The Greek Prime Minister (Tsaldaris) to the Secretary of State
My Dear Secretary: I had occasion, during our conversation on Friday last,63 to set forth the reasons compelling us to insist that ex-enemy States shall contribute to restoring the destruction which they have caused to our country.
The demand that we formulate is not in any way related to, or [Page 863] prompted by, motives of vindictiveness, a sentiment which is, believe me, entirely alien to the Greek character. Proof of this is to be found in the fact that the Greek Government did not hesitate, even before the signing of the peace, to resume diplomatic relations with Italy, and that, in addition, it has recently signified its assent to the latter country’s participation in the International Fund and International Bank.
Our demand is prompted solely by the exceptional weakness of Greece’s economy. It is utterly beyond her power either to provide the necessary means for restoring the destruction or to meet the service of the sinking fund which those means, if available, would entail. Consequently, we are compelled to seek a realistic solution based upon the principle of reparations, so that we may be enabled to meet our obligations, at any rate for a certain number of years.
I should be reluctant to add to the volume of your work by submitting to you detailed or exhaustive reports. I have therefore thought to attach hereto two brief Memoranda, drafted in as concise a form as possible, the one of which deals with the problem of Greece’s rehabilitation, the other with the comparative powers of economic resistance of Italy and Greece.
I should be most grateful if, subject to your approval, these Memoranda might be handed to Mr. Thorp, and if this gentleman might be requested to take up the matters raised therein with Monsieur Jean Politis, Greek Delegate to both Commissions for Italy.
Believe me [etc.]
- No record of the Byrnes–Tsaldaris conversation of September 13 has been found in Department files. For a summary of the meeting based on Greek sources, see Stephen G. Xydis, Greece and the Great Powers, 1944–1947 (Thessaloniki, Institute for Balkan Studies, 1963), p. 332.↩
- Statements made by the Italian Ministers for Reconstruction, Signore Ruini and Gronchi; estimates prepared by an industrial sub-commission of the Allied Commission for Italy. [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- For the income of the year 1945, see Bruno Rossi Ragazzi: Il reddito dell’ Italia negli anni 1944 e 1945; also the economic “Index” of Professor Livio Livi (May 1946). During 1946 production yields have increased. [Footnote in the source text.]↩