868.248/97

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs ( Murray ) to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Berle )

Mr. Berle: I endeavored to get in touch with Mr. Philip Young after our meeting with the Greek Minister in your office this morning and found that both he and Mr. Morgenthau are to be out of town for the next ten days. I thereupon had a brief conversation with Mr. Buckley, Mr. Young’s assistant, who referred me to Mr. Williams.

I asked Mr. Williams whether it had been the understanding of the Treasury Department when making the offer to the Greek Minister of the thirty naval training planes that the acceptance of these planes would be in lieu of the P–40 fighting planes which had already been offered the Greeks some months ago.

Mr. Williams said that he understood that the Treasury had at all times intended that the naval planes offered to the Greeks would release us of any future obligation with regard to P–40’s. He said he understood that in the conference which took place in Secretary Morgenthau’s office yesterday afternoon the substance of the communication made to the Greek Minister by Secretary Morgenthau was that the Minister should “take the planes and shut up”, and that if the Greeks did not accept those planes there was no question of their getting any others.

I told Mr. Williams that since I was present at that meeting, I was in a position to state that no indication was given to the Greek Minister that there was any connection between the naval planes and the P–40 fighting planes which were promised to the Greeks months ago. Mr. Williams said he would have to check his records, but that he [Page 687] was under the impression that the Treasury had made it clear to the Greek Minister when making the offer of the naval planes that no others were under consideration. I replied that if this was the case it was not understood by the Greek Minister and in my opinion should be made plain to him at once by the Treasury, which made the original offer.

Mr. Williams promised to look into his records and communicate with me at the latest on Monday morning.75

Wallace Murray
  1. Marginal note by Mr. Berle: “I chatted this over with the President. He thinks the Navy planes were in substitution of the immediate hope—but that the P–40’s, when manufactured next summer, would come to the Greeks if they wished.”