37. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • United Nations

    • Mr. Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations
    • Mr. Roberto Guyer, Under Secretary General for Special Political Affairs, United Nations
  • United States

    • Mr. Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
    • Mr. Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs


  • Secretary Vance’s Working Breakfast with Secretary General Waldheim: PART IV—CYPRUS

Waldheim opened this portion of the conversation by asking how things were going with respect to Cyprus. The Secretary said there had been meetings in London with both Demirel and Caramanlis.2 Both had talked a lot about how bad the other one was. We had urged them to cooperate and to work with the Secretary General, emphasizing that it was essential to make progress for the sake of peace in the area. We told them that both are old friends and it is unthinkable that they should go to war. We had urged them to get back to resolving the Cyprus problem after the Turkish elections.

The Secretary said that Demirel had given us a stern lecture about the need to complete the defense cooperation agreement. We had told Demirel we agreed but simply did not have the votes in Congress. At the same time, we pointed out that we had increased our military assistance by $50 million. We needed action on their part, however, to overcome suspicions in Congress arising from their actions in 1974. We told Demirel that if there is progress on the Cyprus question, we believe we can get the votes in Congress.

The Secretary said we had also urged both Greece and Turkey to solve the Aegean problem, and had warned the Turks against sending their ship back into the Aegean. The Secretary said we gather there has [Page 136] been some improvement with respect to the problem as a result of talks in London between Bitsios and Caglayangil.3

Waldheim said this accords with his view. On Cyprus, communal talks would reconvene on the 20th, largely for face-saving purposes. Before any progress is possible, however, it will be necessary to await the results of the Turkish elections on June 5.

Waldheim said he wanted to report a possibly significant development. The Turks had had a military mission in Famagusta last week studying the situation. The UN people on Cyprus thought this was the result of U.S. efforts to press the Turks to make territorial concessions. The mission may have been looking to see what could be given back to the Greeks. Waldheim said he was convinced that the Varosha section of Famagusta was the principal bargaining point. While the Turks had looted it, they had not moved people in, and it could absorb 40 to 50,000 persons. Waldheim said he was convinced the Turks would not return much more—perhaps a bit south of the Famagusta-Nicosia Road. He doubted that they would give up anything at Morphou.

The latest rumor, Waldheim said, was that while the Turks were proposing two zones, they would want certain areas directly under a central federal government, presumably so that they would have some influence over the Greek zone. Waldheim said he doubted the Greeks would accept this; they would probably insist on full control over Varosha.

Another idea was that the Turks might give up the no-man’s land, which in fact was under UN-Turkish control. Counting Varosha and the no-man’s land, they would reduce the Turkish-held territory to 32% which could perhaps be further decreased to 29%. This would, however, take many months. The U.S. role, Waldheim said, was important in continuing to press the Turks.

In response to Waldheim’s question about Makarios’ health, the Secretary said we had understood he had lost the use of one fourth of his heart. He wants to come to the U.S. this summer for a check-up. Waldheim said Makarios also suffers psychologically. He is not an easy man, but he is the only one with the power to keep things together.

  1. Source: Department of State, Personal files of Cyrus R. Vance, 1977–1980, Lot 80D135, Box 1, Geneva Stop—May 18–21, 1977. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Atherton on May 19; approved by Twaddell on June 13. The meeting took place in Vance’s hotel suite. Vance was in Geneva May 18–21.
  2. Carter met with Demirel and Karamanlis separately on May 10 in London during a NATO summit meeting. See Documents 94 and 166.
  3. Bitsios and Çağlayangil met in Strasbourg on April 28. No record of a meeting in London was found.