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Kissinger's role during 1974 events outlined in Foreign Office documents
2005-02-21 14:47:04

London -- Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s primary interest during the tragic events of 1974 in Cyprus was not to take any risk of losing Turkey’s goodwill in relation to the US policy in the area.

This is the main conclusion of a report by Mr. James Callaghan, who was then UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of State, which together with other confidential papers of that time were recently released for publication, according to the 30 years rule.

The report, titled British Policy on Cyprus: July - September 1974, gives backround information on the events and the policy pursued by each side involved in the crisis.

''I had from the first'', the report says, ''been in frequent telephonic communication with Dr Kissinger. Initially, indeed, it appeared that British and US policy was identical and, certainly I and my staff were unstinting in conveying information and opinion to the Americans.''

''In fact, despite the appearance of confidence our policies and our actions never marched together … Throughout the summer there was doubt about the extent to which the Americans were willing to exert the pressures at their disposal to dissuade the Turks from aggressive action. The Turks themselves concluded early on that American pressure was merely a paper tiger. I was less willing to doubt their assurances to me. The events demonstrated that Dr Kissinger was more concerned with the maintenance of Turkish goodwill as a bulwark between the Soviet Union and the Arab states,'' it adds.

Mr. Callaghan goes on to say that towards the end of August the Turks, not having yet established themselves firmly in the territories they occupied, might have been more forthcoming for a compromise on proposals for a solution if a new initiative was taken.

He writes in his report: ''I sent Sir John Killick and my Assistant Private Secretary to Washington. Dr Kissinger received them with courtesy but made it plain that he was unwilling to give the wholehearted support I sought. In these circumstances for us to proceed with such an initiative would have been to court failure''.

He adds that on January the 9th,1975, the British Ambassador to Washington Rasbotham had lunch with Dr Kissinger during which Cyprus came up in the context of a wider discussion on western security.

Ambassador Rasbotham reported to the Foreign Office: ''Dr Kissinger said that with all due respect to the special position of the United Kingdom , Cyprus was a peripheral issue from the US perspective, when compared with the importance of Turkey to the security of the eastern Mediterranean .In particular Turkey’s role was crucial to US – Soviet relations over the Middle East. If Turkey’s security was undermined, there would no longer be any barrier between the Soviet Union and Syria''.

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