868.00/1–1147: Telegram

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


31. Mytel 30, of January 11. Following are essential parts PriMin’s reply.

  • “1. As regards the financial question which I brought up in Washington, am particularly happy to see that what you say about the attitude of your government agrees in every respect with the impressions that I carried away from those friendly conversations. I was extremely pleased that the distinguished personalities with whom I conferred stressed the need for ‘urgently’ exploring all possibilities of rendering immediate as well as long-range economic assistance to Greece (official press release of the State Department1 published in the [Page 6] American Press of December 24 on my visit to Washington). Concerning immediate aid you specifically mention in your letter that ‘it (your government) expressed the intention of requesting funds for the relief of Greece from Congress and that it promised to discuss with the Export-Import Bank the possibility of a suitable additional loan in the near future to bridge the gap.’
  • “From the above announcement it is evident that the American Government is proceeding already to the realization of the policy it has laid down concerning Greece. Moreover, I am fully in agreement with the view of your government that ‘it would be unfortunate if the Greek public should be allowed to form any distorted impression of the commitments made’. Personally as you know on being asked I confined myself strictly within the scope of the above-mentioned official press release of the State Department.
  • “2. As far as the political problem is concerned I now deplore the fact that both Mr. Byrnes and the other Washington officials, with whom I had the pleasure of conversing, in no way touched upon the subject. In fact had that been the case I would have had the opportunity of expounding personally to them all the views that you have been good enough repeatedly to convey to them on my behalf, namely:
    My unremitting efforts within the limits set by the result of the elections of March thirty-first and the parliamentary order based on it to broaden the government in order to include all loyal political leaders and parliamentary parties; and
    The fact that the main obstacle to the success of these efforts of mine has always been the difficult economic and financial condition of the country. Only yesterday (January 7) the London Times in a leading article says: ‘There is reluctance to take responsibility in a precarious economic situation’.
  • “This vicious circle will be broken as soon as a quick way is found ‘to bridge the gap’ pending the recommendations to be made by the Economic Mission under Ambassador Porter concerning long-range economic assistance.
  • “3. As regards the work of the Commission of the Security Council2 which is expected to arrive here, we should indeed see to it as I suggested right from the beginning to Mr. Byrnes and Mr. Bevin in New York that the commission should ‘secure stable conditions in this part of the world’.
  • “To obtain such a result my government will make every effort. And it was exactly to this end that it has already taken and will continue to take all necessary steps so that security measures may be applied as mildly as possible.

“I would only be too happy if my desperate requests for economic aid to Greece and for a timely increase of the Greek armed forces had been acceded to. Thus, if adequate and well equipped military forces had been put in the field, order would have been restored within a very [Page 7] short time so that no extraordinary security measures would be required while the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece would not have taken the liberty of openly undertaking the responsibility of the rebellion. Again, I would only be too pleased if what was not done months ago could be done now in order that we might be able to lift the security measures entirely for which the government regrets more than anybody else and in the enforcement of which in a country in which there has prevailed such a state of anarchy it is hardly possible for unpleasant excesses resulting from confusion not to take place.

“Rest in any way assured and kindly assure your government that agreeing whole-heartedly with paragraph three of your letter about the ‘ultimate aim’, I will in any case direct the policy of the Greek Government on this question in a spirit which will be as conciliatory and moderate as possible.”

  1. Issued December 23, 1946; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 5, 1947, p. 29.
  2. The Commission of Investigation was established by the United Nations Security Council on December 19, 1946, to ascertain the facts concerning alleged violations of Greek borders by insurgent forces said to be using the territories of Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria as operational bases; see telegram 983, December 19, 1946, and editor’s note, Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. vii, pp. 284, 285.