868.248/127

The Greek Minister ( Diamantopoulos ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: Your Excellency knows how, about three months ago, the question arose of the release to the Greek Government of sixty American planes and how toward the end of November last the American Government expressed their willingness to allocate to Greece thirty planes of the latest model.

Pursuant to this understanding, as I was informed, the proper American authorities contacted the British Commission in Washington, with a view to effectuating this decision, to turn over to Greece thirty planes, type P–40, which were then being built here for Great Britain. But these arrangements did not materialize as the British [Page 683] Commission was reluctant to consent to the release of planes of this type and the Greek Government had serious reasons for not accepting the thirty planes of the Defiance type, which the British Commission wanted to substitute for the P–40’s.

In the latter part of December the Greek Government had the opportunity to discuss this matter with the Minister of the United States at Athens, to whom it submitted their reasons why they could not accept the Defiance planes and indicated that under any view of this matter, the Greek Government felt itself entitled to get thirty planes of any modern American type, in accordance with the original declaration of the United States Government.

Thus the matter stood when on December 31 the Undersecretary of State was kind enough to state to me that the British Government was ready to release immediately thirty planes of the Mohawk type, which were then in Europe, and which the American Government would replace by delivering an equal number from those under construction in the United States. Accordingly, on January 11, I informed the State Department that the Greek Government was willing to accept the aforesaid thirty Mohawk planes, even though its original request was for sixty.

On the above facts, the Greek Government was under the impression that this last offer of Mohawk planes would materialize promptly, especially since these planes were already in Europe. Unfortunately delivery has not yet been made, although a whole month has elapsed and the need is both urgent and imperative for Greece in the difficult struggle it is waging in Albania under the trying and exceptional conditions which are well known to Your Excellency.

Having received yesterday a telegram from my Government urging me to furnish information on the above matter, I address myself to Your Excellency and would be deeply grateful and obliged to be advised of the present status of this question so that I may advise Athens accordingly.

Accept [etc.]

C. Diamantopoulos