CONTENTS

London Conference

In January 1964, in view of the serious situation resulting from the fighting in Cyprus, the threats and acts of intervention and aggression from outside, and the forcible movement of population, the British Government convened a conference in London to deal with the problem. But a few days after the conference had started it became clear that its purpose was to persuade the Cyprus Government to agree a) to the dispatch to Cyprus of troops from various countries friendly and allied to Britain and Turkey for the ostensible purpose of maintaining law and order, and b) to the establishment of an intergovernment committee, with the participation of governments supplying contingents, to issue directives to the troops. Whatever might have been the motives and intentions of the various countries submitting that proposal, the representatives of Cyprus realised that acceptance of that proposal would inevitably result in the occupation of Cyprus by foreign troops and in the replacement of the authority of the Cyprus Government by that of the so-called intergovernmental committee, which would have made it easier for the Turks to pursue their plans for the geographical separation of the Turkish Cypriot minority. In fact, that was precisely what the Turkish representatives had demanded at the opening of the London Conference; but the representatives of Cyprus opposed that plan and all similar plans submitted to them, and the Cyprus Government finally brought the matter before the United Nations. To do so it had to resist pressure brought to bear from several quarters. At one point it had even been told that an appeal to the Security Council would be sufficient reason for Turkey to invade Cyprus. During the entire period the threat of a Turkish invasion was constant. Turkish military aircraft flew over Cyprus, and Turkish war equipment and trained officers clandestinely landed on the island. All this culminated in the bombing by Turkish jets of Cypriot villages and towns in August 1964. About 100 Greek Cypriots - mainly civilians - were killed and a large number were injured. Following Turkish threats to invade the island, the Cyprus Government brought the matter before the United Nations.

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Giorgos Zacharia (lysi@mit.edu) 1995-1999.