65. Telegram From the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

1594. Subject: Christopher/Nimetz Discussion With Waldheim on the Cyprus Initiative.

1. (C-Entire text.)

2. Summary: SYG Waldheim told the Deputy Secretary and the Counselor April 11 that as a result of consultations last week with Rolandis and Atakol, he will propose the convening of a Kyprianou/Denktash summit in Nicosia probably May 16–18. He hopes to utilize the summit to obtain their agreement to a scaled-down agenda as the basis for early resumption of intercommunal negotiations. In preparation for the summit he will send USYG Perez de Cuellar to Nicosia later this month to work with the parties. Christopher urged Waldheim to seek agreement at the summit on a specific date for resumption of intercommunal negotiations. The U.S., he said, was prepared to give its full support to his efforts, and would make supporting demarches in Ankara and Nicosia. End summary.

3. Deputy Secretary Christopher and Counselor Nimetz, accompanied by Ambassador Petree, USUN MisOff Hirsch and Deputy Sec. Special Asst. Spiegel met with Waldheim, Urquhart, and Sherry in the Secretary-General’s office at the UN on April 11 at 1700 to discuss the UN’s Cyprus initiative. In reply to Christopher’s query as to the outcome of his meetings with Rolandis and Atakol, Waldheim said that both of them had indicated that they wanted him to convene a summit even without an agenda agreed upon in advance. Rolandis had telephoned him April 10 from Salonika to confirm GOC agreement to convening the summit. Rather than seeking to hold the summit later this month as Rolandis had suggested, Waldheim instead will propose to the parties that he convene it in Nicosia on or about May 16–18 upon returning from his Asian trip. In order to assure adequate preparations, he intends to dispatch USYG Perez de Cuellar to Nicosia next week to conduct further preliminary consultations with the parties.

4. At their meeting in Geneva, Waldheim said, Rolandis had indicated that the GOC hoped the summit could produce agreement on an agenda for resumption of intercommunal negotiations. Rolandis outlined three possible scenarios for the results of the summit: (a) full [Page 231] agreement on an agenda; (b) failure with no agreement at all; and (c) an interim situation in which the SYG could announce that agreement had been reached on certain elements of an agenda while other points remained to be worked out. In this last case, the parties would ask Waldheim to continue his efforts to resolve the remaining differences. Christopher told Waldheim that we hope he will be able to obtain the agreement of the parties to a specific early date for resumption of intercommunal negotiations, rather than end up with the inconclusive result outlined by Rolandis in option c, or worse yet, with a complete breakdown.

5. Waldheim said that he agreed with the Deputy Secy. on the desirability of reaching agreement on an agenda, even if it is significantly scaled-down from the ones which the UN had already proposed as well as from the U.S. non-paper. The key problems, he said, remain the need to obtain some assurances from the Turkish side regarding Varosha and from the Cypriot side regarding easing of the economic blockade and political warfare in a manner which each side can explain credibly to its own political institutions and public opinion.

6. Reviewing his Zurich discussion, Waldheim said Atakol insisted that the Turkish Cypriots are prepared to have Varosha considered only as part of a package settlement. This departs from the UN’s understanding of Denktash’s July 20, 1978 open message. The present Turkish Cypriot position as Atakol had explained it to him is that they will not agree to any preliminary resolution of the Varosha issue, nor will they allow any refugees to return before progress has been made on other issues. The UN and the Turkish Cypriots continue to disagree on the extent of the area of resettlement envisaged in the open message. Nonetheless, Waldheim said he was encouraged by Atakol’s indication of willingness to have him convene a summit even without a pre-agreed agenda in order to try to cut the Gordian Knot. He recalled the positive results of the Makarios/Denktash summit which had produced the four Guidelines.2

7. As regards the Cypriot position, Waldheim said he had urged Rolandis to seek GOC agreement to have the economic blockade included as a subject for discussion on the agenda of intercommunal negotiations. Rolandis had adamantly refused stating that it was impossible for the GOC, after the Turks had stolen their orchards, to make it possible for them to sell this produce abroad. Urquhart suggested that one way to overcome this problem could be for the SYG at the summit to suggest ways of improving the economic and social situation on the island without referring specifically to the blockade. Waldheim added [Page 232] that he hoped there would be some movement on this issue at the summit, despite the GOC’s very tough position.

8. Christopher expressed appreciation to Waldheim for his efforts and decision to convene a summit. The U.S., he said, would give him its full support and we were prepared to make supporting demarches in Ankara and Nicosia. Our impression, he continued, was that a confluence of events at this particular time made it more likely than earlier that the two sides would be prepared to show flexibility. Supporters of Greece in the U.S. Congress had conveyed to Nicosia their impression that the GOC’s negative approach to the US/UK/Canadian proposal and in negotiations with the SYG was not in its best interest. The Ecevit government for its part may be more eager to lighten its responsibilities for Cyprus in view of its pressing economic and social problems. We believe, he continued, that the Turkish side could be persuaded to go back to Denktash’s original position of July 20 on Varosha if the Cypriots agree to make some tangible concessions on the economic and political warfare issues. As regards the Cypriots, it is our impression that Rolandis wants to be helpful. Moreover, it may be possible for Karamanlis to encourage Kyprianou to show greater flexibility. Nimetz observed that Waldheim had considerable leverage with both sides at this particular time. They are very much aware that he must prepare his report to the Security Council by May 31 and neither will want to be blamed by him for intransigence or lack of political will.

9. Urquhart asked for further clarification of our assessment of the current GOT attitude toward the Cyprus question. The chairman of the Cypriot House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexis Ghalanos, had suggested to him this week that the Turkish domestic situation was so bad that Cyprus was no longer a priority issue in internal politics. Ghalanos thought this could make it easier for Ecevit to demonstrate flexibility. Christopher replied that there was perhaps some validity to Ghalanos’ assessment, but on the other hand it was hard for Ecevit personally to devote much attention to the Cyprus issue given the press of other business.

10. At the end of this portion of the discussion, (Middle East section is being reported septel) Christopher again expressed our deep appreciation to Waldheim for his efforts in this very difficult task and pledged our full support and readiness to do whatever we could to help bring about an early resumption of intercommunal negotiations after the summit. They agreed that USUN and the UN Secretariat would remain in close touch with each other in the weeks ahead.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Office of Southern Europe, Records of Counselor Nimetz, 1977–1980, Lot 83D256, Box 1, POL 2 Cyprus Group. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information to Ankara, Athens, Brussels, London, Nicosia, Ottawa, Paris, and USNATO.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 31.