868.51/1311: Telegram

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

152. My 148, December 13, 11 a.m.44 I have received a note from the Greek Government setting forth the views in regard to debt which it telegraphed to Simopoulos for communication to Department, and stating that $65,376 representing 30 percent of the interest due November 10 has been deposited at the Bank of Greece pending solution of the question raised by Greece as to whether this is or is not a war debt. Foreign Minister informed me orally that this action was the limit of concession which could be obtained from Venizelos who remains absolutely intransigeant about this question and threatened last Saturday to overthrow the Government if it agreed to American viewpoint. Venizelos now has the support of Papanastosiou and Kafandaris parties and can take over Government at any time with working majority. Present minority government has shown a more favorable disposition towards American interests as demonstrated by recent payment of $70,000 to Ulen and Standard Oil and more equal treatment of our commercial debt. It is now studying favorable modification of drachma conversion law. The treatment accorded our debt is not satisfactory but I think a transfer at present of amount deposited will result in fall of Cabinet and return to power of those less favorable to our general interests.

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