178. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1

4966. Mil addees treat as Specat. AmEmbassy London for Asst. Secretary Vest. Subject: Cyprus, Embargo and Non-Aggression.

1. Foreign Minister Rallis struck a somber tone while discussing Cyprus, among other matters, with me earlier today.

2. Expressing general dissatisfaction with the mix of existing proposals and other endeavors on Varosha, Rallis said that more serious [Page 550] difficulty was in Turkish constitutional proposals which are simply non-negotiable for both Nicosia and Athens. He later sent me the critique prepared by the GOC which I now realize has been in the Department’s possession.2 Rallis did not have it in hand when we met and hence omitted detailed discussion. I drew the impression that Rallis had only recently examined the constitutional ideas and conceded merit in Nicosia’s arguments.

3. Turning to the embargo, Rallis said he was worried about what he believed would be a nasty reaction in Athens “when” it is lifted. He takes congressional approval as a given. He mentioned this, he said, because he is concerned that Washington underestimates the impact repeal will cause here while overestimating Prime Minister Caramanlis’ ability to control it. “He is no magician,” Rallis said, adding that Caramanlis himself may underestimate the political difficulty and public clamor that will ensue. Rallis did agree with me that continuation of the embargo was in no one’s interest and that it had become the psychological obstacle which frustrated relations among all interested parties, including the Congress and the Executive Branch in Washington. He reluctantly acknowledged that it would be better to have it done and out of the way sooner than later and that all of us had some responsibility to moderate the emotions which surround the issue.

4. All of this showed a much less sanguine Rallis than I first met shortly after assuming office. Maybe he recognizes the Murphy’s Law that plays in every Foreign Minister’s life. Whatever, he is now less critical of the GOC and President Kyprianou individually and, if not influenced by, at least taking into account the daily forebodings of this outrageous press in Athens.

5. Separately, I inquired about expectations growing out of Caramanlis’ renewed offer of a non-aggression pact to Turkey.3 His were not high, Rallis said, explaining that Ecevit’s response to the offer was a [Page 551] “yes, but.” In any case, Greece had produced a draft text which it would introduce when the interlocutors meet July 4 and await a further Turkish response. He did not ask for our opinion but did offer me a copy of the draft which has been sent by septel.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780248–0919. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Sent for information to Ankara, London, Nicosia, USNATO, USUN, USCINCEUR, USNMR SHAPE, and USDOCOSouth.
  2. Reference is presumably to a report provided to the Department of State by the Government of Cyprus Information Office, which contained President Kyprianou’s April 19 statement in which he announced the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Turkish Cypriot proposals. Kyprianou’s major justification for rejecting the proposals was that, in his view, the Turkish Cypriot representatives had proposed their own separate state. Kyprianou explained that because a unified Cyprus was his government’s starting point of negotiations, his rejection of the Turkish Cypriot proposals was not based on particular details but on the “whole structure” and the “philosophy” of the proposals. (Telegram 1054 from Nicosia, April 20; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780169–0410)
  3. In telegram 4900 from Athens, June 13, the Embassy reported on Karamanlis’ recent non-aggression proposal to Turkey. Although unsure whether the proposal amounted to a genuine peace offering or was a propaganda ploy, the Embassy reported that early reactions from Turkey appeared positive; if Karamanlis was sincere, the proposal would well serve U.S. interests in the region. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780246–1209)
  4. The Embassy relayed the draft in telegram 4958 from Athens, June 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780248–0797)