57. Telegram From the Embassy in Cyprus to the Department of State1

2262. Subject: Nimetz Call on President Kyprianou.

Summary. In lengthy initial meeting with President Kyprianou, Counselor Nimetz listened to standard Cypriot views from the President. Foreign Minister Rolandis introduced positive subjects on several occasions. The tone of meeting was constructive and friendly throughout. End summary.

1. Counselor Nimetz and Ambassador called on President Kyprianou for discussion which lasted almost one and one-half hours Sept. 4. FonMin Rolandis was also present.

2. President Kyprianou presented known GOC positions highlighting the need for USG to pressure Turkey to improve their proposals. In spite of differences over the embargo, Cyprus wanted close and good relations with the U.S. The President stated that, contrary to some reports, GOC was intensely interested in a solution to the Cyprus problem. He felt that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots were eager for a settlement (although Denktash personally was not).

3. Nimetz stressed he had not brought any plan, but wanted a better understanding of the GOC’s positions. We appreciated the efforts the President had made to dampen the adverse reaction caused by the embargo issue. Nimetz reported on his discussions with Turkish [Page 200] SecGen Elekdag in Washington.2 He pointed out that the Turks believe they have made proposals and if the GOC does not feel these proposals are good enough, they should be prepared to sit down and discuss them. Nimetz said that the U.S. is committed to work for a solution in support of the U.N. SecGen’s mandate and was interested in defining as precisely as possible what the GOC considers to be necessary in order for them to commence intercommunal talks.

4. In response President Kyprianou again expressed his interest in meeting with Turkish PriMin Ecevit. Several attempts to have President define precisely what he felt he needed from Ecevit resulted in generalized statement that such meeting would permit him to satisfy himself whether Ecevit was interested in a real solution or not. If Turkey’s goal is domination of Cyprus or partition, then no settlement is possible. If Turkey’s interest is only the security of the Turkish Cypriots, then Kyprianou indicated that a solution could be found through the intercommunal talks.

5. FonMin Rolandis reaffirmed the positive aspect of GOC interest in negotiations, stressed the need for movement at this time and emphasized his conviction that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots sincerely wanted a solution, the main obstacle to which was the presence of Turkish troops. He felt, and the President agreed, that through demilitarization of the island the security of the Turkish Cypriots could be secured. Also, because of the economic potential of the island, attractive financial inducements could be offered to the Turkish Cypriots.

6. President Kyprianou said he really wanted to know how the Turks viewed the future of Cyprus. If indeed they viewed Cyprus as an independent entity then it should be possible to come to an agreement on the basis of the Makarios-Denktash Guidelines (as interpreted by the Greek Cypriots).3 One idea, the President said, would be to start with the 1960 Constitution, and see what additional guarantees the Turks would require. The discussions reviewed constitutional issues, geographic and demographic issues and a possible Varosha settlement in some depth. Nimetz also alluded to the missing persons issue and the reopening of Nicosia Airport.

7. Comment: President Kyprianou was cordial, calm and genuinely constructive. He seemed to listen with interest to his FonMin’s interjections which tended to be more positive and imaginative. One was left with the feeling that the President does want to move toward a [Page 201] settlement but has not yet recognized what concessions it will require and how to initiate a process to get from here to there.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of Southern Europe, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 83D256, Box 1, Nimetz Trip to Cyprus—Sept. 1978. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information to Ankara, Athens, London, and USUN.
  2. Nimetz and Elekdağ discussed technical matters relating to U.S.-Turkish military cooperation following the repeal of the arms embargo. The Cyprus dispute did not arise during this conversation. (Telegram 210172 to Ankara, August 18; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780339–0246)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 31.