The Chargé in Greece (Rankin) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 24—6:15 a.m.]
383. From Grady Mission for Henderson from Grady. It is now generally conceded that agitation for postponement of election has failed and election will undoubtedly be held March 31st. Plan of observation respecting conditions of registration and state of public order preceding election will be completed by March 28. On polling day mission will deploy 240 teams to cover maximum number of polling places. Some will remain at fixed stations and others will visit a number of polling booths during the day. In order to get a full picture of conditions on polling day teams will visit polling places for 3 days after election to question officials respecting conduct of polling. Final reports from observers will reach central office in Athens by evening of April 4. Final report of the mission will be signed on April 10th. A summary of report will be telegraphed to London, Washington and Paris on night of April 10th where it should be released to press by three respective Govts on April 11th, at same time text is delivered to Greek Govt and released to press in Athens provided no objection is taken by the three Govts. This summary is expected to be approximately 1,500 words in length suitable for publication in its entirety by newspapers. The final official report much of which is already prepared will contain a full account of the history, organization and operation the mission together with its observations and a statement of its considered opinion of the freedom, fairness and validity of the elections. The text will be accompanied by a voluminous appendix of relevant documents.
As any statement issued by mission following March 31st would be regarded by world press as final judgment of mission on fairness of elections it is of vital importance that our first pronouncement contain no views which will have to be retracted. It is realized that a lag of some days following elections would give chance for considerable [Page 128] press conjecture if it were not known in advance that missions’ report would not be forthcoming for 10 days. Consequently a press release is planned for April 1st indicating that mission will not express its views until all reports have been analyzed and that report will be signed by three Mission Chiefs on night of April 10th. Text of this press release will be telegraphed to London, Washington and Paris for release on April 1 at same time as Athens press is informed. Dept’s views are urgently requested.63
Similar message being sent by other Chiefs of Mission to their Govts.
Sent Washington as 383; repeated Paris as 17; London as 2. [Grady.]
- In telegram 380, March 26, 1946, 7 p.m., the Department informed Ambassador Grady of its full agreement with this plan of action (868.00/3–2346). The press release was transmitted to the Department in telegram 419, March 29. 1946, and released on March 31; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, April 7, 1946, p. 582.↩