136. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Cyprus


  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Robert S. Ingersoll, Deputy Secretary of State
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Robert J. McCloskey, Ambassador at Large
  • Arthur Hartman, Assistant Secretary, EUR
  • William B. Buffum, Assistant Secretary, IO
  • Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Executive Assistant to the Secretary
  • Wells Stabler, Deputy Assistant Secretary, EUR
  • Edward P. Djerejian, Special Assistant to Mr. Sisco

Kissinger: Where do we stand?

Sisco: The principal focus is the situation in Greece. We have to let the situation settle down a bit. I can’t see suggesting something concrete for the moment. At some point we have to remind the Greeks that there is a mutuality of interests between Greece and the U.S. Of course, they have a public opinion problem.

[Page 449]

Kissinger: Have you seen the intelligence report that the French are trying to replace us in Greece?2

Buffum: The French are also taking the lead at the UN Security Council. We should vote for the French resolution which asks that negotiations be reconvened, the outcome of which should not be prejudiced by military gains. Of course, the Turks are kicking in New York about that.

Kissinger: The French resolution is alright. It could mean there shouldn’t be future military operations. We can vote for it.

Buffum: The Soviet position is unclear.

Sisco: I spoke to Archbishop Iakovos who is leaving for Greece. He will be getting in touch with Larry when he comes back and wants to see you.

Kissinger: He is even more cynical than Makarios.

Stabler: We have a report that one of our NATO aircraft went into Athens Airport without prior clearance as usual but that the Greek Air Force said that there are no bilateral agreements valid any longer and that we would need prior clearance.

Kissinger: We must not show excessive eagerness and not now tilt toward Greece and lose the Turks.

Hartman: I think this is a conscious policy on the part of Karamanlis to try to avoid coming to the conference table.

Sisco: He is going to (a) put the bee on the back of the junta for what has happened and (b) push us around but he can’t do too much.

Kissinger: Karamanlis is kicking us to preempt the left. If we had someone in Athens we could trust, we could contact him to say we understand the situation but he should not push us too far.

Hartman: We are looking at other things we might do outside of the Cyprus context.

Stabler: We can speed up aircraft deliveries such as the A–7s to Greece.

Hartman: Another thing that might help Karamanlis and the situation in Cyprus is to suggest negotiations with the Turks to beef up the Greek military presence on Cyprus.

Kissinger: Do you think the Turks will reduce their forces on the island?

McCloskey: Also, will they give up territory?

Kissinger: If we can define the negotiations, it would be to give up some territory. Ecevit is subtle enough to do it, but can he get the military on board?

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Hartman: I don’t see it in the early negotiations.

Kissinger: The British are playing electoral politics. There may be some symbolic pieces of territory the Turks could give up. They went further south on the road to Famagusta, but all that is high land.

Hartman: They have taken the best land on the island.

Stabler: It is hard to see them giving it up.

Kissinger: They’ve got to give something up if there are to be negotiations. We will see by Monday3 if we can get some talking points for Tasca stressing it is in our interest to strengthen that government. There is a mutuality of interests and they must realize that if they lose the American connection, they will play into Papandreou’s hands. Who else can they depend on? We are willing to listen to concrete suggestions. On Cyprus, the balance of powers was destroyed by their predecessors. Your view, Art, is that they would kick us around regardless of whether or not we could have stopped the Turks. An important question is can they negotiate? As to the anti-Americanism in Greece, to what extent is it genuine and to what extent is it to rally the leftists who wanted to go to war?

Hartman: The parties did agree to autonomy.

Kissinger: I got that from everyone. There were cables that greater autonomy had been conceded. We didn’t get ahead of anyone on this.

Hartman: Athens was behind Clerides.

Kissinger: I didn’t think we were breaking new ground.

Sisco: We knew that Clerides was alright, but we didn’t know the position of the Greeks and if Clerides could carry it.

Buffum: Scali wants to talk to you about the UN.

(The Secretary received a call from Ambassador Scali.)4

Kissinger: Scali tells me that the Russians are going to abstain. Callaghan is mad because of Gwertzmann’s article.5 We should explain the Reuters story.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 9, Nodis Memoranda of Conversations, August 1974, Folder 5. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Djerejian. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.
  2. Not found.
  3. August 19.
  4. Kissinger spoke to Ambassador Scali at 6:56 p.m. and the two agreed to vote for the French resolution. (Transcript of telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 385, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)
  5. Kissinger spoke to Ambassador Ramsbotham at 7:19 p.m. about an article critical of Callaghan and his Cyprus strategy in the lead-up to the British elections. (Transcript of telephone conversation; ibid.)