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Main Page :- Report of the United Nations Mediator Galo Plaza to the Secretary-General (1965)

 

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III. The Background of the Problem

15. What I have to report on the positions adopted by the various parties concerned and on my efforts to help bring about a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement of the problem confronting Cyprus can be best appreciate when viewed in the light of the circumstances which led to the adoption of the Constitution of 1960, the special nature of that Constitution, the developments which resulted in the intercommunal fighting of December 1963 an the general situation prevailing in the island since then. These subjects are briefly outlined below.

A. The Zurich and London Agreements.

16. The present Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, which dates from the first day of independence (16 August 1960), has its roots in the agreements reached between the Heads of Governments of Greece and Turkey at Zurich on II February 1959, which in turn were incorporated in the agreements reached between these Governments and that of the United Kingdom at London on 19 February of the same year. On that date also the representatives of the Greek-Cypriot community and of the Turkish-Cypriot community accepted the documents concerned, and accompanying declarations by the three Governments, as "the agreed foundation for the final settlement of the problem of Cyprus". Eventually these agreements were embodied in the Treaties and the Constitution signed at Nicosia on 16 August 1960, and thus became the legal framework for the independence of Cyprus.

17. I shall mention only briefly the circumstances which dictated those agreements. Although I do not feel that this report is the place in which to examine in any detail the long and complex history of Cyprus, it has had certain effects on the interrelationship of the population of the island that must be taken into account. Except for the small British community and for those smaller groups of Armenians, Maronites and others who have, on the whole, associated themselves with the Greek rather than the Turkish-Cypriot communities, the people of Cyprus are comprised essentially of persons of Greek and Turkish origin, in the ratio of approximately 80 per cent to 18 per cent. Over the centuries, these two principal communities, while intermingled, have remained in many respects distinct and separate. In particular, each has retained its own religion and, associated with that, its own educational system, at least at the elementary level and at a large part of the secondary level, and its own laws, customs and traditions on such matters as marriage and personal status. The two languages have been retained, although there are many in both communities who speak both, and many who also, as a result of eighty-three years of British administration, speak English. Less tangibly, but none the less to an important extent, each community has preserved both physical and emotional ties with, and interests in, its respective homeland, and it cannot be said that Cyprus has been able or has wished to insulate itself entirely from the changing fortunes, over the generations, of relationships between Greece and Turkey.

18. Yet it is equally important to understand that these distinctive features of the two communities do not imply that in normal times they have been physically separated from each other. The Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots alike were spread widely over the island - not according to any fixed geographical pattern but rather as a result of the usual factors behind the movement and settlement of people over many generations: for example, the search for farming land and for employment, and other such economic and social motives. Within this island-wide intermingling of the population, there do exist local concentrations of people where one community or the other predominates. Thus, out of 619 villages at the time of the last census, 393 were wholly or predominantly Greek-Cypriot, 120 were Turkish-Cypriot, and 106 were classified as mixed. But the villages themselves are not usually to be found in clusters where one community or the other predominates; the more general pattern in any given area is a mixture of Greek-Cypriot, Turkish-Cypriot and mixed villages. The capital, Nicosia, and the other main towns such as Famagusta, Limassol and Larnaca, are also mixed in population, the two communities tending, in these towns and also in the mixed villages, to concentrate in separate quarters. Although inter-marriage has been rare - the differences in religion being presumably the main barrier- there is evidence of considerable intermingling of the two communities, more especially in employment and commerce but also to some degree at the social level.

19. It has been put to me that the presence of British authority, superimposed over these two main elements of the population, tended to conceal or restrain fundamental political differences between them in the years before independence. This is probably true of the leadership on each side, although I should hesitate to judge how deeply their political differences penetrated the strata of each society. It is beyond dispute, however, that open resistance against British rule was a Greek-Cypriot rather than a Turkish-Cypriot affair. And this leads to the further essential point that although resistance against British rule was Greek-Cypriot Cyprus was at the time a British colony, its arrival at independence did not follow the more familiar pattern of a territorial nationalist movement winning its sovereignty by negotiation with or by a struggle against the colonial power alone. The strongest internal political pressure, which had led to armed revolt in 1955 on the part of the Greek-Cypriots, had been directed not at independence as such but rather at Enosis (union) with Greece. This had produced a counter-pressure, no doubt motivated at least partly by fear of Greek domination, from the side of the Turkish-Cypriot leadership: in general, a resistance against the idea of Enosis, and eventually an insistence that the Turkish-Cypriot community had an equal right of union with Turkey, to be carried out by means of partitioning the country (Taksim).

20. Thus not only the United Kingdom as the colonial Power and also one with strategic interests in the island, but Greece and Turkey as well, claimed a vital stake in the outcome. The interests of these external parties brought to the Cyprus question a complexity of issues going beyond any immediate question of the well-being of the Cypriot people. These issues included, in particular, the relationships between Greece and Turkey and between them and the United Kingdom; the future of the British bases, which involved not only British national interests but also those of the military alliance in which the three powers were associated; the concern of Turkey, again from both a national and an international viewpoint, about the security aspects of the internal situation in an island close to her shores; and by no mean insignificant, the considerations of national honour, pride and other emotionally charged elements arising from the close ethnic ties between Greek and Greek-Cypriot and Turk and Turkish-Cypriot.

21. The settlement of 1959 envisaged Cyprus becoming a Republic with a regime specially adapted both to the ethnic composition of its population (approximately 80 per cent Greek and 18 per cent Turkish) and to what were recognized as special relationships between the Republic and the three other States concerned in the agreements. In the former respect, the agreements sought to recognize and preserve constitutionally a distinction between the two communities and to maintain a certain balance between their respective rights and interests. In the latter respect, they were intended to provide, by means of treaties, a multilateral guarantee of the maintenance of the state of affairs to be established by the basic articles of the proposed constitution. Both the union of Cyprus with any other State and the partitioning of the island were expressly forbidden. The settlement also permitted the United Kingdom to retain sovereignty over two areas to be maintained as military bases, these areas being in fact excluded from the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

B. The Constitution of 16 August 1960

22. The Constitution which was eventually drafted within the rigid framework of the Zurich and London Agreements, and which became effective on the date of the independence of the Republic consists essentially of four groups of provisions. The first group consists of those that recognize to each of the two communities a separate existence. The second consists of constitutional devices assuring the participation of each community in the exercise of the functions of government, while seeking in a number of matters to avoid supremacy on the part of the larger (Greek Cypriot) community, and assuring also a partial administrative autonomy to each community. In the third group of provisions, the Constitution sets forth at some length the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by it. The fourth main series of provisions constitutes a complex system of guarantees of the supremacy of the Constitution.

23. Thus, among the first group of provisions, the two distinct communities are identified (Art. 1) and defined (Art. 2) by the Constitution. An equal status is accorded to them in regard to the official languages of the Republic (Art. 3 and 180), the choice of its flag and also the right to fly the national flag of Greece or Turkey as the case may be (Art. 4), and the celebration of the national holidays of the latter countries (Art. 5). All elections take place on the basis of separate communal electoral lists (Arts. 63 and 94) and separate voting (Arts 1, 39, 62, 86, 173 and 178). Sound and vision broadcasting hours are allocated between the two communities according to a specified formula (Art. 171). The communities are accorded rights of special relation- ships with Greece and Turkey respectively, including that of receiving subsidies for institutions of education, culture, athletics and charity belonging to the respective communities and that of employing, if need be, schoolmasters, professors, and clergymen provided by the Greek or Turkish Government as the case may be (Art. io8).

24. The political system itself continues this distinction between the two communities. The President, who must be Greek, and the Vice-President, who must be Turkish, are elected by their respective communities (Art. 1) and may thus be said to be their undisputed leaders and the guarantors of their rights in each case. They designate separately the members of the Council of Ministers (seven Greek and three Turkish Ministers) (Art. 46). In the House of Representatives, also, the President must be Greek and the Vice-President Turkish, each being elected by his own communal group of members (Art. 72)

25. In the second group of provisions, all of the organs of the State are designed to ensure the participation of the two communities as such in both their composition and their functioning. The basis of this participation, however, varies between different organs. In some it is represented by numerical equality, either with equality of functions (the judiciary as a whole) or with- out such equality (the President and the Vice-President) (Arts. 36-43). A number of "Independent Officers", namely, the Attorney-General, the Auditor-General and the Governor of the Issuing Bank (Arts. 112-121) and the heads of the army, the police and the gendarmerie (Art. 131) may by and large be appointed from either community, but each must have a deputy appointed from the other community. In other cases participation is based on a fixed ratio, thus, the army of 2,000 men is to be comprised of Greeks and Turks in the proportions of 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively (Art. 129); this ratio also applies transitionally to the police and gendarmerie.

A different ratio (70 per cent to 30 per cent) applies to the composition of the Council of Ministers (Art. 46), the House of Representatives (Art. 62), the Public Service (Art. 123) and eventually the police and gendarmerie (Art. 130).

26. Except for the President and the Vice-President, who may act separately on a large number of matters, these organs and institutions are in principle integrated, in the sense that their members may take part in them, as a general rule, without distinction as to their community of origin. In practice, how- ever, several of them may divide, and in some cases are even required to divide, into two separate communal groups. Thus, although the laws and decisions of the House of Representatives are in general to be passed by a simple majority vote of all those members present and voting, an amendment to the electoral law, and the adoption of any law relating to the municipalities or imposing duties or taxes, require a majority in each communal group taken separately (Art. 78); separate two-thirds majorities are required for the amendment of those relatively less important articles of the Constitution which are in fact capable of amendment (Art. 182).

27. Again, the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot Ministers are placed on an equal footing but are responsible, depending on their communities of origin, either to the President or to the Vice-President (Arts. 48 and 49). The Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot judges are similarly equal in status, but in general they exercise their functions only .in regard to members of their own communities (Art. 159). Public officers and also forces of the Republic stationed in parts of the country inhabited in a proportion approaching 100 per cent by members of one community are required to belong to that community (Arts. 123 and 132). Moreover, the division between the two communities of the posts of the "Independent Officers" and other senior officials and their deputies tended, according to my information, to serve as a pattern for the whole of the senior level of the Public Service.

28. There are a number of provisions in the Constitution which are designed to establish, in certain fields of action, an equality of function between the two communities even where their representation is unequal. I have given above the example of the House of Representatives as regards specific types of legislation of particular importance to the communal interests. A number of decisions within the authority of the President and the Vice-President also require the agreement of both: for example, the choice of the flag (Art.4); the promulgation of legislation (Art. 51) and of decisions of the Council of Ministers (Art. 46); the designation of the Ministers (Art. 47), of the members of the Supreme Constitutional Court (Art. 133), of the members of the High Court (Art. 153), and of certain public officials and heads of the forces (Arts. 112, 115, 118, 124, 126, 131, 133, 153); the introduction of conscription (Art. 129); and increasing or reducing the strength of the army (Art. 130).

29. Both the President and the Vice-President also have the right to delay decisions in many matters and to veto them in others. Separately or jointly, they have the right of final veto on any law or decision of the House of Representatives concerning foreign affairs, with some exceptions; certain specified questions of defence; and certain specified questions of security (Art. 50). Also separately or jointly, they may return to the House for its reconsideration any law or decision (Art. 51), and they may similarly ask the Council of Ministers to reconsider any of its decisions (Art. 57); but in both cases they are bound, except in the fields where their veto applies, to accept the re- considered decision of the organ concerned.

30. The general effect of these devices is to make most of the major affairs of the State subject to the agreement of the representatives of both the Greek and Turkish communities either by joint decision or by the renunciation of the right of veto. The negative side of this situation is that it can invite dead- lock on any of the questions concerned when the two communities have sharply differing views on them, and this in fact happened - with results that contributed largely to the present crisis - in the case of tax legislation and the question of the municipalities. Recourse to the Supreme Constitutional Court does not necessarily provide a way out of such impasses, since the Court can only resolve problems of interpretation, and not political differences.

31. The Constitution provides for another level of political organs-those which are purely communal in representation and function. The highest of these are the two Communal Chambers, each elected exclusively by its own community, and having control over such matters as questions of religion, culture and education, personal status, and communal institutions such as sports and charitable organizations, co-operatives, etc. (Art. 87). In these matters they have power to impose direct taxation on the members of their respective communities (Arts. 87 and 88).

32. In the same category are the Subordinate Courts (when dealing with cases involving members of only one community) and the provision in the Constitution for separate municipalities to be established in the five main centres of the country, with a co-ordinating body in each case (Art. 173). It is worth noting that these municipalities are the only organs under the Constitution which are specifically designed to be based on the territorial separation of the two communities, applying as they do to towns where most of the people in each group live in separate communal areas.

33. The third group of provisions deals with the definition and the protection of fundamental rights and liberties. After stipulating that no law or executive or administrative decision should discriminate against any of the two communities or any person as a person or by virtue of being a member of a community, the Constitution spells out the fundamental rights and liberties granted by it (Arts. 6-35). It may be observed that these follow closely the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Cyprus is a contracting party.

34. The responsibility of protection against any violation of the Constitution, and therefore of the fundamental rights and liberties granted by it, is given to both the ordinary courts and the Supreme Constitutional Court, which, in fact, works not only as a constitutional court, but also as an administrative tribunal (Arts. 144 and 146). In this connexion, it should be noted that the judiciary possesses certain characteristics designed to maintain a balance between the two communities. The Supreme Constitutional Court is presided over by a neutral judge and consists otherwise of one Greek-Cypriot and one Turkish-Cypriot judge (Art. 133). The High Court, although it has two Greek-Cypriot judges and only one Turkish-Cypriot judge, is also to be headed by a neutral president who may cast two votes (Art. 153).

35. The fourth and last important group of constitutional provisions to which attention should be drawn are those which constitute a complex set of guarantees of the supremacy of a purely juridical nature; the establishment of the Supreme Constitutional Court which can annul any decision or law which it finds contrary to the Constitution (Arts. 137, 138, 139, 144, 146); the provision that, as far as concerns those articles of the Constitution which are capable of amendment, such amendment must be approved by a separate two-thirds majority of each communal group in the House of Representatives (Art. 182); the more practically important fact that the "Basic Articles" of the Constitution - in effect, the foundation of the Zurich and London agreements -cannot be amended at all (Art. 182); and the international undertaking of the Republic, under the Treaty of Guarantee signed with Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom - which itself is entrenched in the Constitution (Art. 181) - to respect the Constitution. As explained earlier, the judiciary itself, which constitutes the normal means of guaranteeing respect for the Constitution and the laws, possesses certain characteristics designed to maintain a balance between the two communities.

36. Other guarantees of the Constitution are embodied in the international treaties (Nicosia, 16 August 1960) entered into by the Republic on the first day of independence-the principles of these treaties having been, in fact, an integral part of the whole body of the Zurich and London Agreements. Cyprus is committed by the Treaty of Guarantee with Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom "to ensure the maintenance of its independence, territorial integrity and security, as well as respect for its Constitution"; "not to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever"; and to prohibit any activity likely to promote either union with any other State or partition of the island (Art. 1). The three other contracting parties also guarantee the Republic's independence, territorial integrity and security, as well as "the state of affairs established by the Basic Articles of its Constitution" (Art. II). They undertake to consult together to ensure observance of the provisions of the Treaty, and in so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each reserves the right "to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty" (Art. IV).

37. The Treaty of Alliance between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, which, like the Treaty of Guarantee, has constitutional force, has the effect of providing an immediate military guarantee by establishing a tripartite military headquarters in Cyprus, to which Greece and Turkey sent contingents numbering 950 and 650 respectively (Arts. III and IV and Additional Protocol No. 1). Finally, the existence of the military bases over which the United Kingdom has retained sovereignty under the separate Treaty of Establishment may also be thought to represent, to a certain degree, an additional military guarantee of the integrity of Cyprus and its Constitution.

C. The President's Proposed Amendments

38. In retrospect, and given the state of relationships between the two communities, it is hardly surprising that unique constitutional arrangements encountered difficulties almost from the birth of the Republic. It is not for me to establish the specific causes of these difficulties nor to apportion responsibility for them, but I have not been able to ignore their existence, because of the bearing which they have on the present situation in Cyprus and on the circumstances under which a new settlement may be found.

39. I can best cover this period of repeated constitutional crises and of accumulating tension between the leaders of the two communities by coming forward to the date of 30 November 1963, some three years after the Constitution came into force, when the President of the Republic publicly set forth thirteen points on which he considered that the Constitution should be amended. The President did so on the grounds that in its existing form the Constitution created many difficulties in the smooth functioning of the State and the development and progress of the country; that its many sui generis provisions conflicted with internationally accepted democratic principles and created sources of friction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots; and that its defects were causing the two communities to draw further apart rather than closer together.

40. Several of the most important amendments proposed by the President reflected deadlocks which had actually occurred in the functioning of the Constitution. For example, in proposing that, the right of veto of the President and the Vice-President should be abolished, he referred to the fact that the latter had vetoed a majority decision of the Council of Ministers that the organizational structure of the Cyprus army should be based on mixed units comprising both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, since the Vice-President had favoured separate units.

41. Again, in proposing that the constitutional provisions requiring separate majorities for the enactment of certain laws by the House of Representatives should be abolished, the President cited the failure of the House to enact an income tax law. Similarly, he proposed that unified municipalities should be established, on the grounds that the constitutional provision for separate communal municipalities in the five main towns had proved unworkable, one reason being the failure of the President and the Vice-President to reach agreement on the determination of the boundaries.

42. Difficulties in the functioning of the mixed Public Service Commission, where certain decisions require a minimum number of Greek and Turkish votes depending upon whether a Greek-Cypriot or a Turkish-Cypriot is concerned, led to the proposal by the President that all decisions of the Commission, without exception, should be taken by simple majority vote. He proposed also that the ratios of Greek and Turkish representation in the Public Service (70-30 per cent), the security forces (70-30 per cent) and the army (60-40 per cent) should be modified over a period of time to bring them into line with the ratio of Greeks to Turks in the population as a whole (then expressed as 81.14-18.86 per cent).

43. The President's proposals also included the following: the administration of justice to be unified; the division of the security forces into police and gendarmerie to be abolished; the numerical strength of the security and defence forces to be determined by legislation; the Greek President and the Turkish Vice-President of the House of Representatives to be elected by the House as a whole; the Greek Communal Chamber to be abolished.

44. Whatever possibility may have existed at that time - and by all accounts it was slight - of calm and rational discussion of those proposals between the two communities disappeared indefinitely with the outbreak of violent disturbances between them a few days later on 21 December 1963. The Turkish Communal Chamber subsequently described as "false propaganda" the President's claim that the Constitution had proved an obstacle to the smooth functioning of the Republic. The Turkish view, as thus expressed, was that the Greek-Cypriots had never attempted to implement the Constitution in full with sincerity and goodwill, and that the obstacles created were not due to the Constitution, but to the Greek-Cypriots' determination not to honour those parts of it which recognized the Turkish-Cypriots' communal rights. The latter maintained that the whole structure of the Republic rested on the existence of two communities (and not of a "majority" and a "minority"); they, therefore, refused to consider the amendment of any of the provisions of the Constitution since all of the amendments proposed by the other side were directed against those parts which recognized the existence of the Turkish community as such. They described the difficulties which had arisen over the questions of the structure of the army, the establishment of separate municipalities, the income tax legislation and the observance of the fixed ratios in the public services and security forces as being due to the Greeks' desire to discriminate against them and their own determination to protect their rights.

D. The London Conference (1964)

45. I have been given to understand that by the time of the London Conference in January 1964, at which in the midst of extreme tension and hostility a new attempt was made to reach a settlement, the positions of the representatives of the two communities concerning the future structure of the Republic had greatly hardened and drawn much further apart. From the Greek Cypriot side, there was a demand that the State should be allowed to take an independent, unitary, integral form, with all legislative power vested in a Parliament elected by universal suffrage on a common roll, the executive power vested in a cabinet responsible to the parliament, and the judicial power vested in an independent, unified judiciary. The Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance would be revoked. Nevertheless, there would be certain devices to ensure Turkish representation in the Parliament and the Civil Service; the Turkish community would have autonomy in religious, educational and cultural matters; universally accepted human rights would be maintained as integral parts of the Constitution; and there would be a right of appeal to an international tribunal against violations of those rights.

46. The Turkish-Cypriot representatives, on the other hand, now reverted to the previously suggested concept of separating the two communities physically, by concentrating members of their community in one or more large areas, and creating a new political and administrative structure on this basis The Treaties of Alliance and Guarantee would continue in force. The underlying argument of the Turkish-Cypriot leaders was that events had now proved conclusively that the two communities could not live together in peace and must be physically separated.

47. The intervening period, and more especially the period since intervention by the United Nations was recommended by the Security Council on 4 March 1964, has seen these opposing positions elaborated and also further modified in some detail, and I propose to deal with them in the next chapter of this report. It has also seen the Cyprus Government and the House of Representatives, apparently acting under the powers given to them under the Constitution but without the participation of the Turkish-Cypriot representatives required by that Constitution, purport to pass legislation and to make decisions of a most serious kind, including the formation of a national guard, the introduction of conscription, the acquisition of large quantities of arms and other military equipment, changes in the structure of the judiciary, a system of taxation and the establishment of unified municipalities. Moreover, on 4 April 1964, the President of the Republic informed the Government of Turkey that on the grounds of the failure of the Turkish national contingent to return to its barracks, the Government considered the Treaty of Alliance to have been violated and therefore to have ceased to be in force.

E. The General Situation in Cyprus.

48. The situation prevailing in Cyprus since the beginning of the United Nations Operation there has been described in detail in your reports to the Security Council on the functions and operations of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force. I shall only emphasize here those elements which seem to me to bear directly and significantly on my own mission.

49. There is no question in my mind - and my knowledge of my predecessor's experience confirms this - that during the first six months of the United Nations Operation, the atmosphere in Cyprus was most unfavourable to efforts at mediation. The normal conditions which might be regarded as conducive to, or even a prerequisite of, any successful effort to find an agreed settlement did not prevail in Cyprus at any time during that period. The most conspicuous fact of life in Cyprus was that large numbers of armed men, in and out of uniform and apparently under widely varying degrees of control, were facing one another from fortified positions in many parts of the island. Their numbers had been greatly increased and their armament greatly enlarged, especially on the Greek-Cypriot side, and with assistance from Greece in particular, by the end of the period. While, as you have stated, the United Nations Operation could claim no small credit for having contained several situations which might have led to major military clashes, almost every day of the period saw one or more incidents of one kind or another. These incidents, which as you know, reached their peak of violence during the first days of August, when they brought about intervention by the Turkish air force, prolonged and compounded the atmosphere of tension, insecurity and fear which had seized many members of the population since the outbreak of disorder in December 1963.

50. All through this period there were two kinds of "green line" in Cyprus, and few people dared to cross either kind. There were firstly the physical barriers, constructed out of road-blocks, strongpoints, fortified houses, sand-bagged walls and trenches. These were the barriers which at many places in the island kept the two communities apart either by force or by the fear of arrest, abduction or gunfire. They prevented the normal flow of traffic for purposes of both business and pleasure, and became indeed part of the machinery of what came to be regarded as an economic blockade by the Greek-Cypriots against the Turkish-Cypriots. They curtailed the functioning of government services and development activities. They prolonged the abandonment by many people of their houses, farms, businesses or jobs on one side or the other. And especially in Nicosia, the capital, the "green line" added a physical dimension to the breaking down of the Constitution: it barred, even if political motives alone might not have done so, the Turkish Vice- President and the Turkish Ministers from their offices and from meetings of the Cabinet, the elected Turkish parliamentarians from the sessions of the House of Representatives, and both Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot public servants from their duties on the other side of the line.

51. The second kind of "green line" was the psychological kind. The long months of life in a situation in which violence and the means of violence increased rather than diminished, and which placed the larger community increasingly in a mood and in a position to dominate the smaller, could only breed distrust and intransigence where trust and compromise were needed if an agreed settlement were to be found. The physical impediments to normal contacts between the communities were serious enough; hardly less so was the psychological impediment caused by the suppression of the healthy movement of ideas, for which were substituted slogans and counter-slogans shouted by propaganda machines across the dividing lines in uncompromising, provocative or hostile tones.

52. You will recall that when you formulated in April 1964, with the assistance of the commander of the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force, a programme of steps and objectives directed towards the restoration of freedom of movement and other immediate requirements for a return to normal conditions, you reported to the Security Council that

"in the prevailing climate of mistrust and hostility, the communities concerned in the Cyprus problem are themselves often inhibited from taking the kinds of initiative which might lead to a substantial reduction of tension and conflict, and when proposals are put forth they are likely to be rejected, less on their merit than on the fact of their origin in one group or the other".

53. This same phenomenon which helped to delay a return to normal life in Cyprus worked with no less force against the prospects of a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem in the longer-term sense. There was no direct discussion between the parties of each other's proposals, and neither of them sought or would unequivocally agree to such a discussion. There was little calm and rational consideration by one party of the other's point of view. And there was the same tendency as you described for one side to reject the other's proposals out of hand on the basis not of merit but of suspicion and mistrust, and to close the door even to a discussion of possible compromise lest it be taken as a sign of weakness.

54. It could hardly have been otherwise in a situation where the force of arms had openly been adopted by both sides as the principal instrument for the defence of their interests. In the capital, where most of those who claimed to lead opinion in both communities were gathered on one side and the other, the Turkish-Cypriots purported to regard themselves as being under actual siege by the Greek-Cypriots, and to feel obliged to place before everything else the armed protection and defence of their political claims as well as of their persons and property. The Greek-Cypriots, on their side, where since December 1963 they have had in effect exclusive control of the central organs of the Republic, continued to regard the other community in general as being in a condition of rebellion, having designs on the security of the State, and enjoying the actual or potential support of military intervention from Turkey. Their decision towards the end of May, through the Greek-Cypriot members of the Council of Ministers, to bring about the enactment of a law to establish a national guard by means of conscription, and the subsequent large expansion of their forces, were openly "justified" on such grounds. The result on both sides was that reliance on the force of arms served to make even more rigid the positions which they had taken on the political future of their country and even on the question of their ability to share it in peace.

55. Such was the situation prevailing in the island during the first six months of the United Nations Operation. However, by September 1964, there appeared some encouraging signs pointing to a relaxation of tension. Because, in my capacity as your Special Representative, I was able to contribute in some measure to the implementation of your programme for a return to normal conditions, I myself was in a good position to observe and appreciate these changes for the better.

56. Since the fighting which took place at Tylliria at the beginning of August, and which saw the intervention of the Turkish air force, there have been no major incidents in the island. The economic restrictions imposed by the Cyprus Government on the Turkish-Cypriot community, which caused the tension to rise again to the crisis level around mid-August, were thereafter considerably relaxed. There was also a gradual easing of restrictions on the freedom of movement of the population throughout the island. These positive steps towards a return to normal conditions, which you have already .fully reported to the Security Council, had visible results in terms of some relaxation of tension in the island.

57. However, this improvement in the general situation in the island was a precarious one as the attitude of the leaders of the two communities towards the future of the country remained basically unchanged. This state of affairs was reflected in the difficulties encountered by your present Special Representative and Force Commander in their efforts to continue to improve the general situation in the island and promote the return to normal conditions. You will recall that, as you indicated in your report last December on the United Nations Operation in Cyprus, UNFICYP submitted to the Cyprus Government and the Turkish-Cypriot leadership, respectively, a series of suggestions to that end. Although these suggestions mainly concerned humanitarian undertakings and carefully shunned basic political issues, one side or the other was unable to accept most of them because to do so would, in its view, prejudice its case with regard to the final settlement of the Cyprus problem. Concessions seemed to have been ruled out by the Cyprus Government because they might be considered as restoring the position under the Zurich and London Agreements and by the Turkish-Cypriot leader- ship because they might tend to consolidate what they considered as the illegal situation created by the Greek-Cypriots. Thus both kinds of "green line" mentioned earlier remained essentially intact and continued to hamper the movements of persons and ideas and to keep at a high level feelings of fear and mistrust. Indeed, after a period of some relaxation, there appeared recently disturbing signs of increasing tension and frustration in the island and of renewed efforts on both sides to build up military strength. As you pointed out in your last report on the United Nations Operation in Cyprus, the present dangerous and unsatisfactory situation is little short of an uneasy truce with opposing armed elements facing each other in several parts in the island.

58. The caution about the political implications of making concessions, which was at the root of the difficulties encountered by UNFICYP, has also continued to hamper my own work. Nevertheless, the fact that there have been no major incidents in the island during the past seven months has brought about an atmosphere at least relatively more conducive to fruitful discussions and negotiations than before and has led me to hope that through further patient efforts and given the required time the many difficulties and obstacles which had stood in the way of a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem will eventually be overcome.

F. The External Effects of the Problem

59. It is necessary also to mention, although not to dwell upon, the effects of the continuing crisis in Cyprus on international relationships, and more particularly on those between the two external Governments most directly concerned, namely, those of Greece and Turkey. The special interests of each in the Cyprus problem and its solution, and the fact that each tended to support the position of the Cyprus community to which its own people were ethnically related, led in the first several months of the crisis to differences between them hardly less acute than those which separated the Cyprus communities. These differences, however, did not prevent the Governments of Greece, and Turkey from making some efforts, by exchanging views through my predecessor and through diplomatic channels, to find between them a basis for settlement capable of being supported by the other parties as well. But for a number of reasons these efforts failed.

60. The difficulties encountered by my predecessor continued after I assumed office as Mediator, but I was glad to observe that all three of the external Governments which are direct parties to the problem--that is to say, the Governments of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom--appeared genuinely anxious to see a peaceful solution found in the shortest possible time, and assured me of their full support in this respect. During recent months, moreover, both the Governments of Greece and Turkey exerted a moderating influence on the communities in Cyprus in an effort to keep the peace in the island and prevent tension from rising again.

 


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