50. Letter From President Carter to Cypriot President Kyprianou1

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your message of March 2 about relations between our two countries and the prospects for a settlement on Cyprus.2 I fully share your desire to maintain the close and cooperative ties that we long have enjoyed. As you know, I deeply believe that a just and lasting Cyprus settlement is in the interest not only of the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean, but of the world at large.

From the start of my Administration, I have tried to promote such a solution through the intercommunal negotiations conducted under [Page 177] Secretary General Waldheim’s auspices. That commitment was also demonstrated by the mission that former Secretary Clark Clifford undertook at my request in February 1977; in our own discussions in New York last October; in the numerous meetings that Secretary Vance has held over the past year with his Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot counterparts and with the Secretary General and other U.N. officials; and in the constant diplomatic efforts that we have made, in public and in private, to encourage meaningful and productive negotiations. I can assure you that these efforts will continue. At the same time, I would hope that your government will take advantage of any opportunity that might arise to engage in negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus problem.

You ask whether current U.S. restrictions on arms sales and assistance to Turkey might soon be lifted. As I am sure you recognize, the United States has a number of important interests in the Eastern Mediterranean; among these are the maintenance of a strong southern flank of NATO and the strengthening of relations with all nations in the area. I assure you that the United States will fully consider all relevant factors before we make a decision about our military assistance commitments in the area. One of these factors will be the course of events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As you have noted, the advancement of human rights worldwide is a fundamental foreign policy objective of my Administration. It applies to Cyprus as much as to any other country. The depth of U.S. commitment is clear from the substantial contributions that we have made since 1974 to the relief and rehabilitation of displaced persons on Cyprus, from our support for UNFICYP, from the intense diplomatic efforts that we have devoted in recent months to encouraging formation of a committee to [missing text]3 and above all from the continuing effort to promote an overall Cyprus settlement. In all these endeavors we have been motivated by deep humanitarian concern.

I share with you the hope that normal relations between your government and Egypt will soon be reestablished, and I can assure you that, as appropriate occasions arise, we will continue to do what we can to help you both heal the breach.

I enjoyed meeting with you in New York to discuss how relations between our two countries could be further improved, and I am sure you will agree that our two governments should engage in the fullest possible exchange of views in the important period that lies ahead. Secretary Vance has told me that he spoke with you by telephone on February 26 and was able to clear up certain misunderstandings that had [Page 178] arisen. I know that officials of my government will be in frequent contact with Ambassador Dimitriou; and I hope that your government will continue to turn to Ambassador Crawford—and his successor Ambassador Stone—to convey to us your concerns and suggestions and to seek information and advice.

With best regards,


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 9, Cyprus: 1/78–5/79. No classification marking. Although no drafting information appears on the letter, Treverton forwarded a draft based on language received from the Embassy and the Department to Brzezinski on March 16. In a memorandum sending the final draft to Carter on March 20, Brzezinski commented that the draft response “cannot satisfy Kyprianou, but it will flatter him and allay some of his worries. It emphasizes the strength and the enduring quality of the U.S. commitment to fostering a Cyprus settlement; takes note of the importance to the U.S. of bolstering the southern flank of NATO; points to concrete evidence of U.S. concern for the human rights situation in Cyprus; is non-committal with respect to the request for intercession with Sadat; and politely declines the suggestion for a meeting.” (Both ibid.)
  2. See Document 48.
  3. The missing text “investigate cases of missing persons on the island,” is in a copy of the letter in Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 9, Cyprus: 1/78–5/79.