868.001 C 76/49

The Acting Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: The issue has arisen as to what attitude this Government should take toward King Constantine, recently returned to Greece. The American Minister has asked for new letters of credence.

King Constantine returned to Greece as a result of a Parliamentary election and a subsequent plebiscite which our Minister at Athens reports as showing that 55% of all the Greeks and 75% of the population of old Greece desire his return. You will remember that the Government of the United States, unlike that of Great Britain and France, took no active participation in the disputes which occurred prior to the expulsion of King Constantine. The records of the Department show that Mr. Droppers, the American Minister at Athens was duly accredited on October 9, 1914 to King Constantine and that subsequently, after the expulsion of the King, was given a new letter of credence to King Alexander on November 23, 1917. I am informed by my legal advisors that though new letters of credence are technically necessary on the installation of the new monarch, the Government of Greece as existing under Venizelos may legally be considered as continuing.

I have been informed that the Ministers of Great Britain and France had been ordered to leave Athens immediately but that the orders of recall were subsequently revoked, …

The French Embassy, stating that a decision had been reached by Great Britain and France to give no further credits to the [Page 710] Government of King Constantine, suggested the desirability of the United States also suspending further credits. You will recall that a credit of $38,000,000 was granted the Venizelos Government which amount was to be paid after peace was made. Though a ratification of the Treaties of Peace by the United States was considered a condition precedent to this obligation, a temporary arrangement was made to advance certain sums against this credit for the purchase of goods in the United States for consumption in Greece. Payments amounting to $15,000,000 have already been made under this arrangement and a further advance of $5,000,000 has now been requested. The Treasury has asked me whether the Department of State has any objection to the Treasury’s proceeding to make the requested advance and whether the Treasury may deal with the new Government in Greece through the Chargé d’Affaires of the Legation for the purpose of negotiating this credit.

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Faithfully yours,

Norman H. Davis