870.01 AMG/8–1744: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

6541. [Here follows a summary of the contents of telegram Greek Series No. 42, July 7, 5 p.m., to the Chargé near the Greek Government in Exile, printed on page 184.]

Following discussion of Ambassador Leeper’s proposals between the American and British civilian and military authorities at Cairo, [Page 187] AMHQ (Balkans) produced a draft of the suggested “relief and rehabilitation” agreement, copy of which is presumably available at the Foreign Office. This draft was also submitted to SAC–Med,99 who has commented thereon to CCS1 that it would be easier for the Commander of either a relief mission or limited military force to proceed by proclamation but that if an agreement were deemed politically necessary too much responsibility should not be placed upon the military to assure equitable and nondiscriminatory relief distribution. General Wilson added that the agreement should provide for Allied command and control of all Greek forces.

The Department and War Department, in consultation with UNRRA, have considered the proposed draft in the light of the various field comments and would make the following observations:

The War Department is unwilling to be committed or appear to be committed to responsibilities which it is not able to assume under its present directives. It considers that the present draft, though ostensibly limited to relief by the preamble, contains clauses which provide for action considerably beyond the field in which the United States military is prepared to operate. It is likewise concerned with the use of the term “Allied” in the draft, since the very limited American participation makes operations in Greece “combined” only as regards the actual distribution of civilian relief and rehabilitation supplies in the narrow sense, e.g. United States military is not prepared to engage in maintenance of law and order even though such operations should be necessary to make relief distribution possible. At the same time, it appreciates that the British military must have sufficient authority available to permit it, if need arises, to cope with local disorders or even with enemy resistance. The additional factor regarding command of the Greek forces is likewise one which does not concern the United States.

Consequently the Department and the War Department remain of the opinion that the requirements of the Greek situation could best be met by the method proposed in its telegram under reference. The British-Greek agreement could be broad enough to provide for any foreseeable contingency and to cover the entire field of possible operations, including relief provisions similar to those in the draft now under consideration. The authority conferred by such agreement could be invoked to the extent required by circumstances. The status of the American military contingent would be regulated in conformity with the pertinent provisions of the British-Greek agreement by a separate agreement between the United States and Greek Governments.

[Page 188]

Provisions of the British-Greek agreement relating to the status of military personnel and to relief and rehabilitation operations should of course be agreed to between the British and ourselves before being presented to the Greeks.

Please discuss this questiton with the Foreign Office, keeping the Department and interested field missions informed.

Sent to London. Repeated to AmPolAd2 and to AmEmBalk.3

  1. Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.
  2. Combined Chiefs of Staff.
  3. The American Political Adviser at Allied Force Headquarters, Caserta, Italy. The Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, transferred his Headquarters from Algiers to Caserta on July 21, 1944.
  4. American Embassies, Balkans. Lincoln MacVeagh was Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile as well as Ambassador to the Greek Government in Exile.