Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

Upon the occasion of the Ambassador’s1 call upon me on which I have written a separate memorandum, I took the occasion to raise with him the following three points on which I asked for his help with his Government.

[Page 117]
We desire that the present British military and naval training missions in Greece shall continue. We have no reason to believe that the British have a different view. We have asked General Marshall to take this up with Mr. Bevin and I asked the Ambassador to supplement our efforts in London.
We do not have adequate information in Washington regarding precise matériel requirements of the Turkish Army. The British Staff Mission does not have adequate information although it is altogether possible, indeed probable, that substantial information exists in London. I asked the Ambassador to request all available information in London to be sent to the British Staff Mission here. I suggest that Mr. Hickerson supplement this with a cable.2
The present notice from the British Government informs us that assistance will stop on March 31. We received this information on February 24. It must be plain to the British that, under our representative system, we could not be expected to take action between the two days so as to render effective assistance to Greece on April 1. The British have stated that they are willing to continue after March 31 assistance to the Greek Army to the extent of £2,000,000 per month provided that they are reimbursed.
I told the British Ambassador some days ago that I thought this suggestion inadequate, that obviously this Government could not accept it because, unless Congress acted, it would not have funds and also because it was an unnecessary burden for us to carry in this already difficult legislative problem. I told him that it seemed to me that the British, without making any positive commitment, should be willing to continue such aid as was necessary without the requirement of reimbursement for a sufficient period after the first of April to give us a chance to iact legislatively on the matter.

The British Ambassador asked me to put my request to the British Government in writing and send it to him. I said that I would do this.3

The Ambassador said that he had been asked from London whether they could expect a reply to their earlier suggestion regarding aid to the Greek Army on a reimbursable basis and that he had told them that we are not likely to reply to this.

I ask that the Secretariat get the appropriate officers of the Department to prepare as speedily as possible the communication suggested above.

Dean Acheson
  1. The British Ambassador.
  2. This was done on March 15, in telegram 1191 to London; the communication was drafted, however, by Mr. Jernegan (876.24/3–1547). Ambassador Douglas, in telegram 2085, April 4, from London, informed Mr. Acheson that the “Turks have never been willing to reveal their intentions or to give British more than an unrealistic list of requirements unrelated to the condition of the Turkish armed forces.” (868.24/4–447)
  3. In the light of Mr. Acheson’s talk with the British Ambassador on March 15 (see p. 119), the Department decided not to send the written communication (memorandum of March 17 by Mr. Jernegan to Mr. Acheson and marginal notation by Mr. Humelsine, 841.2368/3–1447).