868.48/2011

The Greek Minister (Diamantopoulos) to the Secretary of State

No. 3683

Your Excellency: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith the text of a cabled appeal sent by the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Emmanuel Tsouderos, to the President of the United States, and to beg that you be kind enough to communicate this message to its high destination.

Accept [etc.]

C. Diamantopoulos
[Enclosure]

The Greek Prime Minister (Tsouderos) to President Roosevelt

Mister President: The food situation in Greece has become desperate. Accurate information from various sources confirms that people are dying in the streets from starvation. During the last weeks daily deaths in Athens and Piraeus amount to five hundred conservative estimate, other reports state one thousand. This information is confirmed by representatives of International Red Cross and Red Crescent accompanying shipments of foodstuffs for Greece. I am indeed grateful to the British Government for allowing shipment to Greece despite blockade regulations of small quantities of foodstuffs produced in Turkey. These do not exceed 4,000 tons monthly. However, an unending insistence in refusing shipments of wheat threatens to bring about a real disaster in that gallant country and to contribute to the annihilation of the race. The emotion of the Greeks is indescribable in face of this situation [Page 726]and from every quarter within and without Greece I receive desperate appeals on behalf of our starving people. The principle according to which the invader is obliged to feed the population in occupied areas is one of International Law but the brutal Germans have long since discarded respect for any law and their only object is the reduction of the world by fire, sword and famine. Therefore, we cannot take refuge behind a principle of International Law and deliberately ignore a state of affairs which exists. We have not ceased believing in blockade as a means of waging war but every measure however necessary for carrying on the war when it overlooks in its application those principles which are imposed by our duty towards defenseless human beings will I fear be very severely criticized and condemned by History. I believe that if my expressions are sharp they will be judged by the measure of my grief and I pray that in interceding on behalf of the Greeks you forgive the manner in which I put my thoughts and feelings before you.

Tsouderos