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Andreas Avgousti

Abstract

This article examines British policy in Cyprus between December 1963 and December 1965, primarily through material at the Public Record Office in London. By viewing Britain as occupying the paradoxical position of being neither a foreigner nor indigenous to the island, the historian can come to understand the development and manifestation of British policy in Cyprus. The author contends that British policy was ad hoc and unshackled by long-term objectives. This policy was motivated by a concern to maintain the peace on the island and appearing as a neutral between claims made by the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities. Undoubtedly, Britain wanted to retain its influence in Cyprus, an influence that had been secured in the founding documents of the Republic. Caught in a period of rapid decolonisation and of protracted adjustment to its newfound status as a second rank great power, the effervescent situation in Cyprus afforded an opportunity for the questioning of the nature and extent of British self-interest at the highest echelons of Her Majesty’s Government. Insofar as Britain was the major player in Cyprus during the period under consideration, the effect of Cold War considerations are best captured in British and not US policymaking.

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Keywords

British foreign policy, 1963-65, Sovereign Base Areas, 1963 crisis in Cyprus, Cold War, Enosis, UNFICYP

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