Memorandum by Mr. Foy D. Kohler of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs19

Attached is a copy in the original Greek and an English translation of a new declaration issued by the Greek King and Government, pledging that the King, as well as the Government, will submit himself to a free expression of the will of the Greek people after the war. Previous declarations have given the same assurance as regards the Government but have carefully avoided any commitment as regards the position, i. e., they have heretofore promised the people a free choice as regards the composition of their Government, but not as regards its form.

The present declaration, which takes the convenient form of a message to the principal guerilla leader in occupied Greece,20 is a notable step toward the complete acceptance by the Greek régime, as regards themselves, of the provisions of Article III of the Atlantic Charter. As such, it will unquestionably be carefully noted by the other exiled régimes, who may well feel obliged to follow suit at appropriate times. This would go a long way toward clearing up the potential headache of what to do about the exiled governments.

The Greek declaration is the first fruit of the recent “mutiny” in the Greek armed forces in the Near East, whose temper appears to be approximately the same as that of the Greek people in Greece, as nearly as can be judged by the limited information at our disposal. It seems likely that a re-shuffling of the Cabinet on Veniselist lines will be announced shortly and that the King will go to Syria and repeat the new assurances to the Greek troops, probably tomorrow, on the occasion of Greek Independence Day.

It is my opinion that the King has a much better chance of retaining the Greek throne by pursuing the present course than by trying to force himself on the Greek people without giving them a chance to express their will.

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Statement of King George II

The King and the Government received from Colonel Napoleon Zervas, leader of the various guerrilla bands in Greece, a message with expressions of devotion and assurances about the continuation of the struggle. The following answer was given to this message:

“His Majesty and the Hellenic Government thank all the officers and men of the forces fighting in Greece against the enemy and congratulate them for their patriotic activities.

“These activities contribute greatly to the success of the national struggle for the liberation and rehabilitation of our country, to which (struggle) the King and the Government, being established now in Cairo, as well as the Greek Armed Forces in the Middle East, devote all their endeavors.

“The King after his return to Greece will base himself on the will of the people and will follow the opinion which the people will express freely on all questions concerning them.”

  1. Addressed to the Adviser on Political Relations (Murray), the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Ailing), and the Assistant Chief of the Division (Merriam).
  2. Col. Napoleon Zervas.