Makarios writes General Ghizikis,on 2 July 1974
Tomorrow is the 29th anniversary of the coup organized by the Greek Junta to overthrow Makarios. During the spring of 1974, Cypriot intelligence found evidence that EOKA B was planning a coup and was being supplied, controlled, and funded by the military government in Athens, which itself had direct links to the CIA. Despite Makarios attempts to ban EOKA B, its operations continued underground. On July 2 Makarios sent a Letter to the president of Greece accusing the junta of plotting against his life and against the government of Cyprus, and requesting that the remaining 650 Greek officers assigned to the National Guard be withdrawn. The response by Ioannides was a fatal miscalculation, both from his personal point of view and from that of the Cypriot people. On July 15 1974 he responded by ordering the Greek led Cypriot National Guard to overthrow Makarios and take control of the island.
As a tribute we present for our readers the letter Archbishop Makarios have sent to the Greek President Faedon Gizikis
Nicosia, 2nd July 1974
It is with deep regret that I am bound to report to you certain unacceptable conditions and facts, for which I consider the Greek Government responsible.
Since the secret arrival in Cyprus of General Grivas, in September 1971, rumours have circulated and there were well founded indications that he came to Cyprus urged and encouraged by certain circles in Athens. It is, however, certain that Grivas, from the first days of his arrival in Cyprus, was in touch with Greek officers from Greece, serving in the National Guard, by whom he was given help and support in his efforts to form an illegal organisation and to struggle allegedly for Enosis. He created the criminal organisation “EOKA B”, which was the cause and the source of many ills for Cyprus. The activities of this organisation which, under the mantle of patriotism and Enosis slogans, has committed political assassinations and many other crimes are well known.
The National Guard, which is officered and controlled by Greek officers, was from the start the main supplier of both men and materials to “EOKA B”, the members of which euphemistically called themselves “Enosists” and the “Enosist Array”.
On many occasion I considered the question why an illegal nationally damaging organisation, which divides and causes internal dissension, splits the internal front, and leads the Greek Cypriots to civil war in Cyprus, is supported by Greek officers. On many an occasion I have also considered the question whether this support is approved by the Greek Government. I had a number of thoughts and reflections in order to find a logical answer to my doubts and to my questions. No answer under any circumstances or reflections could he supported on a logical basis. But the Greek Officers’ support of “EOKA B” is in reality an undeniable fact. The National Guard camps in various places and their surrounding areas are decorated with pro-Grivas and pro-“EOKA B” slogans and with slogans against the Cyprus Government and especially against me. Greek Officers make propaganda in favour of “EOKA B” within the camps of the National Guard, openly. It is also known and it is an undeniable fact that the opposition press, which supports the criminal activities of “EOKA B”, is financed by Athens, and is guided and takes its line from the persons in charge of the 2nd Bureau of the General Staff and the Greek Central Information Office (KYP) in Cyprus.
It is true, that whenever complaints were transmitted by me to the Greek Government about the attitude and behaviour of certain Greek officers, I received the reply that I ought not to hesitate to report such officers by naming them, and to state concrete accusations against them so that they would be recalled from Cyprus. I did this only on one occasion. Such a task is displeasing to me. But the evil is not cured by dealing with it in this way. What is important is the uprooting of the evil and its prevention and not simply to deal with the resulting consequences.
I regret to say, Mr. President, that the root of the evil is too deep and reaches as far as Athens. From there it is fed and from there it is conserved and spreads growing into a tree of evil, the bitter fruit of which Greek Cypriots are tasting today. And in order to be more and absolutely specific I state that members of the military regime of Greece support and direct the activities of the terrorist organisation “EOKA B”. This explains the involvement of Greek officers of the National Guard in the illegal actions, conspiracies and other unacceptable situations.
Evidence of the guilt of the circles of the military regime can be found in documents, which were found recently in the possession of leading “EOKA B” persons. It is from the National Centre that money was sent plentifully for the needs of the organisation. After the death of Grivas and the recall of Major Karousos, who came with him, orders were given regarding the leadership of the organisation, and generally all directives came from Athens. It is not possible to doubt the genuineness of these documents, because the typed ones have corrections made by hand, and the handwriting of the author is known. I enclose one such document as an example.
I have always had as a principle and have repeatedly stated that cooperation with each Greek Government constitutes a national duty for me. National interest dictates harmonious and close cooperation between Athens and Nicosia. Whichever the Government of Greece is, it is for me the Government of the motherland and I must cooperate with it. I cannot say that I have special sympathy with military regimes especially in Greece, the country which gave birth to and is the cradle of democracy. But even in this case I did not waver from the principle of cooperation. You should understand however, Mr. President, the sad thoughts which occupy and torment me, after ascertaining that persons of the Government of Greece are guiding conspiracies against me, and worst of all dividing the Greeks of Cyprus and driving them to destroy each other. Not just on one occasion up to now have I felt, and in some instances almost been touched by an invisible hand stretched from Athens, searching in order to destroy my human existence. However, for the sake of national expediency I kept silent. Even the crafty spirit which seized the three defrocked bishops who, created a great crisis in the church, had its source of origin and emanated from Athens. However, I said nothing regarding this. I just pondered and considered all this. I would have continued to remain silent regarding the responsibility of the Greek Government in the present drama of Cyprus, if I was the only sufferer on the stage of this drama. But covering up and silence are not permissible, when all of Cypriot Hellenism is suffering, when Greek officers of the National Guard, urged by Athens are supporting “EOKA B” in criminal activities, which include political assassinations and are generally aimed at the dissolution of the state.
In the effort to dissolve the state of Cyprus great is the responsibility of the Greek Government. The Cyprus state can only be dissolved in the case of Enosis. Since, however, Enosis is not feasible it is imperative to strengthen the statehood of Cyprus. The Greek Government in its entire stance regarding the issue of the National Guard is practicing an abrogative policy on the Cyprus state. Some months ago the General Headquarters of the National Guard, which consists entirely of Greek officers, submitted to the Government of Cyprus for approval a list of candidates for cadet officers, who would he trained in a special school and would subsequently serve, during the course of their service, as officers. The Council of Ministers did not approve fifty-seven of the candidates on the list. General Headquarters was duly informed by letter. Despite this, on instructions from Athens, Headquartes did not pay any attention to the decision of the Council of Ministers, which had, on the basis of legislation, the exclusive right to appoint officers of the National Guard. Acting with impunity and arbitrarily General Headquarters trampled on laws, ignored the decision of the Government and enrolled the candidates which had not been approved in the school for officers. I consider absolutely unacceptable this attitude of the National Guard Headquarters, which consists of officers dependent on the Greek Government. The National Guard is an organ of the state of Cyprus and it must be controlled by it and not by Athens. The theory of a unitary defensive area of Greece-Cyprus has its sentimental side, but in reality the situation is different. The National Guard, in the way it is composed and officered today has deflected itself from its purpose and has become a place of burgeoning illegality, a centre of conspiracies against the state and a source of supplies for “EOKA B”. Suffice it to say that vehicles of the National Guard in the recently increased activities of “EOKA B” transported arms and moved members of the organisation, whose arrest was imminent, to safety. The absolute responsibility for this deviation of the National Guard rests with Greek officers, some of whom are from head to foot mixed up and participate in “EOKA B “. And the National Centre is not without its share in responsibility. The Greek government could, with a simple nod, put an end to this regrettable situation. The National Centre could order an end to the violence and the terrorism of “EOKA B”, because it is from Athens that the organisation derives the means of its support and its strength, as is proved by various evidence and receipts. As proof of this unacceptable situation I note here in parenthesis, that in Athens slogans were written against me on the walls of churches and other buildings, including the building of the Cyprus Embassy, yet the Greek Government, despite the fact, that it knows the identity of the perpetrators made no attempt to arrest and punish even one of them, tolerating thus propaganda for “EOKA B”.
I have a lot more to say, Mr. President, but I do not think that I ought to speak at greater length. And in conclusion I convey to you that the National Guard which is officered by Greek officers, and whose sorry plight has shaken the confidence of the people of Cyprus, will be restructured on a new basis. I have shortened the period of service in order to reduce the ceiling of the National Guard and the extent of the evil. Possibly it could be observed that the reduction in the strength of the National Guard, due to the shortening of the period of service, would render it incapable of fulfilling its duty in the case of national danger. For reasons I do not wish to state here, I do not share this view. And I would request that the Greek officers serving in the National Guard be recalled. Their continued service and command of the National Guard would be damaging to the relations between Athens and Nicosia. I would, however, be happy should you wish to send to Cyprus about a hundred Greek officers to act as instructors and advisers to assist in the reorganisation of the armed forces of the Republic. I hope that, in the meantime, instructions will he given from Athens to “EOKA B” to terminate its activities since while it is not disbanded definitely it cannot be excluded that it will start a new wave of violence and assassinations.
I regret, Mr. President, that I found it necessary to say many unpleasant things in order to describe in these lines and in a language of raw sincerity the lamentable situation which has existed for a long time. This, however, is dictated by National interest, which I always have as a guide for all my actions. I do not wish to interrupt my co-operation with the Greek Government. It must, however, he kept in mind that I am not an appointed commissioner nor a locum tenens of the Greek Government in Cyprus, but an elected leader of a large section of Hellenism and I demand analogous behaviour towards me from the National Centre. The contents of this letter are not secret.
With hearty wishes,
Makarios of Cyprus