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Letter sent by General Grivas to the EOKA fighters on the declaration of a cease-fire on 9 March 1959


TO THE EOKA FIGHTERS

The moment has come when, instead of war-cries and battle orders, I must tell you my thoughts on the agreement reached for a solution of the Cyprus problem. It is recognised throughout the Greek world that EOKA has performed a great task and has given Greek diplomacy a number of trump cards, so that the settlement which has been reached is, in large measure, due to the heroic resistance of the Organisation. The task which you have performed in these four years is great and your glory shrines throughout the world. The whole Greek world has recognised your sacrifices and your struggle: this must be your greatest satisfaction and your greatest badge of honour.

An agreement has been signed which determines the future of Cyprus. It does not fully satisfy our desires, but it is a step forward, breaking the bonds of slavery. It is the agreement that diplomacy, as it claims, was able to achieve in current international conditions. Arms alone, especially in a small island which faces an all-powerful empire, cannot, as you will understand for yourselves, obtain a final solution; and our politicians say that they have done everything they can, and that it is impossible to achieve more.

I confess that from the day' the Zurich Agreement was announced I have passed through moments of anxiety and I have carefully considered my responsibilities to you, to Cyprus and to all Greece. I have asked myself whether we should accept an agreement which does not completely fulfil our desires, and whether I should reject it and continue the struggle.

On the criterion of national interest alone, unmoved by prejudice or obligation or pressure, I have reached the conclusion that the continuation of the fight would have the following disastrous results:

1. It would not have the unanimous support of the whole nation or the whole Cypriot people, since the agreement has been approved by the Greek Government and the Ethnarch.

2. It would divide Cyprus and perhaps the whole Greek people, with disastrous results.

I shudder to think of the results of national division such as the conflict between King Constantine X and Eleftherios Venizelos, a division through which I lived and which not only destroyed the dreams of a greater Greece, but was a burden on the whole nation for decades after 1915, with tragic consequences which culminated in the Asia Minor disaster. Greece today has still not entirely recovered from this. It is preferable to accept a solution, even one that is not entirely good, than have civil discord which must inevitably raze everything to the ground. Because of the probability of such dreadful consequences, and because the continuation of the struggle without the people's unanimous support would have such doubtful results, I have been obliged to accept the agreements which have been made.

My single-minded patriotism, my love for Cyprus, my duty not to destroy what we have fought for, my responsibility to prevent the tragic consequences of civil strife had led me to take this decision. I did not think I should first ask your opinion for the following reasons:

1. You did not have the necessary information which would enable you to judge the agreement as a whole an agreement which has to be judged in the light of international realities.

2. My desire as the military leader is to bear the entire responsibility alone and not move it on to the shoulders of my subordinates.

3. The Organisation, as a military body, must obey the orders of the leader. I therefore call on you all to obey your leader's order to cease fire. This order is contained in the leaflet already sent, which you are to circulate. My wish is that this order be faithfully obeyed and that there should be no last-minute breach in our ranks. We must maintain the unity and iron discipline which aroused the admiration of even our enemies. We must not, at the last, lose what we have won by discipline, in four hard years of struggle. .

In an independent Cyprus the future of EOKA fighters is wide open. It is they who tomorrow will be the supports of the Republic. I shall watch and help you. I thank everybody for their valuable co-operation which will always be the greatest memory of my life and will make a strong spiritual bond between us. Each of you will always be able to look to me as his leader, always ready with concern and affection; and wherever I may be I shall always welcome an EOKA fighter with joy. For I shall never forget those who helped me in time of danger and anxiety and those who helped to win our VICTORY. Now my thoughts turn to those who are no longer here: who fell bearing the sacred banner of the Cyprus freedom rising. I await that blessed hour when I shall hang golden offerings and unfading wreaths on their immortal tombs.

EOKA,

The Leader,

Dighenis.

 


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