868.00/1–1147: Telegram

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


30. At request of Prime Minister I am cabling in next following message essential parts of his reply to my letter of January 7(mytel 23, January 81). Dept will note that he “now deplores” that internal Greek political questions were untouched during Washington talks, which I also feel unfortunate. Dept will likewise observe that he lays reluctance of opposition leaders to cooperate with him in formation of broadened government chiefly to “difficult economic and financial conditions of country” and that he expresses hope that prompt US aid will overcome this. I long ago informed Dept that belief in collapse of Tsaldaris as result lack of foreign support has been factor in creating offishness of opposition (mytel 1505, November 4, 19462 and previous), but I see no reason to accept recent suggestion of British Foreign Office to Norton3 that Prime Minister himself has been seeking [in] blackmailing fashion, to condition broadening of govt on prompt receipt of US aid. On contrary, his repeated efforts before [Page 5] going to US to secure collaboration of opposition (mytels 1658 of November 30, 1500 of November 2, 1478 of October 29, 19464) would appear to have been made quite loyally in keeping with our advice. This also view of British Chargé Lascelles to whom I read the above. British Ambassador departed this morning for London to attend conference of British representatives in this region called by Bevin5 for January 13. Before his departure I communicated him substance not only of Deptel 8, January 3 but also of my subsequent conversation with King6 and he agrees with me that in absence of more desirable solution (i.e. formation of wide coalition), best Allied tactics must be to keep pressing present government not only to continue broadening its membership as King suggests, but also to continue liberalizing its program (my airgram A–6 January 37) along line already laid down at our suggestion on dropping of Mavromichalis8 and passing of amnesty laws. However, in view of powerful nature of forces making for division and eventual anarchy in this country we also believe that such persistent pressure on our part should be given least possible publicity and that every care should be taken as long as present government remains in power to prevent growth of disrupting impressions that it lacks Allied confidence and support.

  1. Not printed; it reported that the letter, which gave the gist of Department’s telegram 8 of January 3, had been sent to the Prime Minister and a copy to the King’s political adviser (868.00/1–847).
  2. Not printed.
  3. Sir Clifford John Norton, British Ambassador in Greece.
  4. None printed.
  5. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  6. George II, King of the Hellenes. Telegram 23, January 8, from Athens, not printed, gave details of the conversation of Ambassador MacVeagh with the King (868.00/1–847).
  7. Not printed.
  8. Petros Mavromichalis, a member of the extreme right wing of the ruling Populist Party.