NEAR EAST: CYPRUS —World News and Views, 1942 2
CYPRUS, A BRITISH BASE by E. JOANNIDES—World News and Views, 1946 3
19th CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY: THE DECLARATION OF THE EMPIRE COMMUNIST PARTIES’ CONFERENCE—World News and Views, March 15th 1947 5
EMPIRE COMMUNIST PARTIES’ CONFERENCE, 1947: CYPRUS WANTS UNION WITH GREECE by S. JOANNOU—FRATERNAL DELEGATE FROM AKEL, THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY OF THE WORKING PEOPLE OF CYPRUS 8
CYPRUS MEANS COPPER—World News and Views, 1948 10
NEAR EAST: CYPRUS BY PAPIONNAOU, E.—World News and Views 11
COMMENT: CYPRUS BY PEFKOS, G.: CYPRUS, STRIVING FOR A SOLUTION—World News and Views, 1968. 12
NEAR EAST: CYPRUS —World News and Views, 1942
“Let us win people as allies rather than try to maintain them as subjects.”
In 1931, Britain re-voted the constitution which gave the Cypriots a measure of self-government. The question was raised by W. Gallacher M.P. in the House of Commons on January 21st. George Hall, Labour M.P. for Aberdare, Under Secretary for the colonies, replied to the Government.
Mr Gallacher asked the Under Secretary of State for the colonies whether, as the Cypriot people are loyal supporters of the Allied cause, which they have proved by their sacrifices in the battles of Africa, Greece and on the Western front in 1940, where they have suffered 2,256 casualties, he is prepared to restore civil liberties to the people of Cyprus, and will he make a statement about the restoration of the Constitution which was revoked in 1931?
Mr George Hall: “I am glad to have this opportunity of expressing on behalf of his Majesty’s Government their sense of the very valuable contribution which Cyprus is making to his Majesty’s Forces and to the imperial war effort generally. In the present situation however, my noble friend does not consider it practicable to take up the questions to which the Hon. Member refers.”
Mr Gallacher: “Is not my Hon. friend aware that this imperialistic determination to keep other people as subjects plays beautifully into the hands of the Axis Powers and menaces the liberty not only of the colonial people but of the people of this country? Will he urge his noble friend to reconsider the matter and institute a measure of liberty of Cyprus?”
Mr Hall: “I am sure my Hon. friend appreciates the difficulty at the present time.”
Mr Gallacher: “I do not appreciate any difficulty.”
Mr Hall: “The attention of the colonial Office and the local government is taken up with matters arising out of the war.”
Mr Gallacher: “As there is a war on, is it not more desirable to win people as allies rather than to try and maintain them as subjects?”
World News and Views, 1942, No. 5, page 79.
CYPRUS, A BRITISH BASE by E. JOANNIDES—World News and Views, 1946
It has now been officially reported that naval, air and military bases are to be established in Cyprus, subsidiary to Tanzanyika for the defence of the Suez Canal.
The purpose stated—defence of the Suez—is only partially true. Recently the Commander of the British forces in Cyprus visited Turkey to be at hand during the Anglo-American conversations on the Dardanelles, for the defence of which Cyprus is reputed to be destined to play an important role. To the east are the turbulent Arab nations, struggling for freedom, whom the RAF can effectively dominate from Cyprus. Thus, after 68 years of British rule, neglect maladministration, economic sharp practices and dictatorial government, Cyprus—bought by Disraeli as a British place d’armes in support of Turkey against Russia, is in fact, to be turned into an aircraft carrier and naval base for Britain (and maybe the USA) in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Cypriots view this with undisguised alarm. It is against this background that the recent declarations of the Colonial Secretary (October 23) in the House of Commons must be viewed. Mr Creech Jones stated that the Labour Government is seeking to establish a more liberal and progressive regime in the internal affairs of Cyprus. This is understood to mean that some form of central elective legislature is to be established. A consultative assembly is to be called by the Government to make proposals for a new constitution. The anti-ecclesiastical laws of 1937, forbidding the election of new archbishops, have been abrogated and the political exiles of 1931 are now allowed to return home. A ten-year £6,000,000 economic plan for development and welfare has been elaborated.
These proposals completely ignore the national demand of the Cypriots for union with Greece. Cyprus is to be saddled with a new constitution for the framing of which a few ‘appointed’ Cypriots will offer some suggestions. A constitution to be democratic must be framed by the people concerned through their elected representatives. In the form of that Mr Jones visualises it, it will be giving the Cypriots no executive power whatsoever. The Colonial Secretary said nothing about the monstrous laws swarming the Statute Book about the immediate abolition of all illiberal legislation and the restoration of the rights of free speech and of assembly.
The proposals of Mr Creech Jones had a chill reception in Cyprus. They have been condemned by all the political parties and the Ethnarchic Council, as a means for perpetrating British occupation in exchange for some real and some shadowy concessions the Cypriots will continue to struggle for the right to be united with a free Greece, freed from the imperialist shackles.
World News and Views, 1946, page 398-399.
19th CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY: THE DECLARATION OF THE EMPIRE COMMUNIST PARTIES’ CONFERENCE—World News and Views, March 15th 1947
We, the representatives of the Communist Parties in the countries of the British Empire, have met in conference in London from February 26th to March 3rd, and, having considered the problems of the common fight of the peoples against imperialism, for national independence, world peace and security and for co-operation of all nations based on equality, we make the following declaration:
We greet with enthusiasm the unprecedented upsurge of the Colonial and subject peoples in the great struggle for liberation, and pay our homage to the countless martyrs who have laid down their lives in this just and noble cause. We send our fervent greetings and solidarity to the national movements of the colonial countries and express our ardent support for unity for the uncompromising aim of national independence.
The victory of the peoples in the war against fascism, a victory to which the Colonial peoples greatly contributed has led to the strengthening of the democratic forces throughout the world. The Socialist Soviet Union is stronger than ever, the new democracies have been firmly established in Europe, the UN founded and the ranks of the workers in all lands consolidated by the World Federation of Trade Unions. The defeat of Germany, Italy and Japan has undermined the old imperialist order everywhere. We can see the struggle for national independence as a continuation of the aim for which the war against fascism was fought. The immediate advance of the peoples of the subject countries to national independence is now on the order of the day.
Anglo-American imperialism is everywhere seeking to preserve and extend its grip on the colonial world, suppress the rising tide of colonial revolt, split and disorganise the national movements and by political manoeuvres, deny real independence. It seeks to maintain privileged imperialist exploitation by its armies and police and is building up strategic bases in Palestine, the Arab countries of the Middle East, India, Malaya and parts of the Far East to kindle another world war, aimed at the Soviet Union and the peace loving peoples of the world.
The policies are an expression of the crisis of the colonial world and above all, the crisis of the British Empire. The US, now the dominant world imperialist power, with huge material and strategic resources, is out to dominate the world and to absorb the British Empire countries as the richest prize.
British imperialism, weakened by the war, is more and more forced into the position of a junior partner of America. The crisis in Britain and the crisis in the empire go hand in hand. Britain’s imperialist policies and commitments, drawing her manpower, intensifying the enormous deficit in the balance of payments, still further increase the dependence on American strategic and military superiority in the Anglo-American block.
We condemn the continued occupation of Greece, the subjection of Cyprus and Malta, the holding down of Palestine, the bolstering up of reactionary feudal puppet regimes in Iraq and Transjordan, the retention of British troops in Egypt, the categorical refusal to recognise the national independence of India and Burma, the denial of a democratic constitution to Malaya and the maintenance and use of British troops in these countries to suppress their freedom movements and the military aid given by British imperialists to crush the liberation struggle of the peoples of Indonesia and Vietnam.
A great responsibility rests upon the working and peoples of the British Empire countries in the struggle between the forces of reaction fermenting a new world war and the forces for peace and progress. The imperialist policies continued by the British Labour Government are a betrayal of its election pledges. Aided and abetted by the Dominion Governments, it is stimulating and encouraging the warmongering elements everywhere. These policies are not only a denial of the just rights of the colonial peoples, but a negation of the real interests of the working people of Britain and the, Dominions.
The Communist Parties will ceaselessly strive to rouse the working masses and all freedom-loving peoples within the countries of the empire to struggle to defeat the war-makers. The fight for the peace of the world, the advance of the subject peoples to independence, the struggle of the workers for socialism are all part of a common fight. The alliance of the freedom movements of the subject peoples and the working class movement is vital for the victory of the aims of both.
The common interests of all the peoples of the empire countries require: abandonment of the Anglo-American block and the restoration of the unity of the Three Great Powers and full support for the UN; strengthening and extension of the British-Soviet Treaty, close co-operation with the Soviet Union and democratic nations for disarmament, democratic advance and international co-operation; withdrawal of troops from all except ex-enemy countries in accordance with the peace settlement; acceptance of the principles of democratic self-determination; international economic co-operation.
We declare that the democratic right of self-determination of all peoples is a cardinal principle of Communist policy. We demand the immediate unqualified independence of India, Burma and Ceylon.
We express our solidarity with the Arab peoples in their fight for the evacuation and independence of Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and Transjordan, and we oppose all imperialist schemes such as those for a ‘Greater Syria’, the Near Eastern Block and Anglo-Arab Joint Defence Committee, which are a menace to the National existence and future of the Arab people.
We demand the recognition of the right of Cyprus and Malta to complete self-determination so as to enable these countries freely, in accordance with the wishes of their people, to re-unite with their respective motherlands, Greece and Italy.
We condemn the denial of elementary rights and liberties, the widespread practice of racial and colour discrimination in Africa and other British Empire territories. We demand the repeal of all repressive and discriminatory legislation, ordinances and laws, the provisional of popular legislative assemblies based on universal suffrage, freedom of speech, movement, association and organisation and declare our full support to these people in their aspirations for freedom and the right of self-determination.
These measures can be effective only if the monopolies, which operate in the colonial countries, are rendered unable to dominate the economic life of the peoples, spacing out their wealth and enforcing conditions of starvation, disease and misery on the people. It is the duty of the Labour Governments in the Metropolitan and Dominion countries to abolish these monopolies and to aid the peoples of these colonies to develop their own interests so as to win them as allies on an equal basis in the fight for the achievement of Socialism. This will lay the basis for international economic cooperation of these countries with the advanced industrial countries of the world on the basis of equality, ensuring their rapid economic development and the onward march of the advanced countries.
We welcome the growing solidarity between the movements of the workers in Britain and the Dominions and the subject peoples of the Colonies. Our joint struggles will strengthen the bonds of fraternal assistance between the trade unions of Britain and the Dominions and the colonial peoples.
The British Communist Party has a special responsibility in the association with those forces of the Labour movement now struggling for a complete change in the Labour Government’s foreign, colonial, and empire policy. The Communist Parties of the Dominions also have special responsibilities along similar lines, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, where Labour Governments are in power along the same lines.
Our conference in London has strengthened the bonds of fraternal solidarity of the Communist Parties within the countries of the empire. The leading role in building the solidarity of the peoples of the empire countries must be borne by the working class in Britain, the Dominions and the Colonial countries. For most in this task will be the Communist Parties with their socialist understanding and internationalist spirit.
We are confident that the outcome of our conference will assist to strengthen practical co-operation between the working class movement and the peoples of the empire countries in the struggle for our common aims, against imperialism and reaction, for liberation and democratic advance, for peace and for social progress, preparing the way towards the world victory of Socialism and the equality and brotherhood of all nations.
World News and Views, Volume 27, No. 9, March 15th 1947. EMPIRE COMMUNIST PARTIES’ CONFERENCE, 1947: CYPRUS WANTS UNION WITH GREECE by S. JOANNOU—FRATERNAL DELEGATE FROM AKEL, THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY OF THE WORKING PEOPLE OF CYPRUS
Before 1931, owing to the immaturity of the working class, there were no political parties in Cyprus. Elections were fought around persons or groups of persons whose ideology and programmes were almost identical. The only exception was the Communist Party, which however, was very weak and almost entirely isolated from the masses. After 1931, when legal political activity was suspended, the illegal political activity of the Communist Party considerable raised its prestige aeons the people. When legal political activity again became possible, AKEL was formed in 1941 to take the place of the illegal Communist Party.
Party membership is now 4,000 out of 450,000 people which makes it in relation perhaps the strongest Communist Party of the British Empire. It is the only working class party in Cyprus and it has an exclusive influence among the trade union movement. It has also a considerable influence among the poor peasants, the youth movement, the Pan-Cypriot Association of Small Shopkeepers, the Union of Ex-Servicemen and among intellectuals. It is the strongest party in the island, both as regards membership and influence and the best organised.
During the latest municipal elections, AKEL secured an overwhelming victory in the second and third towns of the island. In the capital itself, in a fourth town (there are only six towns in all), and in the majority of villages where municipal elections were held, the candidates of the National Co-operation Movement, which was supported by AKEL, secured striking victories. Thus the majority of the people of Cyprus, of both towns and villages, declared themselves in support of the policy of co-operation on the national question, supported by AKEL.
Associated with our party are 13,000 organised workers combined under the Pan-Cyprian Workers Federation. This federation is the successor of the Pan-Cyprian Trade Union Committee, which was declared illegal when all its 18 executive members were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment early in 1946. This was obviously an attempt to smash the Labour movement of Cyprus. The attempt failed, however, and both trade unions and AKEL are now stronger than ever, while pressure forced the Government to release the trade union leaders in October 1946.
The Cypriots are Greeks. Greeks in culture, sentiment, speech—Greeks in everything. Consequently, we want to form part of Greece. The struggle for union with Greece is the major political issue confronting the Cypriots. We shall not cease fighting for the achievement of that end, sure that the world democratic forces and, in particular, the progressive forces of this country, of which the Communist Party is the heroic vanguard, are standing by our side.
As occupying power, Britain is losing no time in consolidating this: improvements to harbours are planned to facilitate their use as naval bases, an American radio-monitoring station is being installed, accommodation for over 80,000 troops, many times bigger than the pre-war garrison, is in preparation. The island’s economy already top-heavy, has been further weighted by having to feed over 30,000 illegal Jewish immigrants, human counters now cynically admitted to be expendable in the American ‘drive to the East’. But against this picture of the increasing subjection of Cyprus to Anglo-American imperialist exploitation and military aggression, must be set inspiring achievements in the advance of the working class, of increased progressive political activity and Trade Union organisation especially in the years since the war.
In the decade previous to the war, following the violent suppression in 1931 of the National Liberation movement, the banishment of its leaders and the abolition of the Constitution, political parties and even the Greek flag, were made illegal and only the underground Communist Party continued the struggle.
During the war, and especially after Italy’s attack on Greece, the Government was forced to relax some of its oppressive measures and political parties were legalised. Legislation, however, was -and is- still dictatorially enacted by orders in council. Municipal authorities became elected bodies and in elections in 1946, the AKEL (Working People’s Progressive Party) and left groupings won all the principal cities on the island. The anticipated results of a genuinely democratic general election are the nightmare of every British Government official. At this time too, trade union and Co-operative activities were legalised, though the Government’s intentions as to their limitations were shown in 1946 by the notorious attempt to smash the Trade Union movement by the arrest of 18 of its leaders; it was at their trial the sentences of which were subsequently revoked owing to popular pressure in Cyprus and abroad that the prosecutor declared that Marxist books were illegal in Cyprus.
Today, working class activity has reached its highest level yet, with the 13,000 members of the Pan-Cypriot Workers’ Federation represented on the WFTU, while delegates from the 4,000 strong AKEL Party attended the historic Empire Parties’ Conference in London last year. The circulation of Demokratis, the daily organ of the AKEL, has reached new heights. In a predominantly agricultural country, the Co-operatives, the progressive Union of Cyprus Peasants, and ex-servicemen’s communal farms lead the way to tee liberation of the peasant from the triple burden of drought, soil erosion and debt. The fundamental demand of the National Liberation Movement in Cyprus is that of union with a democratic Greece whose culture is that of the vast majority of Cypriots. The present Greek fascist government, existing only through Anglo-American backing, is clearly inimical to Cypriot national aspirations, and a united left wing organisation, EAS has been formed under the leadership of AKEL to further a policy of national self-determination with union with a free Greek nation as its goal.
An EAS delegation came to Britain in February to pursue the question of the constitution that was promised two years ago, a promise which Creech Jones has conveniently forgotten.
It is the special responsibility of our Party to demonstrate to the proletariat of the dominant nations that our victory “... cannot be a lasting one unless the non-sovereign nations and colonies are emancipated from the yoke of imperialism.” (Stalin, Pravda, May 8th 1921) and to demand the right of non-sovereign nations and colonies to political secession. Their struggle is our struggle, and our strength is our unity.
M.M. CYPRUS MEANS COPPER—World News and Views, 1948
Now entering its fourth month, the strike of the Cyprus Mavrovouni copper miners, to which the Daily Worker of May 6th 1948, has again drawn attention, is the present focus of the Cypriot people’s struggle against foreign exploitation and as such contains many encouraging new features. Chief of these are the resolute unity of Greek and Turks among the two thousand miners out and the inspiring solidarity behind them of the trade union movement and the people, who have been giving £2,000 a week to the strike fund, organised trade unionists giving one day’s pay weekly.
The Cyprus Mines Corporation, who owns the mines, are part of a world-wide combined controlled by American capital. The two year contract between the Cyprus Mines Corporation and the miners’ union expired on December 31st 1947 and the union, considering the previous wage-rates invalidated by the sharp rise in the cost of living (the official index shows a 38% increase since 1945) demanded increases averaging 20%, with a closer adherence by the management to the 48 hour week, and an ultimate revision of conditions under which operatives got neither holidays with pay, nor pensions, nor notice of dismissal. Claims were submitted on December 15th, last year but the Cyprus Mines Corporation uncompromisingly refused negotiations, and the strike opened on January 13th, 1948. The miners now demand that the Government mediate to start negotiations and point out that the loss of purchasing power by the workers (some £150,000 to date) is having a serious effect on the retail trade of the island. The government however, ignore this and a recent official declaration states that they are only concerned with the ‘maintenance of law and order’, which infamous maxim is widely interpreted by the police in the procuring and protection of black-legs, armed attacks on pickets, and numerous unlawful arrests.
The situation affords yet another confirmation of the point made by Comrade Palme Dutt in this Report to the Empire Parties’ Conference referring to US penetration of the British Empire, that ‘American Policy seeks to use British manpower to police the subject colonial countries, while itself drawing the economic plums with a minimum of risk and cost.’ The plums in this case are the valuable copper ore, all exported and the Cyprus Mines Corporation’s profits, virtually untaxed and vastly increased since the war.
After an unparalleled history as pawn on the political chessboard of the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus was cynically admitted to the British Commonwealth in 1878 as part of the price Turkey had to pay for British support against the Balkan National liberation movements and as a military base against Tsarist Russia. With our present government’s intention—that is, its’ declared intention—to evacuate Egypt and Palestine, the position of Cyprus as the British possession nearest to the Soviet Union emphasises her undenied role as an outpost of imperialism.
World News and Views, 1948, Volume 28, page 201.
THE RE-UNION OF CYPRUS WITH GREECE—JUNE 10, 1950.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
22ND NATIONAL CONGRESS
REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE
Covering the Period November, 1949 to December, 1951
The Executive Committee of the Communist Party declares its unreserved support for the demand of the people of Cyprus for reunion with Greece. This demand was expressed with unflinching determination in the plebiscite of January 15, 1950, and is in line with the declared policy of the British Government that “no peoples will be left within the British Empire against their will.”
We denounce the policy of the British Government, which is converting Cyprus into an aircraft carrier and a war base, and is allowing the island to be used as a spying centre by American monitoring stations.
The right of self-determination is the inalienable right of all colonial peoples. By their contribution during the Second World War the people of Cyprus have shown their political maturity and their ability to manage their own affairs. Union with Greece must therefore be unconditional and cannot be dependent upon the granting by Greece to the British Government, or any other Government, of concessions, special rights or military, air or naval bases.
We condemn the consistent violations by the Cyprus Government, responsible to the Colonial Office, of civil rights and liberties. We denounce the latest measures of the Cyprus administration in ordering the imprisonment of all members of the Municipal Council of Limassol for re-naming a street, and in banning the Congress of the Cyprus National Liberation Coalition.
The Executive Committee calls on all democratic organisations to protest against the violation by the British Government of the Declaration on Human Rights, which its spokesmen have supported, and to demand:—
The end of war preparations and the withdrawal of all military forces from the island of Cyprus.
The end of special rights and extra-territoriality for American units on the island.
Recognition of the right of the people of Cyprus to be re-united to Greece. ,
Respect and guarantees for civil liberties and rights while British rule is still in force on the island.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
22nd NATIONAL CONGRESS
held at Battersea Town Hall, London, S.W. during Easter, April 11th—14th 1952
NEAR EAST: CYPRUS BY PAPIONNAOU, E.—World News and Views
For twelve years, the people of Cyprus have been denied constitutional government. Hope of a change in the attitude of the British Government came last November with the Colonial Secretary’s statement that steps were being taken to restore municipal Government in the island. Indeed, the splendid record of the people of the strategic island of Cyprus in this war adds enormous weight to their claim for the end of the present dictatorial rule.
But, while the promise of municipal elections arouses hope, present political and economic conditions on the island are bad.
The Economist of January 16th, reported that the orange groves were deteriorating, scarcity of fertilisers had reduced the potato crop, there were signs of inflation and that the disappearance of articles from the market after the fixing of prices added to the difficulties of the people. Other and later reports tell of a 250% rise in prices for many necessary articles since 1939.
Because of the abolition of constitutional government, the only way in which the workers of the island can bring their demands to the notice of the Government is through the trade unions. These have put forward demands for efficient price control and measures against hoarding. But despite the fact that the trade unions are the leading anti-fascist organisations whose attitude has helped the defence of the island and the recruitment of Cypriot units for service on many war fronts, the government has not welcomed their proposals. Instead a policy of repression has been followed. Eight leading trade unionists have been arrested and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. Police are searching trade union offices. The secretary of the Party of working people has been stopped in the street and searched. Meetings of more then five persons are illegal and the celebration meeting for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Russian Revolution was banned.
This policy solves nothing, worse, it is most dangerous: for Cyprus now, as always, is a key military position in the Eastern Mediterranean and economic hardship and political repression cannot but undermine the hither to splendid morale of the people.
The Cypriot people have always been ready to make every sacrifice for victory in this war. The Cypriot dead on the battle-fields of France and Libya are the guarantee of this. It is imperative that the British people and labour organisations compel the British Government to end this political repression, take immediate measures
to lower the cost of living and carry through the pledge on municipal elections, which will prepare the way for the restoration to Cyprus of its right to elect its own parliament.
World News and Views, No. 6, page 45. COMMENT: CYPRUS BY PEFKOS, G.: CYPRUS, STRIVING FOR A SOLUTION—World News and Views, 1968.
The barriers erected between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus by the imperialist powers through their criminal policies of ‘divide and rule’ and which have cost the Cypriots terrible losses in lives and property, are breaking up these days, and in most places have already been swept away. On March 8th, the President of Cyprus declared in a press statement that the pacification measures of the government which were started a few weeks before will be ‘wholly implemented’ in the Turkish part of Nicosia and all over Cyprus, and that all restrictions of movements for the Turkish Cypriots as well as restrictions on sales for certain materials which might be used for building fortifications, are totally lifted from that very day.
Two days later, some very moving scenes have been reported by all Cypriot newspapers from all over Cyprus and particularly from some parts of the capital, Nicosia.
For example, in the neighbourhood of Nicosia, Omorfita, which is close to the Turkish part of the city and where some of the worst bloody fighting took place in 1963 and 1964, groups of Turkish Cypriots visited their abandoned houses and other property for the first time since the fighting.
When their Greek neighbours saw them, they cheered and welcomed them in the usual warm Mediterranean way. A young Greek Cypriot policeman when he saw his next door neighbour, an old Turkish lady, shook her hand and kissed it, while the old woman embraced him crying out the words “Curse the foreigners who have done all this...”
Most probably, the old lady was an illiterate peasant, but the hard experience and sufferings of the last few years have taught her a hell of a lot.
In the central general market of Nicosia, Turkish Cypriots paid up old debts to their old grocers and butchers, while their Greek friends were offering them goods on credit if they were hard up.
Naturally, some chauvinist elements from both sides did not like these new developments and tried to stop them. But the forces striving to bring about the restoration of the old, traditional friendship and co-operation between the two Communities are so strong that they can overcome any artificial obstacles.
On March 11th, U. Thant the Secretary General of the UN, in a written statement to the Security Council (SC) stated that he was “intending to call the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders to start direct negotiations on the Cyprus question”, underlining that conditions for such negotiations have never been so promising since 1963, the year of the outbreak of hostilities between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
U. Thant’s written statement to the Secretary General was given a few days after an important memorandum was sent by the President of the Republic of Cyprus to him containing proposals for the restoration of good will and co-operation between the two communities, and for a ‘feasible’ solution of the Cyprus problem.
Meanwhile, it was reported in the Cypriot, British and other newspapers that the Attorney General of Cyprus, Mr Tornantes, who was in London a few days ago, was engaged in negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot leader Raouf Dentash, while Dr Kutchuk, the other prominent leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, was stating that in Nicosia that he was not “excluding approaches between the two sides.” Furthermore, Turkish newspapers in Turkey and Cyprus were underlining the fact that the results of the presidential elections in Cyprus have shown that Makarios is the only real authority for negotiating a solution of the Cypriot problem.
For over two years, prior to the fascist coup in Greece, organised and executed with the help of the American imperialists, the Greek and Turkish governments were conducting negotiations under the auspices of the United States and behind the backs of the Cypriot people, for a NATO ‘solution’ of the Cyprus problem. The criminal arm of the imperialists and their servants, was to impose such a ‘solution’ on Cyprus, once the negotiating ‘partners’ had reached an agreement between themselves.
Time and again, it was reported that an agreement was reached, based on an ‘American plan’ (Lemnitzer, Acheron or others) which meant actual partition of Cyprus and the conversion of the island to a NATO base. However, time and again the American imperialists and their ‘partners’ were confronted with the adamant refusal of President Makarios, the people and the Government of Cyprus.
Again the recognition of the fascist military junta in Greece by the American, British and Turkish governments (in spite of the almost universal opposition of British and American public opinion to the Greek dictators) was hastened with the aim of re-opening the negotiations between ‘interested’ parties for a ‘solution’ in Cyprus.
And indeed, negotiations had again started between the ‘interested’ parties and again behind the back of the people of Cyprus.
To facilitate the implementation of a NATO solution of the Cyprus problem, some very serious incidents were engineered in Cyprus, resulting in a great loss of lives: this led to the removal of General Grivas from Cyprus, as well as the fourteen or so thousand Greek troops who had been stationed in the island. After that, President Makarios stated in no uncertain manner that he would strive for an ‘attainable’ solution of the problem of Cyprus, realised under existing conditions. Such a solution, it was stated, would mean a completely independent, sovereign and peaceful Cyprus, in place of the previous aim of ‘genuine Enosis’ (reunion with Greece).
This declaration of the President of Cyprus was supported without any hesitation by the Cypriot people, including the Labour Movement of Cyprus, and the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL).
However, the protagonists of ‘immediate enosis’, who on essence are supporters of NATO and the partition of Cyprus accused the President of being a ‘traitor’, and developed a vicious and filthy campaign against him, and the Party of the working people.
Last month’s presidential elections were fought on this issue. In fact, Makarios put in front of the people his idea of an ‘attainable’ solution of the Cyprus problem based on the present circumstances and asked them to express their opinion.
AKEL, the trade unions and practically every political, religious and social organisation of the people stated in advance their complete support for the new line of policy declared by the President.
The only exceptions were the protagonists of ‘immediate enosis’ and the supporters of NATO and the fascist ‘junta’ in Greece.
The imperialists saw in the presidential elections a chance for creating new tensions and divisions within the Cypriot people and for that they advised their supporters to run a candidate against Archbishop Makarios, Dr Eudokas, who is a psychiatrist.
For the Cypriot people, the issue of the elections was crystal clear. From the one side, it was Makarios of Cyprus and from the other, Dr Eudokas of NATO and of the fascists in Greece.
A terrific electoral campaign was carried out, with the progressive movement playing an important part. As a result, out of a total number of 247,653 registered voters, a total of 231,438 people voted that is, 93.45%.
From these, Makarios received 220,911, that is 95.45% and Dr Eudokas 8,577, that is, 3.71%.
About 16,215 did not vote and 1,950 ballot papers were spoiled.
So, today over 95% of the Greek people of Cyprus stand united against imperialist intervention in the internal affairs of their country, against the conversion of Cyprus to a NATO base and for a completely independent, sovereign and peaceful Cyprus. And the unity of the democratic right and the left in Cyprus is a guarantee for the success of their common struggle. And this is not the only positive factor as far as Cyprus is concerned.
Many years ago a couple of gunboats could bring down kings and governments in the Middle-East. During the last few years, the American Sixth Fleet was dominating the Mediterranean, going to the ‘rescue’ of every reactionary and fascist government, blackmailing people and helping to impose brutal military regimes, just like the one in Greece today.
However, during the last few months or so, there is a revolutionary change on that part of the world. Today the Mediterranean has definitely ceased to be ‘an imperialist lake’ because alongside the piratical fleet of oppression and blackmail stands a powerful Red Fleet, always ready to assist any people asking for help to resist imperialism and fight for their national independence and sovereignty.
The mere existence of the Soviet Fleet in the Mediterranean constitutes a constant help to the peoples of the Middle-East fighting imperialism and aggression.
North of Suez
Quite a lot has rightly been said about the East of Suez bases, to the extent that the British government promised, at least, to abolish them by 1972. Now whether these bases will be abolished or not is another matter.
But what about the British bases north of Suez? About 100 square miles of Cyprus land area are used by the British government as military and nuclear bases, costing the British people well over £33 million, at a time when vicious attacks have been made against the social services, and the standard of living of the British people. These bases, with thousands of British lads stationed on them, have been used time and again against the friends and neighbours of the Cypriot people, contrary to its will.
Very recently, it was stated in the House of Commons that the British Government has no intention of ‘giving up’ the bases in Cyprus, thus the British people will continue to pay the millions for their existence. For the Cypriot people there can never be complete independence as long as these bases exist. Therefore, the stage of the struggle of the Cypriot people is an anti-imperialist, national liberation struggle, for a completely independent, sovereign, demilitarised Cyprus, a centre for peace in the Middle East. The active support of the British people to the struggle for a completely independent and demilitarised Cyprus is therefore for the mutual benefit of both British and Cypriot peoples and for the real interest of peace in that area and of the whole world.
World News and Views, Volume VI, 1968, page 237.