63. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cyprus and the Mission to the United Nations1

9646. Subject: Nimetz Meeting With Waldheim on Cyprus, January 12.

[Page 224]

1. (C-Entire text)

2. Department Counselor Nimetz met with UN Secretary General Waldheim January 12 for review of latest developments on Cyprus issue. Under Secretary Urquhart and Secretariat officer Sherry attended meeting on UN side; USUN officer Hirsch and Cyprus Desk Officer Chapman on US side.

3. Waldheim began by quickly summarizing state of play from UN perspective. The Greek Cypriots had given a positive response to his proposed formula for the resumption of negotiations, accepting it without reservations. The Turkish side had informed Galindo Pohl that they accepted the proposal in principle but had a number of reservations.2 Denktash had put forward a revised draft and had promised a second explanatory paper which had not yet been delivered. (This explanatory paper arrived by cable from Nicosia during follow on meeting with Urquhart.)3 Waldheim said he feared that if the Turkish side set preconditions for returning to the table there would be the usual wrangling between the two sides which could lead to unfortunate delay. Secretary General noted that he had proposed to the two sides that they meet some time during the second half of February.

4. Waldheim said he saw the Turkish Cypriot redraft creating a problem in that the Greek Cypriots had already said that they could accept no changes in the UN document. Rolandis apparently feared that to do so would cause further domestic problems for Kyprianou. Another difficulty that had now arisen was that Kyprianou and Rolandis wanted to publish the UN proposal. Waldheim said that he had just sent a letter to Rolandis through Galindo Pohl urging that he not publish the proposal but he (Waldheim) was not sanguine that Kyprianou could resist domestic pressure to publish. Waldheim said that Galindo Pohl had also been instructed to tell the Greek Cypriots that some concessions would be expected from them on economic matters once the negotiations are underway.

5. Waldheim said that he had recently been in touch with Turkish UN PermRep Eralp to express his concern over the Turkish Cypriot suggested revisions and had asked that the GOT use its influence with Denktash to persuade him to accept the UN formulation without amendment. Denktash would of course be free to express reservations over the formulation which could then be discussed once negotiations [Page 225] were underway. Instructions had also gone to Galindo Pohl to make a direct request to Denktash along these lines. Waldheim also noted that the French UN PermRep had come to see him November 11, on behalf of the EC–9, to seek information on Cyprus developments and to ask whether the Nine could be of any help. Waldheim had said that it would be useful if the Nine could express to the Turkish side their concern over any attempt to rewrite his formulation.

6. Nimetz said that it seemed as if we had made definite progress now towards a resumption of intercommunal talks, although admittedly new problems had arisen with the Denktash counterproposal. Nimetz then briefed the Secretary General on the Cyprus aspects of the Deputy Secretary’s January 11 meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit on the basis of Ankara 334, particularly stressing the points noted in para 8.4 Nimetz went on to say that we had had further commentary from the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Denktash counterproposal, and had been told that the Turkish side would not insist on certain of their changes—in particular insertion of the word “bizonal”. It was our feeling, Nimetz said, that the Turkish Cypriots would accept the UN paper if some minor changes were made. Basically this was a psychological matter for the Turkish side: the paper, which they assumed had been coordinated with the Greek Cypriots, had been sent to them for their comments and suggestions, and they probably felt a need to provide some input.

7. Waldheim said that he was encouraged to hear what Ecevit had told Christopher regarding the intentions of the Turkish side. This seemed to paint quite a different picture from what the Denktash counterproposal as such had implied. He said that the best course now would be for the UN to prepare a fresh version of the formulation taking into account some of the Turkish Cypriot suggestions. He felt that it would be best to do this as quickly as possible. Urquhart pointed out that Rolandis had already said that he could accept no changes in the UN paper. Waldheim acknowledged this but emphasized that he had previously made clear to Rolandis that the paper as submitted on December 19–20 was not to be considered a final text but would have to await the comments from the other side. As far as the substance of the Turkish Cypriot suggestions was concerned, Waldheim said he believed it would be much easier to arrange a “political truce” between the parties than to bring an end to the “economic blockade”.

8. Nimetz told Waldheim that we would be fully prepared to make approaches in Ankara and Nicosia in support of Waldheim’s revised [Page 226] paper, if he thought this would be helpful. Waldheim said he would appreciate this. The two agreed that the basic concept would be to make a few changes so that Denktash could say that his ideas had been taken into account in the paper, while the other side could maintain that the changes were minor. Nimetz said that we had prepared some suggested revisions which we would be happy to pass on on an informal basis. He stressed that these were purely a US product and had not been coordinated with our British and Canadian partners.

9. In concluding the meeting Waldheim said that he was encouraged at recent developments and felt that a resumption of negotiations could shortly take place.5 Nimetz said that we shared this view, adding that Ecevit had assured Christopher in Ankara of the Turkish desire to move into serious negotiations.

10. Nimetz and Chapman then met with Urquhart and Sherry to go over our informal suggestions for revision of the UN formulation. Urquhart and Sherry said that they would take these into account in drafting the revised text together with their own ideas and some that Galindo Pohl had forwarded. In the course of the meeting telegrams were delivered from Galindo Pohl summarizing his meetings with Denktash and Rolandis on January 11. Urquhart shared these with us. Rolandis appeared to be backing away from his position that there could be no changes in the UN paper. He expressed a strong preference for the original text but at the same time asked that if amendments were to be proposed that this be done strictly in private. Denktash had delivered to Galindo Pohl the explanatory paper which he had earlier promised, and had indicated that he was not setting conditions for the resumption of talks. He said that all he had done was to express his views on the draft paper as had been requested of him, in the expectation that his views would be given careful consideration. Denktash complimented the Secretary General for making a constructive approach for the resumption of talks, and expressed understanding and goodwill in respect to his efforts. Nimetz and Urquhart agreed that these reports were encouraging and that the way seemed clear for the UN to present a second “working draft” to both sides. Urquhart said that he would provide us with the new text as soon as possible.

11. Nimetz suggested that it might be tactically useful for the Secretary General to suggest to the parties a tentative date for a [Page 227] Kyprianou-Denktash meeting. This would bring more pressure on the parties to accept the revised formulation and would clearly indicate that the Secretary General is prepared to move decisively. Urquhart agreed that this would be a good idea but noted that he would have to consult with the Secretary General on this matter. It might be possible for some specific date to be mentioned in a covering letter which Galindo Pohl would give to Denktash and Rolandis when submitting the revised paper.

12. Urquhart gave us a copy of Denktash’s explanatory paper (referred to in para 10 above).6 This will be transmitted septel.

13. Department will brief UK and Canadian representatives on Cyprus aspects of Ecevit-Christopher conversation and on further steps to be taken by UN early in the week of January 14.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790017–0441. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Chapman; cleared by Melvyn Levitsky (IO/UNP), Dillery, Hopper, and Thomas Reynders (S/S–O); approved by Vest. Sent for information to Ankara; and Priority to Athens, Bonn, London, Ottawa, and Paris.
  2. Waldheim’s December 19, 1978, procedural paper on the resumption of intercommunal talks called for meetings to be held either in Nicosia or at UN Headquarters in New York, and were to focus on the constitutional, territorial, and economic disputes between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 9, Memos From WC to P, E, T, M, C—1978)
  3. Not found.
  4. In telegram 344 from Ankara, January 11, the Embassy reported that Christopher sought neutral language in the proposal that would be acceptable to both sides. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790015–0991) Regarding Christopher’s visit to Ankara, see footnote 2, Document 129.
  5. According to a report from the Embassy in Bonn, Waldheim expressed pessimism on the prospects for Cyprus intercommunal negotiations during a meeting on February 7 with the West German Permanent Representative to the UN. Citing Denktash’s conditions for future talks as counterproductive, Waldheim noted that Turkey was less inclined toward flexibility on Cyprus since its leaders believed that the revolution in Iran had strengthened Ankara’s standing in the region. (Memorandum from Vest to Christopher, February 9; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P780037–1424)
  6. Not found.