868.00/1–549: Telegram

The Ambassador in Greece (Grady) to the Acting Secretary of State


24. Embtel 2623, Dec. 28.1 Within past two days I have seen the King2 and Tsaldaris separately and discussed with both the political situation. Tsaldaris stated that he and Sophoulis3 wished to broaden govt preferably by the inclusion of Papandreou4 and perhaps Canellopoulos5 prior to reconvening of Parliament Feb. 1. No formal negotiations have yet been undertaken with Papandreou, who apparently now willing enter govt, since Tsaldaris and Sophoulis wished to have my views before taking any action. I informed Tsaldaris that US would raise no objections to broadening of govt. I pointed out to him the desirability strengthening certain ministries, if and when govt reorganized, and possible necessity subordinating party interest to [Page 234]secure suitable personalities for certain cabinet posts. Tsaldaris agreed with these suggestions and promised they would be put into effect in reorganized govt.

In my meeting last evening with the King I was surprised to learn his opinion that Papagos–Markezinis “solution”6 should be tried as soon as possible. King expressed belief that Grk people desired entirely new govt and situation demanded effective and efficient leadership which in King’s opinion could only be provided by Papagos–Markezinis Govt. King stated he understood Americans agreed with his opinion that it was essential to have energetic streamlined Govt by March (apparently referring by implication to period of congressional discussions Grk aid). I informed King that I did not agree with interpretation of American position. I further stated the US hoped that Greece would be able to retain parliamentary govt and democratic procedures and that we looked with favor upon the broadening of present govt by inclusion elements such as Papandreou. The King then said he would not interfere with such development.

After thorough discussion recent political events with my staff, I consider our policy should be to preserve as long as possible democratic and constitutional procedures in Greece and that we should above all avoid appearance of imposing govt of our choice on Greece except as last resort. For present therefore I believe that we should put no obstacles in way of broadening of govt as suggested by Tsaldaris but should at appropriate time and in discreet fashion suggest, but not necessarily insist upon, appropriate individuals for certain cabinet posts. We should also encourage improvement govt machinery by reduction in number of ministries (which I am informed by Tsaldaris is contemplated by Sophoulis and himself) and also by appointment of technically qualified and otherwise suitable men as permanent Directors General of various ministries. Latter will of course be gradual development but seems hold considerable promise for increased efficiency.

I should not wish these conclusions to be interpreted as closing door to other and possibly quite different developments in future. Situation may so change as to require our acceptance some extra-paraliamentary solution such as Papagos–Markezinis combination. It is my belief, however, that Grk political situation should be permitted to evolve step by step and that Papagos govt should not be precipitated into office with even tacit US encouragement in disregard normal parliamentary [Page 235]process. It should be recognized that no simple solution exists for Grk problem and that it is unlikely any Grk Govt can perform miracles. Order will be reestablished and reconstruction achieved here only by degrees and through hard work on part of Grks and with patience and understanding on part of Americans.

Meantime progress being made by present govt on ECA sponsored legislative program and cabinet passed decentralization law last night.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Paul I, King of the Hellenes.
  3. Themistocles Sophoulis, Greek Prime Minister; leader of the Liberal Party.
  4. George Papandreou, leader of the Socialist-Democratic Party.
  5. Panayotis Kanellopoulos, leader of the National Political Union.
  6. The reference here is to the possible resolution of the instability of the Greek Government by the appointment of an “extra-parliamentary” cabinet headed by retired General Alexander Papagos and including Spyridon Markezinis, leader of the New Party. It was anticipated that such a Papagos–Markezinis government would rule in the name of the King without necessarily obtaining the confirmation or support of the Parliament.