The Department of State to the British Embassy


The British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of April 24, 1943, setting forth the policy of the British Government in respect to Greece, has been examined with interest.

The Government of the United States is for the most part in agreement with these views. In particular, this Government welcomes the British Government’s statements that it holds strongly to the principle that the final form of government for Greece is a matter for the Greek people to decide; and that, while the British Government deprecates the immediate raising of the Constitutional issue which would call the existing monarchial régime into question, this would not preclude the raising of this issue when the period of military necessity has passed.

The American Government recognizes the present Greek régime as the Government of Greece and acknowledges the necessity for continuity in government until the Greek people shall have had an opportunity to express their will.

This Government has welcomed the declarations of the King and Government of Greece that they do not intend to exercise dictatorial authority and will leave to the Greek people the determination of their own future political condition.22 It would also be pleased to see the present Government broadened by the inclusion of appropriate political and resistance leaders from Greece itself. It shares the confidence of the British Government in the friendly and loyal sentiments of the Greek King and Government and their devotion to the Allied war effort.

The American Government has constantly urged all Greek factions to postpone their political quarrels and remain united in the immediate purpose of helping to win the war and to liberate their occupied homeland. It realizes, however, that there exists among the Greek people widespread hostility to the monarchy, and this hostility appears to have developed certain organizational bases within Greece. In the opinion of this Government this question is one between the Greek people and the Greek King and, in its view, the King must himself satisfy the Greek people that this hostility is unjustified and that his future rule would be in accord with their sentiments and will. This Government believes that the principal Allied Governments should carefully avoid any action which would create the impression that they intend to impose the King on the Greek people under the protection of an Allied invading force or that the Greek [Page 134] people can secure the rewards of the common victory only at the price of accepting the return of the monarchy. This Government would regard it as a great tragedy should any civil disturbances arise in Greece as a result of internal opposition to the return of the King, in which it might be necessary for Allied troops to intervene.

Consequently, while this Government wishes the Greek King and Government well in any efforts they may make to obtain the support of the Greek people and reenforce their authority in regard to the Greek armed forces, it is not prepared to undertake, or actively to associate itself with measures designed to promote these purposes.

It seems likely that Crete may be freed from enemy occupation prior to the liberation of the Greek mainland. This Government would suggest the desirability, in such event, that the Greek King and Government remain established in Cairo, being requested, however, at an appropriate time, to appoint a Governor-General of the Island, preferably a Cretan acceptable to the local leaders. This would avoid a possible outbreak of civil strife in Crete and would provide an opportunity for first-hand Allied observation of the attitude and temper of the Greek people toward the monarchy as a guide to the course of action which should be followed after liberation of the mainland.

  1. See memorandum by Mr. Foy D. Kohler of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs, March 24, p. 130.