AHI President Gene Rossides Elected Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens
Washington, DC—American Hellenic Institute President Gene Rossides was elected a Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens in the field of Legal Science, branch of Ethics and Political Science. The formal reception and ceremony took place at the Academy of Athens on October 30, 2007 where the President of the Academy Professor Panagiotis L. Bokotopoulos presented Mr. Rossides with the Academy’s certificate and pin. Academy Member Professor Epaminondas Spiliotopoulos, president of the section of Legal Science, then presented Mr. Rossides’ work. Following, Mr. Rossides gave a speech entitled “The United States and Cyprus and the Role of the Greek American Community,” which is printed below.
The United States and Cyprus and the Role of the Greek American Community
By: Eugene T. Rossides
October 30, 2007
Academy of Athens
Mr. Former President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Former Prime Minister, Mr. President of the Council of State, Mr. President of the Academy of Athens, Members of the Academy of Athens, ladies and gentlemen
I am deeply appreciative of the high honor of my election as Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens which I accept with deep humility on behalf of my parents, my wife Aphrodite who is here with our daughter Eleni, and on behalf of the American Hellenic Institute members and staff, without whom I would not be here today.
The United States’ involvement in Cyprus basically started after the December 1963 incidents in Nicosia which initiated intercommunal strife between the 80 percent Greek Cypriot majority of 500,000 and the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority of 116,000.
The incidents followed the effort of President Makarios to amend the constitution to remove its undemocratic features, including the Turkish Cypriot minority’s veto power over major governmental actions.1
Britain bears the major responsibility for the Cyprus problem because of its colonial policies and actions in Cyprus particularly after World War II including its typical divide and rule policy.
On August 16, 1960, Cyprus gained its fettered independence from British colonial rule through the London-Zurich Agreements of 1959-1960 which barred both union with Greece and partition.
Turkey threatened an invasion in December 1963. Diplomatic activity, with U.S. involvement, resulted in Security Council Resolution 186 of March 4, 1964, which quoted Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter against the “threat or use of force,” recommended the creation of a UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus, and the designation of a mediator.
The intercommunal troubles continued. Turkey again threatened to invade in June 1964, but was deterred by U.S. diplomatic efforts including a strong letter from President Lyndon Johnson. The next crisis occurred in November 1967. President Johnson sent Cyrus Vance to Cyprus on a diplomatic mission to prevent the outbreak of further hostilities. Vance’s mission was a success. Between 1968 and 1974 talks were held to halt the intercommunal conflict and achieve a new constitutional arrangement. Substantial progress was made. The fateful events of July and August 1974 precluded further progress on a negotiated settlement at that time.
Turkey’s 1974 aggression, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid policy in Cyprus with Kissinger’s complicity.
In September 1973, Henry Kissinger became Secretary of State and also retained his position as National Security Advisor to President Richard Nixon.
In the first six months of 1974 the State Department Cyprus Desk officer, Thomas Boyatt, tried to alert Kissinger to the growing danger of a coup against Makarios by the Greek junta.
Kissinger rejected several attempts of Boyatt to get an instruction cable approved to inform the Greek junta to stop any action against the Makarios government. Boyatt stated that “In the end, the U.S. government did not forcefully tell the Greek government to leave Cyprus alone or we are all going to be in a lot of trouble.”2
On July 15, 1974, the Greek junta initiated a coup against the Makarios government. That coup, supported by Kissinger, precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on Saturday, July 20, 1974 with the active support of Kissinger.
The coup against the Makarios government succeeded but Makarios miraculously escaped assassination and was flown by the British to London where he met as head of state with Prime Minister Harold Wilson on Wednesday, July 17. On Thursday, he flew to New York.
I met President Makarios at JFK Airport on that Thursday and went with him to the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Makarios spent Thursday evening preparing his remarks. The next day, Friday, July 19, he addressed the UN Security Council as head of state.
On Saturday July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus with the illegal use of American-supplied arms in violation of U.S. laws, the Foreign Assistance Act and the Foreign Military Sales Act, and the United Nations Charter (Article 2, paragraph 4). Turkey captured about four percent of the north of Cyprus with a corridor from Kyrenia on the north coast to Nicosia when a UN cease fire went into effect on July 22.
Turkey cited the Treaty of Guarantee of the London-Zurich Agreements as her authority to use force to invade Cyprus. The Treaty of Guarantee did not give Turkey any such authority. The Treaty banned union with Greece and partition and Article IV only authorized “action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty.” There is no mention of the word “force” in the Treaty. If there were it would be in conflict with the UN Charter and therefore null and void. Sir David Hunt, former British High Commissioner in Cyprus, stated that Turkey never had any intent to restore the status quo ante and that Turkey’s aim of territorial partition and a separate Turkish Cypriot state was “specifically excluded” by the Treaty of Guarantee.
On Monday, July 22, 1974, I accompanied President Makarios to the State Department where he met with Secretary Kissinger. Kissinger did not accord Makarios head-of-state status.
While Makarios was meeting with Kissinger, I met with Ambassador-at-Large Robert McCloskey, Kissinger’s media and policy adviser on his immediate staff. I knew McCloskey from the days I was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
During that visit with McCloskey, I specifically told him that Turkey’s use of U.S.-supplied arms for the invasion of Cyprus made Turkey immediately ineligible for further military aid and that the language of the laws was mandatory. It was not a matter of Executive Branch discretion.
McCloskey replied that they would look into it, which, in effect, meant they would do nothing. With that answer and Kissinger’s failure to invoke U.S. laws against Turkey for its invasion of Cyprus, his failure to denounce publicly Turkey’s actions and with American made bombs dropping from American made planes on my relatives, I decided to form an organization with a full time professional staff and an office in Washington, DC for lobbying and think tank purposes dealing with U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus.
I called and wrote to several friends in the Greek American community to join me. I incorporated the American Hellenic Institute and rented space as of August 1, 1974. That started the Greek American lobby.
On July 23, 1974, both the Greek junta and the Sampson regimes fell.3 Pursuant to the 1960 constitution, Glafkos Clerides, President of the Cyprus House of Representatives, was installed as Acting President of Cyprus. Thus the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored 8 days after the coup.
In my view the public record is clear that Kissinger encouraged the Greek junta coup against the Makarios government on July 15, 1974, and then encouraged and orchestrated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on July 20, and supported and encouraged the second and massive wave of the invasion by Turkey from August 14 to 16, 1974 which occurred three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored on July 23, 1974.
Kissinger’s actions and deliberate inactions before and after the coup prove his complicity in the coup and invasion.
First, Kissinger rejected the advice of Tom Boyatt, his Cyprus Desk officer to inform the Greek junta to stop any action against the democratically elected Cyprus government.
Second, he refused to denounce the coup while Britain, other democracies and the UN denounced it. If Kissinger had denounced the coup, the Greek junta would have fallen and the crisis ended. But Kissinger wanted to oust Makarios. It was a prime motivation of his actions.
Third, Kissinger directed the U.S. ambassador to the UN to postpone the Monday night July 15, emergency UN Security Council session on Cyprus, to Friday, July 19, which gave Turkey time to prepare to invade Cyprus.4
Fourth, he actually leaked to the New York Times on Wednesday July 17, that the State Department was leaning towards Sampson, whom the coup leaders installed as President of Cyprus, over Makarios. That story was the lead story on page one of the Times on Thursday July 18. This gave Turkey the excuse to invade as they opposed Sampson.
Fifth, Kissinger refused to denounce the initial Turkish invasion of July 20, 1974 and declare Turkey in violation of U.S. laws by the illegal use of U.S. arms for aggression. Britain and most other nations and the UN denounced the invasion, but not the U.S. Kissinger failed to halt arms to Turkey immediately as the law and his oath of office required. If he had the matter would have been resolved in short order and the second wave of the invasion would not have occurred.
Sixth, Kissinger refused to denounce Turkey’s massive second wave of its invasion and aggression on August 14 to 16, and again refused to stop arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law.
On August 8, 1974, Britain, Greece and Turkey began the second round of talks in Geneva. On August 13, Turkey issued a surprise ultimatum to Greece and Britain to accept Turkey’s proposal for one large and five smaller Turkish Cypriot “cantons” covering thirty-four percent of the island nation, which was tantamount to partition, which was barred by the Treaty of Guarantee.
That same day, the State Department spokesman, Ambassador Robert Anderson, issued a statement, cleared by Kissinger, saying that “the Turkish community on Cyprus requires considerable improvement and protection,” although there was no evidence of any danger to the Turkish Cypriot community. That statement was a blatant support of Turkey’s outrageous ultimatum and an invitation to use further force.
On August 14, 1974, Turkey unilaterally broke off the negotiations, violated the UN cease-fire, launched a second more massive aggressionwithout a pretext, occupied thirty-seven percent of Cyprus, committed war crimes and forcibly expelled 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties.
In effect, through Kissinger’s actions and deliberate inactions, the U.S. became an accomplice to Turkey’s war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid policy which severely damaged U.S. interests in the region.
Declassified Documentary Proof of Kissinger’s Complicity in Turkey’s Aggression Against Cyprus
Declassified documentary evidence is mounting and buttresses the public record as to Kissinger’s involvement in, and complicity with, Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus.
A shocking August 14, 1974, “SECRET/EYES ONLY MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY SUBJECT: CYPRUS ACTIONS” from Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor of the State Department, to Secretary Kissinger became public a few months ago. It was prepared at the request of Kissinger for “some brief ideas of what we do next.” The memorandum fully supported Turkey’s aggression and land grab of one-third of the island.
The Sonnenfeldt memorandum indicts Kissinger as an accomplice to Turkey’s aggression, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes against the Greek Cypriots and exposes his lawlessness and incompetence.
Kissinger had Sonnenfeldt send to him a memorandum which is self-serving and erroneous by stating “Nothing I can think of will stop the Turks now from trying to secure by force what they demanded in their ultimata…and that the only conceivable modus vivendi will have to rest on a de facto division of the island.” Then Sonnenfeldt tells Kissinger “we should…, assuming the Turks quickly take Famagusta, privately assure the Turks we will get them [a] solution involving one third of [the] island, within some kind of federal arrangement.”
Clearly Kissinger told Sonnenfeldt what he wanted in the memorandum.
Ambassador McCloskey deserves credit for two recommendations he made which Kissinger rejected. In his oral history interview on May 8, 1989,5 McCloskey said he had urged Kissinger to take a tough U.S. public stance against the July 15 coup against President Makarios which Kissinger rejected. Second, on August 14 during a meeting in Kissinger’s office about what the State Department was going to do in view of Turkey’s massive second wave of its aggression, McCloskey stated “I said, ‘I think that we should announce that from today we will suspend any further deliveries of U.S. military equipment to Turkey.’ Well, he [Kissinger] exploded.” (Emphasis added.)
Kissinger bears the prime responsibility for the 1974 tragedy of Cyprus including all the murders, rapes, destruction and looting involved. Kissinger’s actions and inactions (1) violated U.S. laws, his oath of office, the UN Charter and the NATO Treaty, and (2) exhibited utter incompetence in his belief he could partition the island between Turkey and Greece without adverse consequences to U.S. interests and NATO interests.
The U.S. has a moral responsibility to redress the situation. The U.S. should also redress the situation because Cyprus is of substantial strategic value for U.S. interests in the region.
Congress, the Rule of Law Arms Embargo and the Role of the Greek American Community
I will now turn to our efforts to get a rule of law bill introduced and passed in the Congress to halt all U.S. military aid and sales to Turkey.
On Monday August 26, 1974, I reached Congressman John Brademas (D-Indiana) by telephone and told him that all military aid and sales to Turkey had to stop immediately under U.S. laws and that it was not a matter of Executive Branch discretion. He asked me to send him a memo which I did by messenger on August 27, 1974.
That memo formed the basis of a letter to Secretary Kissinger on August 29, 1974 from Congressmen John Brademas (D-Indiana) Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland), Peter Kyros (D-Maine) and Gus Yatron (D-Pennsylvania).
A messenger from the new American Hellenic Institute office delivered the letter to the State Department and a copy to the White House. That letter which stated that Turkey had violated United States laws and was “immediately ineligible for further assistance,” started the rule of law arms embargo fight in the House of Representatives.6
On August 29, 1974, I arranged through Sam Nakis of St. Louis, Missouri, a close friend and former Supreme President of AHEPA, to get my material to Senator Tom Eagleton (D-Missouri).
On Thursday, September 5, 1974 Senator Eagleton initiated in the Senate the rule of law arms embargo debate regarding Turkey by a statement he delivered on the floor of the Senate. His comments were reported in the New York Times on September 6, 1974.
Eagleton also introduced a non-binding sense of Congress Resolution that military aid and sales to Turkey be immediately suspended until Turkey complied with U.S. laws. Kissinger argued against the resolution and urged the Democratic caucus “not to write restrictions into the law that would tie President Gerald Ford’s hands in dealing with the Cyprus issue.” Eagleton responded by stating: “We are not writing restrictions into the law, Mr. Secretary. All we ask is that you enforce the law on the books.” Kissinger then said that in his view there were times in world history when diplomats had to act outside the law.7 (Emphasis added) The Resolution passed on September 18, 1974 with a significant vote of sixty-four to twenty-seven.
I then called Brademas regarding action in the House. On September 24, 1974, a bipartisan amendment introduced by Congressmen Pierre DuPont (R-Delaware) and Ben Rosenthal (D- New York), which embargoed military assistance and sales to Turkey, was added to the continuing resolution on appropriations by a resounding vote of 307 to 90.
The continuing resolution on appropriations is the legislative vehicle to fund the government at year’s end for all agencies of the government whose regular appropriations bills have not been completed. Therefore it is what is called “must” legislation.
During August 1974 I had one employee at AHI and in September two employees. I developed a basic numbering system of one to six to gauge the positions of members of the House and Senate on our rule of law arms embargo legislation. This numbering system was transmitted to the Greek American grass roots community with the results going to Brademas and Eagleton.
We received important support for the rule of law from the New York Times and other media. The New York Times in a series of editorials in September and October of 1974, condemned Kissinger’s failure to apply the law mandating the cutoff of military aid to Turkey in response to its invasion of Cyprus. The editorials state in part:
Turkey Is Ineligible
Cutting off American military aid to Turkey may, as Secretary of State Kissinger contends, be “ineffective and counter productive” so far as getting the Turks to roll back their occupation of Cyprus is concerned; but it is mandatory under the law. In pretending for nearly a month to be studying this question, the State Department is clearly stalling, as it has stalled at every point since the outset of the Cyprus tragedy when action was called for to demonstrate this country’s disapproval of aggression. (N.Y. Times, Sept. 14, 1974, at A28, col. 1.)
Toward Cyprus Peace
The overwhelming (307 to 90) approval by the House of a binding cutoff in military aid to Turkey until “substantial progress” is made toward a Cyprus settlement dramatizes American revulsion against the massive Turkish aggression on the island. The action was also aimed at forcing Administration compliance with laws that mandate such a cutoff when a recipient country misuses American military assistance. (N.Y. Times, Sept. 26, 1974, at A28, col.1.)
Turkey: Still Ineligible
The virulent White House opposition to efforts by decisive majorities in both houses of Congress to suspend military aid to Turkey has no basis in either law or logic. President Ford’s repeated threats to veto a bill requiring such a cutoff can only be seen as an attempt to block Congress from a meaningful role in the shaping of foreign policy and a move to fend off a blow at the prestige of Secretary of State Kissinger….
[T]he law is clear and it should be obeyed. Congress should stick to its guns on the military aid issue—veto or no veto. (N.Y. Times, Oct. 13, 1974, at A16, col. 1.)
From September 1974 through December 1974 there were twelve votes in the Congress, which included two near overrides of presidential vetoes, which resulted in the rule of law arms embargo against Turkey effective February 5, 1975.
AHI with its limited staff did not achieve the rule of law embargo alone. It was the efforts of hundreds of Greek American organizations and thousands of Greek Americans across the nation who achieved this enormous legislative result.
AHI did (1) create the issue of the rule of law as in the best interests of the U.S. and (2) initiated and led the first political activity by the Greek American community which stated that our government was wrong as to what was in the best interests of the U.S. when it failed to apply the rule of law to Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus.
The rule of law issue in the interests of the U.S. gave Greek Americans the vehicle and reason to become active and voice opposition to our government’s position. Never before in the 20th century had Greek Americans ever said to our government that it was wrong as to what was in the best interests of the United States.
1975 legislation to Overturn the Rule of Law Arms Embargo and Partial Lifting
On February 26, 1975, three weeks after the arms embargo went into effect, Kissinger had legislation introduced, S. 846, to overturn it.
On July 10, 1975, former Under Secretary of State George Ball and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance jointly testified against S. 846. They warned that passage posed the “grave danger” that the Turkish government would regard the bill as vindication of its past actions and as removal of pressure to make concessions toward a Cyprus settlement. 8 They proposed a three-month lifting of the embargo and its reimposition indefinitely if satisfactory progress had not been made to resolve the problem.9
On October 2, 1975, the House under intense pressure from the administration passed legislation which partially lifted the arms embargo by releasing $52 in military equipment already paid for by Turkey and authorizing $133 million in long-term purchases. The next day, the Senate, by voice vote agreed.
Governor Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign statement; the Carter years and the 1978 lifting of the remaining arms embargo
In the 1976 presidential campaign Governor Jimmy Carter on September 16, 1976 made a fine and comprehensive campaign statement based on the rule of law. He said that “the policy of the Ford Administration of “tilting away from Greece and Cyprus has proved a disaster for NATO and for American security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
He specifically endorsed UN General Assembly Resolution 3212, stating that: “Peace must be based on…Resolution 3212 of 1 November 1974…calling among other things for the removal of all foreign military forces from Cyprus. The widely reported increase in colonization of Cyprus by Turkish military and civilian forces should cease.”
After his election victory and under pressure from the State and Defense Departments, Carter broke his significant campaign pledges. In 1978 he mounted a massive effort to lift the remaining arms embargo which succeeded in August 1978. The law lifting the remaining embargo also stipulated, in effect, the seven to ten formula for military aid to Greece and Turkey.
In the 1978 embargo fight, Carter and the State Department told Congress that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots agreed that the area of Famagusta was to be turned over to UN administration for the resettlement of refugees. After the lifting of the embargo, Turkey did nothing and the U.S. did not press them.
Governor Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign statement and the Reagan years
In the 1980 presidential campaign, Governor Ronald Reagan stated that President Carter had “reneged on his campaign pledges” regardingCyprus. Candidate Reagan stated he supported “the full implementation of unanimously approved UN General Assemby Resolution 3212 of November 1974” which called for “the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces and foreign military presence and personnel fromCyprus.”
Under pressure from the State and Defense Departments, Reagan did not follow through on his 1980 campaign statement.
1983 Declaration of Independence by the Turkish Cypriots for the pseudo-state of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)
On November 15, 1983, the Turkish military orchestrated the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash and the so-called Turkish Cypriot legislative assembly to declare independence for what it called the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” To this day, Turkey is the only nation that recognizes this pseudo-state.
The declaration of independence of the TRNC was immediately condemned by the UN Security Council, including the U.S., and the European Union. In the U.S., the Greek American community reacted vigorously and was a factor in the U.S. condemning the TRNC; the Senate condemning it and unanimously urging the administration to take measures aimed at reversing the Turkish Cypriots’ action; and the House condemning the pseudo-state by a vote of 425 to 1.
Vice President George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign statement and the Bush years
On July 8, 1988, presidential candidate Vice President George H.W. Bush, made the following important statement regarding Cyprus, which goes to the heart of the Cyprus problem:
“We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights . . . . I want to see a democratic Cyprus free from the threat of war.”
President Bush pressed for a settlement which he nearly achieved. At a Paris conference in late 1991, Turkey’s then Prime Minister Yilmaz scuttled the deal with last minute objections.
Governor Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential Campaign Statement
1992 Presidential candidate Governor Bill Clinton issued a fine and comprehensive statement on Cyprus to the Greek American community on October 2, 1992 but did not follow through on his campaign statement.
I should stress that these presidential campaign statements did not occur out of thin air. They stemmed from the actions of the American Hellenic Institute and the determined and dedicated efforts of individuals and organizations in the Greek American community. The full text of these statements and the Sonnenfeldt memorandum will be on AHI’s Web site at www.ahiworld.org.
1995 Vote Against Grant Economic Aid to Turkey
In 1995, AHI initiated bipartisan legislation to cut $25,000,000 in economic grant aid to Turkey from the Foreign Aid Bill, which succeeded. The legislation passed overwhelmingly by a bipartisan vote of 247 to 155. The administration did not submit any further requests for economic grant aid to Turkey in succeeding years.
The 2004 Annan Plan #5
A few words about the 2004 Annan Plan #5. In 2003 and 2004 the State Department played a harmful role in giving full support to Britain, the prime draftsman of Annan Plan #5, which would have absolved Turkey, the aggressor, created two new states, abolished the state of Cyprus, made the victims, the Greek Cypriots, pay themselves for the damage done by Turkey, and given the Turkish Cypriot minority broad veto powers and given Britain off-shore sea bed rights in a biased 10,000 page constitution.
The Role of the Greek American Community
It falls on the Greek American community to take the lead in the effort:
How does the Greek American community do this? We do this by becoming an integral part of the foreign policy process as the Jewish American, Black American and Cuban American communities have done. It means being active with the four centers of power which shape and determine foreign policy in the U.S., namely:
In general, the development of foreign policy in the U.S. comes from the interplay of these four centers of power.
Fundamental to success with Congress and with the other centers of power is the need to have a few thousand grass roots community leaders throughout the country—with leaders in each of the 435 congressional districts—advocating the same policy positions.
American Hellenic Institute and Affiliates Roles Today
The roles of the American Hellenic Institute and its affiliates include the following:
Where Do We Go From Here?
The AHI has sent to each of the Democratic and Republican 2008 presidential nomination candidates the current Greek American Policy Statements and a special questionnaire.
We are currently working with the candidates and their staffs to obtain satisfactory positions on our issues. We will seek full support for the July 2006 UN Gambari agreement initiative which Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are not implementing. We will also seek assurances that they will use adequate diplomatic, political and economic pressure on Turkey to achieve a workable, financially viable and fair settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Kissinger’s duplicity, the Sonnenfeldt memorandum and McCloskey’s oral history should give the Greek American community renewed determination in the interests of the U.S. to redouble its efforts with our government to remove the illegal Turkish troops and colonists from Cyprus and to give full public support for a just and viable Cyprus settlement.
AHI President Gene Rossides Elected Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens