143. Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hyland) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


Hopefully the initiative Callaghan is launching will succeed,2 but judging by Tasca’s latest talks with the Greeks3 and Macomber’s conversations in Ankara,4 it is doubtful that it will.

Moreover, it seems faulty in the sense that forcing all the participants to confront, at the outset, the ultimate solution, risks their rejection of it or at least causes each to attach so many conditions that genuine talks will founder. (It is analagous to forcing Israel and Syria to agree on the disposition of the Golan Heights before discussing military disengagement.) Asking Karamanlis and Clerides to accept, even in principle, the political partition of the island is not really different from asking them to accept the Atilla line,5 which they claim cannot even be the basis for negotiation.

The obstacles to negotiations are not so much the final terms which in the end will reflect reality but the impact the process has on the domestic political position of each of the participants.

The status quo is dangerous: (1) it will ensure Karamanlis’ drift into a permanent anti-American, Gaullist posture; (2) it risks a resumption of Turkish military action, in the face of Greek stonewalling and Cypriot terrorism; (3) it freezes all concerned into increasingly rigid and intransigent positions.

Yet each side seems to prefer the status quo to the painful decisions and concessions required by negotiations, because both the Greeks and Turks have shakey political positions at home.

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  • —Neither Karamanlis nor Clerides can stand to lose face by acquiescing in the Turkish conquest, even if they privately concede that it is a hard reality that will have to be faced eventually.
  • Karamanlis’ position must be stronger now than two days ago because he has reached some modus vivendi with the army; whatever deal he has made with the army must touch on the question of how to handle Papandreou; a plausible assumption is that the army will support Karamanlis’ efforts to resist the certain pressures that Papandreou will now mount on the government.
  • —However, Karamanlis cannot guarantee military support if he makes concessions to the Turks; his hope to stay in power rests on a nationalistic position that satisfies the army and defuses the left.
  • —At the same time the professionals in the Greek armed forces will want to do something about their weak military position; at a minimum they will look for alternative sources of equipment to free themselves from the US; France is the most logical source, and politically this will shore up Karamanlis’ willingness to play the French role in NATO.


  • —There are no moral, diplomatic-political pressures that will induce Ecevit suddenly to give up the gains the Turks have made.
  • Indeed, the more real danger is that the Turks, with their appetite whetted by their success, will be tempted to force a “final solution” of all their problems with Greece; they could take such drastic steps as moving on the Greek islands; there is the danger that in the course of negotiations Turkey will broaden the scope of territorial bargaining to include questions of the Agean Islands, oil rights, etc.
  • —In any case, talk of significant troup reductions or territorial concessions is simply more Turkish eyewash. The Turkish army, according to latest reports, is digging in for the “winter”; it plans some very minor withdrawals to adjust the lines, but no major withdrawals before next spring; moreover, “mopping up” operations will begin on August 21 (Wednesday)—and this will raise new charges of a breakdown in the ceasefire.
  • —The Turks still have not given up the option of new operations on Cyprus, as hinted by Ecevit (Tab A: some disturbing intelligence reports on Turkish intentions).6 We can expect that the Turkish position [Page 465] in Cyprus will remain volatile, if only because terrorist incidents are almost certain.

Obviously, the negotiating process should begin urgently, as you have said publicly.

The question is how?

1. A case can be made for circumventing both Athens and Ankara and using Clerides and Denktash as the vehicles to start the process.

—The subject for their discussion should be narrow—refugees and relief; under this rubric, an arrangement might be discussed for opening Nicosia airport under UN supervision, with some sort of Turkish observer; then perhaps they could move to questions of the plight of Greek and Turkish minorities on both sides of the line; and Clerides can raise the question of some adjustments in the situation in Famagusta to meet one of his conditions.

2. If such contacts can start, without having to confront the major question of whether Clerides accepts the status quo, then it might be possible for us to continue discussions with Ecevit on his “whole carrot”.

  • Ecevit’s willingness to withdraw from the area around the British base is an opening wedge (the Turks apparently occupied more territory than called for in the General Staff plan.
  • —One possibility worth some thought is whether we could use this wedge to suggest a differentiation between the zone occupied by the Turks at the start of the Geneva talks on August 9—to which Karamanlis demands the Turks return—and the present Attila line. For example, could the Turks “thin out” the areas that they have occupied in the past week—if only as a gesture? This would at least acknowledge Karamanlis’ condition.
  • —And we might go further and suggest an adjustment of the territory between Myrtou and Lefka: this area was not part of the original Turkish proposal but they now hold it; it has some valuable agricultural land and is not purely Turkish in character. If the Turks would withdraw from it, while holding only the road to Lefka, as compensation they might extend their western line to Point Samos, taking in Kokkina and Limnits which they had hoped to grab in the last operation but did not quite make, or make some arrangements concerning the Turkish communities in those coastal cities.

3. Finally, we should give some serious thought to helping the Greeks put a token military force on the island with, of course, Turkish acquiescence; it might only be a regiment of infantry to show the flag, and could be brought over under UK auspices, with the US sponsoring it in Ankara; the rationale would be that some Greek regulars would be needed to help with relief and to maintain order; they would not be in Nicosia.

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In sum, the US could adopt the following scenario:

Support immediate talks on local emergency matters between Denktash and Clerides with no preconditions and no complications of what the legal or political ramifications of such talks would imply.
Propose to the Turks that as a gesture of good will, they agree that they will “thin out” their forces in the area between the present line and the August 9 enclave; leaving the actual thinning out terms of numbers, etc., rather ambiguous.

On this basis, we could suggest to Karamanlis that his position has at least been reflected and a basis for negotiating a territorial settlement exists which would then be embodied in some new constitutional framework, the last rather than the first step.

Meanwhile, we continue to explore a more precise Turkish definition of their “main canton” and whether they could give up the area between the August 9 position and the area after Lefka.

As an option, we could explore with Ankara whether the Turks could acquiesce in the transport to Cyprus of a small contingent of Greek regulars on the understanding that they will not advance up to the Turkish line.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 124, Geopolitical File, Cyprus, Chronological File. Secret; Sensitive. Kissinger wrote at the top, “Excellent paper.”
  2. Callaghan proposed a bi-regional federal solution.
  3. Reported in telegram 5962 from Athens, August 21. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 9, Cyprus 44)
  4. Reported in telegram 5734 from Ankara, August 21. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974, P850076–2031)
  5. The Atilla line marked the Turkish military advance on Cyprus.
  6. Not attached; examples of such intelligence are in CIA Intelligence Information Cables TDFIR 314/05514–74, August 21, and TDFIR 314/05540–74, August 22 (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for the Middle East and South Asia, Box 2, Cyprus 1) and in telegram 2542 from Nicosia, August 22 (ibid., Box 3, Nodis to Secretary of State 1).