92. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and British Foreign Secretary Callaghan1

K: Can you hear me?

C: I think so. I think if about seventeen people get off the line I could hear you better.

K: I was thinking of sending Joe Sisco or Bob Ingersoll to London so that you could get a more first hand impression of our thinking on Cyprus.

C: That would be very good.

K: Is Ecevit going to stay over night?

C: Probably will leave in the early morning. Makarios is leaving at 11:00 our time and will be with you at 1:35. He will then ask for a Security Council meeting on Friday.

K: Right.

C: So that gives you time.

K: I will try to get someone over tomorrow morning and then have him go to Athens and Ankara.

C: I think it would be very valuable. I would like that. I’ll tell you our position and this is basically the European position—all the countries in the Nine and NATO. We think the ideal solution would be to get Makarios back. Whether we can do it by diplomatic means remains to be seen. Makarios asked for diplomatic activity to continue and the need for non-recognition of the new regime in Cyprus. When you look ahead for six months—will the situation be more than or less tense? Our estimation is more—that it would look to be more tense if we can’t get Makarios back—but the question is can we?

K: Some of our people are wondering if a compromise not be Clerides.

C: He couldn’t hold it. But the compromise might be an election in 3 months with Makarios back on the Island.

K: But how will you get him back?

C: What we would do? Well, hopefully you would exert your influence on the Greek Government about the national guard officers. The Turks under our guarantee Treaty may say to us what are you going to do and if action doesn’t seem possible—any of the three powers has the [Page 310] right to take action. I think we can take it that we can talk about unilateral action and if so then there has to be US pressure on Greece. How do you see it?

K: I see it similarly. But I am not sure about what we are embarking on when you say diplomatic action.

C: I think the Greek regime is a bit worried. _______2 has called our man in Athens to see when tomorrow… and I think he is going to ask what we and the Turks are up to. We think there is a chance that if there is concerted diplomatic pressure they might calm down by withdrawing some of their officers. I am thinking about the Turks tomorrow or tonight. But, if you think six months ahead, my view is that it is better to have Makarios there than Sampson.

K: That is almost certainly true, I agree.

C: The problem is three to one or five to one chance it won’t succeed, but it would be worthwhile to do…

K: Well, we want to avoid giving the Soviets an excuse to make what happens legitimate.

C: Yes. Again, looking six months ahead of Sampson—If Sampson stays, he would be accused of running a Fascist regime and the Russians are stepping up their activity so I come back again to—we may not succeed but it could be that we may crack the regime and get Sampson to withdraw.

K: Let me get somebody over to talk to you. We agree on the general approach. We are not too far apart on it.

C: Well, send somebody, but I don’t think we can afford to lose much time to begin pressuring the Greeks.

K: He would be getting in there tomorrow morning.

C: Who will that be, Joe Sisco?

K: Joe Sisco or Ingersoll.

C: After he and I talk, he can talk to you and you can make up your mind.

K: Exactly.

C: Well, I think this should come quickly. If there is a feeling in the Greek Government that you are holding back, then what is happening in the EC will not be of much importance. You have heard about the EC démarche?

K: No.

C: They put out a statement saying they made a démarche to the Greek Government—stronger than the terms I made publicly.

K: I didn’t know that and it is good to know.

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C: I didn’t know it til lunch and the House of Commons is anti-Greek on both sides.

K: Good, well, I’ll be in touch.

C: Alright. If anything comes out of the meeting with the Turks, I will give you a call. We have had a request—that if they… get out of us, they might act unilaterally.

K: You can tell them we are willing to exert ourselves with the Greek Government but I want to get our strategy more precise and also that we are not supporting Sampson.

C: I’ll tell them and I will leave it to you to tell them about who is coming.

K: You can tell them that we are thinking seriously about it. Call me.3

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Callaghan was in London.
  2. Omission in the original.
  3. Kissinger and Callaghan spoke again at 5:04 p.m. Kissinger informed Callaghan that Sisco would likely be his envoy for the London talks. Callaghan, in the middle of meeting with Ecevit, informed Kissinger that Ecevit would like a joint U.S.-British statement comdemning the new regime and restoring the old one, which both Kissinger and Callaghan believed too extreme. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)