868.515/2–1147: Telegram

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


196. For the Secretary and Assistant [Under] Secretary Clayton. When Porter consulted us (mytel 187, of February 9 from Porter to Clayton1 and previous) Ethridge2 and I gave him our views substantially as follows:

The UN Invest Commission is dealing with the external threat to Greece’s integrity and independence and from present indications there would appear to be a good chance of its arriving at conclusions and recommendations satisfactory to the US.

On the other hand the Porter mission, while dealing with the internal problem of preventing imminent financial collapse, is also facing fundamentally the same external threat. This is true because among other factors the loyalty neither of the civil servants who have [Page 17] already struck successfully against the Government nor of the armed forces which are already dissident to a dangerously high degree can be expected to withstand another catastrophic inflation, and revolution in this country’s present circumstances can mean only one thing, Soviet control.

Thus even should the UN succeed in establishing border security its success can mean nothing as regards objectives of principal interest to the US unless the internal problem is also solved. Moreover from our observation of Russian tactics Ethridge and I feel that the Soviets themselves see matters in exactly this same way. It seems clear to us that they expect that whatever comes of the UN Commission, whose work they are meanwhile constructing [obstructing] with every possible device to make it conduce to the confusion and discredit of the Greek Government, economic deterioration here must soon cause revolution on a nationwide scale which the well organized Communist party can be counted on to dominate if not openly lead.

It is against this background and not only a background of “serious repercussions the results of which would be embarrassing to the Greek Government” that we feel Porter’s strong recommendations should be considered. If Greece falls to communism the whole Near East and part of North Africa as well are certain to pass under Soviet influence and to prevent this and the world-wide complications it would entail a premium of not only five but of many times 5 million dollars would seem cheap insurance for the US.

Ethridge has read this telegram and authorized me to say that in his opinion it understates the case.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Mark F. Ethridge, United States Representative on the Commission of Investigation.