139. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and Acting Cypriot President Clerides1

K: Hello.

C: Hello, Excellency, this is Clerides speaking.

K: How are you?

C: I’m terribly sorry, Your Excellency, that our first conversation has to be under such circumstances, and there has been an attack on the United States Embassy.

K: Yes, I know about it.

C: And Rodger Davies lost his life.2

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K: I know.

C: I cannot but express my bitter sorrow and to [about?] him I have already issued a public statement to that effect. Rodger Davies took all necessary measures to protect the United States Embassy in Cyprus and the American citizens there in the Republic. I am grieved because not only the United States has lost an Ambassador, but I have lost a precious friend.

K: Well, Mr. President, we understand that this was out of your control, and you are quite correct, Rodger Davies was a friend and the United States thinks of itself as a friend of yourself and of what you are trying to do.

C: I rushed as soon as the news reached me. I entered the Embassy under fire and bring out…

K: Well, I understand, Mr. President. But the only thing I would ask is that the deliberate effort to blame the United States for what has happened is one of the contributing causes to this situation, and if we are to play a useful role, which we are eager to do, we cannot do it under this sort of pressure. And so we are asking all responsible Greek leaders to stop the anti-American agitation or we will withdraw completely from the negotiations, and leave it to be settled directly between Greeks and Turks.

C: That’s what…

K: Well, in that case there has to be an end to this agitation.

C: I will do my utmost to press upon the people that there is no reason to show hostility whatsoever against the United States. Today I had a press conference for everything that happened and I stated the United States had exerted a lot of pressure to prevent the Turkish Army from attacking.

K: Exactly.

C: And I will continue bringing all I can to prevent any anti-American feelings or any anti-American demonstrations in Cyprus.

K: We are prepared, as Mr. Davies must have told you yesterday, to use our influence to produce the most favorable outcome and to use our influence to bring about a change in the present disposition of forces. But we cannot do this under the pressure of anti-Americanism.

C: I only appreciate the position you have just explained. Rodger spoke to me last night about the points you have mentioned and I was today going to elaborate. But unfortunately for him it is too late.

K: Well, Mr. President, no one can blame you for this horrible tragedy. And we have supported you from the beginning and we will continue to support you.

C: Thank you.

K: But there are certain realities which you also must take into account which I have outlined to you.

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C: Yes, I know.

K: And we will say the same thing in Athens.

C: Well, I am completely aware of the reality of the situation, and I feel because I was aware of the realities that I was fine…I will continue doing my best so that together we can work a reasonable solution to the Cyprus problem.

K: Right. And Mr. President we will do the same and I may send out a replacement in the next day or two so that we have a senior diplomat on the spot.3

C: I will be very grateful if this is done. First of all it will help us all to have a senior diplomat here, and also because if…

K: Yes, but there can be no question about the fact, and I’m not saying this to you, that if these attitudes continue in Athens and Cyprus, then we will just wash our hands of the whole thing.

C: I fully realize and you can rest assured that I will do everything, even publicly, to prevent any anti-Americanism in Cyprus.

K: Good. Thank you very much for calling, Mr. President, and I hope we will have the opportunity to meet very soon.

C: I look forward to our meeting in America.

K: And you can count on me as a friend.

C: Well, you can count that in Cyprus you have both a friend and admirer.

K: Thank you, Mr. President.

C: Thank you. Good-bye.

K: Good-bye.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 385, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Clerides was in Nicosia.
  2. As reported in telegram 181216, August 19, Davies was shot during a demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia on August 19. Clerides took the injured Ambassador to the hospital, where he died. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 2, Cyprus 1)
  3. Kissinger sent L. Dean Brown, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management and former Ambassador to Jordan, to take charge of the Embassy pending the appointment of a new Ambassador. (Ibid.) On August 23 William R. Crawford, Jr., was appointed Ambassador to Cyprus.