51. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Turkey and Cyprus1

106179. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Subject: Cyprus Negotiations. Ref: (A) Nicosia 1090, (B) Ankara 3187.2

1. I am deeply concerned that an opportunity to resume the Cyprus intercommunal negotiations may be lost on account of the intransigence and posturing of both sides.3 This is, I believe, a critical moment for Cyprus, and a further opportunity to bridge the gap and move towards a settlement may not arise for several years to come. I have spoken with Waldheim and have urged him to persist in the efforts to [Page 179] bring the two sides together. I have pledged him our full support in this endeavor, and have undertaken to do what we can to persuade the parties to adopt a more flexible and forthcoming approach. The Secretary General said that he would welcome any such assistance.

2. For Ankara: You should see Ecevit or Okcun as soon as feasible and speak along the following lines:

(a) As you know, the administration does not link repeal of the arms embargo with progress on the Cyprus issue. You also know that the administration making a very strong effort with the Congress to secure approval of the President’s program. Nevertheless, you should recognize that the administration is waging an uphill battle. Anything further which will help demonstrate a forthcoming Turkish attitude on Cyprus will be of great assistance in this regard.

(b) In our view, the new Turkish Cypriot proposals (to the extent we know them) represent only a minimal advance. Frankly, we had hoped for a more flexible and forthcoming approach. The constitutional proposal, while more detailed than the one tabled in Vienna last year, appears to be unduly rigid.4 We recognize that you are prepared to negotiate on territory, but the areas you have said you are willing even to discuss seem much too imprecise. Finally, your Varosha proposal, while welcome, strikes us, in its present form, as probably unworkable.

(c) We recognize that you have assured Waldheim and us that the Turkish side would be prepared to be flexible when negotiations resume. However, it is difficult for the Secretary General to commit himself to reconvening the talks on the basis of verbal assurances alone; he needs something more in the way of concrete evidence of your side’s intentions.

(d) Accordingly, we would strongly urge you to re-examine the proposal to see whether improvements can be made in all three areas, but particularly with respect to Varosha and territorial matters. For example, we do not believe a solution can be reached unless Varosha is Greek-administered. If you find you cannot make any actual changes in what has already been drafted, you could perhaps define more fully to Waldheim the range of your negotiating options, indicating flexibility in these specific areas. If this is done, we have reason to believe the Secretary General will call for meetings.

(e) We very much appreciate Turkish readiness to reach a fair and lasting settlement on Cyprus. However, we are concerned that with the passage of time a settlement will be all the more difficult to negotiate, and we would urge that you take the extra step to ensure that the present opportunity to resume negotiations is not lost.

[Page 180]

(f) We are making an approach also to Kyprianou since we recognize fully that moving this negotiating process forward will require a willingness on the part of the Greek Cypriots to give a positive response when the Secretary General calls for a resumption of talks.

3. For Nicosia: You should plan to see Kyprianou at the earliest opportunity and speak to him along the following lines:

(a) We can understand your government’s disappointment at the new Turkish Cypriot proposals. From what we know of them, they seem to represent only a minimal advance over earlier Turkish positions.

(b) I want to emphasize, however, that these proposals clearly represent only initial positions. They do not set limits as to how far the Turkish Cypriots are prepared to go. Ecevit, we understand, has given clear assurances that the Turkish side will be flexible and forthcoming when negotiations resume.

(c) I would urge, therefore, that the GOC reconsider its initial negative position and regard the Turkish Cypriot proposals for what they are—a starting point only. If the Cyprus settlement that we all desire is to be achieved, it seems to us that you must be ready to enter into negotiations to put to the test the Turkish side’s expressed readiness to move towards a mutually-acceptable solution.

(d) In our view, this is a critical moment for Cyprus. If this opportunity to bridge the gap and move towards a settlement is lost, the prospects are that the situation will be deadlocked for several years to come and that the present unsatisfactory status quo will become increasingly consolidated.

(e) I would also urge you not to look at the prospects for resuming negotiations solely through the prism of the arms embargo. President Carter, Secretary Vance, and other U.S. Government officials have reiterated on many occasions the strong U.S. commitment to assist the UN and the parties to reach a Cyprus settlement that will be fair and will stand the test of time. I have been authorized once again to renew that commitment and give assurances of our intention to play a role with regard to the Cyprus problem that will finally bring the progress which we so earnestly desire.

4. FYI: The Secretary spoke by telephone with UNSYG Waldheim shortly after his return to Washington April 24.5 (Secretary based his comments in part on Ref A; Ankara 3159 had not yet been received in Department.)6 Secretary said he understood Waldheim’s feeling of [Page 181] frustration and discouragement and the difficulty in which he would be placed if he called for intercommunal talks on the basis of the present Turkish proposals. Secretary said he hoped Waldheim could do whatever he could to see if basis existed to get talks started perhaps inter alia through use of new Cyprus Special Representative Galindo Pohl. Waldheim said he hoped US would also do what it could with the parties. Secretary agreed to do so and also to keep in close touch with Waldheim.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840163–0347. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Chapman; cleared by Nimetz, Vest, Maynes, Ewing, and Thomas G. Martin (S/S–O); and approved by Newsom. Sent for information to Athens, USUN, and the White House. In an April 25 memorandum forwarding the draft telegram to Vance, Vest reported: “As you requested, we have prepared a cable instructing Ambassadors Spiers and Stone to impress on the Turks and the Greek Cypriots the need for a more flexible approach to negotiations at what could be a critical juncture for the Cyprus problem.” In the margin, an unknown hand wrote, “Cable released by P 4/26.” (National Archives, RG 59, Office of Southern Europe, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 83D256, Box 1, POL 2 Cyprus 1977 and 1978)
  2. In telegram 1090 from Nicosia, April 24, the Embassy characterized the latest proposals from the Turkish side as a “non-starter.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850103–2677) See footnote 6, Document 113. Citing this assessment, the Embassy in Ankara, in telegram 3187, April 25, asserted: “Kyprianou should not be allowed to have his cake and eat it too, i.e., to tell Waldheim privately that he will not send a representative to reconvened intercommunal talks, if Waldheim decides to call for them, while avoiding the onus of taking such a negative stance in public.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850101–2077) See also footnote 2, Document 178.
  3. For an overview of the recent intercommunal negotiations under UN auspices, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1978, pp. 377–378.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 38.
  5. No record of this conversation was found.
  6. In telegram 3159 from Ankara, April 24, the Embassy recommended that the United States should do everything in its power to restart the intercommunal talks. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850101–2070)