868.01/482: Telegram

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

Greek 99. Following a decision of the Council of Ministers the local Greek garrison commander ordered yesterday the arrest of the Army and Air Force officers, 14 in all, who called on Mr. Tsouderos (see my telegram No. 98, Greek, March 31, 7 p.m.) and 6 have already been apprehended. The reason given for this action is that the officers exceeded their military authority in approaching the Prime Minister with political demands. The British Embassy feels that the Greek authorities had no choice but to act as they have done and is inclined to believe with the Greek Government itself that the matter is not at present of any importance though it may become serious should repercussions spread from the idle officers in Cairo and the depot battalions now somewhat affected with EAMite enthusiasm to the 1st Brigade. Furthermore it is hoped in regard to this last that present prospects of early active employment will counteract any possible incitements to political agitation.

In this connection in an effort to assure people both here and in Greece that the Government is serious in its efforts to achieve national unity Navy Minister Venizelos broadcast last night over the Cairo radio on behalf of his colleagues a statement which followed closely although at greater length the lines of the Government’s recent press release already reported to the Department (my telegram No. 91, Greek, March 2723).

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