868.00/7–1945: Telegram

No. 1072
The Ambassador in Greece ( MacVeagh ) to the Acting Secretary of State 1

730. There is obviously no comparison between situation Greece and Soviet “puppet regimes” (Department’s circular telegram June 182) and Moscow picture of Greece as country in throes anarchy and the monarchy-Fascist “terror” whose insatiable territorial ambitions menace “peaceful” neighbors is fantastic distortion. Following observations and recent figures this connection possibly of interest:

Despite admitted excesses by misguided Rightist groups and officials, which Government only gradually getting under control [Page 1061] after last winter’s Leftist uprising, average citizen Greece enjoys far greater personal security, liberty than anywhere else Balkans. Leaders, including Communists, of bloody December uprising are at liberty and politically active and vocal. Press, all opinions including Communist, may be purchased any newsstand Athens. Answering EAM charges, Government states present prison population out of over seven million is 17,351. Of these 13,000 are held for common law crimes committed under EAM auspices and not amnestied Varkiza agreements;3 2,000 are pro-German collaborators; rest are common criminals.
Granted Greek claims untimely and sometimes exaggerated for purposes internal politics, Greece is in no position use force and has furthermore denied categorically aggressive intentions impossible to carry out. Greek forces northern border Adriatic to Maritsa total only 7,000 National Guardsmen. Entire National Guard only 40,000. Greek regular army consists one newly raised, unequipped division Athens area. (British have one armored brigade and two under-strength divisions in Greece, one in north. According best reports Athens, these forces face 30,000 Albanians; 30,000 Yugoslavs and 24,000 Bulgars on Greek border plus quarter million Russians Bulgaria. On June 23 Greek Undersecretary Zakynthinos characterized KKE allegation Greek Government intended use force occupy north Epirus as “gross anti-national faction [fiction?], neither the Government nor the Army has considered disturbing Balkan peace by a coup”. Same spokesman said July 7: “Greece will on no account and under no circumstances have recourse to force”.

  1. The gist of this message was included in telegram No. 90 of July 21 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 800.00 Summaries/7–2145).
  2. Not printed.
  3. Of February 12, 1945, between the Greek Government and the National Liberation Front. Text in Woodhouse, Apple of Discord, p. 308.