90. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State1
5629. Subj: Cyprus Coup: Amb–PriMin Meeting. For Secretary From Ambassador. Ref State 154148.2 I had eighty minute meeting with PriMin noon (local time) July 17. Acting FonMin (normally DefMin Isik) and DCM Bergus also present.
After I had made points outlined para 1, reftel,3 PriMin responded as fols:
1. Current GOT assessment of situation:
- Coup appears to have succeeded. While there are still undoubtedly Makarios resources on island, they probably are lying low now so as to avoid risk of exposure and destruction at this time.
- Coup completely engineered by Greek Govt.
- GOT does not fear de jure enosis move in immediate future. On contrary, Turks believe that Athens will maintain fiction of separateness, as this will enable GOG in effect to have two votes in UN, while it has one foot in NATO camp and another in non-aligned world.
- GOT does not accept this as an internal Cypriot problem. On contrary, it is international matter involving violation of an agreement to which Turkey is a party and guarantor.
- Deterioration of position of Turks on island is inevitable, if new regime stays in power.
- Vulnerability of Turks on island greatly increased by lack of their having secure access to sea coast.
- Current situation therefore completely unacceptable to the GOT. If acceptable situation not recreated, Turkey will have to directly intervene with military force on island.
- If intervention necessary, it will be “bloodier” the longer it is put off. Therefore, GOT not prepared to delay intervention beyond “few days”.
- Situation has brought to head growing GOT conviction that Greek Turks cooperation within NATO must be terminated (see septel).4
- GOT seeking to work closely with British as a “joint-guarantor” on this situation. (Shortly after his advising me that they were seeking high level meeting with British message was handed to PriMin saying UKG had agreed to such meeting right away in London. PriMin read me message and indicated that he and Isik would be leaving immediately for UK. He will arrive there tonight. He expected visit to last for day or so.)
- With respect to Soviet attitude, PriMin said Russians were restless over situation, and not keeping this a secret. He saw considerable significance in official TASS statement that Cyprus developments endangered détente. Sov Amb had repeated this statement in meeting with Pres Koruturk last night. I said that we had heard of Soviet offer to put troops on island and that was one thing situation definitely did not need.
2. GOT objectives:
- PriMin said that GOT basic objective is restitution of Cyprus’ constitutional govt. By this he meant return of Makarios to his head of govt position, or if this not feasible, that Makarios successor should emerge through previously established constitutional procedures.
- That Greek officers of Cyprus National Guard must leave the island.
- That a secure corridor to the sea must be obtained for Turkish community.
3. I asked PriMin if he and British should reach agreement on above objectives during London meetings, how he expected them to be brought about. PriMin said “We will see. They have bases there. If they do not use them now what are they for? We will see what the British think. We will explore all peaceful solutions before considering others.”
4. At end of conversation PriMin summarized situation as follows:
- New regime on Cyprus completely unacceptable to GOT. GOT hopes status quo ante can be restored without Turkish military intervention. If this is not done, GOT prepared carry out military intervention. It believes latter would be better done within a few days rather than waiting weeks or months.
- If new regime retains control of island, GOT might be willing hold off military intervention if a corridor to the sea guaranteed to Turkish residents of island. This, combined with clear Turkish military superiority in area, would give GOT assurance that it could rescue Turkish population if that were needed.
5. PriMin wishes to stay in close touch with USG and would be very grateful to have Secretary Kissinger’s comments on foregoing. He expressed hope that these could be conveyed to him while he was still in London.
- 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; Niact Immediate; Nodis.↩
- Dated July 17. (Ibid.)↩
- According to telegram 154148 to Ankara, the Embassy “made fully known to GOG, including Ioannides, our support for single, sovereign and independent Cyprus (and you should give Ecevit gist of State 152379), and urged the GOG to carry out the rotation of their contingent on Cyprus in a routine way without increasing the total number of their forces on Cyprus (State 154147).” Telegram 154147, July 17, is ibid. Telegram 152379, July 15, is printed as Document 82.↩
- Not found.↩