Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/16): Cyprus
Unwise to announce relaxns. of E.R. in same statement - would look like a bargain. This wd. be more agreeable to Turks.
Content with this presentn. Govr. is willing to defer his relaxations until after his return to Cyprus.
Amendments of drafting - suggested & approved.
On substance - what are next steps?
No profitable consultn. with Cypriots until NATO initiative has bn. carried some way. Stress that, and say we can't usefully go to discussion of internal situation until we see what progress is made on internatl. side of problem. But indicate that at the proper time talks will be held, on internal aspects, with suitable repves. of Gk. & Turkish Cypriots - and admit that Makarios is likely to be one of former. Can say he will not be sole repve. of Cyprus. Also that he can't be allowed to return to Cyprus.
This confirms my view that it is mistake to release Makarios now. His condn. is tht. we call off the emergency. Tho' we deny that we accept this condition, if we release him we imply acceptance. We therefore hand him the initiative : viz., enable him to use threat of reviving terrorism as means of extorting concessions in discussions when they start. "Post-fabricated" argument in para. 5.
I couldn't be a party to this decision.
On form of statement - I see objn. to first part of para. 5. Mght be better to say : "Nevertheless they see no advantage in continuing his detention."
That is the real question. Is there any advantage in keeping him any longer?
Wd. there by any gain for us in re-conquering Cyprus? We haven't really decided what is our ultimate purpose over C. If we want to create an impasse, we mght wish to have talks on R. Rpt - to reach impasse over s.d. wh. can't be condition unless other Govts. agree.
They might waive that condition, if we brght them up against Partition. Gks. dislike that - possibly so much tht. they wd. accept R. constitution. This is different fr. Ireland - because it may be our purpose to get out.
We mustn't give impression of being pushed around - will react on our posn. in other parts of world.
Wd. sooner say now we favour partition.
His release now will make it more diff. for us to play the hand as we wish. Pressure for his return to C. will grow. And if we have to yield on that we shall be in v. weak posn.
In long run will see tht. C. is more liability than asset, militarily. Only mil. po …………
Cab. is divided. Arguments are nicely balanced. This is bound to be so on many of the issues we now have to face. Don't like this. But believe tht., when A'bishop's statement is publd., people will think he has come some way. He will be careful about re-starting terrorism. Not satisfied that, w'out a pol. move, Govr. wd. be able to eradicate it wholly - v. hard in mountainous countries. Best we can hope is tht. it can be brght under control for long enough to enable us to make a move twds pol. solution.
Hope Cab. will endorse release as the better of 2 v. diff. courses. Presentn. now proposed will be more correct : more agreeable to Turks & to Tory Party.
Not, for me, a ques of principle. Tho' I fear it is a mistake.
V. difficult for me. No use remaining in a Cab. if one frequently accepts decns. v. own judgment. Undermines confidence in one's judgment. Must therefore ask to be allowed to consider my position.
Taken from C.C. 25(57) - Meeting held on 28 March 1957.