The American College of Greece once more welcomed American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Founder Gene Rossides – this time for the presentation of his book Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness on October 15.
In his welcoming speech, DEREE Provost Dr. Thimios Zaharopoulos – stepping in for ACG President Dr. David G. Horner who was unavoidably detained in the US – spoke highly of Gene Rossides, who received an honorary doctorate from DEREE in 2005, adding how “delighted” he was to see so many students, as there was a lot to learn in the course of the evening.
Introducing Gene Rossides himself was AHI President and Chief Operating Officer Nick Larigakis who said it was an honor to be at ACG and to reach out to the next generation.
“We have had a relationship with the American College of Greece for many years…Congratulations for your work and for helping keep strong the US-Greek relationship,” Larigakis said.
He called Gene Rossides “the father of the first advocacy in the US advancing Greece and Greece-US relations,” adding, “He single-handedly has done more to promote Greece and Greece-US relations than any other person.”
Taking the stand, Gene Rossides who served as Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the first term of the Nixon Administration (until 1973), recounted his first-hand knowledge of events surrounding Cyprus, and especially Henry Kissinger’s policies – who was serving as National Security Adviser during that period.
When asked why Kissinger manipulated events that led to the occupation of Cyprus, as Rossides claims in his book, the latter told the audience that Kissinger had wanted to make Cyprus a “non country,” as then Cypriot Leader Archbishop Makarios had taken Cyprus into the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. “In those days, there was the US versus the USSR, and then there were the countries, 30 or more, who were not aligned, and that’s why.”
“He wanted to divide Cyprus between Turkey and Greece – wanted to get rid of Cyprus as a separate country…Kissinger was pursuing his own views regarding the world. Not just on Cyprus, a very serious foreign policy issue for the US, but do you realize that Kissinger was the main cause for Nixon pursuing the Vietnam War for four years?”
Gene Rossides recounted how he himself had run Nixon’s presidential election campaign in ’68 in New York City, and one of the major campaign issues he was running on was ending the Vietnam War.
“So, you expected him [Nixon] to end the war in the first six months. In ’68, during the election campaign, the democrats had nearly concluded an agreement with the northern Vietnamese, and the worst thing Nixon did was to prolong the war for four years…”
The book has four themes outlined Rossides:
The first is Kissinger’s “illegal actions and responsibility” for the Cyprus tragedy of 1974 and its aftermath. The second is Cyprus’s importance as a strategic, economic, and political asset to Europe and the United States. The third is Turkey’s actions, the fourth is the vital importance to the United States of absolute allegiance to the rule of law.
Wrapping up, Rossides called on the US, NATO and the EU to pressure Turkey to get its troops and settlers out of Cyprus. When asked whether he expected the US to ever do so, he replied, “Who knows? In view of Turkey’s recent actions, who knows?” Mr Rossides was referring to Turkey’s stance during the US-led offensive against the Islamic State in Kobane.
When asked whether hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone might play a role in a Cyprus solution, Rossides noted that “hydrocarbons are important and can be an important influence in the efforts to get a settlement. They can be important. They can be a pressure. Who knows if part of that can be a deal with Turkey?”
Mr Rossides signed copies of his book after the event, and donated 5 euros from each sale to the American College of Greece! Thank you!