501.BC Greece/2–1947: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

1130. Deptel 811, February 18.1 We discussed today with Foreign Office contents of Ethridge’s message. Following is substance of Foreign Office observations:

Reports from British sources in Greece do not confirm seriousness of internal Greek position as presented by Ethridge. Neither British Embassy, nor Windle2 have indicated they consider Greece a ripe plum to fall into Communist hands in few weeks. Furthermore, Foreign [Page 27] Office has not heard that Greek army morale is at such low ebb. It may be true that guerrilla activity is somewhat more widespread, but this may be because of dispersion of bandit forces, and there is no indication that the area under effective Govt control is diminishing.

Insofar as help from Soviets and satellites to supply guerrillas is concerned, there is every indication that this decreased for obvious reasons before arrival of commission. Nevertheless, Foreign Office takes very serious view of financial-economic situation which, if allowed to deteriorate and to result in a collapse, would precipitate a grave political situation, which in turn might lead to Communist rule.

Conversations being held between British Treasury and Foreign Office have not yet resulted in agreement on document to be laid before Dept for discussion (see Embtel 684, January 31). Due to British financial straits, Treasury is against “pouring any more money down the Greek drain,” but Foreign Office is willing to do so for political reasons. Foreign Office is not sanguine of gaining its point. Document will be ready within a week, it is hoped.

Sent Dept as 1130, repeated Athens as 18.

  1. Not printed; it paraphrased telegram 227, February 17, from Athens, p. 23, and requested the comments of the British Foreign Office on an urgent basis (501.BC Greece/2–1847).
  2. Richard T. Windle, British Representative on the Commission of Investigation.