868.48/11–2144: Telegram

The Ambassador in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

67. Without (as I am informed) prior consultation with either the Swedish Swiss Commissions the Greek Government has telegraphed Stockholm and Geneva requesting that Commission continue its work for 6 months after December 15 (re my telegrams numbers 13 and 33 of November 6 and 16 [13] and Department’s 26 of November 1626). While the official explanation of this action is that Government does not desire to appear ungrateful for Swedish Swiss efforts by abruptly accepting the Commission’s withdrawal and that it is not [Page 209] certain that the matter of the continuation of the operations of the Swedish ships is entirely separate from that of the continuation of the Commission, competent observers are of opinion that the Government’s move has been motivated by a disinclination to assume public responsibility for distribution with probable attendant criticism.

On other hand Mr. Sandstrom has not changed his view that Commission should discontinue operations and is proceeding to Stockholm by air next Monday to consult his Government.

Concurrently with these developments discussion of the whole question of distribution continues in General Scobie’s Advisory Committee and Matthews and Hugh Jackson of UNRRA are expected here this week in this connection. At present the general feeling in the Committee appears to be that while the Greek Government should be pressed to accept responsibility for distribution assisted by the advice of a policy committee such as that mentioned in my 33 above referred to and should be urged to set up appropriate distribution machinery immediately this may take so long that it may prove necessary for the Swedish-Swiss Commission to continue distribution at least for a while after December 15.

The Department will be advised of further developments as they occur.

  1. With reference to telegram No. 26, see footnote 22, p. 207.