462.00R296/4142: Telegram

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

21. By invitation of Prime Minister4 I discussed today with him the President’s financial proposals and particularly the memorandum cabled to the Greek Minister in Washington embodying Hellenic views.5 It is presumed that this memorandum is in Department’s possession. I draw the following conclusions from my talk with Mr. Venizelos.

Greece rejoices over the President’s initiative but will not accept any agreement under which she grants relief to others in excess of relief received from the United States. She is a poor struggling country and feels that she should be spared the strain of additional burdens. On the other hand she will accept a workable arrangement which relieves her of loss.
Mr. Venizelos regards the situation as acute in Germany only. If for present purposes the plan is limited to Germany and her creditors [Page 208] only he is willing at once to add [adhere?] unreservedly to the President’s proposals. He thinks that the plan could be made operative as to Germany almost immediately but he foresees delay and much negotiation if Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria are dealt with at the same time. He believes that it may prove advantageous to consider the countries other than Germany as a separate problem and possibly by means of joint conference.
Mr. Venizelos assumes that the relief to be granted to Greece by the United States includes both the first and the second portions of the debt to the United States as established January 15th, 1928. Please confirm this to me.
I am asking Mr. Venizelos to provide me with a precise statement setting forth all items, both receipts and payments, which presumably will show that receipts during the current year arising out of war settlements will exceed payments by 11,872,173 marks. I am also asking him to give me practical suggestions in line with his proposal number 1.
In my opinion it would be difficult for Greek finances to stand a moratorium which would have the effect of reducing revenues to any substantial extent. Greece especially would object to any arrangement under which she lost the annuity of 7,161,391 marks attributed to her at The Hague and representing a commercial debt owed by France to the National Bank of Greece, a debt created at the same time and under the same conditions as a debt owed by England to the National Bank of Greece which was recognized and paid by England in 1919.
  1. E. K. Venizelos.
  2. Not printed.