190. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Cyprus Negotiations
[Page 634]


  • Cyprus
  • Foreign Minister John Christophides
  • Ambassador Dimitriou
  • Minister-Counselor Angelides
  • Mr. Pasharkis, Aide to Christophides
  • US
  • The Secretary
  • Philip Habib
  • Arthur A. Hartman, EUR
  • Ambassador William Crawford
  • William L. Eagleton, EUR/SE

Christophides: Thank you for giving me your time. I know that you are very busy right now. There have been unpleasant developments.

The Secretary: Usually when these things happen, there is nothing you can do.

Christophides: Do you know who is responsible?

The Secretary: No, we do not know who or what is behind this. There is nothing you can do until you know who has him.

Christophides: It is difficult when there are so many factions.

The Secretary: Maybe the Greeks are behind it.


Christophides: (smiling) I don’t think so. Don’t put this in the record.

The Secretary: (smiling) If you were behind it, it would be much more complicated.

Christophides: Dr. Kissinger, the last time we met was in New York in October, 1975.2 During that meeting you told us that in order for the Turks to move and for you to have leverage on them, you needed two things: 1) lifting of the embargo and 2) the Turkish Senate elections which would give strength to the Turkish Government. You said you could then try to get the Turks to produce some progress on Cyprus. On October 1 the embargo was lifted. On October 22 there was a strengthening of the Turkish Government. I remember that I put the question to you: How can there be a strengthening of the Turkish Government with these partial elections? Your answer was: We can’t take these domestic developments as an excuse for no movement on Turkey’s part regarding Cyprus.

Then there is the question of pressure on Turkey. I remember that when we met last time Sisco repeated what he had said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the effect that if the Turks are intransigent, it would go to the heart of US-Turkish relations.

[Page 635]

Eight months have unfortunately passed and there is no movement. The situation is worsening. There have been expulsions from the north, there have been no refugees returned, there has been Turkish colonization, and there has been a recent development which was reported by the “Economist.” This involves looting in New Famagusta.

The Secretary: What do you mean?

Christophides: Famagusta was a ghost town guarded by the Turkish army. Now there is systematic looting of hotels, shops, banks and so on.

I have been wondering what happened that there has been no effective pressure on the Turks. Second, I would like to know how you envisage a process toward the solution of the problem.

The Secretary: We have spoken before, and you know my views. I have never negotiated in a situation where the government of one side was vilifying us in the press, also the Greek community, and then privately comes to us as the party from which they expect to obtain solutions. When I meet Greeks and Greek Cypriots, we have warm relations, but then the press treats us quite differently. You have also used Congressional pressures. We have never had anything like it. In other negotiations the parties worked with us. So all of this creates serious problems.

This morning we were discussing some of the unilateral concessions the Turks were willing to make in 1974. There was a whole list. This is to indicate that with a slightly accusatory tone you can’t put us in an impossible position on the one hand and ask help on the other. In fact we have talked often to the Turks about Cyprus and we have gone to the Germans and the French and the British to get them to do likewise. This has developed into a difficult situation. We are now trying to get talks started again. If your side put forward a map at the next meeting and the Turks replied with a map or with specific territorial formulations, then there could be a subcommittee in Nicosia. I don’t see the problem with Nicosia subcommittees.

Christophides: You refer to “a slightly accusatory tone.”

(The Secretary is called out of the room.)

The Secretary: What can be done? It is hard for us to bring pressures on the Turks when there is no negotiation going on. I discussed this with Waldheim3 and suggested that the Greek side could put forward a map showing 20% for the Turks, then let the Turks put forward a map or precise criteria. Then you could move to a subcommittee. If [Page 636] you agree, we would urge this on the Turks. Even if two useless and preposterous maps are put out at first, we will have something on which to work.

Christophides: Our position is that: 1) the negotiating process is the best way to seek a solution; 2) there was the agreement in Vienna on 22 February; 3) the Vienna communiqué makes two main points: a) each side should submit concrete proposals. We have done so and the Turks have not; b) for the parties to go to the subcommittees, there must be a common basis.

We have submitted proposals. We would be prepared to come forward with a map provided the Turks also come forward with a map

The Secretary: What common basis do you need?

Christophides: I told Waldheim that I was not at Vienna and that he should tell us what this common basis is.

The Secretary: How do you have that when you will say 20% and they will say 38%?

Christophides: Wouldn’t it be a good thing to have 20% and 38%? That is the time when someone else, Dr. Kissinger or Waldheim, could come in with an idea.

The Secretary: The problem is that a gap of 18% is one thing and

Christophides: We don’t.

The Secretary: I have talked about this to Makarios4 and know where he would be willing to go. He thinks he has more of a margin. The Turks have mumbled some things to us about percentages, and the two sides are not that far apart. Privately the two sides are within range of each other. If you said to the Turks what you have said privately, and the Turks say to you what Caglayangil has said to others, you would have something.

I am sorry, I must go to the White House. I will leave this for the afternoon.

[Page 637]

(Secretary leaves the room.)

Christophides: The Secretary says that he has had some territorial indications from Caglayangil. How does one get that?

Hartman: You don’t seem to take seriously the Turkish desire for a military presence at the talks. The Turkish argument is that they need a military man there.

Christophides: They can bring one then.

Hartman: They want this in the subcommittee. It would change the basic pattern if they brought him to Vienna. This is what the Greek and Turkish Ministers discussed at the NATO meeting in Brussels.

Christophides: At Brussels it was agreed that only details would go to the subcommittees. That is the problem.

(Secretary returns briefly.)

The Secretary: After you have had lunch, come back and we will meet for fifteen minutes or so at 2:30.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 276, Memoranda of Conversations, Chronological File. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Eagleton on June 17 and approved in S on July 9. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office.
  2. See Document 186.
  3. According to a May 3 briefing memorandum, Kissinger met with Waldheim on May 4 in Nairobi, Kenya, while attending the May 3–6 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) conference. (Telegram 107038 to the Secretary’s Delegation; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1976) No memorandum of this conversation has been found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 186.