1951–1976, Entry 5405, Box 26, Cyprus Crisis, July 1974)