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

Mr. Secretary: The Greek Ambassador38 came in to see me today to express the very serious concern of his Government regarding the Russian attitude toward the recent Greek political crisis which has arisen in Cairo, resulting in the formation of a new Cabinet by Mr. Venizelos and the adoption of strong coercive methods by the British toward the Greek armed forces which expressed their dissatisfaction with the Greek political situation.

The Ambassador stated the Greek Government was concerned with the critical articles published on the Greek crisis by the Tass Agency. The new Greek Prime Minister Venizelos had discussed the situation with the Russian Ambassador in Cairo in an effort to allay Russian misgivings and had pointed out that the measures taken against the mutineering Greek forces had been essential for the presentation of order and were in no way intended to stifle the free expression by legitimate means of Greek popular feeling. It had been explained, moreover, to the Russian Ambassador that the Greek Government is [Page 100] fully desirous of associating with it the Greek leaders of the resistance movement in Greece and to that end only three of the Cabinet posts in the new Government had been filled, the remainder being left open for the entrance of Greek leaders in Greece.

However, notwithstanding the assurances given the Russian Ambassador, the Greek Government feels that the Russian Government is not satisfied and the Greek Government’s concern over the developing situation appears to be shared by the British Ambassador near the Greek Government in Cairo. The latter is said to have telegraphed to London concerning the situation and has been informed by the Foreign Office that the situation could only be clarified by direct contact between Prime Minister Churchill and Mr. Stalin.

The Greek Ambassador stated he felt the American Government should be informed of the disturbing situation in Greek relations with the Russian Government.

Russian interest in the Greek political crisis in Cairo has been reported to the Department by Mr. MacVeagh in his telegram no. 118, April 14. Commenting on Russian interest in the movement of the Government of Greece farther to the left, the sympathetic attitude of the Soviet Ambassador thereto and the activities of the Moscow press and radio in that connection, Mr. MacVeagh stated that some speculation was being caused as to how far this interest would go and whether Russia aspires to supplant Britain as the dominating foreign power in Greek affairs.

I do not know what we can do about it but I have felt that, in view of Greek concern in the matter and the British view that the situation could only be clarified by direct contact between Mr. Churchill and Mr. Stalin, that you might desire to acquaint the President with the above facts. Alternatively as a first step, you might wish to make inquiries in London.

In any case the Greek Ambassador anxiously awaits word whether we agree with the British view that the situation can be clarified only by direct contact between Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin.

Paul H. Alling
  1. Cimon P. Diamantopoulos.