868.248/98

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs ( Murray ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Welles )

Mr. Welles: In the absence of Mr. Philip Young from Washington for the next ten days, I had a conversation this morning with Mr. Buckley, his assistant, regarding the question of planes for Greece.

The facts, in brief, as Mr. Buckley understands them from his records are:

1.
There are no P–40’s in any amount available for the Greeks at this time and none will be available at the earliest before next summer, and perhaps even next fall.
2.
The decision taken during the conference in the Secretary’s office in December to allot 100 planes to China was understood by Mr. Morgenthau and his assistants to eliminate altogether any earlier promises made to the Greeks. It would, in Mr. Buckley’s opinion, be extremely difficult if not impossible to dislodge even fifteen P–40’s from the Chinese allocation for delivery to the Greeks. As for the Army releasing another fifteen in order to make up the thirty P–40’s promised to the Greeks, that is even more impossible.
3.
As for the thirty Grumman planes of the type F3F–1, built in 1936, offered to the Greeks by our Navy, Mr. Buckley states that this offer was necessarily understood to be in lieu of the thirty P–40’s since at the time the offer was made no P–40’s whatsoever were available for the Greeks.
4.
Since the Greek Minister has at no time understood that the offer of the Grumman planes was intended to wipe out the earlier promise of thirty fighting planes, I told Mr. Buckley that in my opinion this point should have been made clear to the Minister when the offer was made, and if the situation is unalterable it should be made clear to the Minister now.
5.
The Greek Minister is to see Mr. Buckley this afternoon when, presumably, the Treasury’s viewpoint in this matter will be made clear.

[Page 688]

In this connection I think you will be interested in the attached memorandum of February 1 to Mr. Berle76 and particularly his penciled notation at the end.

Wallace Murray
  1. Supra.