The Department of State to the British Embassy
The Department has received the aide-mémoire of June 16, 1945,1 from the British Embassy requesting the views of this Government on the Allied supervision of a plebiscite and elections in Greece in accordance with Article 9 of the Varkiza Agreement of February 12, 1945.[Page 657]
The Department is in agreement with the Foreign Office that chances for the success of elections in Greece would be enhanced by Allied supervision.
The signatories of the Crimea Communiqué expressed their willingness jointly to assist the liberated countries of Europe in establishing stable governments by democratic processes expressive of the will of the people. In the case of Greece we cannot consider the responsibility of the United States discharged until the Greek people are assured fair elections under circumstances in which the voters will not be subjected to undue pressure from embittered factions.
The Department does not believe that the presence of friendly observers at elections could justifiably be considered a violation of Greek sovereignty. In this connection, it will be recalled that Allied supervision of elections was explicitly authorized in an agreement signed by representatives of both the Greek Government and EAM, and that the political coalition of EAM has repeatedly since that time urged the Greek Government to give evidence of its intention to honor this mutually agreed stipulation.
The Department suggests that, with the concurrence of the British Government, the British and American Ambassadors in Athens, who are the only diplomatic representatives in Greece of the Governments present at Yalta, inform the Greek Government that in view of their obligations to the people of Greece and of their undertakings at Yalta, the British and American Governments feel that the Greek elections should take place under the supervision of the Allies, namely, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and, if agreeable to the Greek and French Governments, France. They may at the same time refer to Article 9 of the Varkiza Agreement providing for Allied supervision of Greek elections. In case the Greek Government agrees to Allied supervision, the Ambassadors will inform it that the Governments of the United States and Great Britain will take up the matter with the Soviet Government and, if desired, with the French, in the immediate future.
The Department is of the opinion that it would be desirable for the British and American Ambassadors to make the suggested approaches to the Greek Government within the next few days so that the matter may be discussed at the meeting of the Big Three, scheduled early in July.
If agreeable to the British Government, it might also be suggested to the Greek Government that it give favorable consideration to the idea, which has been gaining popular approval in Greece and which has recently been subscribed to by the three EAM signers of the Varkiza Agreement, that elections for a constituent assembly precede the plebiscite. This order of events appears to offer a better solution [Page 658] to Greek problems in that it would at an early date give Greece a representative political government which would then be in a position to make plans for a plebiscite on the question of the monarchy. It may also be considered desirable that an approximate date be set for the plebiscite, preferably some six months after the convening of a duly elected constituent assembly. Thus the democratically elected government would be given a brief period in which to establish itself.
It is the opinion of this Government that, if Allied assistance is to be offered in the hope of accomplishing fair and free elections in Greece, Allied observers should assist both at the polls on election day and in the operation of the returning machinery. The number of observers mentioned in the British aide-mémoire seems somewhat low, and this Government is now exploring the possibility of making available several hundred personnel for the purpose.
In the absence of extensive information on the Greek National Guard and Gendarmerie the Department is inclined to agree that the use of some British troops to supervise the polling would be advisable. A final decision on this matter, however, might await discussion between the British and the American Ambassadors in Athens.
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