97. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts1

156312. Subject: Policy Considerations in Cyprus Situation.

Our principal objectives at this time are (A) to prevent a Turkish decision to intervene militarily, and (B) to avoid the development of positions by other countries which might contribute to the outbreak of civil war in Cyprus. In either event, the Soviets would exploit the situation to their advantage, thus enhancing their position in the Eastern Mediterranean and strengthening the Communists in Cyprus.
We must, therefore, seek to slow down actions either by individual countries or within the UN which might tend to precipitate either of the above two events and endeavor to gain time to develop a situation where a negotiated settlement on Cyprus can be achieved. The ideal solution would be to obtain a negotiated agreement between the UK, Turkey and Greece as the guarantor powers.
The situation is that while Makarios remains the de jure President of Cyprus, a de facto regime exists on the island and it has established full control. It seems unlikely that Makarios can reestablish himself without outside support. If the UN is permitted to adopt a resolution which legitimizes Makarios’ position and calls for his return on the possible pain of sanctions, then in the wake of certain refusal of the Western powers to undertake this mission, the Soviets would undoubtedly endeavor to fill the void, with all its implications. Makarios’ return to Cyprus under these conditions would only enhance the Soviet position in the Mediterranean and that of the Communists in Cyprus.
While the Turkish Government is presently supporting the return of Makarios, its demands to improve its strategic position on the island would not be viable since if Makarios should return under these conditions, he would be unwilling to appear as a Turkish satellite and would look to outside support, in all probability the Communists, to counterbalance the Turkish position. We must, therefore, urge the Turks to take a long-range view of the situation and recognize that their present posture could be seriously detrimental to their interests.
We also believe that the UK, in considering its present course, must face up to the probability that Makarios cannot be restored by [Page 323] political means and must recognize the fact that it does not have the means to accomplish this in any other form.
With respect to Greece, it is quite clear that the return of Makarios would be totally unacceptable since the whole objective of the regime has been the removal of Makarios. Moreover, Makarios’ return could only be accomplished through the removal of the Sampson regime and the withdrawal of the Greek officers of the National Guard. If Makarios were restored under these conditions, the influence of Athens in Cyprus would be reduced, and the consequent weakening of the balance of force would tend to make Makarios place greater reliance on the Communists and on the Eastern bloc.
The Sampson regime is clearly unacceptable to the Turks and to a good part of the international community. The US also cannot accept the Sampson regime. However, it is now in place and we believe it would be unwise to seek the removal of Sampson until a substitute solution is in sight. With regard to the Greek officers of the National Guard, we believe that it would be a mistake to take any position on that matter for the reason outlined in para 6 above and pending the development of a negotiated solution. However, we are not committed to the continuing presence of Greek officers in the National Guard.
It is important that our friends and allies understand that any course of action relating to Cyprus which results in the overthrow of the Greek regime, opens up the Eastern Mediterranean to Soviet meddling and exploitation, and invites active Turkish intervention would initiate a course of events which would be unpredictable, difficult if not impossible to control, and which would have seriously damaging effects on Western interests.
The thrust of our position at this time, therefore, is to avoid assuming a public posture which commits us to any particular course of action. We view as unlikely the restoration of Makarios and we do not accept a Sampson regime. Consequently, the situation in favor of either one or the other should not be allowed to freeze, thus creating the conditions for the development of a compromise and negotiated settlement which would permit the maintenance of constitutional arrangements in Cyprus, both in their internal and external aspects.
For Ambassadors or Chargés: Above should be used only in your discussions with highest level of government to which accredited.
For Ambassador Rumsfeld: You may use above in briefing Luns on US analysis of Cyprus situation, but for obvious reasons cannot be used in NAC session. However, you are authorized in NAC session to seek to slow down any moves which might compromise our objectives as outlined.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Joseph Sisco, Entry 5405, Box 26, Cyprus Crisis, July 1974, Folder 2. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Sent to Nicosia, London, Paris, Bonn, Athens, Ankara, USNATO, USUN, USCINCEUR, and the White House to pass to San Clemente for Secretary Kissinger.