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Main Page :- The McMillan Plan and the Response of the Kingdom of Greece (1958)

NOTE: The following documents were included in a puclication of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece. They consist of a preface prepared by the ministry as well as the correspondence between Prime Ministers of Greece Constantine Karamanlis and Great Britain Harold MacMillan regarding the plan submitted by the latter on 19 June 1958 which later became known as the "MacMillan Plan".


 

ROYAL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

THE CYPRUS QUESTION

CORRESPONDENCE EXCHANGED BETWEEN Mr. CONSTANTINE KARAMANLIS, PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE AND THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HAROLD MACMILLAN, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

(JUNE 10, 1958 - AUGUST 19, 1958)

ATHENS 1958


PREFACE

The British Government have at times issued various plans concerning Cyprus, the common purpose of which is to elude the obligations imposed on Britain by the U.N. Charter towards half a million Cypriots still under British colonial rule: the latest invention in the series is the plan of June 19, 1958, known as «an adventure in partnership».

This plan attempts to put into practice a conception according to which the future of Cyprus should depend not on the will of its population, but on that of foreign Governments.

Greece, having no territorial claims on Cyprus, has refused to participate in this plot against the freedom and the fundamental rights of the Cypriot people.

As regards the Turkish Government, it was only natural that they should accept the British plan and hasten to nominate their representative in the island; for although Turkey had waived all rights over Cyprus by virtue of the Treaty of Lausanne, the present Turkish Government advance territorial claims on the island by seeking its partition.

It is regretable that the British Government have encouraged those extravagant Turkish demands by putting forward a plan, described by the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs as «reconcilable with the principle of partition».

According to the plan, a population of half a million is not considered as worthy of a representative legislative body —while, as regards communal affairs, the plan provides for the luxury of two separate Houses.

On the other hand, the Governor of the island shall not exercise the powers reserved to him, namely on questions of foreign policy, defence and security as well as home affairs, without having recourse to the advice of the representatives of the two Governments; in fact, as things have developed, of the representative of Turkey alone. This same representative shall have the right to demand that any legislation which he considers discriminatory should be reserved for examination by an «impartial tribunal».

It is noteworthy that the more recent statement of August 15th, while depriving the Governmental representatives of the right to participate in the Council, does not otherwise modify their functions.

It is characteristic of the hidden motives behind the plan, as well as of the interpretation given by its authors to the concept of communal autonomy, that the statement of August 15th specifies: «In the spirit of the decision whereby the communities are encouraged to order their own communal affairs, the Governor will authorize the establishment of separate Greek and Turkish municipal councils». In other words, the principle of communal autonomy serves as an excuse for the establishment of a system of non-territorial partition.

The people of Cyprus having lived in peace and unity for centuries, this attempt to divide them was received with amazement all over the world; in order to give the plan some degree of plausibility, therefore, its promoters went one step further: they did their best to drive the Turkish minority into an anti-Greek frenzy and encouraged them to commit acts of violence against the Greeks of the island.

In view of the foregoing it is easy to understand the reason why the Secretary General of N.A.T.O. asked the British Government not to proceed with the implementation of their plan, and proposed the elimination of the Governmental representatives and the immediate creation of a single House. The authors of the plan, however, had no sincere wish to restore peace in Cyprus; they did not hesitate, in order to serve their purpose, to disregard the recommendations of the Secretary General of N.A.T.O., any more than they had hesitated to violate express clauses of the Treaty of Lausanne and to ignore the letter and the spirit of Resolution 1013 of the United Nations, stating that :

«The General Assembly,

«Having considered the question of Cyprus,

«Believing that the solution of this problem requires an atmosphere of peace and freedom of expression,

«Expresses the earnest desire that a peaceful, democratic and just solution will be found in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the hope that negotiations will be resumed and continued to this end».


CONTENTS

1. Text of message to His Excellency M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (June 10, 1958).

2. Cyprus : Statement of policy (June 19, 1958).

3. Text of message to the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece (June 21, 1958).

4. Message to His Excellency M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (July 4, 1958).

5. Message to His Excellency M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (July 29, 1958).

6. Statement made by the Greek Prime Minister (July 30, 1958 ).

7. Text of message to the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece (July 31, 1958 ).

8. Letter to His Excellency M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (August 14, 1958 ).

9. Cyprus : Statement of policy (August 15, 1958).

10. Text of message to the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from M. C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece (August 19, 1958 ).


1

Text of message to His Excellency Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

SECRET

I have instructed Sir Roger Allen to explain to Your Excellency the nature of the statement which I propose to make in Parliament on the 19th of June on Her Majesty's Government's policy in regard to Cyprus. I am arranging for an explanation similarly to be given by our Ambassador in Ankara to the Prime Minister of Turkey.

I do not need to remind Your Excellency of the gravity of the present situation, nor of the dangers which now threaten the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Alliance. In my view the dangers which threaten us have been increased because of our unhappy divisions over Cyprus. Is it not now possible to bring to an end this dispute which has disturbed our unity and to make Cyprus not an island of controversy between allies but a land where we can demonstrate to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Alliance and to the world what friendly co-operation and partnership can achieve? This aim has been dominant in my mind in the many months in which I and my colleagues have been pondering on this problem.

You will see that we are embarking on a policy for the next seven years. Under this plan, the United Kingdom will retain sovereignty over Cyprus and the principal responsibility for the island's administration. At the same time we intend to press forward with arrangements which will enable both the Greek–Cypriot and the Turkish–Cypriot communities, and the Greek and Turkish Governments, to enter into partnership for their mutual benefit. The keynote of the plan is partnership, and never was there a time when this was more needed in our affairs. For the dangers of conflict have become increasingly serious and any solution which offended one side or the other might lead to civil war. The period of seven years, however, should give us—if we are all ready to work together—an opportunity to bring the plan into full operation. During that time, as 1 have said, the international status of Cyprus will remain unchanged. We are not, of course, asking the Greek Government or the Greek–Cypriots to renounce now any of their ultimate aspirations, but I propose to include in my statement an expression of our hope that if we can—as I am certain is within our power—make a success of this form of partnership, we would be glad, as far as Britain is concerned, to let it broaden out into a final international status consistent with the partnership idea.

Our purpose is that for strife we should substitute partnership and that we should begin the new arrangement in the island under British control and responsibility, but with full opportunities for the two communities to regulate their own lives in the matters that concern them as communities and to join together in matters that are of common interest. We hope that, during this period, confidence can be built up and experience gained in working together for the peace and prosperity of the island. Above all, we hope that the two communities will settle down side by side and that a new spirit of co-operation for the good of Cyprus will grow. We have faith in the ability of the peoples of Cyprus, given a chance, to live together in peace and unity in their island. Let us give them the chance:

I ask for the help of the two governments through official representatives in the island who would take part in this work. Their presence Would be at once a symbol and a security—a symbol of the new purpose on which we are embarking and a security for the two communities through the presence of representatives of the two countries with whom they have such close cultural ties.

I am not asking you, Mr. Prime Minister, to give your immediate agreement to this plan. I am asking you, in the spirit of the Alliance and traditional friendship uniting our two countries, to give it favourable consideration. Above all I would venture to ask you and your government to study our policy and to urge all concerned at the very least to refrain from any action which might prejudice the chances of it receiving a calm and balanced judgment. This policy is the result of much anxious thought and it is our sincere belief that it offers a chance, perhaps the last chance, of ending the very dangerous situation in the island and outside it, and of bringing back the accord which ought to exist between our three allied countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. We owe it not only to ourselves but to our other allies. It is with this in mind that we have decided on what we believe to be an imaginative new approach to the problem.

I am very anxious that we should understand each other fully on this problem now and at every stage. Should you wish to send me your own thoughts on any aspect of our new plan, as I have sent you mine; I should be very glad indeed to study them. with the closest attention. Indeed I would be very glad if an exchange of views could at an appropriate stage take a personal form and I would welcome a meeting with you to discuss this plan. Personal discussion is often more fruitful than the interchange of messages and telegrams. We could meet together or, if such an idea appealed to you, we could perhaps so arrange it that the Prime Minister of Turkey was present, and indeed I am sending him a message on similar lines. It might perhaps be most convenient to have an informal meeting at an intermediate point like Rome or Geneva.

Your Excellency may regard this as a bold and novel initiative. But circumstances are grave and I feel a great responsibility to leave nothing undone which could bring about the healing of this wound, for if it is left open it will bring us all into great trouble.

Aide Memoire

Outline of plan for Partnership in Cyprus

1. Association of Cyprus not only with the United Kingdom, and thus with the British Commonwealth, but also with Greece and Turkey.

2. Cooperation and participation by the Greek and Turkish Governments with Her Majesty's Government in a joint effort to achieve the peace, progress and prosperity of the island.

3. Appointment of a representative of the Greek Government and a representative of the Turkish Government to cooperate with the Governor.

4. Arrangements for the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to have Greek or Turkish nationality as well as their British nationality.

5. A new constitution providing for representative government and communal autonomy, prepared in consultation with representatives of the two communities and the Greek and Turkish Governments.

6. Main provisions of the new constitution:

(a) A separate House of Representatives for each community, with final legislative authority in communal affairs.

(b) A Council presided over by the Governor and including the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments and six elected Ministers drawn from the two Houses of Representatives (four Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots), to exercise authority over internal affairs, other than communal affairs and internal security.

(c) Reserve powers for the Governor acting after consulting the Greek and Turkish Governments' representatives to ensure protection of community interests.

(d) Authority for external affairs, defence and internal security reserved to the Governor, acting after consulting the Greek and Turkish Governments' representatives.

(e) Provision for the representatives of Greek and Turkish Governments to have any legislation which they think discriminatory reserved for consideration by an impartial tribunal.

7. No change, under the plan, in the international status of the island (i.e., maintenance of British sovereignty) for seven years.

8. Subject to an end of violence progressive steps to relax the emergency regulations and eventually to end the state of emergency (this process to include the return of Cypriots at present excluded from the island under emergency regulations).

BRITISH EMBASSY,

ATHENS

June 10, 1958


2

CYPRUS: Statement of policy

June 19, 1958, CYPRUS

AIMS OF POLICY

The policy of Her Majesty's Government in Cyprus has had four main purposes:

(a) to serve the best interests of all the people of the Island ;

(b) to achieve a permanent settlement acceptable to the two communities in the Island and to the Greek and Turkish Goverments ;

(c) to safeguard the British bases and installations in the Island, which are necessary to enable the United Kingdom to carry out her international obligations ;

(d) to strengthen peace and security and co-operation between the United Kingdom and her Allies in a vital area.

2. These are the aims which Her Majesty's Government have consistently pursued and which have guided their efforts in recent months to find common ground on which an agreed settlement might be reached. It is deeply regretted that all attempts in this direction have hitherto proved unsuccessful.

3. In view of the disagreement between the Greek and Turkish Governments and between the two communities in Cyprus, and of the disastrous consequences for all concerned if violence and conflict continue, an obligation rests with the United Kingdom Government, as the sovereign Power responsible for the administration of the Island and the well-being of its inhabitants, to give a firm and clear lead out of the present deadlock. They accordingly declare a new policy which represents an adventure in partnership partnership between the communities in the Island and also between the Governments of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey.

4. The following is an outline of the partnership plan:

THE PLAN

I. Cyprus should enjoy the advantages of association not only with the United Kingdom, and therefore with the British Commonwealth, but also with Greece and Turkey.

II. Since the three Governments of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey all have an interest in Cyprus, Her Majesty's Government will welcome the co-operation and participation of the two other Governments in a joint effort to achieve the peace, progress and prosperity of the Island.

III. The Greek and Turkish Governments will each be invited to appoint a representative to co-operate with the Governor in carrying out this policy.

IV. The Island will have a system of representative Government with each community exercising autonomy in its own communal affairs.

V. In order to satisfy the desire of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to be recognised as Greeks and Turks, Her Majesty's Government . will welcome an arrangement which gives them Greek or Turkish nationality, while enabling them to retain British nationality.

VI. To allow time for the new principle of partnership to be fully worked out and brought into operation under this plan in the necessary atmosphere of stability, the international status of the Island will remain unchanged for seven years.

VII. A system of representative government and communal autonomy will be worked out by consultation with representatives of the two communities and with the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments.

VIII. The essential provisions of the new constitution will be:

(a) There will be a separate House of Representatives for each of the two communities, and these Houses will have final legislative au- thority in communal affairs.

(b) Authority for internal administration, other than communal affairs and internal security, will be undertaken by a Council presided over by the Governor and including the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments and six elected Ministers drawn from the Houses of Representatives, four being Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots.

(c) The Governor, acting, after consultation with the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments, will have reserve powers to ensure that the interests of both communities are protected.

(d) External affairs, defence and internal security will be matters. specifically reserved to the Governor acting after consultation with the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments.

(e) The representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments will have the right to require any legislation which they consider to be discriminatory to be reserved for consideration by an impartial tribunal.

IX. If the full benefits of this policy are to be realised, it is evident that violence must cease. Subject to this, Her Majesty's Government intend to take progressive steps to relax the Emergency Regulations and eventually to end the State of Emergency. This process would include the return of those Cypriots at present exluded from the Island under the Emergency Regulations.

X. A policy based on these principles and proposals will give the people of the island a specially favoured and protected status. Through representative institutions they will exercise authority in the management of the Island's internal affairs, and each community will control its own communal affairs. While the people of the Island enjoy these advantages, friendly relations and practical co-operation between the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey will be maintained and strengthened as Cyprus becomes a symbol of co-operation instead of a cause of conflict between the three Allied Governments.

THE FUTURE

5. Her Majesty's Government trust that this imaginative plan will be welcomed by all concerned in the spirit in which it is put forward, and for their part they will bend all efforts to ensuring its succes. Indeed, if the Greek and Turkish Governments were willing to extend this experiment in parthership and co–operation, Her Majesty's Government would be prepared at the appropriate time, to go further and, subject to the reservation to the United Kingdom of such bases and facilities as might be necessary for the discharge of her international obligations, to share the sovereignty of the Island with their Greek and Turkish Allies as their contribution to a lasting settlement.


3

Text of message to the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece

Athens, June 21, 1958

I have very carefully studied the message that your Excellency conveyed to me through Sir Roger Allen in the evening of June 10th.

I entirely agree with your Excellency's appreciation of the gravity of the present situation and I know from experience the consequences which the dispute over Cyprus bears upon our alliances.

I draw my experience from my endeavours during the past two years to avert these consequences.

While making efforts to contain the public opinion in this country which was justly aroused, I declared myself ready to discuss any solution of the problem which a) would give satisfaction to the just claim of the Cypriot people, b) would safeguard the interests of Great Britain and, c) through constitutional and international guarantees, would cover the legitimate interests of the Turkish minority and the strategic preoccupations of Turkey.

The British response to my endeavours did not correspond with my expectations. From the Turkish side we have met only with provocations.

I have, nevertheless, insisted on this policy, because 1 believed that justice and the ideals, for which our two people have gone through so many sacrifices, would prevail.

The publication of the British plan, coming after the horrible acts of violence committed by the Turks in Cyprus, which the administration of the Island ought to have prevented, renders my persistent efforts even more difficult.

I had conveyed in time to Your Excellency, through Her Majesty's Ambassador in Athens, our views on your plan and was hoping till yesterday, that those views would influence the thoughts of the British Government.

Unfortunately, Your Excellency's statement in the House of Commons has widened the divergence between our position and your plan.

Cyprus is a British Crown Colony. By virtue of international treaties Turkey has relinquished all rights and titles on the island. Greece supporting the right of the Cypriots to self-determination has declared that she does not aim at the annexation of Cyprus. Those entitled to determine the future of the island are therefore principally the people of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, since, according to the Treaty of Lausanne, this right was reserved to the «interested parties». Turkey is certainly not an «interested party», having relinquished all her rights of whatever nature by that same Treaty. The United Kingdom is now inviting Greece and Turkey to participate in the administration of the island for a period of seven years, thus tending to create a sort of a de facto condominium upon the island. This virtually amounts to upsetting the prevailing legal status.

Allow me to draw your attention on this point, as, through their plan, Her Majesty's Government tend to disregard the principle of the sanctity of treaties, a principle so valuable to us all.

I am aware that sometimes it is argued that practical solutions must not be hindered by legal considerations. But in the present case I at least believe that it is possible to find practical solutions which would also be in accordance with justice and the existing international treaties.

May I point out that it is inconceivable to evoke the provocative attitude and the intransigence of Turkey as a decisive factor barring any just and practical solution. Great Britain is exercising sovereignty over Cyprus for many years. She has the privilege of being a Great Power. Hers is the responsibility to determine the future of the island in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as with the provisions of other international agreements. I do not think it possible that Great Britain can dismiss this responsibility by diverting the whole issue into the limited and artificial frame of a so-called Greco-Turkish dispute.

Examining the outline of your plan from a practical point of view, it is apparent that the whole system is based on an entirely ephemeral situation, i.e. on the tension in the relations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, who have lived for centuries in peace on a united and indivisible territory.

I sinceraly believe that this tension has been artificially created during the last months, and, therefore, can be brought to an end. Consequently the administrative machinery which the plan is setting up is unjustified, and, owing to its intricate nature and to the friction which it is bound to cause, will prove inoperative.

I do not believe that the system set by the British plan will be an instrument of appeasement. On the contrary, because of its structure and the conditions temporarily created it will help in maintaining the present tension.

But, apart from the above considerations and even if we were to disregard that owing to its provisional character it does not provide for a final solution of the problem through the application of the right of self-determination, the plan itself has very serious disadvantages, as for instance the composition of the Council. The way the Counsil is constituted disregards the principle of true representation, at the expense of the vast Greek majority. Thus the only democratic institution set up by the proposed administrative system is falsified.

For the reasons stated above, the Greek Government, prepared as they are to face this problem in a realistic way, are unable to agree with the British Government's proposals, being convinced that this plan would only add new complications to those already existing.

Since the main issue, namely the right of the Cypriot people to decide their own future is being put aside for a period of seven years, the plan would have been more constructive in proposing a temporary solution on the basis of democratic self-government under British sovereignty and postponing the settlement on the main issue until a more appropriate time. This would be a matter between the British Goverment and the Cypriot people. The Greek Government would be prepared to help wherever they could usefully act in a mediatory way.

I agree with Your Excellency that a personal contact could be more useful to our efforts of finding a solution than the interchange of messages. I therefore consider your proposal as useful provided that the ground is sufficiently cleared through diplomatic channel. A tripartite meeting however which you also suggest, would not in my opinion lead to any constructive results under the present cirsumstances.

In conclusion, I believe that the best way of promoting the Cyprus issue in view of the present difficulties would be for the British Government to reconsider their plan and make a new effort to find a solution which could be considered as satisfactory. I believe that if the British Government were prepared to make this new effort, appeasement in the island would follow thus making it possible to reach, through various stages, a final solution.

On our side we shall do our best to contribute to the success of this effort.


4

Message to His Excellency Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Honourable Hurold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

July 4, 1958

I have delayed sending a further reply to your message of the 21st of June until after the debate in the House of Commons in order that I might be able to consider the situation in the light of that debate and the immediate reactions to it. I think that the debate was helpful and we have also been encouraged by the generally favourable comments on our policy from many sources in Europe and America.

You may have noticed that in more than one passage in my speech I was addressing myself particularly to points which had been raised in Your Excellency's personal message to me. To some extent indeed my considered reply to your message has already been given in my speech of the 26th of June.

On looking again at your message I feel that there were two points that you particularly wanted to impress on me. You argued that the divisions between the two communities in Cyprus were an ephemeral phenomenon and that it would therefore be a mistake to build lasting institutions on them. You argued also that our plan seemed to have the effect of encouraging the tendencies towards division instead of building up towards unity. I tried to answer both these points in my speech. I hope that you are right in believing that the current divisions between the communities are temporary and will not last. But in the immediate situation we must build on the basis of the facts as we find them now. As I said in my speech, we must «get started with separate responsibility in order to lead on, step by step, to a larger unity». I was also careful to emphasise, as I am sure you noticed, that it is an essential feature of the sort of constitution which we have in mind that it should contain within itself the possibility of development.

I am particularly pleased with your response to my suggestion for a personal meeting. In the reply which I am sending at the same time to the Turkish Prime Minister, I am suggesting that he and I should take the opportunity of the meeting of the Baghdad Pact Council in London at the end of this month to have talks on the Cyprus plan. I should be very willing to meet Your Excellency either before or after this. You have yourself generously offered to come to London, and 1 am grateful to you for this suggestion. My own offer to meet you at some intermediate place such as Rome or Geneva still, of course, remains open, and I would also be willing myself to go to Athens. Please let me know your further thoughts on this question of the time and place of our meeting. Meanwhile, I agree that it will be useful to continue the exchange of views through the diplomatic channel.


5

Message to His Excellency Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

July 29, 1958

As you know, the Prime Minister of Turkey is here in London at present for the meeting of the Heads of Government of the Baghdad Pact powers. As I told you in my message of July 4, I hope that we shall have the opportunity for talks on Cyprus although our time is naturally very fully occupied with other things. I am hoping that it will soon also be possible for me to have similar personal talks with Your Excellency too.

But as an immediate measure I would ask Your Excellency, as I intend to ask Monsieur Mederes, to join with me in issuing a united appeal for peace in Cyprus. As you know, violence in the island has increased sharply over the past few weeks, and the Governor has had to take drastic action to try and restore the conditions necessary for peaceful and orderly progress. The leaders of the two communities in the island have joined with the Governor in an appeal to end bloodshed, and Archbishop Makarios has also endorsed this appeal. It seems to me appropriate therefore that the Prime Ministers of the three countries concerned should add their voices in this vital endeavour which concerns us all. I hope that Your Excellency will welcome this suggestion which, as I said, I shall also be putting to the Prime Minister of Turkey.

Whatever may be the political problems involved I should hope that we could all agree on a message which common humanity demands.


6

Statement made by the Greek Prime Minister

July 30, 1958

Premier Mr. Karamanlis made the following statement to–day :

«The British Government have accepted the suggestion made twice in the House of Commons in the last few days, that the Governments of Greece, Britain and Turkey should be asked to appeal for the cessation of bloodshed in Cyprus.

Although it is common knowledge that the unilateral truce observed by the Greek side was suspended only when organized attacks against the life and property of Greek Cypriots took place, I do not wish to leave this British request unheeded.

I believe I am voicing the feelings of the Greek section of the population of Cyprus, who during their long struggle for freedom have never attacked the minority of the Island,' when I express the wish that peace and goodwill be restored among the people of Cyprus, who have lived united for many centuries.»


7

Text of message to the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece

Athens, July 31, 1958

In the messages conveyed to me on the 4th and the 29th of July, by Her Majesty's Ambassador in Athens, you express the wish that we meet in the near future in order to discuss the recent British plan on Cyprus.

Through my message of June 21st I already had the opportunity to assure Your excellency that I also deem it desirable that we meet in connection with the Cyprus issue. It is equally my wish, however, (which you share with me, I am sure) that our meeting be crowned with success. It is for this reason that I had advanced the necessity of assuring its adequate preparation through diplomatic channels.

In conformity with this line of thought my Government have conveyed to you through Sir Roger Allen certain views on the subject to which we, unfortunately have received no reply as yet.

By not accepting certain fundamental points of the British plan the Greek Government do not seek so much to secure a greater or lesser number of advantages in favour of the Cypriots as to create the necessary conditions for the pacification and unity of the island as well as for the reestablishment of friendly relations between Greece, England and Turkey.

Your plan, providing for the participation of the three Governments in the administration of the island, separate assemblies for each section of the population and dual nationality, divides instead of uniting the island. Instead of simplifying and settling the issue, it complicates it to a dangerous degree. Indeed, if applied, it will lead to an intense antagonism both between the majority and minority of the population and among the governments of the countries it involves in the adminstration of the island. Each one of them will seek to strengthen its position in view of a «second round», with the result that the situation will be aggravated instead of improved.

This being my conviction as to the results of the application of the plan, it would be most inconsistent on my part, were I to take part in discussions concerning its application, since I would thus knowingly contribute to the aggravation of a situation whose improvement we seek.

I, therefore, believe that we should eliminate those parts of the plan that have provoked my concern.

In my desire to help bring the present deadlock to an end I will repeat my views in all earnestness.

I believe we will not be able to convince the Cypriots that the provisional solution provided by the plan does not prejudice the final solution, unless we give up the idea of involving the governments of Greece and Turkey in the administration of the island through the nomination of representatives to the Council, as well as that of a triple condominium for the future while providing further for a single parliament representing the whole of the population.

If it could be made certain, so to speak in advance, that these views will prevail in the drafting of the final plan, we would be able to meet in order to discuss the remaining parts of it.

I take this opportunity to express my regret that the conciliatory attitude adopted by the Greek Government in their sincere desire to contribute to the settlement of the issue and the improvement of relations between allies, was not duly appreciated. On the contrary in has led to reactions which render a settlement more difficult while, indeed, creating dangers for the future.


8

Letter to His Excellency Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece, from the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

August 14, 1958

My dear Prime Minister,

On my return to London I feel I must thank Your Excellency once again for your great courtesy in receiving me in Athens last week and for the clarity and sincerity with which Your Excellency explained to me the views of the Greek Government.

As you know, I subsequently visited Ankara for a similar personal exchange of views with the Prime Minister of Turkey. Having also studied with attention the informal memorandum which the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was good enough to send me, my colleagues and I can now fairly say that we are in possesion of all the elements on which to take the necessary decisions. As Prime Minister in the government of the United Kingdom I am fully conscious of the heavy responsibility which now lies upon me. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the policy which Her Majesty's Government have announced is the one most likely to restore confidence in Cyprus and to conduce to the strengthening of friendships in a vital area, which I know Your Excellency desires and which the world situation now facing us demands.

I am sending Your Excellency herewith the text, of a statement on Cyprus which I shall be issuing on the afternoon of the 15th of August. You will see from this that Her Majesty's Government have felt it their duty to press forward with the broad policy which they have already announced.

Nevertheless, further reflection since the 19th of June has caused me to make certain additions and adaptions, in the interests of all concerned. I have thought it right to express a hope that, in the light of the two communities' experience in operating separately through their Houses of Representatives and jointly in the Governor's Council, some further progress may in due course be made towards some form of representative institution involving their cooperation and joint action. I have decided to defer the proposals with regard to dual nationality because, on examination, I find them to involve some rather complicated legal problems. I have also made provision that the representatives of Greece and Turkey shall not actually sit on the Governor's Council, although their functions as set out in the White Paper remain unchanged; they will work, as it were, side by side with the Governor without being under his chairmanship, and this status will, I think, be more consonant with their character as the representatives of sovereign Powers. Finally, the Governor has been authorised to facilitate, where appropriate, the formation of separate municipal authorities for ordering their communal affairs.

No plan can ever be perfect, but Her Majesty's Government's intentions are based on an honest attempt to find a just and fair way out of the difficulties posed by the Cyprus problem. I know how much importance Your Excellency also attaches to achieving a solution of those difficulties, and I am confident that I can rely on a full measure of understanding and cooperation from your government. We must all consider how great are the issues involved if all our countries, bound together as they are in a great alliance to defend the freedom of the world, are to match by their personal efforts the level of events.


9

CYPRUS: Statement of policy

August 15, 1958

On June 19, 1958, the Prime Minister presented to Parliament a statement of the policy which Her Majesty's Government intend to pursue in regard to the Cyprus problem for a period of seven years. This policy was explained by the Prime Minister to the House of Commons in broad terms and its outline and main practical features were described in the Parliamentary Statement of Policy of June 19, 1958 (Command paper 455). As Parliament was informed, the policy has been the subject of friendly and confidential consultations and discussions within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the last few days the Prime Minister has had the opportunity of personal meetings in Athens and Ankara with the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, which have enabled him to acquaint himself at first hand with the views of their respective governments.

After the most careful consideration of the views expressed to him by the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, and, in the light of the advice tendered by the Governor of Cyprus regarding the situation in the island, Her Majesty's Government have decided to proceed to give effect to the policy as announced to Parliament in the following manner :

An Order in Council has already been approved authorising the preparation of electoral rolls in the island. This is expected to take two to three months. Meanwhile in accordance with the spirit of the decision whereby the communities are encouraged to order their own communal affairs, the Governor will where local circumstaces make this desirable authorise the establishment of separate Greek and Turkish Cypriot municipal councils. When the electoral rolls are complete it will be possible to hold elections for the two Houses of Representatives. The preparations for the elections should involve consultations between the Governor and leaders of the two communities. If, as Her Majesty's Government earnestly hope, violence ceases, this will make possible the return of those at present excluded from the island in order that they may play their part in these electoral processes and in consultations on the details of the system of respesentative government and communal autonomy set out in the statement of policy. As soon as the Houses of Representatives have been elected, they will be asked to elect their representatives to the Governor's Council, which will then become the authoritative body to deal with all matters not specifically devolved upon the Houses of Representatives or reserved to the Governor at his discretion.

With regard to the Representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments as proposed in the statement of policy, Her Majesty's Government feel on reflection that the representatives of other sovereign Powers could not suitably sit as members of the Council under the chairmanship of the Governor. It would be more correct to regard them as specially appointed representatives of their countries with direct access to the Governor and with such other facilities as they need to carry out their functions. Her Majesty's Government invite the Governments of Greece and Turkey to appoint their representatives accordingly with effect from October 1. The establishment of this system of communal assemblies charged with certain specific functions, and of the Governor's Council charged with other more general duties does not exclude and should with general good will facilitate the development of some form of representative institution serving the interest of the island as a whole.

As regards the proposal for dual nationality, it does not appear that there is need forurgent action in this matter. Further enquiries have revealed that any special provision of this kind would require carefully devised legislation in view of the complexities of international law ; it is, therefore, wiser to defer action pending the consideration of the legal and other aspects.

Finally, Her Majesty's Government appeal with confidence for support from all concerned for the two major concepts which underlie their policy. The first is a period of calm and the cessation of violence in the island. The second is the deferring for a period of seven years of any final solution without prejudice to the future or the views and aspirations of any parties concerned. At the same time such a period cannot be a period of stagnation. Her Majesty's Government feel that the form of growth and development which they propose is one suited to the needs of the moment, and in conformity with the two principles which appear to be generally accepted by all concerned.


10

Text of message to the Right Honourable Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, from Monsieur C. Karamanlis, Prime Minister of Greece

Athens, August 19, 1958

I have carefully studied the contents of your letter of August 14th. During our recent meeting in Athens you had the opportunity of ascertaining our good will and sincere desire to reach a solution of the Cyprus question acceptable to all.

You will thus appreciate the disappointment and regret which the contents of your letter have caused us.

The position of Greece on the Cyprus issue is well known to Your Excellency. We are claiming the right of self-determination for the Cypriots. For that reason Greece has appealed to the United Nations convinced that the exercise of this right cannot be refused to a European people, living still under full colonial status.

In view, however, of recent complications, mostly of an artificial nature, Greece has accepted to postpone temporarily the final issue, and to discuss a provisional solution which would leave the future status of Cyprus entirely open and would ensure to the people of Cyprus, during the period of its application, a democratic self—government with all possible guarantees in favour of the Turkish minority. Such a solution would lead to the pacification of the island, which we all sincerely desire, and would strengthen our alliances in this area so vital to peace.

It is in this spirit that I addressed to Your Excellency my letter of June 21st stating the reasons for which your plan is not conducive to pacification and conciliation.

Furthermore, during our talks in Athens, after having stated the basic position of my country on the Cyprus question, I had the opportunity of explaining that your plan ought to be cleared of those elements which deprive it of the agreed provisional character of the solution and which, instead of simplifying the issue, complicate it further.

Thus I had asked :

a) that no third government be involved in the administration of the island. I notice instead in your recent statement that the provision for the two representatives is maintained with capacities which render clear their interference in the administration.

This, however, will create everyday complications, constant discord and rivalry which would aggravate the relations not only between the two sections of the population but also between the two allied countries.

But above all, the very presence of the two representatives within the provisional administration will engender conditions which will, in time, give rise to claims for permanent rights. This also clearly contradicts the agreed provisional nature of your solution.

b) In regard to the two separate Houses of Representatives I had stated my view that a single Legislative Assembly ought to be instituted to deal with all matters except those reserved to the Governor. Even if the idea of two Houses were to be retained, their authority strictly limited to communal affairs only, a single Assembly representative of the whole population ought to be set up.

I notice instead that not only the two Houses are maintained with authority not clearly determined, but that the single Assembly, which we consider as a basic element of the whole system, is only vaguely mentioned.

c) You will recall that during our conversations we also raised the question of the numerical composition of the Council in order that it would correspond to that of the population. Unfortunately, even on that point, no modification was brought to your initial plan.

Not only the above points have not been modified, but also a new element has been added which would disrupt the unity of the population, since the Governor can authorise the establishment of separate municipal councils in the towns and villages of Cyprus.

I cannot sincerely see why the system of single municipal councils, which is in force many centuries in Cyprus and all over the world, need now be abandoned on the island. The dangerous complications which the establishment of separate municipal councils in the towns and villages of Cyprus will provoke, are clear to everybody and I must say that, whatever doubtful political expediency this measure is destined to serve, I am unable to understand how such an unprecedented institution has been conceived.

In general, our observations, as Your Excellency will notice, seek to remove from your plan those elements which divide the Cypriots in an almost organic way, instead of promoting concord and cooperation.

The Greek Government, thus appreciating the situation, regret that they are unable to cooperate in the application of your plan. They do not, therefore, intend to appoint a representative to cooperate with the Governor of Cyprus. The Greek Government have never asked to participate in the exercise of sovereignty on the island. Moreover, as I have pointed out, this would serve no purpose.

As regards the attitude of the Greek Cypriots, it was for them to decide whether they would cooperate with your plan or not.

I am afraid, Mr. Prime Minister, that the plan put forward by the British Government, without the modifications suggested by the Greek Government, will not serve the purposes which you have proclaimed, the pacification of the island and its prosperity. Thus, the plan retains the traces of the unfortunate solutions which have caused so tragic complications throughout the world, at the expense of the prestige of the free world, and that because they exceeded the limit beyond which the basic principles in international life cannot be harmlessly sacrificed to ephemeral expediencies.

The Greek Government have not hesitated to make conciliatory moves in view of the pacification of the island and the strengthening of their alliances.

If similar moves had been forthcoming from the other sides as well, we would have by now overcome the present crisis. I must emphasise that in their conciliatory efforts the Greek Government have been seconded by the people of Cyprus, not only through the recent proposals made by their representative, but also through the truce which thrice the Cypriot fighting organisation has offered and kept although constantly provoked to discontinue it.

We, therefore, face with a clear conscience the future developments since we have done everything possible to render them peaceful and constructive.

Since the agreement for a provisional solution has been frustrated, Greece will continue with all legitimate means her efforts towards the freedom of the people of Cyprus.

From various sides it is pointed out to us that in spite of our moderation our future will be dark if we do not accept the plan which you propose. The Greek Government are fully conscious of the ordeals which they will eventually have to face. But the Greek Nation is prepared as in other similar circumstances, to stand these eventual ordeals for it has full confidence in justice.

 


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