74321 - Podcast #18: Analysis of the Minutes of Meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group. Washington, July 17, 1974, 10:10–10:48 a.m.

Ν. Λυγερός

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Let’s start with the Minutes of Meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group. So, Washington, July 17, we have many persons of State, Defense, CIA etc.

The first point is “What do you think they want to achieve by doing that?”. Of course, Kissinger is referring to Turkey and the position of the troops in Southern Turkey. So, you see we have some information, we can see that they are moving troops into position so very close of course to Cyprus.

So, Colby, “They probably want to move into this area (pointing to North Central Cyprus on the map).” So, you can imagine Messaoria, after Pentadaktylos. It’s interesting because he is pointing to the North Central Cyprus, you see? It’s not only the North Cyprus, so you got it. “They probably want to establish an enclave in that area.” So, you remember we have only an enclave very close to Nicosia, another one in this area but not exactly in that, so the question to Stabler from Kissinger is “Have we told the Turks that we know of their concern?” and the answer is surprising “Not yet, but a telegram is being prepared…”. So, the remark from Kissinger is that “That takes too long. Call the Ambassador” of course from Turkey “They should know right away what our position is.” So, you see that at that time it’s not very clear what the position of the U.S. for the Turks, so they used that.

Kissinger, “Informing the Turks that the Greeks are not increasing the number of their forces in the island.” So, it’s an important point, a remark, which explains, what, that Americans know exactly what are the troops of Greeks there and if they are moving from Athens something or not. So, the idea you remember, the big picture is, we want something which is local, not international so to inform the Turks that the Greeks are not increasing the number of their forces is important to signify what, ‘you know it’s a local problem so don’t be upset, don’t imagine many things.’

Clements, “I don’t think the Turks will move in” he means of course Cyprus, “They may make some noise, but I don’t think they’ll move.”. Totally wrong but you know, this is a position in Washington at that time and you remember we are in July 17. So, in three days we have another problem, a bigger one.

The remark of Colby “I think they’ll try the diplomatic route first, but may feel in the end that they have to move in.” More efficient as a remark. One very important remark from Kissinger “I still do not understand why Turkey wants Makarios back.” You see it’s not clear, even that. The answer of Colby is, “It’s either Makarios or Sampson at this point. Makarios is certainly better than Sampson from a Turkish point of view.” So, they are in fact quite neutral with the preference. They are not anti-Makarios, they are not anti-Sampson. They don’t want something special, they don’t know what the point is and they are trying to understand the Turkish point of view. At least to have a model of that.

So Kissinger, “If the Turks intervene, if they take that quadrant (Southwest), what is the proportion of Turks to Greeks in that area?” So, Colby is clear, remember CIA, “It is largely Turkish” but for me it’s important to see that Kissinger is asking all that because for him it’s unknown. “If they take that quadrant (pointing to the northeast section of the island) what’s the population there?” . “It’s about 50 percent Greek and 50 percent Turkish.” Do you understand the position, where it is? In fact, it’s Rizokarpaso. In that area, so, Agia Triada, Gialousa. “Their main purpose would be to establish themselves on some portion of the island just to gain a foothold.” So, you see it’s not only a breech, is not only an enclave, it’s something that is a little bit more important, foothold “With the ultimate objective of permanent occupation?” So imagine we are using the word ‘occupation’ before the invasion. “That’s one proposition.” So, you see they already understood, what, that the point of view of the Turks is not only to solve the coup. So, we have already the problem of the excuse which is implemented. Even with the question of Clemens “But what would they want?” But Colby doesn’t know in fact because he said, “To partition or divide the island.” For me the word ‘divide’ is important because it’s not only areas, it’s not only cantons. You remember with October.

Kissinger, “I am going to talk to the President about sending someone to London to see Makarios and Ecevit. Maybe Bob (Ingersoll). Bill, (to Mr. Clements) maybe we’ll send someone from Defense too. “Excellent!” the answer of Clemens.

Let’s go deeper, “The Sampson regime, it seems to me constitutes de facto enosis in the Turk view.” De facto enosis”. He (Sampson) is a most unattractive guy. It’s not in our interest to have him.” It’s clear. “It’s my feeling that if Makarios is brought back it can be done only by the removal of Sampson and the Greek officers and Makarios would then have to lean more to the East.” You see the problem? So remember in this point of view it’s of course Soviet Union.

The remark of Colby “Greece continues to pretend that this is strictly an internal Cypriot affair.” The answer is ‘Yes, but once they (the Greek officers) are removed the balance of power changes. If a Greek engineered coup fails, it would be a disaster from the Greek standpoint. It would be more than a slap in the face, it would be disastrous.” Prediction, right? A prophecy, so it’s a problem. You see that even the CIA says “Not necessarily.” They are very inefficient at this point.  So, again a remark “? If a coup fails” remark from Kissinger “it would weaken the influence of Athens in the entire area” not only Cyprus, of course. So, from Clemens “It’s one thing for the Turks to invade, and another thing to take over only part of the island. That would downgrade Greek influence throughout the entire area.” Very delicate as a case., in fact

Kissinger, “We can’t let Makarios become a stooge of the Turks.”.

Boyatt, “This is not a Greek-Turkish ethnic fight; it’s basically a political squabble.” Because remember we are between the coup and the invasion, so for the moment it’s not really an ethnic fight, it’s true but after that we have this problem.

So again, Kissinger, “That means we can pick and choose whoever we want. That makes us king makers.”

McCloskey, Whether we pick Makarios or Clerides it would stick because we could back them.

 Boyatt, In my opinion Makarios would be the best for stability, but Clerides would be better from the Turkish standpoint.

So you see again ‘Turkish standpoint’, the Turkish point of view. The whole time, they want to see what the best equilibrium is. To have a solution at lease at the negotiation.

“Well, the first problem is that the National Guard is in control.” (Kissinger) he means of course also from the Greek officers. “How would you bring Makarios back?” “That would be tougher than hell.” You see the comparison, especially for this person of interest?

Kissinger, “It would take a massive U.S.-Soviet effort and that would probably bring down the Greek government. How do we bring Makarios back?” So, this is the first time we have a small solution at least for the issue and a first reference for Chlorides.’

“I think we should work for Clerides.” Remember that he will be in fact the President.

Boyatt, “We could try a diplomatic ploy. We could go to Ioannides, tell him to withdraw the Greek officers, and insist on a constitutional change, i.e., Clerides. Sampson certainly is not acceptable.” So you see the position is ‘We can contact Ioannides’, ‘withdrawal the Greek officers’, ‘we want no a constitutional change’, ‘have the replacement of Sampson by Celrides’.

You see again from Kissinger, “Yes, but what if Greece doesn’t agree?” So, you see it’s not the position of Americans alone. They are tying to find a solution, an equilibrium, as I said, with all the parts. You remember that for the moment we have no missing persons, no refugees, you see, of that problem but already, they want to fight for something which is rather natural, at least equilibrate something.

(Boyatt) We have stability because Clerides has been neutralized.

Kissinger, “I’m not so sure that serves our long-term interest. The trick is to diffuse the situation without tilting the present structure.”

A remark for Colby, CIA “I’m not sure that Ioannides has all that long a future.” In fact, he has already imagined something new with that. But never mind Kissinger is already asking Joe Sisco “…what do you think?” So, no ‘political compromise’, ‘the hopes in the restoration of a constitutional arrangement under Clerides.’ and one point “I don’t see a Sampson–Ioannides axis as making for a long-range stability.” So again it’s a proof, a direct proof that there is relation between the two persons and of course they are not just pawns from U.S.A.

You see the remark from Kissinger “I think both are primitives.” It’s about Makarios and Ioannides. It’s impossible to find a solution which can be very diplomatic or political in the best case.

Again a few paragraphs after “I will talk to the President about this in a while. We can’t let them run loose over there when they don’t know our analysis of the situation.”

So, you see that they don’t know they are not responsible of what they do “We want to keep Britain and Turkey out in front of the game.”, a remark form Kissinger.

So, you see the remark also from Sisco about, “The British judgement is that Makarios has had it.” “This is one minor point that sort of parallels what we have been talking about. This Turkish opium issue.” And you see with humor “Let’s shut up a week on the poppy issue. We don’t need to get that involved now.”

So, there is another small point and we have a line that is not declassified and again another one both from Sisco and one from Colby. It’s rather impossible to have the relation but we can imagine there is another problem or two related to that and at the end there is a relation indeed with opium and the shipment.