868.00/2–2746: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Greece (Rankin)51

us urgent

252. If agreeable to Ambassador Grady please inform Greek Foreign Minister that the U. S. Government hopes report that Greek Government may be considering postponement of elections beyond March 31 is not correct, since U. S. Government believes that work of rehabilitation in Greece, in which this Government is deeply interested, will be hampered as long as uncertainties regarding elections continue. Moreover, American Election Commission was appointed on the understanding that the elections would be held as announced by Greek Government, and it will be difficult to assure American participation in observing elections if there is any further postponement.

Sent to Athens. Repeated to London and Paris for information British and French Governments.

  1. In a memorandum of March 12, 1946, George L. Jones and Stuart W. Rockwell of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs explained the background of this telegram as follows: “When on March 2 the Department authorized expression of the hope to the Greek Government that the elections would not be postponed, account was taken of recent political reports received from the Embassy at Athens. One of the results of terrorist excesses of leftist EAM in the Greek civil war was the virtual wiping out of the Center as a political entity; fearing for their lives and property, the moderates in Greece moved to the Right. There are still Center parties in Greece, and the present Government is a Center, or slightly left-of-Center, affair, but reports from some observers indicate that the popular support of the Center is negligible.

    “It has been estimated that the most of [sic] the Left might hope to win in a fair election is one-third of the 354 seats in the Greek Constituent Assembly. It thus seems fair to assume that if the Left and the ‘Center’ politicians should combine in efforts to postpone the elections, the majority of the people of Greece would still prefer to see the elections take place as scheduled …” (868.00/3–1246)