138. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey 1

181115. Subject: Cyprus. For the Ambassador from the Secretary.

You should see Ecevit at earliest possible time and give him the following message from me (but do not leave any paper with him):
We have received disturbing reports that despite your assurances Turkish forces are continuing to occupy more territory and that fighting is still in progress. I cannot emphasize strongly enough my earlier warning that the domestic situation in the United States has now reached a point where further Turkish military operations will put the USG in an impossible position. If they continue, we will be obliged to take public steps which would threaten our ability to work together toward a just solution on Cyprus and result in a further deterioration of the Western security position in the area. I therefore ask that the GOT take all steps necessary to see that the ceasefire is strictly observed.
As to the longer range problem of bringing about a situation in which the Cyprus crisis can be brought to a conclusion acceptable to all sides, I see little chance of bringing the Greek Government to the negotiating table without some generous prior gesture from the Turkish Government. I would not presume at this point to suggest what that gesture might be; but that one is necessary I am convinced. Further, I believe that, given the strong position the GOT now finds itself in on Cyprus, such a gesture is feasible.
I am equally convinced that, once the negotiations have resumed, it will be necessary for the GOT to show further flexibility—probably in terms of territorial concessions—if there is to be a reasonable final outcome.
I hasten to add that I do not believe that it is only the GOT which must demonstrate flexibility and a spirit of compromise; so must the GOG. Indeed, I recognize that it was in part Greek unwillingness to come forward with concrete proposals that led to the breakdown in the Geneva talks.
The Prime Minister should know that the Soviets continue to press us for some form of joint action. They have now told us that they have no views on what the final outcome of the Cyprus dispute should [Page 455] be, so long as that outcome—whatever it is—is guaranteed by the Soviet Union and the United States. I assure the Prime Minister that this proposal, too, we shall reject. But the Prime Minister must understand that so long as the Cyprus dispute continues unresolved, and with no apparent progress toward resolution in sight, the USSR will continue to agitate—and I expect with growing insistence—for a role in the settlement. That is something that cannot be in the interests of either of our governments.
I want the Prime Minister to know that the United States has not changed its position with regard to Cyprus nor its sympathy for an acceptable and lasting resolution of the problems the Turkish Cypriots have so long faced. What I have said today has been said in the spirit of frankness and friendship that has marked our relationship throughout these difficult days. It is because I want that relationship to continue that I have spoken to him of our domestic limitations and the need for a generous gesture from the Turkish Government to bring the disputing parties back to the negotiating table. I would welcome the Prime Minister’s views.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, 1974–77, Box 34, Turkey, Nodis from Secretary of State 1. Secret; Flash; Exdis Distribute as Nodis. Drafted by Eagleburger and cleared by Kissinger.