George Bush photo

Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict

September 12, 1991

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

In accordance with Public Law 95 - 384 (92 Stat. 739; 22 U.S.C. 2372(c)), I am submitting to you this bimonthly report on progress toward a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question. This report covers the period from April through May 1991, during which the United States made continued high-level contacts with the leaders of both Cypriot communities in support of the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to complete an outline for a Cyprus settlement.

In mid-April Mr. Rauf Denktash, leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, traveled to the United States. On April 15 he met in Washington with various Members of Congress and with Secretary of State Baker and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt. During these meetings Mr. Denktash expressed his views concerning the Cyprus problem. In turn, both Secretary Baker and Under Secretary Kimmitt urged Mr. Denktash to be flexible and creative in the U.N.-led process of completing an outline for a Cyprus settlement. Specifically, Secretary Baker requested that Mr. Denktash present to the United Nations clear Turkish Cypriot positions on the issues of territorial adjustments and the return of displaced persons. He also told Mr. Denktash that the political objectives of the Turkish Cypriot community could only be secured through the negotiation of a political settlement.

As the Department stated publicly, these meetings did "not imply a change in US policy toward Cyprus. The US recognizes only a single state of Cyprus and does not accept that there is or can be an independent Turkish Cypriot state on the island." Mr. Denktash was seen "in his capacity as leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and as one of two equal participants in the intercommunal negotiations, conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. . . ."

On April 17 my Special Cyprus Coordinator, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky, testified on the Cyprus issue before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs. He told the Subcommittee that the United States had been working to facilitate a Cyprus settlement and would intensify its efforts, in support of the U.N. Secretary General's good offices mandate, in the months ahead.

In early May Ambassador Ledsky traveled to Europe where he discussed the Cyprus problem with the German and U.K. Governments, as well as with representatives of the European Community and the Council of Europe. He also met with a representative of the Soviet Union.

During April and May Secretary Baker continued his correspondence with Turkish Foreign Secretary Alptemocin in an effort to assist the United Nations in moving the negotiating process forward. At the same time the United Nations continued its efforts to lay the basis for completing an outline for a settlement. During the week of May 20 representatives of the Government of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriot community traveled to New York for consultations with Mr. Gustave Feissel, the Secretary General's Director for Cyprus Affairs. During these consultations the Turkish side made proposals on the issues of territorial adjustments and the return of displaced persons.

On May 22 Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Ozceri met with Secretary Baker and Under Secretary Kimmitt. They discussed the proposals of the Turkish side, and Secretary Baker reemphasized the importance of continued flexibility by all the parties concerned.

On May 29 President Vassiliou met with Secretary Baker for a full discussion of the Cyprus problem. Then, on May 30, President Vassiliou met with me in the Oval Office. During these meetings both Secretary Baker and I discussed with President Vassiliou recent developments affecting the intercommunal negotiations and urged him to be flexible with respect to completing the outline for a settlement.

Based on the developments of the last 2 months, I continue to believe that a moment of opportunity exists to finish the long overdue outline of a Cyprus solution, and that its completion can lead to a final settlement of the Cyprus problem in the foreseeable future. While many obstacles remain before the outline can be concluded, I am convinced that each of these obstacles can be removed, and the path to a just and lasting settlement cleared, if the leaders of both communities on the island will make the difficult decisions required to make agreement possible. It is my earnest hope that they will do so.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Claiborne Pell, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The original was not available for verification of this letter.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Cyprus Conflict Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives