American Hellenic Institute


Facebook Image
Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel published in The National Herald
March 12, 2004—No.20 (202) 785-8430


WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald on March 6, 2004, page 11.

Cyprus and the Kissinger Cover-up

by Gene Rossides

March 6, 2004

In the current negotiations on the Annan Plan for Cyprus, the U.S. is continuing its cover-up of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger's Cyprus role to the detriment of U.S. interests. Instead of forcefully supporting the positions of the Greek Cypriots, the victims of Turkish aggression, the U.S. is saying that we will accept what the parties agree to.

It is instructive to recount the events of July and August 1974 and Kissinger's role. On July 2, 1974, the President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, in a letter to General Phaidon Gizikis, the President of Greece, accused the Greek regime of trying to overthrow his government and demanded the removal of about 600 Greek military officers who commanded the Cypriot National Guard.

On July 15, 1974, the National Guard, acting on instructions from the Greek dictator, Brigadier General Dimitris Ioannides, did overthrow the Government of Cyprus in a coup d'e'tat, attempted to assassinate President Makarios and installed Nicos Sampson, an ultra rightist as president. (NY Times, July 16, 1974, A1, col.8.)

Mr. Kissinger encouraged the Greek dictator Brigadier General Dimitris Ioannides' coup against the President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. Cyprus called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Kissinger succeeded in postponing the emergency meeting to give Turkey time to prepare to invade Cyprus. He then gave Turkey an excuse to invade by "leaking" to the New York Times on Wednesday, July 17, 1974, that the U.S. was leaning toward recognizing General Ioannides puppet Nicos Sampson over the legitimate President Makarios! That story was the lead story in theNew York Times on Thursday, July 18, 1974, page 1, column 8.

President Makarios miraculously survived the armed attack on the presidential palace and was flown by the British to Malta and then London where he met with the British Prime Minister on Tuesday, July 16, 1974. He then flew to the U.S. on July 17, 1974 and addressed the UN on Friday, July 19, 1974.

Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Mr. Kissinger had refused the request of the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Henry Tasca, to position the U.S. Sixth Fleet to prevent a Turkish landing on Cyprus.

Mr. Kissinger's perfidy does not end there. It is just the beginning.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution, S.C. Res. 353 on the same day calling upon "all states to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus." The Resolution called for cease-fire, demanded "an immediate end to foreign intervention" in Cyprus and requested "the withdrawal without delay from . . . Cyprus of foreign military personnel" except those present under international agreement.

On July 22, a cease-fire was declared and subsequently violated by Turkish forces. (NY Times, July 23, 1974, A1, col. 8.)

On July 23, both the Ioannides and Sampson regimes fell. Glafkos Clerides, President of the House of Representatives was installed as acting President of Cyprus and former Prime Minister of Greece, Constantine Karamanlis, was sworn in on July 24 to head a unity government.

Britain, Greece and Turkey, the guarantor powers, started negotiations in Geneva. On July 30 they ended the first phase of their talks and signed the Declaration of Geneva which called for a second cease-fire and for a halt to the expansion of occupied territory. Once again Turkey's armed forces violated the cease-fire. (NY Times, 7-31-74, A1, col. 1 and 8-1-74, A1, col. 5.)

At this point, Turkey held less than five percent of Cyprus and the legitimate Cypriot government had been reinstated on July 23, 1974, which reestablished the constitutional state of affairs prior to the coup.

On August 8, 1974, Britain, Greece and Turkey began the second round of talks in Geneva. One would have thought that the talks would succeed since the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored and an added bonus was that the Greek dictatorship had fallen. However, Turkey and Kissinger had other ideas.

On August 13, 1974, Turkey issued a thirty-six hour ultimatum to Greece and Britain to accept Turkey's proposal, which was tantamount to partition for six separate Turkish Cypriot "cantons" consisting of thirty-four percent of Cyprus for the eighteen percent minority.

That same day, August 13, 1974, the State Department spokesman, Ambassador Robert Anderson, issued the following statement, cleared by Kissinger, saying that the Turkish Cypriots needed more security despite no evidence of any danger to the Turkish Cypriot community:

"The U.S. position is as follows: we recognize the position of the Turkish community on Cyprus requires considerable improvement and protection. We have supported a greater degree of autonomy for them. The parties are negotiating on one or more Turkish autonomous areas. The avenues of diplomacy have not been exhausted and therefore the U.S. would consider a resort to military action unjustified. We have made this clear to all parties."

On August 14, 1974, Turkey unilaterally broke off the negotiations, violated the cease-fire, launched a second more massive aggression without a pretext, and in three days—August 14-16, 1974—occupied another thirty-three percent of Cyprus and forcibly expelled over 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties.

On August 14 and ensuing days the UN Security Council passed resolutions demanding a cease-fire and recorded "its formal disapproval of the unilateral military actions undertaken" by Turkey and urged compliance with its previous resolutions.

Since the 1974 invasion, Turkey has occupied the northern third of Cyprus and has illegally brought an estimated 100,000 colonists/settlers from Turkey who have been given homes and lands taken from Greek Cypriots and foreign nationals including American citizens.

Lawrence Stern, the Washington Post foreign news editor, wrote in his book The Wrong Horse p. 132, (1977) that Anderson also stated that "the U.S. has been playing an active role in the negotiations" and that Kissinger "has been in frequent contact with Turkish Prime Minister Eceirt, including four times by telephone within the past twenty-four hours."

It is significant to note that the British foreign minister complained that Kissinger had not been helpful in the negotiations.

It is also significant to note that Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader stated over Cyprus Bayrak Radio on July 15, 1974, the day of the Greek coup against the Makarios government:

"We are following the situation closely with the Turkish authorities. Our duty in this situation, which we believe is between Greek Cypriots, is to protect our internal security, to take care of our defense measures, and not to interfere in any way in inter-Cypriot Greek events." (U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, July 15, 1974, at 4).

It is clear that Kissinger encouraged Ecevit and the Turkish military. At no time did Kissinger denounce the Greek coup, the July 20, 1974 invasion by Turkey nor the August 14-16, 1974 massive renewed aggression. And most important, Kissinger violated U.S. laws and his oath of office by refusing to halt immediately U.S. military aid to Turkey after the Turkish invasion of July 20, 1974 and the renewed aggression and land grab of August 14-16, 1974.

Mr. Robert McCloskey, public affairs aide to Kissinger, in an 1989 oral history interview (Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Arlington, Va.), recounted two times in July and August 1974 when he offered advice to Kissinger which Kissinger refused.

The first advice was to give a tougher U.S. public response to the July Greek coup against Makarios. The second advice was his recommendation for an immediate suspension of deliveries of military arms to Turkey after Turkey's renewed aggression on August 14-16, 1974. McCloskey "felt that these two failures to take quick and decisive action reflected an incoherence in U.S. policy toward Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean." (See Mediterranean Quarterly, Winter 1997, at page 2, "A Tribute to Robert J. McCloskey.")

Since 1974 the State Department has refused to acknowledge Kissinger's Cyprus role. It has covered-up Kissinger's role by refusing to state that the Cyprus problem is one of aggression and occupation and treats it as a dispute between Greece and Turkey. It has refused to state that Kissinger violated U.S. laws and his oath of office by not halting immediately arms to Turkey as required by the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

The key official in the State Department who has led the cover-up this past decade is Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman.

And successive U.S. Cyprus Coordinators have acted as so-called mediators to both sides, refusing to acknowledge the State Department's responsibility for the 1974 Cyprus tragedy.

Ambassador Thomas Boyatt, the Cyprus Desk Officer in 1974 who disagreed with Kissinger, was transferred to Chile in the fall of 1974. He had a distinguished career and was honored for his work by his peers. He has stated that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to redress the situation. In remarks on June 10, 1998 at a conference on Cyprus he stated:

"But above all, I blame the United States. We knew what was going on and we could have stopped it. When you are then one of the world's two super powers, now the only super power, you have huge responsibilities and the responsibility is to get it right and to do something about it and we did not do either. So when I throw out the blame, I blame most of all, my own government. . . .

So, yes, a Cyprus solution is possible, but it is only possible if the United States steps up to its responsibilities and remembers its own guilt for what is the present status quo on Cyprus. To a large degree it is our fault so we have a redemption factor here." (The United States and Cyprus pages 323-325; 2002.)

The current U.S. Cyprus Coordinator, Thomas Weston, should, in the interests of the U.S., be playing an active role to make the Annan Plan democratic, workable, financially viable and just. He should be vigorously supporting the efforts of the Greek Cypriots, the victims, to make needed changes in the Annan Plan. Unfortunately he continues the cover-up of Kissinger's Cyprus role by saying the U.S. will accept what the Cypriots decide.

Mr. Weston fails to take a position on the following key problems with the Annan Plan:

  • its undemocratic provisions containing vetoes for the 18% minority;

  • its unworability

  • its subversion of property rights;

  • the territorial adjustment - 28.6% for a minority of 18% who have title to 14%;

  • the failure to fully demilitarize Cyprus; and

  • return of the 100,000 illegal colonialist settlers

In effect the U.S. is treating the victims, the Greek Cypriots, in the same manner as the aggressor, the Turkish military, ostensibly for the alleged importance of Turkey. In a future column I will discuss the "myth" of Turkey's importance for U.S. interests.

President George W.H. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared in Helsinki on September 9, 1990 regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait: "aggression cannot and will not pay." That policy should be the U.S. policy today regarding Turkey's aggression against Cyprus and the Annan Plan.

Call the White House comment line, 202-456-1111, and write to President Bush and urge him to support the positions of the Greek Cypriots, the victims of aggression, in the negotiations in the interests of the U.S.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at