The British Ambassador (Inverchapel) to the Secretary of State

top secret   immediate

Dear Mr. Secretary: The Prime Minister tells me on Mr. Bevin’s1 behalf that the latter would like to be in a position to speak about Greece in the Foreign Affairs Debate in the House of Commons on January 22nd on the following lines:

Britain has given a guarantee to Greece2 and we have already shown in 1940 and since that we honoured our obligations towards Greece. Our guarantee covered the existing frontiers of Greece and our assumption at the end of the last war had been that all four great European powers would co-operate in maintaining inviolate the frontiers of Greece as of other Allied countries. If, however, Soviet policy was now based on the assumption that Greek frontiers were not inviolable, and if the Soviet Union and its satellites continued to foment civil war in Greece, then it was necessary to warn them publicly that they were playing with fire. In particular, such a warning should be addressed to Tito and Dimitrov,3 who should be reminded that, just as we had fought Hitler in defence of human liberties, so we would take a firm stand now against any new attempt to dominate free and independent countries.

2. Mr. Bevin would, however, wish to be assured that in speaking on the above lines he would be supporting your own policy. For this reason he has asked me to seek guidance from you on the latest American thinking on the subject of Greece.

3. I am hopeful that you will be able to see me for this purpose on Monday next, as the day appointed for Mr. Bevin’s speech is not now far off.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Made by former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in a statement to the House of Commons, April 13, 1939. See Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th ser. vol. 346, p. 13.
  3. Josip Broz-Tito, Prime Minister of Yugoslavia and Secretary General of the Yugoslav Communist Party; and Georgi Dimitrov, his Bulgarian counterpart.