868.00/1–345: Telegram

The Ambassador in Greece ( MacVeagh ) to the Secretary of State

9. See my No. 6 of January 2, 2 p.m.2 General Plastiras3 has undertaken to form a government4 and if he is successful it seems likely that some clarification of obscure questions here will not delay to follow. With the King5 removed from immediate picture and with the Archbishop6 and Plastiras at the head of affairs some practical proof will have been supplied in addition to Churchill’s7 repeated verbal assurances that no danger of a forced return of royalty and possible reestablishment of a Fascist dictatorship menaces the Greek people and it will then remain to be seen whether Republican Greece will (1) be satisfied that a continuance of hostilities can be of advantage only to the Communists and (2) can express such satisfaction, this last depending on how far the Communist leadership [Page 99] of the revolt has been able to make a genuine Red Army out of ELAS.8 Archbishop’s plan is so to administer the cleared territory and such islands as have remained loyal to the government that Republican Greeks hitherto fighting on the insurgent side for Greek liberty and independence will gradually gravitate to the government leaving only the relatively few Communists supposed to exist in Greece to get here with such irresponsible banditti as have been inevitably produced by the times to carry on the struggle for the breakdown of the country’s social and economic life. In this plan British Ambassador9 tells me that the Archbishop will have full support of the British as it seems the only alternative to an undertaking on the latter’s part to clear the entire country after the fashion now being employed in Athens. Considerable speculation would appear to be involved but Department will realize that there is room for little else in Greek politics at present.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Gen. Nicholas Plastiras, republican general, who in 1922 (then a colonel) led the Army revolt which led to the abdication of King Constantine and ultimately, in 1924, to the abolition of the monarchy; in 1935 General Plastiras left Greece following the restoration of George II. For documentation regarding these events, see Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, pp. 409 ff., ibid., 1924, vol. ii, pp. 262 ff., and ibid., 1935, vol. ii, pp. 500 ff. General Plastiras returned to Greece in December 1944 at the end of the German occupation.
  3. The Plastiras government was formed and took office January 3, 1945; John Sofianopoulos became Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. George II, King of the Hellenes.
  5. Damaskinos, Archbishop of Athens and Primate of Greece who became-Regent of Greece on December 31, 1944; for documentation regarding the formation of the Regency, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, pp. 146179.
  6. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  7. Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (National People’s Liberation Army), the guerrilla arm of EAM (Etknikon Apelftherotikon Metopon, National Liberation Front); EAM, one of several Greek resistance groups, was controlled by the KKE (Kommounistikon Komma Ellados, Communist Party of Greece).
  8. Reginald W. A. Leeper.