868.00/3–1545: Telegram

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

268. As a culmination to his latest visit here, Macmillan was offered a large luncheon today by the Prime Minister, to which American as well as British and Greek officials were invited. In his speech which, beginning lightly, assumed a notably serious tone, Macmillan promised British support to the Plastiras government “with the assistance of America in economic and other matters” (the latter being left unspecified), but cautioned that that Government should follow the middle of the road, swerving neither to the right not [nor] to the left. He also expressed his admiration of the Varkiza Agreement, which he said he is “sure” the Government intends to implement to the full both in the letter and in the spirit, and praised a recent proclamation by General Plastiras urging the army to eschew politics.

Well informed press circles here opine that Plastiras’ position has “become firmer” as a result of Macmillan’s present visit, but it would also seem clear that the British, who have never believed him politically apt, intend watching him closely in the complex circumstances now developing (see my 261 of March 13, 9 a.m.51).

  1. Not printed; the Ambassador, reporting that “the political situation continues to develop in the direction of complexity,” described in some detail intra-party and inter-party differences dominating the Greek political scene at that moment. In summation, he observed: “Meanwhile, the EAM blandly reentering the political field after its recent military defeat, as if nothing had happened, is actively exploiting these dissensions among its opponents and charging that the Government is tending under the influence of Macmillan and Leeper to restore a dictatorship of the right. …” (868.00/3–1345)