868.00/226: Telegram

The Minister in Greece (Capps) to the Secretary of State

253. Decree was issued yesterday by Regent Coundouriotis accepting resignation of Venizelos and announcing that he had sworn in Demetrius Rhallys as President Ministerial Council. Rhallys refused to permit metropolitan to administer oath as owing priestly office to an illegal government. First act of Rhallys was demand for Coundouriotis’ resignation on the ground that late Parliament lacked authority to make him Regent. Coundouriotis however first demanded oaths of new Ministry and then resigned. Rhallys then called upon Dowager Queen Olga, appointed and swore her in as Regent, received from her mandate to form a new Ministry and with new Ministers took oaths of office again before her. In proclamation Rhallys announces that Coundouriotis having resigned, the regency will be exercised according to constitution by Queen Olga [Page 707] who has charged him with formation of Cabinet. That new Ministry will maintain order and endeavor to restore national unity destroyed by late oligarchy now overthrown by people and that henceforth all will be free and equal and will enjoy their full rights under protection of law. Olga has issued proclamation assuming regency in absence of Constantine whom she names as King saying regency will be of short duration and recognizing constancy of people during unfortunate period just ended. Thus the new government which has been called into power by Regent representing outgoing government disowns acts of that government including that by which it itself comes into power and is clearly preparing for recall of exiled King, has already invited the Princes to return. New Ministry as announced to Legation today is President and Minister of Foreign Affairs also ad interim of Justice Rhallys; of Interior P. E. [Tsaldaris]; of both Religion and Public Instruction Theodore Zaimis; of Finance N. Calogeropoulos; of National Economy P. Mavromichalis; of Communications ad interim P. E. Tsaldaris; of Agriculture ad interim P. Mavromichalis; of Public Assistance ad interim Th. Zaimis; Ravitaillement ad interim [Calogeropoulos]; of War B. Gounaris; of Marine Jean Rhallys, these two and other appointees announced by press but not officially confirmed. Rhallys announces that foreign policy of predecessor will be continued, especially friendly relations with Entente Powers but English and French Ministers here expect their Governments to continue to oppose return of Constantine which is apparently cornerstone of new government’s policy. Parliament summoned for November 25th. Venizelos sailed yesterday noon for France; immediately after his departure marked relaxation of discipline among soldiers and police became noticeable and Athens entered upon orgy of remonstrations [demonstrations,] numerous officers participating and also political prisoners and those held for criminal attack on Venizelos who were promptly released. Venizelists kept quiet and few encounters took place. Chaotic condition of affairs to be expected for some time since all civil and diplomatic officers former government have resigned or will be removed and wholesale removals among higher officers of Army and Navy anticipated, their places to be taken by Royalists including many discharged officers and others awaiting trial for treason. Steps have already been taken to release officers held in Crete for betrayal of Macedonian garrisons to Bulgarians. American destroyer Borie has arrived and will remain for the present by orders Admiral Bristol. In view of semi-revolutionary character new government and announced policy toward the return of Constantine request Department’s instruction.