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

No. 3333

Sir: Following the Legation’s despatch No. 3232 of July 20, 1939, concerning the obligation recently placed upon foreign residents in [Page 613] Greece to convert their earnings into drachmas, I have the honor to transmit herewith for the Department’s consideration a copy and translation of a Note on this subject No. 18925, of August 17, 1939,11 which has just been received from the Greek Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office states that the Greek monetary laws give sufficient power to the Greek authorities to grant foreign exchange to an American national for “the support of his family, the education of his children, and his insurance premiums”, and gives assurance that applications for foreign exchange for “these needs” will be approved. “Since the interests of American nationals will thus be fully satisfied fundamentally, it hopes that the Government of the United States will agree with the Greek Government in recognizing that it is not necessary to consider a general legislative measure…”12

The Department will appreciate that the Foreign Office’s words in fact constitute a refusal to grant a general exemption from the law in question in favor of American citizens, and that the three needs enumerated in the Foreign Office’s note do not include the items “vacation” and “savings” mentioned in my original Aide-Mémoire and the Legation’s subsequent Note (No. 169 of July 8, 193911). Consequently, I am informing the Foreign Office that its reply is being forwarded to Washington and requesting that the Greek authorities be good enough to suspend the application of the law to American citizens residing and working in this country pending the receipt of my Government’s instructions.

Respectfully yours,

Lincoln MacVeagh
  1. Not printed.
  2. Omission indicated in the original despatch.
  3. Not printed.