Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. William O. Baxter of the Division of Greek, Turkish and Iranian Affairs


Subject: Greek Proposal for Sealing Northern Frontiers.

Participants: Vassili Dendramis, Greek Ambassador
NEA—Mr. Henderson
GTI—Mr. Baxter

The Greek Ambassador called today at his request and, after referring to a previous conversation in which he had expressed the view of the Greek Government that steps should be taken to seal up the northern frontiers of Greece as a prerequisite to overcoming the guerrilla threat, presented the attached letter and memorandum1 embodying a brief plan to accomplish this purpose.

The proposal provides that the northern borders of Greece should be divided into 13 frontier sectors. An observation headquarters, which would be established in each sector, would be in charge of several strategically located observer teams. These observers would be responsible for (a) the collection of useful data pertaining to guerrilla plans of operation and (b) any immediate action necessary to “foil” such operations. The memorandum does not make clear who would take the initiative in organizing such a force but the objective underlying the proposal is evident in the statement that under certain circumstances this border patrol would “become the nucleus of an international or American force which would replace the observers.” The memorandum further states that this observation plan would be “independent” of the present UNSCOB observation plan but, at the same time, indicates that UNSCOB might consider this plan under paragraphs 8 and 11 of the General Assembly resolution establishing the Special Committee.

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Mr. Henderson thanked the Ambassador for submitting this plan and explained that it would, of course, need to be given careful study in the Department. As the memorandum makes no mention of the size of such a border patrol, Mr. Henderson asked if there were any indication of the numbers which the Greek Government thought necessary. The Ambassador implied that, although a large force would be desirable, the Greek Government considered that the minimum number of personnel for each unit would be 25 to 35 men. In this connection it was pointed out to the Ambassador that the Department had thought of an observation group of approximately the same size at the time of the creation of UNSCOB but that financial and practical difficulties had been so great that it had seemed impossible to recruit and put in the field a larger number of men than is presently attached to UNSCOB for observation functions.

  1. Former dated February 12; the latter, undated. Neither is printed.