125. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

5147. For Sisco from Hartman. Subj: British Intelligence Report.

Immediately after long session with Callaghan this afternoon I was called back to his office to read what Callaghan referred to as an alarming intelligence report. He thought that our people had access to the same report dated August 9 [less than 1 line not declassified].2 The report is information obtained without the knowledge of the source [less than 1 line not declassified]. It reports a Turkish army plan to begin another military operation on August 20 designed to take over all areas above the line drawn five miles east of Morphou through the Nicosia area and on to Famagusta.3 The plan is to complete the operation in 18 hours using mainly elements of the 39th Infantry Division. Paratroop units are said to have already withdrawn from the island for use in this second phase operation. The report also describes a third phase, if Turkish demands are not met after phase II, which includes a line from Koutrophas, Lefka to Korinna. The airfield at Aghirda is said to be in shape to take Dakota aircraft.
Callaghan is ready to believe that the Turks are capable of this kind of duplicity. Gunes had assured him, as he had me, this morning that the Turkish armed forces have no intention of broadening their [Page 416] territorial holdings. However Gunes had apparently alluded in an oblique way, as he had with me, to the possibility that further military action might be required if Turkey’s objectives were not obtained by diplomatic means. While not wishing to definitely rule out this possibility, I said that we had several pieces of information recently including an apparent air mobilization which had caused us to go into the Defense Minister twice in the last several days. We had been assured that “nothing was afoot”. Callaghan immediately began painting the picture of a British reaction to this contingency, including a British military reaction. He said that he would have solid backing for this because it was inconceivable that there would be any possible justification for the Turkish action and anyway “Wilson liked to play with soldiers”. Before he could work up any more righteous indignation I suggested that the first step was to obtain the best estimate of our intelligence services and of our respective Embassies. I promised him I would seek such an assessment and report to him tomorrow. I also mentioned that of course we were aware that a number of contingency plans had always existed in the TGS files. In fact some of those plans seem to have appeared in newspaper reports in the last few days from Ankara and it was at least possible that the air mobilization and leaks of further intentions represented Turk effort at psychological warfare.
Would appreciate soonest Washington assessment since this report will obviously color Callaghan’s attitude in the crucial hours of negotiation this weekend.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–77, Box 8, Cyprus 32. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Repeated Immediate to Ankara and Nicosia.
  2. Not found.
  3. Macomber reported in telegram 6403 from Ankara, August 9, that Turkey might make a military move should it not achieve an acceptable solution at the Geneva talks, which began August 8. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft Office Files, 1969–1977, Box 8, Cyprus 32)