112. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Hartman) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


Effective today the Cyprus Working Group has been formally constituted into a Task Force under my chairmanship with Wells Stabler as deputy chairman and C. William Kontos as director. The Task Force will serve as the coordinating body for all Departmental activity relating to the Cyprus crisis.

There has also been established in the Task Force a special Cyprus Planning Group to prepare the Political and Military Intelligence Reports, the Situation Reports and analytical and policy papers for your consideration. The first such paper is attached. The chairman of this group is John G. Day (EUR/SE), and his deputies will be Philip Stoddard (INR) and Thomas Simons (S/P).


Paper No. 1

Cyprus: Issues and Options

I. The Situation

  • —The Turks will probably insist on consolidating their position on the island so they will have a realistic basis for partition or at least negotiation. If their position creates a de facto partition, they will also have strengthened their hand for negotiating some other settlement.
  • —If the Turks insist on continuing the fighting to consolidate their position, the Greeks will probably attack Turkey across the Evros River in Thrace. In that case the Turks would probably respond with action against Greek Aegean islands. Neither side is likely to make major gains in Thrace, where the Greek geographic advantage balances the Turkish numerical advantage, but the Turks would make gains on the Ionian islands.
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The purpose of this paper is to describe those options beyond the steps that would be taken for evacuation of Americans and protection of US facilities only (but including these steps where they could also constitute a modest show of US force).

II. Issues

The one longer-term issue that has to be considered now in judging the options is whether the US interest is served by Turkey’s consolidating its military position on Cyprus in such a way as to create a de facto partition which would put the Turks in a position to negotiate for formal partition or some other constitutional arrangement.

It should be noted that Turkish military occupation of the island’s northeastern third does not of itself constitute a viable partition solution (although it may lay the basis for one) due to the leopard-spot character of Greek and Turkish settlement. Additional and more complex arrangements, probably including exchange of populations, will be required if a stable solution is to be achieved. Various possibilities are described in the annex to this paper.

The present situation could lead in one of two directions:

  • —Double enosis is the more likely: it is a long-standing Turkish goal; once on Cyprus in force the mainland Turks are unlikely to withdraw and permit any other solution. At the same time, double enosis would mean NATO-ization of Cyprus and, coming on top of recent Soviet losses in the Mideast, would raise the issue of Soviet responses in its most acute form.
  • —Substantial return to the 1960 constitutional arrangements is also a possibility: it would defuse adverse international reaction to Turkish military intervention, would preserve Cypriot independence, and would thereby be more acceptable to the Soviets. At the same time, it is a potentially less stable solution than double enosis, and would make the return of Makarios as a hostage of the left more likely.

Combinations are conceivable, e.g., de facto double enosis which maintains formal independence, or formal double enosis with assurances or guarantees against changes in Cyprus’ military status.

III. Options

It is assumed that efforts to end the fighting on Cyprus and to prevent Greek-Turkish fighting will continue. The question is what steps we might want to take if the fighting on Cyprus continues and Greek-Turkish hostilities begin.

A. Military moves in support of political goals

Cut off military aid to one or both parties. We have already warned that we will not permit them to fight each other with an open supply line to the US, and we have taken the appropriate internal steps to permit a military aid cut-off. In the early stages of hostilities, however, this [Page 368] is essentially a political gesture: it is the easiest to take, and the least likely to have a concrete impact. If we wished to signal a tilt, we could cut off aid to one party only. In this context, withdrawal of MAAG missions might also be considered; however, it could endanger access to essential facilities without affecting hostilities. Withdrawal of MAAG chiefs only might be a harmless gesture.

A show of force through introduction of modest US forces. Modest forces could be landed either to protect American facilities (like the Embassy) or to evacuate Americans; if the latter, they could deploy either in the British SBA’s (assuming HMG concurrence) or outside. If their mission were to show force in addition to the force shown by deployment for evacuation, forces additional to the Marines, who will be fully occupied with evacuation duties, should be deployed. This move, too, would be essentially a gesture, since such forces would be too small to have an impact on hostilities.

The 1800 Marines on TF 61/62 should be in position to deploy on Cyprus at daybreak July 21, and the 211 men of the Airborne Rifle Company now at Vicenza could deploy in approximately 17 hours.


Imposition of a naval blockade around Cyprus. The purpose would be to prevent further sea reinforcement of Cyprus. We could either threaten to make this move unless the parties desisted or actually make it. To minimize the likelihood of firing at NATO Allies, we should consider seeking a NATO mandate for this move. It might well provoke Soviet counter-reinforcement, given past Soviet practice and the current low Soviet posture in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Soviets, in the Black Sea, are closer than we are in great force.

The Sixth Fleet has sufficient forces in the Mediterranean at present to accomplish this mission, using all available escorts and P–3 aircraft and the Forrestal for support, and they could probably be deployed within three days. Since this action would not prevent aerial resupply and would preclude Sixth Fleet assets from carrying out other assigned missions, it would be highly undesirable.

Use of US forces to impose a ceasefire on Cyprus. Even more than for a naval blockade, a NATO mandate should be sought to minimize the prospect and impact of firing at Allies. Even in conjunction with UK forces aboard the Commando Carrier Hermes, this move is of questionable feasibility: the UK estimated before the crisis that 20,000 men would be needed to keep the peace on Cyprus, and given the confusion of the terrain, the forces on the ground, and the political situation, this is considered an under-estimate. Given its questionable feasibility and high political risk, this move is considered emphatically undesirable. In addition to the men on TF 61/62 and at Vicenza (2,011 in 17 hours), forces available are: the rest of the Vincenza Airborne Battalion now in Germany (861 in 83 hours); two Mechanized Battalions in Germany [Page 369] (about 2,000 in 154 hours/6 days); and the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg (about 14,000 in 192 hours/7 1/2 days): total about 19,000 men in about a week.
Possible military moves toward Greece and Turkey. Such moves might have two purposes: to pressure Greece and Turkey to stop fighting and to counter threatening Soviet gestures. Moves to pressure Greece and Turkey might include US or US-encouraged NATO threats to withhold military supply following hostilities [21/2 lines not declassified]. Either move might jeopardize Greek and Turkish post-conflict ties with NATO, since the threat to withhold military supply might provoke recourse to non- NATO suppliers, [1 line not declassified]. Military moves in the area to counter threatening Soviet gestures (deployment of Soviet forces to Bulgaria, Soviet moves in the Straits, pressure on Romania to guarantee transit) are difficult to envisage, and the appropriate response might be outside the area; at the same time, threatening Soviet military gestures in the area are considered unlikely barring a quite protracted extensive Greek-Turkish conflict in Thrace.

B. Political-diplomatic moves

Support efforts to convene peace negotiations in London. We have already undertaken this move. The “London–Zurich framework” for such talks would tend to drive results toward “restoration of the 1960 arrangements” rather than double enosis.
Pursue a ceasefire in the UN. We have also embarked on this move. The UN has an interest in helping bring about the cessation of international conflict, and the Soviets would be assured of some voice in the process. However, the Soviet voice cuts both ways, since Turkish intervention makes double enosis more and a neutral Cyprus less likely, and a UN role may somewhat enhance Makarios’ claims. The UN context therefore also pushes results toward “restoration of the 1960 arrangements.”
Discourage third-country resupply. We have also taken steps in this direction. The problem becomes acute in case of protracted major conflict where the US has cut off military supplies to one or both parties, and one or both are tempted to seek arms elsewhere. Since both parties now have US arms, airlift and POL are the most likely candidates, and the Soviets the most likely potential suppliers.
Activate NATO. Cessation of a Greek-Turkish war is a natural goal for NATO. In this context, efforts by both the SYG and SACEUR, who should enjoy the confidence of the military on both sides, might be considered. Injection of the NATO (and European) presence might mitigate the weakening of NATO’s Southern Flank which will result from the war. On the other hand, the Soviets will be sensitive to a NATO role if it leads toward deneutralization of Cyprus.
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C. Post-Ceasefire Moves

Expand the role of UNFICYP. All forms of this step would involve a role for the UN and the SYG, but it could take several forms: putting both Greek and Turkish forces in place on Cyprus under it, to encourage restraint; putting US forces on Cyprus under it (though this would be impossible without Soviet agreement or inclusion); putting increased UK and Turkish co-guarantor forces under it (though this would tilt toward restoration of 1960 arrangements). Where disengagement of forces and exchange of populations is sought, the UN would have a natural role; however, the Soviets would be expected to seek to block double enosis using the UN role.
Disengagement in Thrace. It would be advisable to exclude the UN from this purely NATO area, and to provide for a NATO role in negotiating and enforcing disengagement arrangements there.
A Force Freeze on Cyprus. The purpose of this move would be to prevent increase of forces present at the time of ceasefire. It could take many forms, from commitments by the parties through UNFICYP monitoring to blockade.

IV. Key Criteria

Identification of the following factors may help principals weigh the options.

1. The Problem of the Soviet Response. It is very difficult to predict the Soviet response in a given situation. The Soviets face a profound dilemma. They have no obvious direct way to achieve their goal of preventing deneutralization of Cyprus. However, three probabilities stand out:

  • —The Soviets are likely to be less supportive of Turkey now that the Turks have intervened militarily. They are likely to oppose double enosis until it is a foregone conclusion; the extent of their support for Turkey is likely to depend of the extent of Turkish support for Cyprus independence.
  • —The longer the war lasts, the more likely we are to have difficulty with the Soviets: as a force in the UN, as a military supplier, as a Mediterranean naval power.
  • —Formal partition of the island between Greece and Turkey is the outcome most likely to stick in the Soviet craw, since it would NATOize the island, and this political and military loss would probably not be outweighed by the war-weakening of NATO’s Southern Flank. Presumably, an outcome which did not change Cyprus’ military status or its formal international status would be less unacceptable.

The Soviets would probably be most hesitant to respond directly to a Greek-Turkish conflict. They have few means of doing so, and would be unlikely to do so unless extensive Thracian hostilities were prolonged. Direct Soviet responses would jeopardize the prospects for weaker Greek or Turkish ties with NATO and better ties with the USSR following the [Page 371] conflict. The Soviets would be more likely to respond elsewhere—in East Europe (strengthening the Warsaw Pact), in Central Europe or the Middle East—and most likely to factor a deterioration of their Eastern Mediterranean position into their overall détente calculus. Even in these cases, however, they would face the prospect that such moves would strengthen NATO more than a Greek-Turkish war would weaken it.

Assuming protracted major Greek-Turkish hostilities and a direct Soviet show of force (e.g. moving troops into Bulgaria, pressing Romania to guarantee transit, moving large naval forces through the Straits), we would have to consider such responses as heightened alert status for our forces, moving naval forces ourselves, supporting Romania, a Western move in Central Europe, or cutting the Soviets into the Mediterranean action by joint endeavors to reestablish the peace.

In considering military options, we should recall that forces deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean for the options outlined are likely to be inadequate for most major counter-Soviet responses.

In considering political options, we should recall that an active NATO role would support eventual counter-Soviet responses as well as post-conflict Greek and Turkish ties to the West.

2. The NATO Southern Flank. Hostilities between Greece and Turkey will degrade the NATO Southern Flank, and it would be desirable in considering options to chose moves which permit reinforcement of their post-conflict ties to the Alliance to the maximum feasible extent. Rebuilding their relations with NATO Allies, re-equipping their forces, and reweaving the NATO fabric itself will be priority goals in the post-conflict period, and we should avoid moves which jeopardize them where we can. As examples, activating NATO and discouraging third-country supply should serve these goals, while threatening post-conflict arms cut-off [less than 1 line not declassified] would not.

3. Other US Facilities. We maintain myriad facilities for both NATO and non-NATO contingencies and uses in both countries, and should to the extent feasible avoid moves which could place them at risk in a post-conflict period. In general, the greater the direct US military intervention, the greater the risk to these facilities.

V.[less than 1 line not declassified]

[1 paragraph (13 lines) not declassified]


Alternative Cyprus Settlements

Three political outcomes are identified in decreasing order of likelihood: (1) double enosis; (2) independence based on a return to the [Page 372] 1960 agreements; and (3) an independent, federated Cyprus. The difference between double enosis and the other two is that only double enosis offers a clearcut long-term solution to the communal problem. The trouble with double enosis is the Soviet dimension.

1. Double enosis has long been the preferred Turkish solution, and once in control of a large chunk of Cyprus, the Turks cannot be expected to withdraw easily and permit any other solution.

Double enosis, however, raises a host of difficulties. Because of the intermingling of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, and despite the ingathering process of the past decade, large numbers of Greek Cypriots would be left in the Turkish-controlled areas, and thousands of Turkish Cypriots would find themselves living under Athens’ authority.

The border between the two zones would be a source of continuing friction, for popular feeling would run high, and especially so if the intercommunal fighting had been bloody. War damage and the economic dislocation of population shifts would generate requirements for extensive foreign aid to both areas. Finally, the London–Zurich agreements would have to be junked and replaced by complicated new arrangements between Greece and Turkey. There are precedents in the 1923 and 1930 agreements following the Greco-Turkish War of 1921–2,3 but post-intervention tensions would make this a difficult process.

Most importantly, perhaps, double enosis would raise the issue of the Soviet response to the NATO-ization of Cyprus in acute form. The Soviets have strongly opposed any kind of enosis for a decade and have consistently backed the independence of a unitary Cypriot state.

While Soviet displeasure could probably not block enosis, measures to deal with it could include:

1. [6 lines not declassified]

2. [5 lines not declassified]

Lessening the corrosive impact of population problems would probably require costly compensation for property left behind and possibly require a substantial augmentation of the UN presence to supervise the resettlement process and police the buffer zone that would be required between the two parts of the island. The Soviets could block the UN role in this process, but if Greece and Turkey had agreed on double enosis, UN involvement would be unnecessary.

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2. Independence based on the London–Zurich Agreements. The Turks might use their control of territory on Cyprus to demand a return to some or all of the arrangements affecting local autonomy agreed to in 1960 but not fully implemented even before the 1963 clashes. This demand would strengthen the Turkish line that their intervention was in strict accordance with the Treaty of Guarantee and was aimed solely at a return to constitutionalism. It would tend to defuse adverse international reaction to Turkish military intervention, and it should be more acceptable to the Soviets, as it would maintain Cyprus’ independence.

Drawbacks to this outcome include its inherent instability and the fundamental unworkability of the 1960 arrangements. An attempt to return to the London–Zurich agreements—a basic Turkish hope after “renouncing” partition—would push the Cyprus dispute back to the unstable conditions that obtained from 1963 to 1967. If the 1960 apparatus could not be made to work during happier times in the first two years after independence, how could the Turks force the clock back after their invasion of the island? Moreover, even if Makarios resigned as President and the Turks agreed to accept Clerides in his place, Clerides is not a strong figure who could be counted on to slake the Turkish thirst for the kind of state within a state that would emerge from implementing the 1960 accords. The instability of the island under Clerides might pave the way for Makarios as a returned hostage of a revised left.

3. An Independent, Federated Cyprus.

The key feature would be substantial local autonomy for the two communities. While less beneficial to the Turks than a return to the local autonomy provisions of the London–Zurich agreements, it would reflect the thrust of the Turkish position in six years of intermittent negotiations, as well as the federation proposals the Turks advanced early in 1965. There are many precedents for federal solutions to communal problems, and, applied to Cyprus, these models would be less extreme than double enosis and would sound more realistic than return to the unworkable 1960 accords. Federation would give the Turks the “top-to-bottom” autonomy on which they have insisted since the intercommunal talks began in 1968.

On the other hand, a federal framework for a state consisting of very disparate parts is no assurance against strife. If those disparate parts were related through a commonwealth arrangement to two other countries, the problem of workability would become especially acute. A federal solution might mitigate the conflict in Cyprus by combining elements from the 1960 accords and the modifications of these arrangements that have emerged from the intercommunal talks in recent years. Turkey might then be able to assure its Cypriot compatriots of more [Page 374] meaningful protection. But, the tension between the Greek preference for unity and the Turkish desire for maximum communal autonomy would create a permanent prospect for communal strife. No matter what promises and guarantees the Turkish invaders managed to extract from the Greeks, both sides would attempt to bend a federal solution to their own desires. Thus federalism contains the same inherent instability as a return to the London–Zurich arrangements and would be no more workable over the long term. While far more acceptable to the Soviets than double enosis, neither federation nor a return to 1960 would meet the basic test of stable practicality.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 9, July 1974 Nodis Memcons. Confidential. Drafted by John Day and cleared by Wells Stabler.
  2. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Thomas Simons (S/P) and Philip Stoddard (INR/DDR/RNA). A note at the end of the paper indicates that it reflected discussion in an interagency group that included representatives of OSD/ISA, JCS, CIA, NSC, and S/P.
  3. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne replaced the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, which was part of the post-World War I Versailles settlement but was never implemented due to the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War. On June 2, 1930, Turkey and Greece signed an agreement that attempted to settle remaining disputes after their exchange of populations.