Memoramdum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Controls (Green)
The Greek Minister called at my Office this afternoon. He handed me the attached list of arms75 which his Government desires to purchase and told me that he had been charged with the duty of acting as agent for his Government in connection with purchases of arms in this country.
I told the Minister that I was very glad to hear that his Government had charged him with this duty. I said that this Government had found it highly undesirable to deal with intermediaries, brokers, commission merchants, etc., and that purchasing governments had also found that the results of using such intermediaries were unsatisfactory. I suggested that, as he was now in charge of this matter of purchasing arms, he should, as soon as possible, confer with Mr. Philip Young, Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the President’s Liaison Committee charged with assisting foreign purchasing missions and coordinating their purchases with those of this Government.
The Minister thanked me for the suggestion and asked me to make an appointment for him with Mr. Young.
I told the Minister that I should be glad to do so. I said that I had already discussed the matter of purchases by the Greek Government, and that Mr. Young had informed me that he had already discussed it with Mr. Purvis, Chief of the British Purchasing Commission. I said [Page 586]that it was my understanding that the British Government was canvassing the situation in Britain with a view to determining the extent to which the Greek needs could be met from supplies of arms in that country; that, after this had been determined, the British Government would instruct its purchasing mission to canvas the possibility of making available to the Greeks some of the arms which it was purchasing in this country; and that only after that was it contemplated that the Greek Government would place its own orders here.
The Minister said that that was also his understanding, and that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Purvis.
The Minister then raised the question of credits, expressing the hope that this Government would make arrangements whereby long-term credits could be extended to facilitate Greek purchases in this country.
I told the Minister that that was a question which he would have to take up with Mr. Young.
November 13, 1940.
I called Mr. Young by telephone this morning and made an appointment for the Greek Minister to see him this afternoon. I told him of my conversation with the Minister and added that the Department hoped that some means would be found to furnish the Greeks with some of the arms which they desire to obtain.
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