868.248/74

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray) to the Chief of the Division of Controls (Green)

With reference to the request of the Greek Government to purchase military supplies in the United States, as embodied in a memorandum handed to me yesterday by the Counselor of the Greek Legation, I [Page 583]may refer to my memorandum of October 23, 1940, addressed to Mr. Welles on the subject of the desire of the Greek Government to purchase airplanes in the United States. The conclusion was drawn that we should not recommend any reconsideration of the application for certain planes mentioned by the Greek Minister, which had already been refused.

Although the above-mentioned memorandum concerned only airplanes, the general considerations involved in the question of aid to Greece were discussed. Some of these considerations have been affected by developments since that time. On October 23 it was not certain whether Greece would actively resist with its armed forces an attack by Italy. It seems evident at present that the Greek Government is making a determined resistance, and with some measure of success. Greece is therefore in the category of a small nation, object of unprovoked aggression, which has resisted with the military force at its command. As such, its request for permission to purchase arms and material in this country would appear to be entitled to as sympathetic consideration as we may accord, depending of course on our own defense needs. A refusal to permit Greek purchases in the United States at this time could be based only on our own requirements of the materials desired. Certainly we would not be justified in withholding from Greece at present any material for which we have a surplus production capacity.

Decision regarding the Greek Government’s present request for military supplies therefore seems to rest with the appropriate authorities of this Government familiar with our own defense needs. I recommend as sympathetic consideration as may be consonant with those needs.

Wallace Murray