95. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Cyprus Crisis


  • Honorable Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Honorable Robert McCloskey, Ambassador at Large
  • Honorable William Buffum, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs
  • Mr. Wells Stabler, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
  • Mr. Lawrence Eagleburger, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State
  • Mr. Edward Djerejian, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs

Ambassador McCloskey: We want to review where we go from here. We want to send a message out giving our rationale.

Secretary: If we tie ourselves to Makarios without any precise way of returning him to power on the Island we will be giving anyone the right to support him. Also, such support for Makarios could foster unilateral attempts to get enosis. If we attempt a strong anti-Greek posture it could trigger a Turkish attack.

We want our European allies to understand that we do not want to elaborate any theory which would bring the Soviets in, or on the other hand establish a regime on the Island which would give the Communists any major role in Cyprus’s internal affairs.

Nevertheless, we do not want to exclude the Makarios option at this point. We want to avoid the United Nations being used in an unconstitutional way during a Civil War which is a situation independent of the UN.

Specifically, I want it known that we are not drifting and our Ambassadors should understand that we want the situation to crystallize. What, in effect, is the possibility of the British using force on the Island?

Ambassador Buffum: There has been one report of British use of one Sovereign Base area, but this is highly unlikely.

Secretary: The British cannot use force. Also we have to determine what we would gain from supporting Makarios, except for psychic satisfaction and playing up to the New York Times.

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We are not opposed to the withdrawal of the Greek officers from the Island because it interferes with the internal affairs of Cyprus, but rather because it tips the internal balance on the Island and may foster the rabble in the National Guard.

Our Ambassadors should go into their host governments and not give the impression of a USG that is in doubt of its position but should definitely convey the current position that the USG is not going along with the howling mob. We want the situation to crystallize in order to enable concerted action later.

To attempt to overthrow the Greek Government to satisfy our goals and bring Makarios back is a high price to pay. Whatever our views of the Greek Government, to precipitate the present situation to a crisis which results in the overthrow of the Greek Government would open the way to Soviet intervention, force Turkish intervention and initiate a course of action that could not be sustained. Everyone must analyze the situation closely.

We must not be in an anti-Makarios position. In 1971 we were highly criticized over our policy toward India and now the Indians are coming to us. It just shows that it doesn’t work that way. We require a calm and cool approach to this present situation.

McCloskey: Do you want us to send any further instructions to Sisco?

Secretary: Sisco should surface the Clerides possibility with the Turks and the British and he should get the Greeks to London on Sunday to have them face up to the situation. Basically, we have to get ourselves in a situation similar to that in which we are in the Middle East where everyone needs us and comes to us. At that point we can deliver the Greeks.

I was pleased with the French reaction.2

McCloskey: Should we be telling the French any more?

Secretary: Tell the French they can share our analysis with the EC–9 as much as they wish to. You should send Ambassador Irwin a cable telling him to approach Sauvagnargues on this basis.3 That should make the French quite happy.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Entry 5403, Box 9, Nodis Memoranda of Conversations, August 1974, Folder 5. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Djerejian.
  2. Reported in telegram 17519 from Paris, July 18. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files, 1974)
  3. Telegrams 156348 and 157174 to Paris, July 19. (Ibid.)