85. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1

5589. Ref: Athens 4493, 4494.2

Turkish policy on the Cyprus coup is still evolving. Yet two judgments which will be important as USG moves to prevent spread of conflict and protect its own interests can now be suggested with some confidence:
GOT will move strongly, directly, and unitedly to prevent enosis by all means, including use of force, when and if it is convinced enosis is imminent. This is not only nationalist and emotional reaction but part of accepted Turkish grand strategy.
Until so convinced, GOT likely attempt lay responsibility for action on Geneva signatories, UN, NATO, and US—unless Turk Cypriots come to suffer substantially, in which case direct action of some kind would again be likely.
Other, more subtle, choices and actions will probably for time being seem less important to Turks than to Greeks, Cypriots themselves, NATO, UN, and even Russians: e.g. comparative virtues Makarios (if he is still alive) and Clerides, reinforcement or not of the Turkish contingent, role of UNFICYP, etc. At same time, GOT will continue deeply suspicious of Ioannides government and Ankara is already clearly very fearful that any government led by Sampson is an enosis government. For these reasons and because of its own political necessity, the GOT can be expected to undertake military alerts and troop movements within Turkey which will inevitably increase tension even while it awaits international action.
In this situation, we see first sine qua non for the prevention of intra-NATO fighting as the blocking by all means available to the US of enosis or anything that looks like it. Second is the prevention of [Page 288] significant hurt to Turkish Cypriots. In terms of avoiding Greek-Turk clash, these two, we think, are even more important than stopping a civil war between Greeks on Cyprus. After achievement these two objectives comes series of goals set forth paras 6–10 Athens 4493, with which we wholeheartedly concur. We will refine our thoughts on these and other ideas in Athens 4493 and submit ASAP.3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 634, Country Files, Middle East, Turkey, Vol. IV. Secret; Niact; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Nicosia, Athens, London, USNATO, USUN, USNMR SHAPE, USDOCOSOUTH, CINCUSAFE, COMSIXTHFLT, and USCINCEUR.
  2. In telegram 4493 from Athens, July 15, especially paragraphs 6–10, Tasca urged reiterating the U.S. interest in maintaining peace between Greece and Turkey and finding a long-term settlement for Cyprus. To that end, Tasca suggested promoting the return to the democratic structure just overthrown in Cyprus by concluding the intercommunal talks and arranging early elections, and he also envisioned a continuing role for the UN. Tasca thought that the United States should reiterate its opposition to violence as a solution, enlist the assistance of NATO allies and Secretary General Luns, and consult with the British regarding their reaction to the events. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974) Telegram 4494 is printed as Document 81.
  3. In telegram 5609 from Ankara, July 16, Macomber urged a concentrated effort to diffuse the Cyprus situation for fear of an armed Turkish intervention. Turkey viewed the coup as a major step toward enosis, a violation of the 1960 agreements, and a product of Hellenic (not Greek Cypriot) officers. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1312, NSC Secretariat, Richard M. Nixon Cables/Contingency Plans 1974, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish Contingency Plans)