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Zurich Agreement Cyprus

Mr. Prime Minister, I am deeply concerned by the information I have received from you and your Minister for Foreign Affairs, through Ambassador Hare, that the Government of Turkey is considering intervening by military force to occupy part of Cyprus. I would like to stress in all friendship and openness that I do not believe that such action by Turkey, which has such far-reaching consequences, is compatible with your Government`s obligation to consult us fully in advance. Ambassador Hare indicated that you postponed your decision for a few hours to get my opinion. I would like to tell you personally whether you really believe it is appropriate for your government to actually present such a coherent unilateral decision to an ally who, over the years, has shown as unwavering support as the United States has done for Turkey. I must therefore first ask you to take responsibility for full consultation with the United States before such a step is taken. I have the impression that you think that such intervention by Turkey is permitted by the provisions of the 1960 Guarantee Treaty. However, I must draw your attention to our understanding that the intervention proposed by Turkey would serve to bring about a form of partition of the island, a solution that is expressly excluded in the guarantee contract. In addition, the Treaty requires consultations between the guarantor powers.

The United States considers that the possibility of such consultation has by no means been exhausted in this situation and that, therefore, the reservation to the right to take unilateral measures is not yet applicable. I must also draw your attention to NATO`s commitments, Prime Minister. There is no doubt that a Turkish intervention in Cyprus would lead to a military engagement between Turkish and Greek forces. Foreign Minister Rusk said at the recent NATO Council of Ministers meeting in The Hague that a war between Turkey and Greece should be seen as literally unthinkable. NATO membership essentially means that NATO countries will not go to war with each other. Germany and France buried centuries of hostility and hostility to become NATO allies; Nothing less can be expected from Greece and Turkey. In addition, a Turkish military intervention in Cyprus could lead to direct involvement of the Soviet Union. I hope you will understand that your NATO allies have not had the opportunity to question whether they are obliged to protect Turkey from the Soviet Union if Turkey takes a step that leads to Soviet intervention without the full consent and understanding of its NATO allies.

Furthermore, Prime Minister, I am concerned about Turkey`s obligations as a member of the United Nations. The UN has provided troops on the island to maintain peace. Their task has been difficult, but in recent weeks they have increasingly succeeded in reducing violence on this island. The United Nations Mediator has not yet completed his work. I have no doubt that the general membership of the United Nations would respond in the strongest terms to the unilateral measures taken by Turkey that would oppose the efforts of the United Nations and would destroy any prospect that the United Nations could contribute to the search for a reasonable and peaceful solution to this difficult problem. I would also like to draw your attention, Prime Minister, to the bilateral agreement between the United States and Turkey in the field of military aid. Under Article IV of the July 1947 Agreement with Turkey, your government is required to obtain the consent of the United States for the use of military aid for purposes other than those for which the assistance was provided. Your government has repeatedly admitted in the United States that you fully understand this condition. I must tell you frankly that, under the current circumstances, the United States cannot accept the use of military equipment provided by the United States for a Turkish intervention in Cyprus. With regard to the practical results of the Turkish measure under consideration, I feel obliged to draw your attention to the fact that such a Turkish measure could lead to the massacre of tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots on the island of Cyprus. Such action, in turn, would trigger anger, and there is no way that military action in turn can be effective enough to prevent the widespread destruction of many of those it seeks to protect.

The presence of United Nations forces cannot prevent such a catastrophe. You may think that what I have said is far too strict and that we are not taking into account Turkish interests in the situation in Cyprus. I want to assure you that this is not the case. We have made efforts, both public and private, to ensure the security of the Turkish Cypriots and to insist that a final solution to the Cyprus problem be based on the consent of the parties most directly concerned. It is possible that in Ankara you feel that the United States has not been active enough on your behalf. But you surely know that our policies have provoked the strongest resentment in Athens (where protests have been directed against us) and have led to a fundamental distance between the United States and Archbishop Makarios. As I said to your Foreign Minister in our conversation a few weeks ago, we very much appreciate our relations with Turkey. We have seen you as a great ally with fundamental common interests.

Your security and prosperity have been a deep concern of the American people, and we have expressed that concern in the most practical terms. You and we fought together to resist the ambitions of the world communist revolution. This solidarity has meant a lot to us, and I hope it means a lot to your government and your people. We do not intend to support a Cypriot solution that endangers the Turkish Cypriot community. We have not been able to find a definitive solution because, it is true, it is one of the most complex problems in the world. But I would like to assure you that we have taken great care of the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and will continue to do so. Finally, Prime Minister, I must tell you that you have raised the most serious issues of war and peace. These are issues that go far beyond the bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States. Not only will they certainly involve a war between Turkey and Greece, but they could also lead to greater hostilities due to the unpredictable consequences that unilateral intervention in Cyprus could have.

You have your responsibility as head of government of Turkey; I also have mine as President of the United States. I must therefore inform you with deep friendship that, while I cannot be assured that you will not take such steps without further and thorough consultation, I cannot accept your instruction to Ambassador Hare as Secretary and I must immediately request emergency meetings of the NATO Council and the United Nations Security Council. I wish we could have a personal discussion about this situation. Unfortunately, due to the particular circumstances of our current constitutional position, I cannot leave the United States. If you could come here for a full discussion, I would be happy to do so. I believe that you and I have a very heavy responsibility for general peace and for the possibilities of a reasonable and peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem. I therefore ask you to delay any decision that you and your colleagues have in mind until you and I have had the most comprehensive and open consultation. The United Nations Ombudsman for Cyprus, Dr Galo Plaza[1], described the 1960 Constitution, created by the Zurich and London Agreements, as «a constitutional curiosity» and that the difficulties in implementing treaties signed on the basis of these agreements began almost immediately after independence.

[2] As indicated in your communication, in the event of a breach of the provisions of this Treaty, the three guarantee powers provided for in Article 4 of the contract of guarantee shall have the right to take concerted action and, if this proves impossible, unilateral measures aimed solely at restoring the state of affairs established by that Treaty. The warranty contract was signed, with an understanding shared by all parties. The gentleman agreement signed on 19 February 1959 by the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Greece is proof of this. On the other hand, at the time of the admission of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations, the members of the Organization were fully aware of all the international obligations of the Republic of Cyprus and no objection was raised in that regard. Furthermore, during the discussions on Cyprus that led to the resolution adopted by the Security Council on 4 March 1964, the delegate of the United States expressly stated that the United Nations did not have the power to annul or amend international treaties. The idea expressed in your message that Turkey`s intervention in Cyprus would serve to cause the division of the island surprised me greatly and deeply saddened me. My surprise comes from the fact that the data provided to you on Turkey`s intentions could be so far removed from the realities we have repeatedly proclaimed. The reason for my grief is that our ally, the U.S. government, might think that Turkey might set aside the principle that forms the basis of its foreign policy, which is absolute loyalty to international law, as is factually proven in many circumstances known to the United States.