Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

Subject: Greek Views on Consequences of Recognition of Markos Junta

Since the announcement on December 23[24], 1947 of the formation by “General Markos” on a self-styled “Government of Free Greece”, the Greek Government, through its Embassy here, has presented the Department with a series of memoranda expressing grave concern over the possibility of the imminent recognition of this rebel group by Soviet Balkan satellities and outlining various measures which it considers necessary for the preservation of Greek independence. Among the steps suggested are:

a public statement by the United States and Great Britain denouncing the Markos junta;
a public statement that recognition of this junta would be considered a breach of the peace and would oblige members of the United Nations to offer their assistance to Greece;
making available to Greece an aircraft carrier;
improvement of Greek airfields and the stationing of U. S. troops at nearby points in the area in preparation for possible United States armed intervention in Greece.

The attached memorandum,1 which you read about ten days ago and which the Greek Ambassador was under instructions to hand you personally, confines itself mainly to reiterating the belief of the Greek Government that the size and equipment of its armed forces are insufficient and ends with the statement that the Greek Government intends to “invoke” Article 51 of the Charter and call for collective assistance to maintain its independence in the event that any country should recognize the rebel regime.

It is my understanding that you will shortly see the Greek Ambassador. In addition to your talk with him, you may wish to hand him the attached draft letter.2 I think that the Greeks will not consider that it offers adequate assurances of our support, but it may be that you will wish to go no further at this time. It is important, however, that the Greek Government should not take any unilateral or ill-advised action vis-à-vis the United Nations or with respect to Article 51 of the Charter without adequate consultation with the United States and the United Kingdom Governments. Some formal step of this kind [Page 32] by the Greek Government might commit us to a course of action which would not be in the best interest of Greece or of our own policy toward Greece.

L[oy] W. H[enderson]
  1. No. 163, January 2, from the Greek Ambassador, not printed.
  2. Infra.