17. Editorial Note

In Greece, the failure of the July 15, 1974, coup in Cyprus to realize fully the goals of the Ioannides regime, and the threat of war with Turkey over Cyprus, led to political turmoil. Constantine Karamanlis, a former Prime Minister of Greece who had gone into self-imposed exile in 1963, reemerged as a viable political leader for Greece. On July 17 he spoke out against the coup and the Greek military regime. The Embassy in Athens reported his statement in telegram 4561: “He warned ‘dramatic events in Cyprus constitute national disaster and can have painful consequences for the (Greek) nation at home and abroad.’ He also urged a return to democracy in Greece and offered to lead return to normalcy and national reconciliation.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974)

Within a week, Ioannides’ colleagues quietly ousted him from power and asked Karamanlis to return from exile. Events moved quickly and quietly within the Greek Government. When Tasca met with President Gizikis on July 21, Gizikis made no mention of the political turmoil within the Greek junta. (Telegram 4716 from Athens, July 21; ibid.) On July 23 Tasca reported that another former Prime Minister, Panayiotis Kanellopoulos, would replace Ioannides and form a government of national unity and return Greece to democracy. (Telegram [Page 79] 4872 from Athens, July 23; ibid.) Although Kanellopoulos’ name had been discussed when the senior generals in the junta informed Gizikis on July 22 that they would no longer take orders from Ioannides, two days of meetings between civilian and military leaders resulted in Gizikis calling Karamanlis in Paris to ask him to return to Greece. On July 24 Karamanlis returned from exile to be sworn in as Prime Minister at 4:15 a.m. (Telegram 4899 from Athens; ibid.) Later that day, Tasca met with Karamanlis and delivered a congratulatory message from Nixon. (Telegrams 4954 and 4962 from Athens; ibid.)