93. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger 1

K: Mr. President.

N: Hello, Henry. How are we getting along with our Greek friends?

K: The problem in Cyprus is the Europeans have taken a united position that Makarios ought to be brought back and they want us to bring pressure on the Greeks. My worry is that Makarios now has to lean on the Communists and Eastern bloc. All our evidence is that the opposition is in total control of the Island. My recommendation is that first, we get someone over there to make our view clear and secondly, we work for a compromise in which neither Makarios or the other guy take over…. They want us to rake the Greeks but if they get overthrown then that will jeopardize our whole position.

N: I know that. I can see that, but not much support from Europe?

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K: No, but they know we are dragging our feet, but they don’t know exactly what we want.

N: Who are you going to send?

K: Either Ingersoll or Sisco. Ingersoll has the advantage of taking orders well, but Sisco is more knowledgeable.

N: Whatever you decide, it’s alright with me.

K: Sisco is necessary here to manage the thing on a day to day basis.

N: I see. What can he accomplish. Explain to them what we’re trying to do.

K: The danger is this, if everyone runs to Makarios embracing him as the legitimate head… and if the Soviets are the only ones to offer to help restore him, we have no basis for resisting it.

N: I see the danger. We have no support.

K: We can not openly oppose Makarios but we can try to slow it down enough so that perhaps we can crystalize enough support for an internal solution. The Europeans are talking a tough game, but we have to defend their position.

N: We have to defend their game plan.

K: Exactly.

K: If the Greeks collapse, then the left wing could take over or a bunch of Greek colonels who could throw in with the Quadafi group.

N: It seems to me our course is to try to.…

K: That’s is what I would propose, with your permission, to do.

N: I think it’s a good try.

K: And if it fails, we can join the consensus.

N: That’s right.

K: My analysis is if Makarios is brought back this way, he will have to kick the Greek officers off the island and then the Communists will be the dominant force and to balance the Turks he will have to rely on the Eastern bloc. So the coup will have shifted the balance to the left.

N: I get it. Too bad he has to come back.

K: [1 line not declassified]

N: You have to go ahead. Use either man. You’re much closer to it.

K: Right and I’ll arrange for Ziegler to make the announcement. Sisco 2 and Ingersoll are the two who know our thinking best.

N: Ingersoll is a good calm man, if he knows our position.

K: That’s the advantage of Ingersoll. Well, I’ll keep you informed.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. The President was at the Western White House in San Clemente July 13–28. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) Kissinger was in Washington.
  2. Kissinger called Sisco at 5:10 p.m. with the decision that he leave for London later that evening. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 384, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)