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

5151. For the Secretary from Hartman. Subj: Cyprus Phase II—Callaghan Strategy.

We had a long exchange of assessments with Callaghan and his staff the afternoon of August 9. It led him to develop a strategy which he tentatively plans to use for concluding this phase of the Geneva talks [Page 417] and establishing a framework for ongoing negotiations. The strategy is designed to take into account what UK and we have ascertained to date as to the positions for the various parties, including those not directly involved, such as Makarios and the USSR. Callaghan also stated frankly that it is designed to meet his minimal political needs at home where he, as Chairman of a Labor Party approaching elections, simply cannot afford to be seen as completely selling out the new Greek Govt.
The basic elements of this strategy are simple and are set forth below.
On the constitutional side, Callaghan understands the strength of Turkey’s demand for a prior commitment in principle by Greece (as well as Greek Cypriots) to the concept of an autonomous Turkish Cypriot administration in a separate geographical area, within an independent, sovereign state. Without a prior commitment along these lines Turkey may refuse to agree to ongoing negotiations and resort again soon to military acquisition of additional territory. The wording of such a commitment, whether it be verbal or written, will be very important in order to minimize the political strain it will place on the Greek Govt and Clerides. However, the commitment, in one form or another, appears a sine qua non. My advice to Gunes was that the Turks should not demand excessive precision. Above all, but for obvious reasons I did not say this yet to Gunes, they should not insist at this session on a reference to the percentages of total land area or on a map of their zone. (I believe Callaghan understands the importance of trying to avoid a map approach to the regions in this phase.)
To balance the constitutional commitment by Greece, Callaghan will seek a commitment by Turkey on the phased reduction of troops, to begin following the conclusion of this phase of the Geneva talks and the beginning of working-level discussions on constitutional arrangements. (Dept. and Ankara will recall that Ecevit told me on August 4 that this was conceivable for him if the Greeks agreed in sufficient detail to the principle of the Turkish idea on geographic autonomous administration, and that it could begin before final agreement on the new constitutional arrangements.) Among the questions almost certain to arise are those of use of word “withdrawal”, time-table for reduction steps or phases, numbers to be evacuated in each stage, and linkage Greek numbers to Turkish numbers.
The ongoing talks, for which the above commitments are preconditions, are envisaged by Callaghan as taking place between Clerides and Denktash, preferably without Greek, Turkish, British or UN representatives either participating or observing. However, there would be some agreed formula (probably incorporated into a phase II Geneva declaration) which states that the talks are not on previous inter-communal basis and that the two will report results of their [Page 418] efforts back to a tripartite Foreign Ministers meeting which would be set for the first week in September. This would help meet Turkish concerns that the talks not drag out, not be a reversion to the old intercommunal formula (and 1960 Constitution), yet be associated with tripartite guarantors of 1960 Constitution. It would also help meet the UK and Greek concern that they not be associated directly with drawing up a new constitution for an independent state. Callaghan is reluctant to have a British presence but he assumes that the parties will have unofficial advisers and plenty of guidance from Greece and Turkey. Waldheim has told Callaghan that old format for talks is dead and he sees (and wants) no role for the UN. A potential problem in Callaghan’s idea of framework is Clerides’ need for political support or “cover” which might cause him prefer more direct Greek participation.
I find myself more and more forced into the role of “professional optimist” among these gloomy Joes. After listening to Callaghan in London express his righteous indignation about even sitting down with fellows who break their word (read Turkey), I gradually nursed him (with no great opposition on his part since he was really letting off steam) to the point where he began to see his role as impartial chairman and not a moral arbiter of equities. Each time we see each other, however, he has new bad news and half the conversation is nudging him back on the positive thinking road. I congratulated him profusely on his first day’s efforts to help assure that he goes out of his corner tonight in an up mood. He was in good mood after our long discussion but his final comment to me at short meeting a propos another Turk military action, was an old Derbyshire miner’s saying more crudely put: “Never let them kick you in the tail twice by the same boot.”
Needless to say both Gunes and Mavros are also pessimistic since both realize that an agreement means receding from their present positions. They both seem to have a detached view that assumes things won’t work out and it will be someone else’s fault. Gunes has been hauled back before by Ankara for being too “soft” and seems to have lost his zest for negotiations. Mavros seems to fear he might be instructed by Caramanlis to make concessions which would weaken his political base. What is lacking is the human element and I can only hope that Clerides and Denktash may supply it. I am afraid my own appearance of optimism is only barely credible.
If Callaghan’s strategy is to succeed, it is clear he will require our continuing support. At some moment this may well require firm, high-level démarches to both Ecevit and Caramanlis. Addressees should be thinking about how this can best be done. My guess is that critical moment will probably hit August 11.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1969–77, Box 8, Cyprus 32. Secret; Immediate; Exdis Handle As Nodis. Sent with instructions to pass Niact Immediate to Ankara, Athens, London, and Nicosia.