368.117/123: Telegram

The Chargé in Greece (Hall) to the Secretary of State


155. The Foreign Office has informed me verbally that the question of the exemption of naturalized American citizens from present service in the Greek Army has been under discussion with the military [Page 177] authorities. Under Greek law the men concerned cannot be exempted, but the law will be evaded by giving the men temporary leave at once, during which space of time they can make application to the Government for the customary permission to change their nationality. These petitions will receive immediate action. The men will then have fulfilled the requirements of the Greek law and will be recognized by the Greek Government as American citizens. Possibility of molestation by Greek military authorities in the future will thus be removed.

If the authorities operate this plan sincerely I consider the offer most generous, as permission to change nationality is practically never given unless the applicants have fulfilled the terms of their military obligations to Greece. It is my firm belief that the men who refuse to apply for this permission and in this way have their names removed from the Greek records should receive no further protection from the Legation or the Consulates in questions which involve military service in Greece. The purpose of refusing to obtain this permission can only be that of guarding a loophole of escape so as to avoid some obligation in the future to the United States by claiming Greek citizenship. If the Department concurs in this opinion, may I be informed of its approval by telegraph so that I may notify the consuls to begin keeping lists?