Memorandum by the Assistant
Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs
Memorandum of Conversation
Subject: Reaction to Tito’s Charges of Terrorism.
The Greek Ambassador called at his request to read us a telegram from his Government which may be summarized as follows:
The telegram quoted the text of a note, dated July 23, received by the Greek Foreign Office from the Yugoslav Legation at Athens demanding that the Greek Government forthwith “bring to an end the terror and persecution directed against the population of Yugoslav origin in Aegean Macedonia and respect the rights of our minority” therein, that these persons have their property restituted and be paid reparations. (For full text see Athens’ no. 742, July 23, midnight, copy of which is attached3).
The Foreign Ministry considered this as undoubtedly a premeditated action against the security of the Greek State and particularly of [Page 1072] Greek Macedonia. It did not want to consider this action as the forerunner of an attack but felt it could not rule out the possibility, particularly in view of the persistent circulation of rumors that such attack was planned for July 26. The Foreign Office considered the note unacceptable as direct intervention in Greek internal affairs. Greece had never recognized the existence of a Yugoslav minority and did not intend to do so. There were some Slavic-speaking people in northern Greece who had never been recognized or considered to be Yugoslav or Bulgarian nationals. Even if they had, Yugoslav interference could not be admitted.
The Foreign Office therefore felt that it must avoid answering this note, as otherwise Greece would be unable to maintain her prestige as an independent state.
The Greek Government had done everything possible to reestablish public order in northern Greece. Any Slavic-speaking refugees in Yugoslavia were certainly Greek collaborationists who had followed the Germans out of Greece in order to avoid the just action of Greek courts or else fugitive members of the ELAS some of whom had fled to Yugoslavia, taking hostages. In fact Yugoslav and Bulgarian bands had been making raids into Greek territory and had thus delayed the restoration of public order in northern Greece. In this connection the Foreign Office cited an attack on a British lorry near Fiorina.
The Foreign Office believed that the Allies must consider this matter in connection with the evolution of Russo-Turkish relations, believing it possible that action was contemplated against Turkey simultaneously with an attack by Tito and Hoxha on Greece.
The Foreign Office commented that the present Yugoslav démarche showed that no consideration had been given by Tito to the recent British and American representations on this matter.
The Ambassador was instructed to see the Acting Secretary and to express the Greek Government’s hope that the British and American Governments would not fail to take the necessary steps and measures to terminate Tito’s aggressive tactics. For its part the Greek Government intended to take no action in this connection until it had received the views of the United States and British Governments.
The Ambassador expressed alarm and grave apprehension at the state of relations between Greece and Yugoslavia. In commenting on the Yugoslav note, he drew particular attention to the phrase “Aegean Macedonian” [Macedonia] used therein instead of the usual terms “Greek Macedonia” or “Northern Greece”. The Ambassador requested and was assured that he would receive Mr. Henderson’s assistance in arranging for him to see the Acting Secretary.4
- Printed from an unsigned carbon copy. The gist of this memorandum of conversation was included in telegram No. 150 of July 28 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 800.00 Summaries/7–2845).↩
- Cimon P. Diamantopoulos.↩
- Not printed See document No. 1077, footnote 4.↩
- Diamantopoulos called on Grew on July 27 and repeated the major points recorded in this memorandum.↩