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

1302. Subject: Greek Embassy View re NG Controversy.

Summary: Greek Embassy recommends Athens accept Makarios’ demands. Admits military opposed. Says NG reduction will lead to de-confrontation. Expresses fear over possible leakage of arms. End summary.

In conversation with EmbOff July 8, Greek Embassy officer [name not declassified]—protect) said Embassy has recommended to Athens that it accept Makarios’ demand for withdrawal of Greek mainland officers. [name not declassified] said Embassy has further recommended that GOGreece agree provide 100 officers to train reconstituted NG (though Embassy hopes convince Archbishop of need for additional [Page 274] mainland personnel). Embassy argument reportedly based on rationale that it impossible for Greece to completely extricate itself from responsibility for Cyprus; defense and presence of even limited number mainland officers will make this defense more credible.
[name not declassified] admitted this view not shared by military colleagues here. Said they advocating either direct confrontation or total renunciation of Greek responsibility for island’s defense. (Latter course reportedly enjoys more support among military officers.) Thus far, [name not declassified] said Greek Embassy has no info which policy Athens will pursue.
Despite lack of guidance, [name not declassified] maintained NG general staff proceeding plan for force’s reduction to 5,000 men. Initial study indicates this extremely complicated and will require extended period to implement. [name not declassified] noted that 5,000-man force will be totally unable defend Cyprus against external enemy (read Turkey) and said Makarios apparently has totally discounted possibility that Aegean crisis could spill over onto Cyprus.
In [name not declassified] view, only way maintain defensive capability will be complete reorganization of NG’s reserve. However, fact that large number NG recruits depart island for university studies immediately upon discharge will make this task virtually impossible.
[name not declassified] maintained drastic reduction in NG strength will inevitably lead to unilateral deconfrontation. Guard simply will not have enough people to man barricades while maintaining reserve strength. In his view this a positive development and he probed, at considerable length, on possible Turk Cypriot reactions.
At end of conversation, [name not declassified]advanced “personal view” that it “impossible” for GOGreece to simply reject Makarios’ demands. Admitted, however, that he not sanguine that rational counsel will prevail in Athens. On local scene, [name not declassified] expressed fear that pro-EOKA mainland officers may divert considerable quantity NG arms to dissidents prior surrendering control of NG camps.
Comment: [name not declassified] is very open, forthcoming Greek officer who is normally an accurate reporter. While possibly not fully read into Embassy planning, above probably reflects his honest assessment of current trends. End comment.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1312, Saunders Chron File, NSC Secretariat, Richard M. Nixon Cables/Contingency Plans 1974, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish Contingency Plans. Secret. Repeated to Athens, Ankara, London, USDOC-OSOUTH, USEUCOM, USNATO, and USUN.