154. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Archbishop Makarios
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

Kissinger: These records will stay only in the White House. I’ve been praising you all along. I told Mavros that I like men without illusions.

Makarios: I thank you very much.

Kissinger: Men who are practical and realistic. Contrary to what you read in the papers, there are no anti-Makarios tendencies here.

Makarios: If you and I agree on a solution, it will contribute to a solution.

Kissinger: If events here continue as they are doing, I will not be able to contribute. If these amendments pass, I cannot continue.2 This doesn’t affect you directly.

A threat to cut off aid is a weapon; an actual cut-off is not. It will be impossible to conduct the negotiations under these circumstances. Suppose we get the Turks to withdraw 10 kilometers and release 10,000 refugees, and then we restore aid? What do we do two months from now? Cut it off again? It will be on and off like a yo-yo. It can’t be done with fixed deadlines.

My skill is to get the other party to do what needs to be done. It can’t be done with threats. My ability is to get them to do it. So this is violently against Cypriot interests. The art is to get the process started. The process is more important than the conclusions. The art is to get the Turks thinking of withdrawal, and this is easier without precision about final solutions. If I withdraw from this, you will get double enosis.

The Turks won’t yield to visible pressure. The Turks will yield to pressure with a silk glove that looks like they are yielding on their own initiative.

Your Beatitude knows the Turks better.

[Page 516]

Makarios: You are going to Ankara.

Kissinger: I was going to Ankara. But I won’t go under these circumstances.

Makarios: What do you think will happen?

Kissinger: I will withdraw from the negotiations. I will still be American Secretary of State and will be willing to be helpful. But I think the result will be double enosis. Your Beatitude will be a Greek political leader! [Laughter]3 They have reason to be afraid of you.

Makarios: As you notice from my yesterday’s speech…4

Kissinger: Which was reasonable.

Makarios: I don’t want any solution that allows a mass transfer of the population. The Turks are insisting on a separate jurisdiction, because they want to safeguard Turkish autonomy. We are prepared to consider ways to do this, this autonomy, but not with transfer of populations. The Turks won’t allow our people back to their homes—perhaps only a limited number. The problem is a serious problem for us.

Kissinger: I thought there were 600,000 Greeks.

Makarios: No, 650,000 altogether. 200,000 Turks. The area occupied by the Turks is the most productive area. We accept federation, but on a communal basis. I don’t care whether you call them cantons, but these areas don’t entail the transfer of many thousands. If there are only two big areas, one under Turkish Cypriot and one under the Greek Cypriot administration, this solution would pave, in my view, the way to partition. Even now, there are Cypriots who say federation is better than double enosis. I think for Turkey to say they are not in favor of double enosis, it is sincere.

Kissinger: I’m not so sure.

Makarios: We will see; Turkey is not so eager for this but some Cypriots say it is better. Many areas are better than two big areas.

Kissinger: In August, five were proposed.

Makarios: I would prefer more than five. Say ten.

Kissinger: The negotiations in Geneva were totally mismanaged.

Makarios: Because I wasn’t there. [Laughter]

Kissinger: I think it is true. The Greeks mismanaged it. They could have had a delay, which would have averted these operations. But the British got morally outraged at the Turks—which one can never afford in a negotiation—and the Greeks were afraid of Papandreou.

My feeling is this solution is unobtainable.

[Page 517]

Makarios: If Turkey insists on two areas, the question is why didn’t we accept this at Geneva? Before the second invasion of the Turkish troops.

Kissinger: At Geneva, you could have gotten a settlement on 70% and negotiations later on the rest. It would be better than now.

Makarios: Turkey occupies now 40%.

Kissinger: That is too much.

Makarios: Say Turkey agrees to reduce up to 28%. So the question is what is better for us: To legalize a defacto situation or not legalize it and insist on 28%?

Kissinger: What is your view?

Makarios: My personal view is not to accept it.

Kissinger: Your Beatitude’s view occasionally prevails in Cyprus.

Makarios: Then there is the problem of refugees; it is related. If the area is reduced to 28 percent, then the people will go back to the areas given back to us. But most of the refugees will not go back to their homes. We will have lost a lot. I don’t know if it’s better to legalize getting back ten or twelve percent.

Kissinger: Then Turkey will annex the part and make it a Turkish province.

Makarios: I can’t exclude this. But there are hopes that one day, after many years, we will come to an agreement which is better for the future of Cyprus. What is your advice?

Kissinger: I so far have not actively participated in the negotiations. Because I understand the useful role I’m playing now in Greek domestic politics by being the focal point for criticism. At some point I’ll turn and resist.

My preference was a cantonal solution. How many, I don’t know.

I’ve never seen so mismanaged a negotiation. The British wanted to resume August 8; the Greeks wanted August 14. I don’t understand the crucial difference. We should have got agreement on a cantonal solution.

Now I think there will be either no solution, as Your Beatitude proposes, or a bizonal solution. The question now is how to arrange it so a bizonal solution doesn’t became a facade for double enosis. So my feeling is that the federal government should be given substantial powers, say over emigration, and the Turkish portion should be consider ably reduced.

I’ve no objection to asking the Turks to go back to five cantons.

But if the Greeks are going out on the streets of America calling me a killer, I have no interest.

Makarios: Whether you have interest or not, you’re the Secretary of State of the United States. Peace in the area is important to you.

[Page 518]

Kissinger: The interests of the United States are its relations with Greece, with Cyprus, and with Turkey. There is also the problem of peace. But the peace of the world will not be threatened. Who would threaten it? The Soviet Union? We will not allow it, for other reasons, including our whole Middle East position. But our relations with Greece, and with Cyprus—and because we believe Turkey acted excessively—for all these reasons we have an interest.

There are a lot of heroes who don’t know how to get one percent of their territory back. Maybe it will become like the Arab refugee problem. Maybe Turkey will leave NATO; maybe it will become an issue here.

So our reward is somehow in our relations with Greece and with Cyprus. And of course our interest in maintaining good relations with Turkey. And this is also in the interest of a final solution. Because if Turkey feels it’s been violated, it will look for ways to undo it. Then we are back where we started.

So as you told me last time, American influence is important. Then it depends on our ability and our willingness to do it. Peace will be maintained anyway; a just one, not necessarily. You excuse me for being frank. But you can count on my word.

The realistic objectives—with tremendous effort, and my active personal participation—would be: a reduction of the area, a solution of the refugee problem. But we can’t have these interviews in Le Monde calling me a killer.

I’ve said to you that your abilities were too great for the island you governed. You were the best solution to the island. If you think in June or July, when we had a President being forced out, we would intervene against you…We’ve had reports of coups every three months. What was Your Beatitude doing against us? We had no conceivable objection to what was happening. The first I heard of a coup was Monday morning after it was carried out. We were the only government that knew the Turks would come in. We said nothing about Sampson—because the worse we said about Sampson, the more certain it was that the Turks would invade. The Europeans were encouraging the Turks to invade, for stupid sentimental reasons. Sampson I knew couldn’t possibly survive. Read our newspapers: we were accused of being pro-Greek.

Once the Turks were on the island, Your Beautitude understood it better than I. You urged me to get the Turks off. I expected the next negotiation to succeed. If I knew it would fail I would have done it differently. The British were sure it would work. I was heavily preoccupied with the President.

For the future: My view is that Your Beautitude is the only one who can make a realistic solution. I believe that. We are not anti-Makarios. If we become the villain of your story, we’ll be forced to turn against you. Clerides we have to support now but we’ve done nothing final.

[Page 519]

Your Beatitude is essential for a final solution. But we have to support Clerides now; otherwise there will be a total deadlock.

I don’t mind proposing cantons initially, to see what happens. But I don’t want to mislead you. But I didn’t know what I would do. I can do nothing with these restrictive amendments.

It is easy to get concessions at the beginning. It is easy to get from

We’re definitely not anti-Makarios. Nor do we insist that you be pro-American. We were perfectly happy with the situation before the coup. The best solution was to leave Cyprus alone. Had I known of the coup, I would have stopped it. We had a good talk when we met in Cyprus in May.5 We had no conceivable American interest. We had nothing against Makarios.

So we’d appreciate it if Your Beautitude could do what he could do to strengthen Clerides for these negotiations. For the ultimate disposition of power, that isn’t our affair. I’d never heard the name of Clerides until the coup.

And if Your Beatitude’s attitude toward the United States is not hostile, this is a concern to us. We can survive it [laughter], but it affects the attitude we can take.

Makarios: I don’t know if I can do something significant.

Kissinger: But we can’t be seen to act under pressure.

We’re prepared to act in a way that it’s clear that Turkey has to make some major concessions.

Makarios: First, I have to make it clear I never shared the view that the United States or the CIA was ever involved in the coup against me.

Kissinger: I give you my word.

Makarios: And what Le Monde said didn’t correspond to what I said. I didn’t have an interview with Mr. Eric Rouleau, just a talk. He asked me not whether the CIA was involved, but whether the CIA knew in advance. I said I didn’t know whether they knew in advance about a coup on that particular day. You had information that the possibility of a coup could not be excluded.

Kissinger: I was told Your Beatitude was told about this.

Makarios: There were public reports that at the last moment the CIA got information but there was not enough time to approach anyone in Greece to stop the coup. But this is much different from what [Page 520] was published, that the CIA made the coup. That was not in the interests of the United States.

Kissinger: That’s ridiculous.

Makarios: So the interview in Le Monde was not true.

As for the solution, my personal view is: As for federation on a geographic basis, it should be more than five areas. And in my judgment, in my view, the United States and particularly you personally can influence the Turkish Government and in the end they will accept this solution. There is no strong reason for them not to accept this solution. They occupy forty percent, and they say they will give 10 to 15 percent back. If they had fifty percent, they’d appear more generous and give 20 percent back.

If you personally agree with this, I’m under the impression you will succeed. You’re a very capable person. [They both smile.]

Kissinger: I’m flattered. My capability consists in seeing what is possible and operating in that framework.

I will make an effort. I may make an effort—if I’m permitted domestically.

Makarios: We can’t say to Turkey that we accept a federation on a geographic basis.

Kissinger: That I understand.

Makarios: If from the beginning we gave up the principle, we’d be in a difficult position. If they insist on two areas—and on the transfer of population, which is most difficult—we won’t accept it. Of course I care about the consequences but I personally can’t accept. If there are more areas, it reduces the danger of partition and double enosis.

Of course you’ll be in a position to do more and know more when you visit Ankara.

Kissinger: I may not visit Ankara.

Makarios: In case you don’t succeed in the first attempt, try to convince the Turkish Government to return the Greek city of Famagusta. From a military point of view, they have nothing to lose. And we’ll accommodate

Kissinger: No, no, no, it’s going to be very difficult.

Makarios: It is just pressure on us. [Makarios takes out a cigarette case.]

Kissinger: There are two problems: How to get any concession at any one point, and second, how to get the process started. The problem now is to get it started. I don’t know how I could get Famagusta without any idea of what they get in return. I haven’t studied it.

Makarios: I would emphasize that Mr. Clerides has my full backing, and if he resigns it will be a big problem for Cyprus. Yesterday I [Page 521] talked with him on the phone. I said I hoped he would not insist on resignation. We have different views on some things but I say he has my full backing. I am not there on Cyprus. We don’t have any real differences. He has my confidence and he will have my full backing. I told him that if I withdraw my backing I’ll let him know in advance.

But he’s disturbed at the demonstrations, thinking I’m coming back. There are people blocking me. I can’t say to my people I don’t want to go back. [He lights up a cigarette.]

If Mr. Clerides says he agrees on a certain solution like this, I don’t think it will be accepted.

Kissinger: Unless Your Beatitude backs it.

Makarios: I’m not very strong.

Kissinger: You overestimate my ability and perhaps I overestimate yours. Maybe we’re both right.

How should we leave this conversation?

Makarios: If Turkey insists on only two areas, we won’t accept it. I don’t know if Mr. Clerides will accept it or the Greek Government. If they think it’s the only solution, I won’t create difficulties for the Greek Government. But they shouldn’t expect me to say I agree.

Kissinger: I can see the villain of the piece will certainly be an American! The question is: I or some other person?

If I go to Ankara I’ll discuss it. I’ll study it. There is no reason on my own side.

Your Beatitude is going to London?

Makarios: I will be here two more weeks.

Kissinger: It depends on our legislative situation. I doubt seriously that I’ll get to Ankara if they [the restrictive amendments] pass. If I go we’ll meet after I return.

Makarios: President Sadat said to me, “You’ll have the support of my country. But the key is in Washington; it is in the hands of Dr. Kissinger.”

Kissinger: The Egyptians dealt with us on the basis of cooperation. The Greeks are dealing with us on the basis of blackmail.

Makarios: It’s helping me.

Kissinger: It’s helping me if it’s directed against Turkey.

Makarios: My speech helped you.

Kissinger: Your speech is no problem. Your speech was helpful.

For me to do anything, I need authority. I can’t just do it by flitting around the world.

Your Beatitude, what will we tell the press?

Makarios: That we had a useful exchange of views. Nothing more.

[Page 522]

Kissinger: All right. If you want to say the United States can play a helpful role…Well, you have said that.

Makarios: Can I bring in the others who accompanied me? [The Secretary agrees, and Rodman goes out to summon the others in the party, and returns.]

Kissinger: I think the Greeks are now the ones who should do something for Greek-US relations. Since they are the ones who broke it.

[The other members of Archbishop Makarios’ party6 and the American side arrive.]

Makarios: We had a good talk with the Secretary of State. As usual, he was very convincing.

Kissinger: I had a good talk with the Archbishop—the President. I discussed what was possible and realistic. I pointed out what could be done in the framework of good relations between Greece and Cyprus and the United States; that is the only basis. This was in the context of Greek-American relations.

Makarios: If the Secretary and I agree, it can be solved.

Kissinger: I was going to say that we saw that it was in everyone’s interest to find a solution to the Cyprus situation, that is just to the people, and consistent with the international situation, and realistic.

We had a good initial discussion.

Foreign Minister: It was good for peace.

Kissinger: I explained to His Beatitude that what has happened now in Congress will make it very difficult. I have to point that out as an existing fact. It will remove a threat and impose an actuality which will have to be changed every few weeks.

We were moving towards an active American role.

It is clear that Turkey is the one who has to make the major concessions.

If I understand the President, he did not reveal all his thinking.

This is not needed now. But we need an understanding of principles.

This is not the time for ultimatums.

Anyway, it is always a pleasure for us to meet. We’ll stay in close touch. We’ll consider seriously playing a very active role.

[The meeting ended at 12:45 p.m.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 272, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s suite at the Waldorf Towers.
  2. Reference is to bills in the House and Senate cutting off aid to Turkey because both chambers viewed the Turkish invasion of Cyprus as a violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, which allowed for such measures to be taken only in self-defense. Congress did not consider the Turkish military action to fall into that category.
  3. All brackets are in the original.
  4. Makarios delivered a speech at the United Nations on October 1.
  5. Kissinger visited Nicosia on May 7, 1974 to discuss U.S.-Soviet relations and the Middle East with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko. No record of his discussion with Makarios has been found.
  6. Christofides, Rossides, Kyprianou, and Dimitriou joined the meeting; reported in telegram 3658 from USUN, October 3. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 272, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File)