115. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US
  • Secretary Kissinger
  • William B. Buffum, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs (Notetaker)
  • UK
  • Sir Peter Ramsbotham, British Ambassador to the United States
  • Jeremy Greenstock (Notetaker)


  • Cyprus

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I wanted to inform you that the UK was supplying scout cars and some additional troops to the UN as requested.

Secretary Kissinger: I was already aware of this and in fact had advised the Turkish Government of it since your man apparently was having difficulty getting through.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: We counseled the Government of Turkey to assure that the ceasefire holds. The Turkish Government should give orders to its forces and its Ambassador in Nicosia to calm down. He is blaming the UN for everything that is going wrong. British reports indicate the Turks have been continuing with their shelling this afternoon, and the Greek Chargé has said Greek Army units were being attacked. Does the United States have any information on the situation in Greece itself?

[Page 387]

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t know. We had coup reports this morning, but the Prime Minister called me this afternoon and made no mention of it.2

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I saw Makarios this morning and took notes on a paper he showed me. It does seem sensible. It covers proposals for declaring the National Guard illegal. All that would be left would be Greek and Turkish contingents as well as a mixed force of UN military police. I doubt the police force idea will work because the Turks would not leave their own people with so little protection. However, these are generally rational ideas.

Secretary Kissinger: Makarios told me3 he did not want to raise the question of his own return to Cyprus and mentioned that Clerides is Acting President at the moment under the Constitution. However, elections must be held within 45 days. Makarios said he understood the United States wants him to stay away from Cyprus for some time, but I told him this was an unfair statement. We want the parties to work things out themselves. He is cold-blooded, and I told him we were looking at the situation in a cold-blooded way ourselves.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: Makarios said he will be going back to London in about 10 days and alleged he’s more concerned about the future of his country than himself.

Secretary Kissinger: He told me he would be happy to be relieved of his duties but made clear he is interested in getting re-elected. I told Makarios we will not oppose him. Makarios said that is not enough, that he needs our support to return. I replied that that would depend on who else he asks.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: Makarios expressed gratitude for British support in the Security Council, and I thanked him for not insisting on Cyprus participation in the next round of negotiations. I told him it was not good to have the Soviet Union as his principal supporter, and he agreed.

Secretary Kissinger: He did make several sensible points, such as telling his people that enosis would be impossible because of the Turkish opposition.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I was concerned about the Turkish performance in Cyprus because they did not appear able to handle modern weapons well, and I think this has unhappy implications for NATO’s southern flank. They even failed to take Nicosia Airport.

[Page 388]

Secretary Kissinger: What do you consider the balance of forces now is in Cyprus?

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I think it is about right. The Turks now have 5,000 more men there and still have pockets of Turk Cypriots around the island.

Secretary Kissinger: As far as the future government is concerned, we have no particular interest in any special group. We do not mind jettisoning Sampson, but not before we know who will take his place.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: We are not backing Makarios as the future President.

Secretary Kissinger: I object to him because he is ambitious, able and strong; with the present balance of forces in Cyprus he must get the Turks out, and this can only be done with Soviet help.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I think you are wrong on that. I hold no brief for him; indeed, he has caused the UK a lot more difficulties than he has the United States, but he has handled that lot on Cyprus successfully for 14 years without outsiders like the Russians coming in.

Secretary Kissinger: I enjoyed talking to Makarios. He is wily and clever and gets subtle points. But I now see a balance of forces which will drive him to the Soviet bloc. Clerides might be able to do it.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: Maybe the Turks don’t feel so strongly now in view of their poor performance.

Secretary Kissinger: We are trying to be cold-blooded about who takes over and have no objection if Makarios could structure it satisfactorily.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I would also go for Clerides. He is clever and brave, although he would run Cyprus differently. He is the ablest man there. He was in the RAF.

Secretary Kissinger: We would like to delay a bit and see how the balance of forces develops following the excellent British example of the 19th century.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: As far as the negotiations go, we want to wait and see what the parties themselves bring.

Secretary Kissinger: Callaghan told me the United States has supplied the muscle and now the UK would like to supply the brains. I guess he was really saying you don’t want us in the negotiations.

Ambassador Ramsbotham: I would certainly never have put it that way.

I want to mention with regard to Waldheim’s request to double the size of UNFICYP that we will have difficulty in increasing our force contribution as much as he would like, and we would like time to think over just what we can do. The financial considerations, among other things, are quite considerable.

[Page 389]

Secretary Kissinger: I understand that. I did talk about this problem generally with Waldheim this morning4 and told him we would support an increase in size of the UN force. I wish someone would keep him off my back.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1338, Unfiled Material, 1974. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Kissinger’s office.
  2. No record of Kissinger’s conversation with Androutsopoulos on July 22 has been found, but they spoke again on July 23. (Transcript of telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
  3. This refers to Kissinger’s meeting earlier in the day with Makarios. See footnote 4, Document 114.
  4. Kissinger spoke with Waldheim at 9:40 a.m. (Transcript of telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)