Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)
I telephoned today to Mr. Philip Young, but in his absence I read to his assistant, Mr. Williams, the attached memorandum from the Under Secretary69 concerning the recent offer of thirty training planes to the Greek Government. Mr. Williams said he was quite certain that no decision had been reached whether the Greek Government would be required to pay cash for these planes. He added that as a matter of fact it was his understanding that the Greek Government had not yet accepted the offer of the planes. I said that possibly that was the reason the Greek Minister was endeavoring to obtain information regarding the question of payment; that is, the decision of the Greek Government to accept the offer might hinge on whether it was to be expected to pay for the planes. Mr. Williams said he would be glad to look into the matter and let us know, although he again repeated that he was certain that no decision had been taken in regard to payment.
I asked Mr. Williams what his understanding was in regard to the present offer. Was this a new offer quite independent from the offer made to the Greek Minister in November concerning thirty planes? Mr. Williams said it was his understanding that the present offer was in line with the one made in November and that if it was accepted by the Greek Government the commitment made in November would be fulfilled. I asked Mr. Williams whether the Greek Minister had the same understanding, and he replied that he was not certain on this point. I told him that it seemed to me very desirable that this point should be cleared up beyond the question of a doubt by the official who was conducting discussions with the Greek Minister. Mr. Williams agreed and said he would pass this suggestion along. In this general connection Mr. Williams pointed out that it was his understanding that the offer made to the Greek Minister in November merely involved thirty planes and that, although at some later date the question of P–40 planes had been injected into the matter, the November offer had not specified P–40 planes. He added that from the exchange of telegrams between the Department and the American Legation at Athens it seemed clear that the Greek Government was not insisting upon P–40 planes but was quite willing to accept any modern aircraft.
Mr. Williams then inquired whether we had any information regarding an alleged offer of sixty planes to the Greek Government. I said that we had merely heard unconfirmed reports of such an offer but we had no written evidence of it.[Page 679]
I asked Mr. Williams how soon the training planes which had now been offered to the Greek Government could be turned over, and he replied that he thought they were immediately available. He again said he would look into all of these questions with Mr. Young and let us know as soon as he received any definite information.