175. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cyprus1

29536. Subject: Sisco Meeting with Cyprus Ambassador.

Cyprus Ambassador Dimitriou called on Under Secretary Sisco under instructions on February 7 to bring to our attention Denktash’s recent remarks on possible declaration of independent Turk Cypriot state. He also expressed view that opening and operation of airport in Turkish zone was illegal as well as dangerous. Sisco replied that no comment on this was really necessary by US. Cyprus Government knew our policy regarding provocative public statements, our efforts to promote negotiated settlement, and our opposition to partition.
Sisco said aid cutoff is complicating the situation and our ability to be helpful. Dimitriou, speaking personally, said he felt President’s statement about the adverse effects of the cutoff2 had gone too far and had unwittingly encouraged Turkish intransigence. Sisco replied that this was a unjustified characterization. US has no interest in increased intransigence on any side. Talks got started as a result of our efforts in Brussels and we could have no possible interest in encouraging intransigence. Plain fact is that the cutoff has complicated our role and made it more rather than less difficult for Ankara, where the political situation is already working against Turkish flexibility, to make the necessary concessions. Dimitriou backed off and reiterated he had not been instructed to make the aforementioned statement, but this was a personal observation.
Sisco said the CleridesDenktash talks continue to be the most realistic and desirable manner in which to proceed. We have offered our help and remain available but we do not have a greater interest in these talks than any of the other three parties. If there is a move to internationalize the question, there will obviously be an impact on the role US can play. Internationalization has failed in the past to produce realistic and practical progress toward a Cyprus settlement and in the present situation will only make matters more difficult than they already are; but of course, if this is route Cyprus wanted to go, it was its decision to make.
Dimitriou said that Clerides would be presenting official proposals at next Monday’s3 scheduled session of the talks. If nothing transpires by the end of February, question will unavoidably come before the Security Council. When it does, Cyprus hopes US will play leading role to “take the wind out of Soviet sails.” Sisco replied that the US will cross that bridge when it gets there. It was up to Cyprus to choose what course to follow; the history of UN consideration of Cyprus contains a lesson, and that is that UN discussions of Cyprus solution have not been practical steps toward real progress. On the contrary, internationalization of the issue has been complicating. Sisco said again we were not making any pleas here; this was a decision for Cyprus to make and that US interests in continuation and success of ongoing talks not greater than parties in area. Dimitriou asked if there were any plans for a new meeting with the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers. Sisco said there was nothing definite but the possibility remained.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, 1951–1976, Entry 5405, Box 21, Cyprus 1974/1975. Secret; Immediate; Exdis; Distribute as Nodis. Drafted by Erdman and approved by Sisco. Repeated Immediate to Ankara, Athens, and USUN.
  2. See Document 173.
  3. February 10.