145. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

2622. Subj: Turkish Intentions on Cyprus.

Turkish actions on ground, and statements by officials both here and in Ankara, have reinforced our initial impression that Turkish Army intervened to protect the security of mainland and not assist local community, except insofar as this relates to primary purpose. Best indication this regard is total write off of enclaves located in southern half of island. Despite repeated radio requests for aid, so far as we aware, Turks made no effort reinforce or resupply these areas. Turk mainland Commander in Larnaca, who exfiltrated in civilian dress via Dhekelia, reportedly told British that his instructions were to offer token resistance before surrendering. Said he had ample ammo and weapons to have continued fight for extended period. (This info, which contradicts accounts put out by Turk Cypriot leaders, largely confirmed by UNFICYP observation.)
Thus, while Turks had force to occupy entire island, and divide it up as they wished, they carefully limited operation to grabbing [Page 469] sufficient territory to insure that they would be in predominant position to dictate future status of an independent Cyprus. As we read their intentions, Turkey wants a federal (confederal) state and has little or no interest in creation of an independent Turk Cypriot mini-state or move towards double enosis.
Either of latter two courses would run contrary to basic reason for intervention since, by implication, they would open the door to introduction of substantial Greek mainland forces onto island. This would place Turkey in position of having southern ports (and heartland cities) again endangered or of going to war to take entire island, destroying island’s quasi-independence, and facing prospect of protracted guerilla struggle.
Once negotiations get underway, we expect Turkey to push for two canton confederal system, trading territory (of which it has excess) for transfer of populations. Believe also that Turkey will make every effort hold on to Famagusta port or at mininum, insisting on Turkish community’s right to import freely from mainland, with no hindrance from central govt. (Agreement on this may be key to getting Famagusta’s Greek Cypriot civilian population back to their houses.) This likely also be Turkish position on airport. During bargaining sessions, Turks may raise specter of independent Turk Cypriot state or float prospect double enosis, but we expect this will be largely bluff. What will not be bluff will be Turk demand maintain superior military force on island.
Danger is that goals frequently escalate following initial success of military actions. To extent possible, we should force Turks concentrate on their real security needs and long term interests in lieu immediate tactical gains. Further military moves at this time, rather than forcing Greeks to bargaining table, would probably preclude meaningful negotiations for foreseeable future. (Fortunately, atrocity rhetoric, which had been running at high pitch—with attendent danger of possible rescue operation—cooled noticeably today, Aug. 26. Odds on Turks mounting such move remain, however, high.)
By now, Turks have consolidated hold on occupied territory and internal security appears solid. Question remains how to get negotiating process underway in shortest possible time. Believe we should continue to support British effort convene Geneva III, while encouraging Denktash and Clerides to resume talks here (septel).2 Earlier consultations begin, less likely will be prospect of renewed fighting and further destabilization this area.
Believe we should encourage two sides to focus on refugee problem and need to facilitate free movement populations. While we have no illusions that many Greeks will move into Turkish area, much of problem would be met if they could move into border areas (and particularly if they could return to Greek section of Famagusta). If Turk Cypriots in south could choose between return to villages or removal to Turk Cypriot enclave, explosive danger of further Turk military moves would be reduced substantially.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for the Middle East and South Asia, Box 3, Cyprus Exdis to Secretary of State 1. Secret; Priority; Exdis; Noforn. Repeated Priority to Ankara, Athens, London, USNATO, USUN, USDOCOSOUTH, USEUCOM, USCINCEUR, and DIA.
  2. In telegram 2611 from Nicosia, August 25, Brown reported that he told Clerides: “What was needed was genuine negotiations, not sterile UN debate; and that it was in the context of negotiations, probably along the British-suggested line, that US could help its friends.” (Ibid., Nodis to Secretary of State 1)