161. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State 1

4109. For Secretary from Ambassador. Department pass Athens and Ankara. Subj: Secretary’s Message to Clerides. Ref: State 253547.2

Summary: Clerides welcomed your message on March [November] Makarios 3 and your encouragement of his role. His preference is that Karamanlis press Makarios not to return and that Denktash be given greater latitude by Turkey, in which case he feels a realistic solution can be quickly reached. Failing this, he insists that at minimum Makarios [garble] Athens should be committed in writing on the nature of a solution to be pursued and his signature of it. He says we need not worry about a Soviet air service in Cyprus. He leaves November 20 for London to brief Makarios at latter’s request, and to brief Callaghan. His discussion with Denktash on Nicosia airport reopening looks mildly promising. End summary.
I delivered your oral message to Clerides evening November Clerides asked me to convey to you the following reply.
“Please tell Dr. Kissinger that I express sincere thanks for everything he has done and for encouragement he has given me. I fully agree with his evaluation. Although a number of solutions may be tried premised on a geographical federation, my belief is also that Turks will not agree to anything unless there is a bizonal federation or a cohesive Turkish area in the north with a substantial opening to the sea. Just cantons will not satisfy them. Perhaps they could accept something like Gunes’ proposal in Geneva provided there are two basic zones, possibly one sub-zone in the north, a few cantons elsewhere. The total Turkish areas may not be the 34 percent Gunes proposed but will certainly have to be somewhere between 23 and 25 percent.
With regard to Makarios’ return, my feeling is that his presence here will not help the situation. His public statements would not be constructive. If he returns, it will be with exactly the same entourage [Page 547] as before. There is the risk of his militant opponents being persecuted by his supporters who have substantial quantities of arms. Certainly his opponents will react violently.
My problem is that I cannot publicly take a position on his return because his supporters may then start trouble. This again will lead to a clash with anti-Makarios elements. The only possibility is for Karamanlis to exercise maximum pressure to dissuade him from coming.
There is of course the possibility that the Archbishop may ignore advice from Karamanlis and then I do not see how he could stop him. Then what I see as a problem that could be solved realistically, in a short time, particularly if Denktash had more authority from Ankara, may become extremely difficult because my authority will also be diminished. The happiest development would have been to have Makarios stay away and Denktash be given greater freedom of action. With both of us operating with limited authority, there is a real danger of stalemate.
If Makarios’ return cannot be stopped, at least I hope that in our coming Athens meetings Karamanlis will insist that the Archbishop sign a memorandum on the policy to be followed. I have already told the GOG that if the Archbishop returns without a signed memorandum authorizing me on behalf of the GOG and himself to negotiate on the basis of a biregional geographic federation, after trying for a short time the cantonal theory, I would not accept a continuing role as negotiator. From the Athens meetings there must be at least an agreement on procedure and objectives and a firm commitment from the Archbishop that he will sign a solution. I have told the GOG that I would not accept a situation in which the Archbishop returns, I negotiate a solution and then he refuses to sign it. I assume he would accompany his refusal to sign by resignation. This would throw the country into an election. Public controversy would hinge on signing the solution and in the end no Greek Cypriot could sign. In my view, either the Archbishop should decide now to resign or agree to enter into firm commitments with the GOG on policy and the signing of a solution.”
As to the final paragraph of your message regarding introduction of a Soviet air service in Cyprus, Clerides said to tell you “don’t worry”.
Clerides spoke with deep gratification of Karamanlis’ election victory. He is confident that his earlier understandings with Karamanlis on the nature of a solution (para 5, Nicosia 3910)4 hold firm. In his view, [Page 548] Karamanlis will try to get the Cyprus problem resolved as quickly as possible so that he can go on to the matters of major concern to him: the consolidation of the new democracy in Greece, the development of a good relationship with Turkey, and a careful return to NATO. Clerides sees starting point on all these as early progress in the Cyprus negotiation.
Clerides confirmed to me that he will leave tomorrow for London for meetings with Makarios and Callaghan. Trip was at repeated insistence of Makarios who is asking to be briefed in person on situation in Cyprus.
Clerides asked again for our evaluation of report emanating from Soviet/Czech sources that Turks would stage a land/sea commando operation to “rescue” Turks in south before end November. I said we had nothing that pointed to this. Clerides replied that he, too, tended discount report but was a little concerned because of information that Turkish forces in Cyprus had been placed on alert which not scheduled to end until November 29.
On Nicosia airport reopening, Clerides said that in reply to his earlier suggestion for a joint Greek Cypriot-Turk Cypriot civil aviation board to assist a UN/ICAO interim management team, Denktash at negotiating session November 18 had come up with a constructive thought. Denktash had noted near-collisions thanks to current confusion between non-cooperating Turkish and Cypriot FIR centers. Subject to Ankara’s approval he had suggested that as first step in cooperation looking toward implementation of Clerides’ proposal for airport reopening, Greek and Turkish control centers be relocated and amalgamated at Nicosia airport. Clerides had said he would be quite willing to talk on this basis as soon as green light received from Ankara.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, 1974–1977, Box 3, Cyprus, Nodis to Secretary of State 4. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. In telegram 253547 to Nicosia, November 17, Kissinger summarized a discussion with Makarios in which he told the Archbishop that his return to Cyprus in the next few weeks might set back progress toward a negotiated settlement. Kissinger also emphasized the U.S. belief that only a bizonal arrangement seemed realistic and practical. (Ibid., Box 2, Cyprus, Nodis 2)
  3. See Document 159.
  4. Dated November 6. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974, P850093–2637)