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38. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between President Carter’s Special Emissary (Clifford) and Cypriot President Makarios 1

I reached Archbishop Makarios by telephone in his suite at the Grosvenor House in London.

The early part of the conversation was taken up with a discussion of His Beatitude’s health. He said he felt he had completely recovered from the heart attack and had been examined by more than one doctor and the present indication is that his heart is sound and working effectively. Fortunately, the attack had been a mild one and doctors indicated he would not need to feel further concern.2

I referred again to the sense of appreciation I had continued to feel for the exceedingly hospitable reception he had extended to me and my colleagues on the occasion of our visit to Nicosia. I mentioned my gratification at the excellent talks we had had and I felt it was important that we had become friends and could speak in the future, as we had in the past, with complete candor. He agreed that our visits had been good ones and he expressed his appreciation for our continuing interest in his island.

I thanked him for all that he had done to assure that Mr. Papadopoulos would present a territorial proposal in Vienna. I suggested to His Beatitude that the proposal presented, while apparently not acceptable to the other side, certainly constituted the confirmation of the personal agreement that I had had with His Beatitude to present such a document. I further suggested that the proposal on the structure of the new government presented by the Turkish Cypriots was affected by the pending Turkish election.3 I suggested that we felt that the Turkish negotiators were under severe restrictions at the time due to any possible public reaction to the proposition presented by them. His Beatitude evidenced some understanding of this and that then led to a discussion regarding the Turkish election.

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We agreed that if Mr. Ecevit had obtained a clear majority in the election it would make it easier for him to make decisions and take decisive action. However, the hope was expressed that he still might be able to construct a government that would be a workable one. His Beatitude suggested this might take some period of time and that we would, of course, watch developments with continuing interest.

I said that, after permitting some period of time to pass, President Carter thought it would be important for us to return to the Eastern Mediterranean. I referred to the fact that I had a telephone conversation with President Carter during the morning in which we had a discussion of the Cyprus matter and that he indicated the same continuing degree of interest as he had had from the beginning.4 The Archbishop replied that we were welcome at any time we saw fit to come back to Cyprus. He indicated that he felt that the talks we had had before were very useful, and that he intended to cooperate in a further effort to find the correct solutions to this complex problem.

I said that developments would determine the time of our next visit and that we would be in touch with him to make sure that the trip would be set at a time completely convenient to His Beatitude. He indicated he did not intend to do much traveling and that we would be welcome when it seemed appropriate for us to return. He expressed his appreciation for the telephone call and then advanced the thought that the continued interest of the United States in Cyprus was a vital factor in the months that lie ahead.

My personal reaction to the conversation is that the Archbishop made a definite effort to be friendly, cooperative and appreciative. I believe that the conversation accomplished all that we hoped it might.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 81D85, Box 2, Eastern Mediterranean—1977. No classification marking. Attached but not printed is a June 16 covering memorandum from Clifford to Nimetz, indicating that Clifford also sent a copy to Ledsky.
  2. Makarios suffered a heart attack on April 3.
  3. The constitutional proposal put forward by the Turkish Cypriots at the Vienna talks in March–April called for a central government on Cyprus with highly limited powers; that is, one that had little jurisdiction in areas dominated by Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot proposal called for initial establishment of a federal state. For an overview of the proposals, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1977, pp. 344–345.
  4. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter and Clifford spoke from 9:31 to 9:40 a.m. on June 15. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials) No substantive record of that conversation has been found.