181. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

1882. For the Secretary From Ambassador. Department pass Athens, Ankara, USUN as desired. Subject: Oral Message From the Secretary to Makarios. Ref: State 132961.2

Summary. Makarios considers Vienna II3 failure and is deeply angered by Clerides’ performance there, perhaps to the point of trying [Page 607] to replace him as negotiator. He asserts, however, that he is not trying to substitute internationalization for this negotiating track. He acknowledges constructive role being played by President Ford and Secretary Kissinger and welcomes reduction in Greek-Turkish tensions resulting from Brussels. Says visits to Arab states imply no intention change form or content of good relations with Israel. Statement’s regarding Makarios remains interested in availability of US AID funds for rehousing refugees. End summary.
I called on Makarios morning June 10 to deliver your oral message. He listened attentively and said to thank you.
Without introduction, Makarios then launched into a diatribe against Vienna II and Clerides. Vienna, he said, had been a “fraud and a failure covered over with nice words”. GOC position had suffered as a result. He could not fault Waldheim for trying to convey an appearance of optimism and progress, but he himself was completely pessimistic. He could and would take Clerides to task for having made several serious mistakes.
Enumerating Clerides’ errors, Makarios said that, first, he had without guidance stated before departure that he would leave Vienna if Turkish Cypriots proceeded with June 8 constitutional referendum. In Vienna, Clerides had been obliged to climb down from this. Second, in final communiqué,4 he had accepted language referring to possibility of a transitional federal government. He had done so without instructions and transitional government was unacceptable to GOC. Third, in press questions and answers following announcement of communiqué, Clerides had alluded to a Turkish proposal on refugee return when no such proposal existed.
Makarios said Clerides would be briefing Council of Ministers and National Council about Vienna on June 11 and intimated that he would be chastised both in that session and publicly.
I replied that just before our meeting I had been ruminating about the prodigious amount of diplomatic energy it has taken to get a Cyprus negotiation going and keep it alive. I cited the recent principal and visible manifestations of the effort: visits to Ankara by Secretary Kissinger and Assistant Secretary Hartman, visits to Athens by latter,5 Bitsios–Caglayangil meeting, President Ford’s sessions with Greek and Turkish Prime Ministers in Brussels6 and supporting Foreign [Page 608] Minister-level discussions, DEMIRELKaramanlis bilateral, and Waldheim’s admirable labors against odds in Vienna. I pointed out that the objective of these several efforts was to create the framework and atmosphere in which a Cyprus solution fair to Greek Cypriots could be reached. We were well aware of Archbishop’s interest in internationalizing the Cyprus problem. We believe this was his decision to make, but frankly we would not see it paying off. While we understand that Turkish unreadiness to talk about specifics in Vienna was a disappointment to GOC, we felt strongly that continued negotiation along present line was the only path with any promise. Others obviously felt the same. Actions of Waldheim and Clerides in Vienna should, I believed, be read in this positive light. With admittedly very little to go on, prospects for a continued negotiation had been salvaged.
Makarios backed off somewhat. He said he recognized and appreciated the great efforts of President Ford and Secretary Kissinger to keep negotiation and hope for progress alive, even though these efforts were “late”. Similarly, although nothing positive had resulted for Cyprus itself, KaramanlisDEMIREL meeting had undoubtedly been beneficial in terms of easing tension between Greece and Turkey. That easing of tension in turn, might eventually help a Cyprus solution. Nevertheless, Vienna II had ill-served GOC interests. In addition to the annoying reference to a transitional government, which was a clear effort to erode the GOC’s international position, language of communiqué put Greek and Turkish sides on an equal plane. In fact, Clerides had gone with positive attitude and flexible instructions that empowered him to discuss all aspects whereas Turkey had reneged on Denktash commitment of Vienna I and come up with nothing. As a result of communiqué language, GOC’s international position had suffered. The basis for any useful debate in coming SC meeting on Cyprus had been destroyed. Waldheim’s report would be anodyne and a resolution on the negotiation, if any, would be inconsequential. (In reply to my interjected question, Makarios said it would now be pointless to send special representation to New York for the debate.GOC position would be handled by Rossides.)
Makarios said that despite his criticisms of Vienna, Waldheim and Clerides, he fully supported continued negotiation. He was not seeking internationalization as a substitute. He had little to gain from an international conference. Rather, he was afraid that lulled by a series of communiqués along the lines of Vienna I and Vienna II, the world would forget about the unsolved Cyprus problem and condone continued faits accomplis by the Turks, such as their referendum, elections, possible unilateral declaration of independence, and their adamant refusal to discuss the real issues. Therefore, he considered it essential to use meetings of the UNSC and UNGA, and his own travels, to keep the Cyprus problem before the world.
I replied that I could understand Archbishop’s desire to keep international attention alive, if that was as it was. I cautioned, however, that this variety of internationalization, if pushed too far in certain directions, would cut across the other negotiating track.
I asked the Archbishop whether he viewed his recent visits to Gulf states and forthcoming visits to other Arab states in terms of maintaining international interest and, further, whether his efforts to win greater Arab support had implications for GOC relations with Israel. Was he, for example, considering any downgrading in GOC diplomatic relations with Israel as a gesture to the Arabs? Makarios replied that he valued GOC’s good relations with Israel and intended no change whatsoever. In visits to the Arab states, while showing sympathy for Arab concerns, he had been and would continue to be careful to hew a delicate line between sympathy and underwriting all their positions. In general, he had found the safest way was to refer to UN resolutions. He repeated that he was not prepared to consider any change in the nature of his relationship with Israel. I suggested that, this being the case, he have FonMin Christophides say something reassuring to the Israelis before he left on his next swing through the Arab world. Makarios said he would do so. He indicated that his present plan is to leave June 16 for Cairo, then go to Damascus and Beirut if situation there was stabilized by then, and thereafter to Baghdad, Libya and possibly Algeria although Algerian arrangements not yet firm.
On another aspect, I asked Makarios whether his frequent use of the term “long struggle” implied a military component as well as the economic revivification he had previously mentioned to me and which, I noted he now had under discussion with GOC. I referred in the former sense to creation of various new self-styled “resistance fronts” and GOC promulgation of a law on compulsory reserve training for all Greek males up to age 60. Makarios replied blandly that he was a man of peace and did not believe in force to solve problems. He did not approve creation of resistance fronts (although he acknowledged at least one group was comprised of his own supporters).
Concluding, I recalled question Makarios had put to me in Washington concerning use of a portion of potential FY–76 $25 million in supporting assistance for construction of houses for refugees now in tents. I said that despite what Archbishop had been told by Congressmen, this money might be some distance from appropriation. If it was voted, USG would want to continue to donate a substantial portion to UNHCR for its valuable relief work. Nevertheless, question of supporting GOC in some way on refugee housing was discussable and in fact, pursuant to Archbishop’s interest, was already under review by Embassy with appropriate GOC officials. One thought was to relieve GOC of some of the burden of its subsidies to refugees through their activity in this field, thus freeing GOC funds for housing. On [Page 610] basis of personal experience with Palestine refugee problem, I expressed concern that US funds not be used to create permanent camps which would become a breeding ground for an immutable refugee mentality and fanatacism which was not in GOC interest. Makarios agreed and said his purpose was to construct housing to integrate refugees into existing urban communities.
Comment: Makarios’ anger with Clerides as evidenced in this conversation is supported by a well-sourced [less than 1 line not declassified] report being transmitted simultaneously.7 Latter states that Makarios is actually thinking of ways in which he can unload Clerides in favor of a more compliant Greek Cypriot negotiator.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, President Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 3, Cyprus Nodis to Secretary of State 10. Secret; Immediate;Nodis.
  2. Telegram 132961 to Nicosia, June 6, relayed the text of an oral message from Kissinger to Makarios. Kissinger shared his impression that both the Greek and Turkish leaders wanted to move ahead on a Cyprus settlement. He thought that positions could be clarified during the intercommunal talks. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1975)
  3. The first set of intercommunal talks under UN auspices, Vienna I, began in the summer of 1972 and adjourned April 2, 1974. See Document 74. The first round of Vienna II lasted from April 28 to May 3. (Telegram 3803 from Vienna, May 3; National Archives, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1975)
  4. Transmitted in telegram 3800 from Vienna, May 3. (Ibid.)
  5. Hartman met with Caglayangil on April 21 (telegram 3136 from Ankara; ibid.), Demirel on April 22 (telegram 3184 from Ankara; ibid.), and Bitsios on April 24 (telegram
  6. For Ford’s meeting with Karamanlis, see Document 50. For Ford’s meeting with DEMIREL, see Document 227.
  7. Not found.