868.01/505: Telegram

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

Greek 121. My 120, Greek, April 17, 7 p.m.39 I have just had another talk with my British colleague about the Greek situation. [Page 101] He denied reports that any precise term has as yet been fixed to British patience as regards either the Navy or the Army. Admiral Cunningham ha/S told Mr. Venizelos that it is up to him to see that the Naval mutiny is quelled and Venizelos is now understood to be trying to organize some loyal Greek personnel to undertake the recapture of a couple of the 12 ships held by the mutineers without involving the British. The latter feel that such an operation to be followed presumably by others should present little difficulty but determined leadership seems to be lacking in the Greek Government ranks. Venizelos himself is frightened and though Admiral Alexandris has been replaced by Voulgaris the British feel the change is hardly for the better. In the Brigade the situation remains static.

I asked Mr. Leeper whether he thought there was anything the Americans could do to help and he replied “I don’t know but I think not. We have the military responsibility and must carry on. As for mediation we couldn’t have that.” He enlarged on the Russian influence at work in this affair saying that the Soviet broadcasts in Greek, the private expressions of sympathy with the movement on the part of the Russian Embassy, and the “news” given in the Tass reports which he said “certainly” comes through the Russian Embassy’s cypher have been “outrageous”. He said, “The Russians could stop the trouble in a minute if they would,” and told me that Mr. Churchill has sent a telegram to M. Molotov explaining what is happening here and protesting on the score of the Tass reports and the broadcasts. He also said that Mr. Churchill had telegraphed the President and he showed a garbled copy of a reply in which the President sympathizes with Mr. Churchill’s efforts to end the trouble and hopes that they may be successful in recalling the Greeks to their duty in line with their glorious tradition. Further as regards the Russian angle my colleague expressed the idea that the extent to which Soviet support is being given to this movement suggests a connection with Soviet policies elsewhere in Europe and in the Middle East which would appear out of keeping with the spirit of Tehran.40

Reports have reached the British here from their agents in Greece that fighting has again broken out between EAM and EDES41 but they are not passing this to London until confirmation is received. They have consented to bring two EAM and one EDES representative out from Greece and are considering holding the meeting for the construction of a national government somewhere outside of Egypt possibly Syria. Meanwhile Mr. Venizelos is showing such weakness in [Page 102] regard to the revolt that Mr. Leeper has suggested to the King that even for the present interim period a stronger personality should be found with Papandreou a possibility.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For correspondence regarding the conference between President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Soviet Chairman (Premier) Stalin, at Tehran, November 27–December 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, pp. 459 ff.
  3. Ellenikos Demokratikos Ethnikos Syndesmos (Greek Democratic National League).