868.01/545: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Greek Government in Exile (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

Greek Series 150. In my opinion it would be highly undesirable for me or any member of my staff to proceed to the Lebanon at this [Page 107] time (the Department’s 1107, May 11, to the Legation in Cairo59). The conference to which the Department refers has been called by the Greek Prime Minister as a wholly Greek matter concerned only with Greek interim [internal?] politics (see my Greek Series 137 of April 27, 8 p.m.59) and for this reason no foreign representatives have been invited and none will “attend”. If the Department should see its way to issuing some statement expressive of hopes for Greek unity and for the success of the conference from this point of view I believe it might help, but I also believe that the presence of the American Ambassador in the coulisse would not.

In this connection the Department will understand that after everything the Greeks have suffered in this war they are very touchy on the subject of foreign interference and that much of the success of this conference will depend on the feeling of the delegates that their deliberations will not be influenced from outside. [Apparent omission.] He60 will be in the vicinity since his office has been saddled with the transportation and housing of the conference as well as with security but he told me just before leaving Cairo that he would not be at the disposal of the Greek Prime Minister or of any of the conferees during the session despite his earlier thoughts on this subject. It is possible that his attendance within a few miles of the conference, even with the above excuses, will prove a mistake on his part in view of the prevalent and growing Greek distrust and suspicion of British “meddling”. But for us to be there too would seem certain to compromise our established policy which couples aloofness from internal politics with interest in the welfare of the whole nation.

As the Department knows, strict observance of our traditional policy has hitherto maintained great American influence in Greece. Recently however it has become increasingly difficult to keep this policy clear in Greek eyes owing to our military solidarity with Britain and the consequent too easy assumption that all British policy in this region is also Anglo-American. To hang around the outskirts of this conference along with the British could only further increase this difficulty. Accordingly while I have requested our already established representatives in the Lebanon, both diplomatic and OWI,61 to keep this Embassy advised for informational purposes of anything they may hear during the course of the conference without showing undue interest I shall not undertake any closer approach unless the Department definitely so desires.

Repeated to Algiers for Murphy.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Presumably Reginald W. A. Leeper, British Ambassador to the Greek Government in Exile.
  4. Office of War Information.