77. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Greece and Cyprus1

141500. Subject: Greece–Cyprus Relations. Ref: Athens 3936;2 Nicosia 1224.3

We share concerns of Athens and Nicosia regarding gravity of relationship between GOG and GOC. From various reports, it is evident that Ioannides is seriously considering way to topple Makarios from power, a move which could have disastrous consequences for US interests in Eastern Mediterranean as well as for peoples of Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. In our view effort to remove Makarios by force contains unacceptable risks of generating chaos eventually causing Greco-Turk confrontation; involving Soviets in Cyprus situation; and complicating developing US-Soviet détente.
We know that Ioannides has long been obsessed with issue of communism both in Greece and in Cyprus and that his dislike for Makarios has bordered on the pathological. Until recently, our impression has been that he preferred to play for time on Cyprus problem until he had consolidated his position in the internal Greek context. Now, however, he apparently feels that Makarios is seeking to take advantage of Greek-Turkish tensions and the Greek regime’s domestic difficulties to reduce Greek influence on the island and that this effort is a personal challenge which he cannot ignore.
For Ambassador Tasca: We have carefully weighed recommendations in Athens 3936 and Nicosia 1224 and have concluded you should send a signal to Ioannides. Through whatever channel and means you deem most appropriate, our view that any effort to remove the Archbishop from power by violent means could have disastrous consequences not only for the two communities on the island, but also for Greece and Turkey and that, therefore, we would be strongly opposed to any move of this nature. Our basic position remains that we would welcome any settlement which would be acceptable to the parties involved. We strongly believe that lasting settlement can best be achieved by peaceful (underlined) means.4
For Nicosia: You are to take no action whatsoever on the above. Subsequent to Ambassador Tasca’s approach to Ioannides, we will advise you whether we want anything done.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files, Middle East, Greece, Vol. IV. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Repeated to Ankara. Drafted by John Day of the Office of Greek Affairs; cleared by Sisco, Boyatt, Stabler, Dillon, and Samuel Gammon (S/S).
  2. See footnotes 2 and 3, Document 76.
  3. In telegram 1224 from Nicosia, June 27, the Embassy agreed with the Embassy in Athens about the gravity of the Greece/Cyprus situation and that démarches would not be useful. Deconfrontation best served the interests of the United States, Cyprus, and Greece. Grant recommended that the United States, in approaching Ioannides, stress that “Athens could have trouble Sovs and Third World if it went after Makarios.” He concluded, “If GOGreece would give its officers meaningful command not to engage in anti- Makarios propaganda, dissociate the NG from EOKA–B activities, and find some means to recognize legality of GOCyprus Council of Ministers’ role in selection of cadet officers, we think Makarios (probably already shaken) would be glad to defer any larger plans for asserting control over NG.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 592, Country Files, Middle East, Cyprus, Vol. I)
  4. Tasca reported on his meeting in telegram 4179, July 1. (Ibid.)