868.00/4–3048: Telegram

The Chargé in Greece (Rankin) to the Secretary of State


720. Prime Minister last night told press he knows nothing of rumored desire of bandits negotiate and/or surrender. Continued: “Communists chose try solve their question by force arms. It will therefore be decided by force of arms. Even if they pretend to have repented, who could believe them?” Concluded: “If they wish they have only to surrender to army, but without negotiations”. Minister Foreign Affairs on other hand confirmed to press “there are indications of a camouflaged move” designed raise question of appeasement, and commented on “correlation between these rumors and other rumors from abroad according which Moscow has recognized a reverse in the cold war and has been forced change tactics”. Rumors first circulated here morning April 28 with publication by Eleftheria and Kathiuerini of unattributed report that bandits desire surrender en masse. Rightist press countered same afternoon with accusation that “certain liberal circles” (obviously meaning Lambrakis–Tsouderos, et cetera) planning new appeasement move, and resurrected rumor first printed April 23 that Markos “ministers” Porfyrogenis and Kokkalis had arrived in Athens by Dutch plane (Minister Public Order, April 23, issued statement merely saying there was no confirmation).

While no substantiation has as yet reached Embassy … (other than that contained mytel 594, April 71) of above rumors … it [Page 81] possible if not probable Communists may initiate some such action or rumors (if indeed above are not of Communist origin). Such move might represent either trial balloon or attempt throw government offensive off balance by arousing liberal sentiments here and abroad for cessation of bloodshed. GNA offensive appears hold enough promise of success, and shattering of KKE illegal organization appears have been sufficiently effective so that KKE may well feel impelled prepare ground for eventual “political solution”. Danger of this sufficiently real that Embassy hopes Department will do all possible at its end prevent growth of feeling there is easy way out of present struggle.

Sent Department 720, repeated Sofia 39, Belgrade 43, London 85, Paris 53. Pouched Salonika, Department please pass Moscow 32.

  1. Not printed; it reported that former Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsouderos had called earlier in the day to transmit a written but unsigned proposal communicated to him by a prominent member of the Greek Communist Party as a basis for cessation of guerrilla activities (868.00/4–748).