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

Mr. Berle: With regard to your inquiry this morning as to whether we might appropriately inform our Legation in Athens of Secretary Knox’s “latest” offer of naval planes to the Greeks, I have just spoken again with Admiral Towers and he informed me as follows:

Admiral Towers said he has just been in conference with Under Secretary Forrestal86a and Admiral Stark regarding this matter and that all three of them are very much afraid that the offer of these new F–3 Grumman naval planes to Greece will, if it becomes known, have a very adverse effect on the outcome of the Lease-Lend Bill and will play directly into the hands of the opponents. Furthermore, he states that Admiral Stark, with whom he had conferred only five minutes ago, still felt that he “could not do it”.

Such being the case Admiral Towers, Admiral Stark and Under Secretary Forrestal feel that the only way out of this present impasse is to try to get Secretary Knox to convince the President to hold off on this latest offer to the Greeks until the Lease-Lend Bill has been passed. They are to take the matter up with the Secretary this morning, but they are not sure that they can “sell” the idea to him.

Admiral Towers said he very much hoped that we would withhold for the time being any telegram to our Legation in Athens stating that the Greeks were to receive these thirty new naval planes in as much as it was “not a statement of fact” as yet.

Wallace Murray
  1. James Forrestal, Under Secretary of State.