The Illegal Treaties on Cyprus, by William Mallinson
The treaties of 1960 that allegedly established an allegedly independent Republic of Cyprus were never intended to allow a central government of Cyprus to behave independently. This because these treaties were predicated on keeping the Soviet Union out of the Eastern Mediterranean as much as possible. The whole arrangement was therefore based on the British bases. The fact that Cyprus became a member of the United Nations was based on the treaty of Establishment. The trouble is that the whole package of treaties (also of ‘Alliance’ between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, and of ‘Guarantee’) reflected illegality, essentially because of the Treaty of Guarantee. Why? Because the Treaty of Guarantee was in contravention of the United Nations Charter. Even the Foreign Office Law Officers recognised in 1967 that the treaty contravened Article 2.4 of the United Nations Charter, and was completely overridden by Article 103.
And since the three treaties were interdependent, they were all tainted. As regards the Treaty of Establishment, perhaps rather farcically, over half of it was devoted to the British bases. It is significant that before the London conference, Makarios was not even allowed to participate at the Zurich conference. As for the inevitable breakdown of 1963, the Foreign Office actually helped Makarios to draft his thirteen amendments to the constitution:
We have been through the 1963 papers, which tend to confirm that the Thirteen points were indeed framed with British help and encouragement; that the then High Commissioner considered them to be reasonable prospects; and that our intention was to promote their acceptance by the Turks.
In 1964, the British admitted that the constitution was unworkable:
There is no hope of re-establishing the Constitution which was destroyed at Christmas. A radical change is inescapable.
Then, obviously realising that the 1960 ‘arrangement’ had proven inadequate:
The only two solutions which would bring peace and order to Cyprus are enosis or the establishment of a unitary Republic dominated by its Greek-Cypriot majority.
In 1975, the FCO referred to an ‘unstable constitutional agreement’.
It is clear that the whole 1960 arrangement was a rushed job, imposed on the people of Cyprus, and that the illegal aspects were simply ignored, but admitted later on.
The USSR was reasonably happy to vote for Cyprus’s membership of the UN on 23 August 1960 (SC resolution 155), since it knew that there would be problems for NATO’s Southern flank.
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