46. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cyprus1

29343. Subject: Cyprus Ambassador’s Meeting With Secretary.

1. Cyprus Ambassador Dimitriou called on Secretary February 1 on instructions. He was accompanied by Cypriot Embassy DCM Angelides; Counselor Nimetz, EUR Deputy Secretary Barbour and EUR/SE Director Ewing were also present for 25-minute meeting. Dimitriou also talked privately with Secretary for few minutes at end of conversation.

2. Dimitriou said he had been asked to see Secretary in the light of the statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit after Secretary’s visit to Ankara and impression which had been conveyed that assurances may have been given that administration would seek to have Congress lift Turkish “embargo” and approve US-Turkish DCA.2 There seemed to also be impression that Secretary may have given Ecevit to [Page 165] understand that these U.S. steps would not be linked to progress toward solution of Cyprus problem. Dimitriou recalled that President Kyprianou had called in Charge in Nicosia3 to make similar representation. Dimitriou said GOC did not want to meddle in U.S. internal affair. However, embargo in Cypriot eyes had always been associated with Cyprus problem. President Carter had assured President Kyprianou in New York in October that there was in fact linkage between restored US-Turkish defense relationship and progress on Cyprus.4

3. Secretary said U.S. position had been made very clear on a number of occasions. The administration favors in principle DCA’s with both Turkey and Greece. One of the factors to be taken into account in asking Congress to act on Turkish DCA will be situation in Eastern Mediterranean. Clearly Cyprus was one important element of Eastern Mediterranean situation. But direct linkage has never been made and will not be made between Cyprus and decision to press Congress to approve Turkish DCA. Secretary said U.S. continued to attach great importance to solution of Cyprus problem and this had also been stated to GOT. We hoped and expected that Turkish side would come forward with realistic proposals on territory and constitutional questions, but we would have to wait and see what developed before deciding what action to take. Secretary said Ecevit had not described to him or apparently to Secretary General Waldheim what would be proposed on either territorial or constitutional question but had stressed commitment to federal solution. He hoped that proposals would be positive and forthcoming and constitute basis for resumed intercommunal dialogue. Secretary agreed with Dimitriou’s comment that proposals should not only be concrete but open way to meaningful negotiating process. Secretary hoped that proposals would be constructive and that response by Greek Cypriots would be also. He urged Dimitriou that GOC not prejudge proposals on basis speculation in Turkish press.

4. Dimitriou said that U.S. embargo restrictions on Turkey were based on premise that substantial progress should be made on Cyprus problem. Proposals alone did not constitute such progress. The Secretary said he took note of this position, but said that we should wait and see what the proposals look like when they are put forward. At that time, we would be able to evaluate them and come to some judgment. He emphasized that no promises or assurances had been made while he was in Ankara.

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5. Dimitriou said that in GOC view Cyprus solution should be straightforward and as devoid of restrictions and constraints as possible. He stressed that territorial question was particularly important. Secretary agreed with Dimitriou’s comment that problem represented “tragic situation” and expressed hope that progress could soon be made.

6. Dimitriou said he had been asked to call to Secretary’s attention GOC concern re certain passages in Department’s human rights report on Cyprus.5 He expressed particular concern that report seemed to equate victims with those who perpetrated situation. Secretary stressed that human rights was fundamental concern of U.S. foreign policy and was of utmost importance. Law required Department to file reports with Congress on all countries which received assistance. We had tried in the 109 reports sent to Congress January 31 to record as accurately as possible factual situation. Nimetz said he had personally reviewed Cyprus report and felt it was a fair statement of the situation. The Secretary added that it was necessary that even information based on hearsay be covered in such reports. Nimetz said he thought Turkish Cypriots would probably not like parts of report and could understand why GOC might well prefer stress on different points. The Secretary agreed with Dimitriou’s comment that the administration continues to consider there is moral aspect to Cyprus problem.

7. Dimitriou said the GOC continues to have faith and trust that Carter administration will continue to do all it can to advance Cyprus settlement.

8. The Secretary reiterated that while we recognize principal responsibility lies with parties under auspices UN Secretary General, U.S. is willing to do what we can to help if parties so request within UN framework. We are sensitive to all aspects of the Cyprus problem. It remains a matter of great concern to us that movement be made toward a solution. The Secretary said he had spoken personally with Secretary [Page 167] General Waldheim recently who also knows of our willingness to be supportive when the parties thought it would be useful. We hoped positive proposals will be put on table in February which will pave way to resumed negotiations. Dimitriou said U.S. support and offer of good offices within UN context would be of great value as would ongoing U.S. effort to persuade GOT to be forthcoming.

9. Dimitriou subsequently twice telephoned Nimetz, after reading human rights report on Cyprus and Turkey, to reiterate his strong concern at manner in which human rights aspects of Cyprus problem had been treated in Department report. Nimetz gave further background on reports but stressed again importance of all sides making every effort to get meaningful negotiating process underway at early date.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780052–0660. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Ewing; cleared by Barbour, Mitchell and Anderson; approved by Nimetz. Also sent to London and USUN; for information to Ankara and Athens.
  2. Vance visited Ankara January 20–21; see Document 107. During the press conference Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit held for U.S. journalists on January 21, he was asked about the status of the DCA. He made no mention of “assurances” regarding a resolution on military cooperation with the United States, but did emphasize a changed climate and new opportunities for both the United States and Turkey.
  3. The Chargé was C. Edward Dillery.
  4. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Carter met with Kyprianou and other Cypriot officials on October 5 from 4:15 to 4:38 p.m. (Carter Library, Presidential Materials) Carter wrote in his diary that the “solution to the Cyprus situation obviously is not on Cyprus itself but in Greece and Turkey.” (White House Diary, p. 114)
  5. On February 9, the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released the Department of State’s annual Human Rights Reports for 1977, which the Department of State had submitted to Congress on January 31. Part of the Cyprus report was reprinted in “Excerpts From State Department Reports on the Status of Human Rights Abroad,” The New York Times, February 10, 1978, p. A14. The excerpt reads: “There are no indications that torture is currently permitted or practiced by the Government of Cyprus, the Turkish-Cypriot administration or Turkish forces in northern Cyprus. There have been no recent instances of large-scale or politically inspired cruel or inhuman treatment of persons on Cyprus. It is generally accepted, however, that violations of human rights in the form of cruel and inhuman treatment of civilians and prisoners were committed in the courts of the Greek-led coup against President Makarios in July 1974 and during the subsequent Turkish military intervention. Arbitrary arrest or detention is not currently being practiced in Cyprus.” The full report is in 2 Annual Human Rights Rep. Submitted to Congress by U.S. Department of State, 1978, pp 443–447.