33. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Carter’s Conversation with UN Secretary General Waldheim


  • The United Nations

    • Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General
    • Roberto Guyer and
    • William Buffum, Under Secretaries General for Special Political Affairs
  • The United States

    • The President
    • The Vice President
    • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Council
    • Secretary of State Vance
    • UN Ambassador Andrew Young
    • C. William Maynes, Assistant Secretary-designate, Bureau of International Organization Affairs (Notetaker)

The President welcomed the Secretary General to Washington and stated that he had a number of issues he hoped they could discuss together.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Cyprus.]


The President commented that the Secretary General appeared to have achieved an outstanding success in Cyprus by bringing together [Page 128] Makarios and Denktash.2 He expressed US appreciation for the help which the Secretary General had given Clark Clifford and concluded that we wanted to continue to consult on events in Cyprus.

The Secretary General replied that there has been a real change in attitude in Cyprus. He felt that the two sides now wanted to come to terms although one could not be too optimistic given the many difficulties involved in final settlement. But the Greek Cypriots now realize that they cannot solve their problems by resorting to the General Assembly. And the Turkish Cypriots realize that military power alone will not gain them the international legitimacy they require. Denktash, for example, has tried and failed to get the right to address the General Assembly.

The President asked to what degree Denktash took orders from the Turkish Government or acted on his own. The Secretary General responded that it depended on the circumstances. At times, the Turks complained that Denktash was exploiting their own international political difficulties. At other times, Denktash complained that the Turks had ordered him to abandon proposals which he had sold to his own people with great difficulty. In any event, the Secretary General believes that after the Turkish elections in June, there is a good chance to make real diplomatic progress.

The Secretary asked whether Makarios was really prepared to accept a bi-zonal solution. The Secretary General volunteered that Makarios was prepared, but reluctantly. During the negotiations, Denktash asked Makarios why he was using the word “bi-communal”, which he had never used before, and what it meant. After considerable discussion, Denktash announced that he would accept “bi-communal” as long as Makarios understood that he, Denktash, considered that it meant “bizonal.”3 According to the Secretary General, “Makarios accepted this silently.”

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Cyprus.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Donated Material, Papers of Walter F. Mondale, National Security Issues, Box 85, National Security Issues—United Nations, [2/9/1977–12/31/1978]. Secret. Drafted by Maynes. Distributed to Tuchman and Mondale. The meeting took place in the White House. Guyer had been involved in the intercommunal dispute since 1971.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 31.
  3. The distinction between “bi-communal” and “bi-zonal” centered on how to reconcile Makarios’ attempts to maintain Cyprus as a unitary state while satisfying Denktash’s condition that any settlement ensured a degree of autonomy for the minority Turkish-Cypriot population.