501.BB Balkan/2–548: Telegram

The Secretary of State to Admiral Alan G. Kirk, at Salonika


40. Balcom 107. Examination verbatim records UNSCOB discussion terms of reference for observer groups seems to indicate general unanimity that groups should be eyes and ears of UNSCOB (re Combal 811). Principal issue seems to be whether observer group authority is derived under paragraph 5(1) or from paragraph 4.2 In Dept’s view, since GA has only the power of recommendation, paragraph 4, calling upon A, B and Y to do nothing which could furnish aid to the guerrillas, is in effect a recommendation and therefore within the scope of UNSCOB to observe compliance. Herschel Johnson’s statement Oct 203 to GA plenary session clearly interprets US resolution and reveals investigatory powers which authors considered to be inherent in it. Any statement by UNSCOB that par 4 does not concern UNSCOB would be inacceptable to US and damaging to UNSCOB prestige. Dept considers that GA resolution could not be substantially strengthened in GA under present circumstances and that any attempt to do so without new evidence of strong probative value would be unfortunate.

However, Dept also considers that any aid to guerrillas would be violation of recommendation 5(1) and therefore would properly be subject of investigation by observer group. Dept believes terms of reference for observer groups, even though avoiding reference to par 4 and referring specifically to par 5(1), can be drafted in terms adequately wide to cover any situation arising under par 4. Dept assumes discussion of terms of reference will not delay dispatch to field of remaining observer groups. Since purpose of UNSCOB is to observe developments in a situation likely to endanger world peace, it would be dangerous for UNSCOB to act timidly in construing its own responsibilities and authority in connection with steps which would serve either to discourage or reveal aggressive acts. Dept prepared to make representations to other governments participating UNSCOB at your [Page 230] recommendation in the event attitude their representatives continues unsatisfactory.

It is our view that continued efforts must also be exerted to make conciliatory function of UNSCOB effective. Such conciliation must be based, however, upon an honest approach to existing differences between respective nations and not upon a spurious unrealistic program such as Australia’s (Combal 824) which is in part quite similar to solution sought by USSR in GA. Dept has noted Albanian and Bulgarian protests transmitted for info by Secretary General to UNSCOB and recommends that all such incidents be exploited by direct communications from UNSCOB to Sofia, Tirana, etc., emphasizing UNSCOB willingness to investigate these charges and attempt a solution. These communications should be reported simultaneously to the Secretary General and to press and can ultimately be repeated over the Voice of America. Dept is convinced that UNSCOB must persist in its conciliatory function and through development and submission of concrete proposals on the question of frontier conventions, refugees, etc., make increasingly difficult continued refusal northern neighbors to consider these matters. If these proposals were advanced to the northern neighbors with maximum publicity in press and radio, the bona fides of UNSCOB would be unmistakably demonstrated to the world and at the same time made a part of UN records in event the Greek question again considered by GA or SC. Although present situation discouraging, we hope by continuing series of widely publicized conciliatory proposals to make possible future graceful change of position by northern neighbors in the event they choose to alter their attitude toward Greece and UNSCOB.

Dept aware morale certain UNSCOB delegates critical problem to leadership of US del. If UNSCOB can be persuaded seriously to concern itself with research in intricate problems existing between Greece and her neighbors these delegates might realize that they could accomplish much which would be prerequisite to any serious conversation with northern neighbors should they ever be so inclined.

Dept gratified that Kirk’s conversations (Brussels’ 230, Feb 35) have revealed an attitude on part of qualified observers in Western Europe which conforms generally with that of Dept.

Sent Salonika repeated Athens as 182, London as 391, Paris as 379, Brussels for Kirk as 181, Canberra as 34.

  1. Identified also as telegram 44, February 2, 11 p. m., from Salonika; it advised of a vote by the representatives of Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico, and Pakistan in favor of a Pakistani proposal to defer reference of complaints of frontier violations to observer groups until agreement was reached on their terms of reference. Mr. Drew expressed his fear that “this may be further move to emasculate effectiveness of observer groups by denying them investigatory function.” (501.BB Balkan/2–248)
  2. Of the resolution of October 21, 1947.
  3. United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session, Plenary Meetings, p. 401. Mr. Johnson was Acting United States Representative at the United Nations.
  4. Identified also as telegram 45, February 3, from Salonika, p. 225.
  5. Not printed.