Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Alling) to the Secretary of State

The Greek Ambassador is seeking an interview with you tomorrow.57 The question which he wishes to take up and which he has already discussed with me this afternoon is the President’s message of April 17 to Mr. Churchill in regard to the Greek situation. As you know, the message was given out in Cairo yesterday and appears in several of today’s papers. I am attaching a typical text from the New York Herald Tribune.58 The text in question, although differing somewhat in wording from the text which we obtained from the White House, is along the same general lines.

The passage which has aroused the particular concern of the Greek Ambassador is that reading as follows: “I join you in the hope your line of action towards the problem may succeed in bringing the Greeks back into the Allied camp and to participation against the barbarians.” The Ambassador strenuously asserts that the Greeks have never abandoned the Allied camp, that the difficulties in the Greek military forces in Egypt were purely of a domestic character and had nothing to do with the Greek attitude towards the Axis powers whom they have vigorously opposed from the moment of the Italian attack upon Greece.

The Ambassador is certain that his Government will be terribly disappointed at the tone of the President’s message. In this connection he pointed out that Mr. Churchill had also sent a message to the Greeks which had been harsh but had not gone so far as to assert that the Greeks had deserted the Allied cause. I made clear to the Ambassador that we did not know who had given out the message in Cairo. I said that it could not have been given out by our Ambassador since he had not received the text of the President’s message, which was dispatched from the Department only last night.

  1. Memorandum of conversation of May 3 not printed.
  2. Not reprinted.