868.51 War Credits/499

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

No. 545

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 512 of March 15, 1928, in regard to approval by Congress of the financial arrangement recently negotiated by representatives of the Greek and American Governments, and wish to state that I have now received a further informal communication on this matter from the Refugee Settlement Commission, wherein it is stated that “the $12,167,000 are becoming increasingly important to this commission’s work.”

I observe from the press that the bill has been reported out of Committee favorably, but not without active opposition. I venture to express the hope that objections to the measure will not be carried to such a length as to prevent enactment, as any other result would [Page 10]be disastrous to the financial program of the Hellenic Government. and I fear disastrous to our standing in this country.

While it is well known, of course, in higher government circles, that an agreement of this kind between the Greek Minister at Washington and the Secretary of the Treasury must secure the approval of Congress before taking effect, nevertheless the public at large accepts the announcement of the terms agreed upon as conclusive, and doubtless would look upon the possible failure of the measure as a manifestation of something like bad faith. I am perfectly aware that this point does not touch in any way the arguments advanced against the passage of the pending bill, but it is of practical importance if we are desirous of maintaining our strong position in Greece, where at this moment American firms are hoping to obtain contracts for the execution of important drainage and irrigation works in Thrace and in Macedonia, a good roads system throughout Greece, a sewer system for the cities of Athens and Piraeus, not to mention other enterprises which will mature from time to time.

The Hellenic Government is making a courageous effort to straighten out public finances and much has been accomplished in the right direction. A serious disappointment, such as the refusal of Congress to approve the settlement, would not only interfere with the government’s financial program but might be used by adversaries of the existing Republican regime to disturb the present political status on the ground that the leaders had failed to make good their various pledges.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner