740.0011 European War 1939/6510: Telegram

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

279. The British Military Attaché told Major Baker confidentially last evening that Greek strategic movements and concentrations should be completed in another week. He confirmed the Greek communiqués as to the present situation on the front saying that at no place have the Italians made more than preliminary contact with the main defensive positions though in the Pindus sector difficulties of communication caused some early confusion and doubts as to the exact situation.

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The Italian Minister and staff are leaving Athens by rail this afternoon. They have just driven off from the Legation watched by a quiet and orderly crowd. Many German businessmen and commercial travelers are also departing but there appears to be no general exodus yet of the German community. In this connection the Director General of the Foreign Office expressed the opinion this morning to me that Germany must eventually join Italy against this country and the Hungarian Minister who is taking over Italian interests here expects such action soon. He told my Brazilian colleague that Germany will not move through Bulgaria for this purpose, as she desires not to disturb Turkey, but through Yugoslavia. Incidentally the Turkish decision not to enter the war at present has been surprisingly well received by the Greek public which either understands the great service rendered by Turks in watching Bulgaria or is blinded to its own peril by initial frontier successes.

Johnson42 reported this morning two more air raid warnings but no bombardment in the immediate vicinity; all Americans in the district are believed safe. The Governor General spoke to Gullion43 personally yesterday about the urgent need for more Red Cross supplies and an appeal in this connection has also been made to the British authorities.

Johnson has today burned the Consulate’s A–1 code and all cipher tables on hand. He would be grateful if the Department would inform his family that their cable has been received.

  1. John D. Johnson, Consul at Salonika.
  2. Edmund A. Gullion, Vice Consul at Salonika.