120. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

1723. For the Secretary from Ambassador. Subject: Cyprus.

Foreign Minister Dimitriou telephoned EmbOff and asked following be passed:

Makarios’ statement that he hopes return to Cyprus in two or three weeks has had an immediate and increasingly adverse reaction with Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriots of all stripes (strong enosists, EOKA-B, the indifferent, etc.) other than AKEL and Lyssarides followers are already saying that if Makarios comes back blood will flow again and there will be civil strife on island, Greek will be fighting Greek again.
Present govt, including Clerides, are convinced Makarios’ return, if it is soon, would be a disaster here. The island needs time now for emotions to settle and for a return to some kind of stability and sanity. Greeks are pulling together, and hopefully under Clerides leadership they can be kept together—united and ready for a solution to Greek/Turk problem on the island.
Govt feels that Makarios’ early return would only disrupt orderly return to normality here. Perhaps if Makarios insists on returning, he could put off his return for at least three months. By that time the course here could be set, emotions soothed and his return would not be too disruptive. If, however, he keeps saying he will return in two or three weeks and if he does come back this soon, then civil strife is almost a certainty.
Clerides has relayed substance of the above to Karamanlis as has Dimitriou to Gen. Bonanos. They have urged that Makarios not be permitted to return for at least three months. Karamanlis replied he would think about it. Bonanos agreed that Makarios should not return, at least not for present.
Clerides govt, through Dimitriou, urges U.S. to exert its influence, indeed to take all possible measures, to avoid Makarios’ return to Cyprus in near future.
Comment: Clerides in his press conference this morning publicly stated Archbishop should not return, and question of his return should be decided through elections. As incidental information, Dimitriou said Council of Ministers has told Clerides that he has a free hand to reshuffle the Cabinet as he wishes.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 592, Country Files, Middle East, Cyprus, Vol. II. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Received in the White House at 7:13 p.m. Repeated Immediate to Ankara, Athens, London, and USUN.