868.00/1199: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Matthews) to the Secretary of State

Greek Series 1. From Biddle.13 Your 1670, March 19, 6 p.m.14 As result of my very recent conversations with Greek Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Aghnides15 (also acting in capacity of “Permanent Undersecretary” directing work of that part of Foreign Office staff which will be left in London) and my British colleague Ambassador Leeper, I learn the following:

That the question of the Egyptian Government’s granting the Greek Government extraterritoriality is still in course of negotiation between the Egyptian and British authorities; that while it may be said that the Egyptian Government has agreed in principle to the establishment of the Greek Government in Egypt, the Egyptian Government’s attitude has not thus far been very forthcoming in matter of granting extraterritoriality. (It is my impression that the Egyptian Government’s reluctance arises from apprehension as to the potential effect of granting such rights, upon Egypt’s status as a nonbelligerent ally).

Leeper has received instructions to proceed immediately to Cairo with a view to bringing these negotiations to a definite conclusion. Aghnides will keep me advised as to the progress thereof.

I strongly recommend that, once this question is settled, we adopt the following course: (a) that at the appropriate moment Minister Kirk be temporarily appointed Chargé d’Affaires; and (b) that I be authorized to proceed promptly to Cairo in order (1) to pay my respects to and to take leave of King George II and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tsouderos, and (2) to “turn over” to Minister Kirk and to fully enlighten him on current political background. (I feel this could be accomplished more satisfactorily in talks than by correspondence.)

I have discreetly ascertained that this would prove a welcome move in the eyes of the British as well as the Greek Government. Furthermore, I strongly believe that this spontaneous gesture would be in keeping with the spirit of this Mission, and in such light would have a stimulating effect upon the present tense frame of mind not only of the Greek, but also of the other Allied Governments here who, as a whole, constantly suffer from supersensitivity characteristic of exiled mentality, and who have recently become increasingly apprehensive [Page 129] concerning their respective roles in the plans to liberate their own countries.

I earnestly hope you may agree with the foregoing recommendations. Should it seem advisable to fly to Cairo before Rudolf Schoenfeld’s16 return, I recommend that you name Waldemar Gallman17 Chargé d’Affaires until my and/or Schoenfeld’s return. [Biddle.]

  1. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., Ambassador to the Greek Government in Exile, at London.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Thanassis Aghnides.
  4. Counselor of Embassy near the Greek Government in Exile.
  5. First Secretary of Embassy in the United Kingdom.