“The “Cyprus question” has been making headlines for the last twenty years. On and off it has been the cause of some of the most acute crisis that the eastern Mediterranean haw known since the Second World War. It haw repeatedly reached a stage when war between Greece and Turkey seemed inevitable. It has threatened the cohesion of the south-eastern flank of NATO and caused serious frinction among the western allies. Inevitably the Cyprus question became one of the major issues in the United Nations and has generated some of the most heated and controversial debates both in the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.
The author of this book, a former career diplomat, has been directly involved in the Cyprus diplomatic battle since its very beginning. Either as Head of the Cyprus desk in the Foreign Ministry in Athens, or as Permanent Representative of his country to the United Nations for ten years, Mr. Bitsios has had a first hand experience of the problem. lie has been present at the various Conferences and the many-phased negotiations which attempted to solve this immensely complicated problem.
Since December 1963, he participated in almost all the debates of the Security Council on Cyprus and in August 1964 when the Turkish planes bombarded the island, he delivered in the Security Council Chamber an ultimatum to Turkey. On that occasion the London Economist wrote: “The Greek Representative Mr. Bitsios had the difficult task, which he carried out successfully, to give support to the Representative of an intransigent Cypriot Government, without doing anything, that could provoke a Mediterranean war. On Monday, Mr. Bitsios quietly delivered an ultimatum the first ever delivered In the Security Council Hall.
Mr. Bitsios gives us the inside story of the Cyprus question from his vantage paint. Many experienced politicians and diplomats, like Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson, George Ball, P. H. Spaak, have tried their hand at the issue, eager to provide the magic formula for its solution. They all came out puzzled and frustrated. We see their efforts unravelled in the pages of this book. The aims, aspirations, and the political and diplomatic maneuvering of the protagonists in the now famous triangle of Athens-Ankara-Nicosia are also expertly analyzed.
Cyprus has been called a laboratory of international crises. Mr. Bitsios has been in the midst of them all.”
(from the edition)