868.2222/5

The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: As you are aware, the Greek Government is anxious to obtain our consent for the recruitment of a considerable number of the Greek subjects in the United States for military service. The Greek authorities envisage, I believe, the creation of a rather sizable command from among the approximately 80,000 Greek subjects (men, women and children) in this country.

We have referred the matter to the War Department, and have been informed that while the War Department does not concur in the proposal of the Prime Minister of Greece that a great number of Greek subjects be drafted for organization into large separate units, the War Department will give favorable consideration to the recruitment of a limited number of separate battalions of Greeks to be assigned, when fully trained, to the various divisions of the United States Army.

[Page 819]

A separate battalion of Norwegians is already being organized in the United States Army. I believe that separate battalions of certain of the foreign-language residents of the United States, including the Greeks, may be useful for psychological warfare purposes and for strictly military purposes in the event of active military operations in specific areas. I think it should be clearly understood, however, that they are regular units of the United States Army, serving under the American flag, and liable for service in any area where the American Army may be called upon to operate.

If you concur,91 we shall be glad to hand to the Greek Prime Minister the attached memorandum on his return to Washington on July 10, 1942 for the purpose of signing the Lend-Lease Agreement.

Faithfully yours,

Sumner Welles
[Enclosure]

Draft Memorandum

The United States military authorities have been consulted with regard to the proposal contained in Mr. Tsouderos’ memorandum of June 15, 1942 regarding the drafting of Greek subjects residing in the United States.

According to this proposal, the Greek troops would be trained in groups in United States Army centers, under the direction of American officers and of Greek officers of lower rank, for subsequent incorporation into larger American units, similar to the manner in which Greek brigades serving in the Middle East are incorporated into British divisions.

While the War Department is not able to concur in the proposal of the Greek Prime Minister that a great number of Greek subjects in the United States be drafted for organization into large separate units, it will give favorable consideration to the recruitment of a limited number of separate battalions of Greeks to be assigned, when fully trained, to the various divisions of the American Army.

It should be pointed out, to avoid any misunderstanding, that the separate battalions of Greek subjects would constitute regular units of the United States Army and would be liable for service, in case of necessity, in any area where the American Army may be called upon to operate.

  1. President Roosevelt indicated his approval on July 8 by a marginal note on the original.↩