Journal of Cold War Studies 6.2 (2004) 92-94
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Alan James, Keeping the Peace in the Cyprus Crisis of 1963-64.New York: Palgrave, 2002. 234 pp. $65.95.
Alan James has written extensively on United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and has taught at the London School of Economics and at Keele University in Great Britain. His latest book focuses on the UN's peacekeeping and peacemaking activities during the 1963-1964 phase of the Cyprus crisis, but it is quite timely. Today, forty years after that crisis, the UN's activities continue on Cyprus; the United States and Britain continue to influence the course of events at the UN and in Cyprus; and political considerations external to the Cyprus problem continue to define the dimensions of the conflict.
James's book, consisting of thirteen chapters, is based on archival research, interviews, private papers, and secondary sources. Even though the secondary bibliography [End Page 92] is selective, it is surprising that it does not include two particularly important sources: the classic work by Stanley Kyriakides on the causes of the 1963 constitutional breakdown and the prophetic analysis of the Cyprus independence agreements in 1959 by the U.S. Department of State's Intelligence and Research Office. The State Department analysts accurately predicted that the 1959 Zurich and London agreements on Cyprus would be unworkable. Their assessment—along with the 1965 Galo Plaza report, which James briefly discusses—are essential reading for any diplomat currently involved in the Cyprus problem. Unfortunately, the likelihood is that most (perhaps all) of the diplomats have never seen any of these documents.
James provides a summary of the colonial phase of the Cyprus problem as well as the independence agreements and their collapse. He analyzes Western interests in Cyprus and the roles of Britain, the United States, and the UN in the evolution of the crisis. He examines how the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was recruited and organized and how the crisis of 1963-1964 was contained. In a rather short postscript, James summarizes events in Cyprus since 1965. He pessimistically, but correctly, concludes that unless one party is willing to make major concessions, the prospects for resolving the conflict are limited at best. Useful as this short postscript may be, an unfamiliar reader will find it difficult to understand the interplay of the domestic and international political forces that have affected the evolution of the Cyprus problem since 1964.
In contrast to American diplomats like Adlai Stevenson and George Ball, who came to despise the president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, for his defiance, James describes Makarios as an austere, disciplined man with a good sense of humor who enjoyed playing practical jokes. Both James and the U.S. ambassador in Nicosia, Taylor Belcher, were impressed by Makarios's magnetic personality and by the fact that he kept his word when an unambiguous agreement was reached. These qualities made much less of an impression on senior American officials, who sought ways to remove Makarios from power or to "clip his wings" because he placed Cypriot interests ahead of U.S. strategic interests in the region. James provides a fascinating account of U.S. and allied diplomacy during the 1963-1964 crisis. He highlights the rivalries within and among Western policymaking bodies and provides a solid overview of the failed plan for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to introduce a peacekeeping force into Cyprus, a prototype of the NATO-led international forces currently serving in the Balkans. James describes in detail the pressures exerted on Makarios directly and indirectly. These pressures came from the United States, Britain, and other NATO countries, as well as Greece and even the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, all of which sought to force Makarios to accept Washington's plans for the resolution of the Cyprus problem. In addition, James shows how Washington undermined UN mediators on Cyprus and UN Secretary-General U Thant because they were perceived to be too sympathetic to the Greek Cypriots.
James provides a thorough account of how Britain, with...