160. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • (1) Cyprus; (2) Potential Points of Misunderstanding between the EC and the US;
  • (3) Energy Conservation; (4) Consultations in the Event of a New Mid-East War;
  • (5) Trade Bill; (6) Cargo Preference Bill


  • Great Britain
  • Sir Peter Ramsbotham, The Ambassador of Great Britain
  • Mr. Jeremy Q. Greenstock, First Secretary, Embassy of Great Britain
  • United States
  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Wells Stabler, The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Miss Anne Pinkney, Country Desk Officer for Norway and Iceland (Notetaker)
[Page 543]

(1) Cyprus

Sir Peter: Callaghan knows that you will be away from Washington for two weeks and wanted me to get your views on various matters, especially as there will be a meeting of the Nine in Paris this week. For this meeting, it will be helpful to have your views. By the way, Callaghan has sent you a message on Cyprus which you have probably not had time to see yet.2

The Secretary: The system in the Department is designed so that I shall never see it. Could you tell me, in essence, what it says?

Sir Peter: There are actually several matters that I would like to deal with. First, a brief word on Cyprus. Second, I want to go over some concerns that Callaghan has, and I share, about emerging situations that could potentially lead to misunderstandings between the US and the EC. The first has to do with the debate in the UN, the second with the Europe/Arab dialogue…

The Secretary: I am glad that it is not to be a political dialogue …

Sir Peter: … and the third with the Yamani-French proposal.

The Secretary: What did Callaghan’s message on Cyprus have to say?

Mr. Stabler: It gives Callaghan’s views on what may happen when Makarios goes to Greece toward the end of the month and refers to what Makarios has been saying about his talks with us.

Sir Peter: In the message, Callaghan says that, in view of the political situation in Greece, it is probably best to let things rest for the time being. In Callaghan’s view, the Turks will insist that the solution be a bi-regional geographical division. We have heard from Bitsios that discussions are going well. We believe the Turks will probably not settle for any solution other than the bi-regional one. We realize that this will be extremely difficult for the Greeks to accept publicly, but, as we read the situation, it would appear that if the Greeks indicated privately to the Turks that a solution along these lines could be discussed, it would be o.k. We are, however, concerned because the Cypriot Foreign Minister has told Callaghan that Makarios believes that the US is holding out some hope that a cantonal or multi-regional approach might still be feasible.

The Secretary: My one desire when Makarios is here is to keep him from going downstairs and blasting what we are trying to do—to get him out of the country in peace. He has at least improved his position to the extent of reducing his demands from twenty cantons to five.

[Page 544]

Mr. Stabler: In the last proposal I thought he also used the figure of ten.

The Secretary: He asked me to back five. I told him I would have no objection if such a solution were obtainable but I made it clear that, in my judgment, it was not, and that a settlement along the lines of a bi-zonal arrangement would prove to be the only acceptable one. Makarios then said that the U.S. can make the Turks accept anything we want them to; this is simply not true.

Sir Peter: The best solution, of course, would be to prevent Makarios from going back.

The Secretary: I agree, but this will never be. His efforts to get me to support his five cantonal plan have no chance, but I did not come out flatly and say this. In this way he could not say that I had insisted on a bi-zonal arrangement. Makarios is trying to turn us around by saying what he has. It is better for me to give my opinion after I have talked to the Turks—if I ever talk to them. But, in any case, you can assure Callaghan we are in total agreement on this matter.

Sir Peter: If Karamanlis gets 50% of the vote today, the meeting of Clerides, Makarios and Karamanlis will take place on November 24. It is important to get Karamanlis to say that the Greek Government privately accepts the bi-regional solution. Clerides, showing much courage I think, has already stated publicly that this solution is not impossible. This is the solution that Callaghan will be supporting at the tri-partite meeting.

The Secretary (addressed to Mr. Stabler): It seems to me that I should send a message to Karamanlis in connection with that meeting, pointing out that I do not believe that he will want Cyprus around his neck forever. Tell him that I am willing to help, but that there must be a realistic objective which would have to be a bi-zonal federation. We would work to reduce the size of the Turkish zone and seek a strengthened federal government. We are prepared to help to achieve this either through the CleridesDenktash talks or as part of a more general settlement of Greek-Turkish issues.

Sir Peter: We do not think that this weak Turkish Government would be willing to start negotiations unless it received a private assurance, rather than a public one, that the Greek Government was willing to discuss a bi-regional federation.

The Secretary (addressed to Mr. Stabler): See to it that such a message is prepared and sent to me on the plane.3 Wells is one of the few who will write a message for me just as instructed—most in the [Page 545] Department think that my instructions are only an interruption to what they were in the process of doing!

Sir Peter: Also on Cyprus, we are concerned about the prospect of opening the Nicosia Airport and the possibility that the Russians might try to get in on that. This problem is also mentioned in Callaghan’s message to you. We are prepared to pull out all the stops to prevent this from happening.

The Secretary (addressed to Mr. Stabler): Aren’t we acting on that?

Mr. Stabler: Yes, we are. We have asked Macomber to do something about this matter. You know that the Cypriots have sent a delegation to Moscow.

The Secretary: In spite of what we have been doing, might the Cypriots do it anyway?

Sir Peter: We have a plane…

The Secretary: The Greeks seem to take great pleasure in seeing the Turks get hit—they liked our Congressional resolution even though it was against them too.

Mr. Stabler: We are trying to get some movement on the airport situation.

The Secretary: Do we know the Soviets will be kept out if the Nicosia Airport is opened?

Sir Peter: The Turks have opened a small airfield in their zone and the Soviets have established service there with a Yak plane. The British think that the service which they are offering the Cypriots is as good.

The Secretary: Would that mean the end of the Yak service?

Sir Peter: The Turks are telling us that they want to settle this issue as part of the overall political solution. I think that we must sit down and talk straight to them as NATO allies, asking them if they really want to establish a Soviet base on Cyprus.

The Secretary: If we can be sure that the Soviets cannot use the Nicosia Airport if it is opened…

Mr. Stabler: We have made our point of view clear to the Cypriots.

The Secretary: Be very sure that they understand it. Tell them again.

Sir Peter: We will do anything to keep the Soviets out. The general problem now is how we move from the present stalemate; how we stop people from making statements which just make things more difficult.

The Secretary: How about bringing the whole matter up in the upcoming NATO meetings?

Sir Peter: Yes. That is an excellent suggestion. That would give Karamanlis time to think. Callaghan will probably be talking to the Nine about this.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Cyprus.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 272, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Pinkney and approved in S on December 9. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.
  2. Ramsbotham transmitted a letter from Callaghan to Kissinger on November 15.
  3. The message was sent in telegrams 15174 and 15182 to Athens, November 20. RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974, P850023–2542 and P850023–2540)