868.00/1–1749: Telegram

The Special Representative in Europe for the Economic Cooperation Administration (Harriman) to the Ambassador in Greece (Grady)1

secret   urgent

[Unnumbered.] Ref urtel 2 January 12th.2 Eyes only for Ambassador Grady from Harriman. In my talk with King at tea, at which no one was present but the Queen and Mrs. Harriman, both King and Queen discussed the political situation and many aspects of life in Greece, including the charitable activities of the Queen. Our talk covered a variety of personal matters such as the times we had met before, the proposed parachuting of the King in Greece during the war, the arrival of the Mountbattens,3 the proposed visit of the Queen to the US, etc.

On the political situation, I listened attentively as he expressed his ideas, with which you are familiar, for dealing with a crisis which he foresaw developing. I of course expressed no views except to urge him to take no steps without full discussion with you and to point out the obvious dangers of adverse reaction at home. There is no justification for his considering that I endorsed his proposals.

[Page 238]

It may be revealing for you to know that Cyrus Sulzberger4 told me in conversation with the King the following day, the King told him that both you and I approved and would support his program. Sulzberger readily accepted my statement that this was not true as to either of us. I have just phoned Sulzberger to confirm the above which he did, asking me that it be kept confidential as far as the King is concerned.5

I have no memo of my talk with the King as nothing developed which had not been previously reported by you.

In my talk with Markezinis, Perkins [Nuveen?] was present and can give you full report. Markezinis’ English is so bad that I did not get a clear understanding of his ideas. Perkins carried on discussion in greater detail after I left.

  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 44, January 17, from Athens, not printed.
  2. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, Special Representative in Europe for the Economic Cooperation Administration, accompanied by his wife and a small party, made an official visit to Athens from December 29, 1948, to January 3, 1949. The visit was centered on matters relating to the Economic Cooperation Administration. Despatch 131, February 14, from Athens, not printed, briefly reviewed Ambassador Harriman’s itinerary in Athens. Accompanied by Counselor of Embassy Karl Rankin, serving as Chargé during Ambassador Grady’s trip to Washington for consultation, and John Nuveen, Jr., the Chief of the ECA Mission in Greece, Ambassador Harriman called on Prime Minister Sophoulis on the afternoon of December 30. Harriman, Rankin, and Nuveen also participated in a conference with members of the Greek cabinet on the evening of December 30. On the afternoon of January 1, Ambassador and Mrs. Harriman were the guests of the Greek King and Queen at an intimate tea. At King Paul’s request. Harriman met and spoke briefly with Spyridon Markezinis. Ambassador Grady returned from Washington on January 2 and conferred at length with Ambassador Harriman that day. The Harriman party departed for Paris via Rome on January 3 (840.50 Recovery/2–1449). In the telegram under reference here, not printed, Ambassador Grady reported that King Paul had recently told him that he was thinking of a solution to the current political crisis in terms of the immediate formation of a Papagos–Markezinis government. The King indicated to Grady that he had discussed with Ambassador Harriman such a solution and that Harriman had endorsed it. Grady asked Harriman for a record of his political talks with the King: (868.00/1–1749).
  3. Earl Mountbatten of Burma, former Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia (1943–1946) and former Viceroy and Governor General of the Dominion of India (1947–4948).
  4. Cyrus L. Sulzberger, chief foreign correspondent for the New York Times, flew to Athens with Ambassador and Mrs. Harriman on December 27 and returned with them on January 3. For his detailed account of his conversation with King Paul on January 2 and his talks with Harriman on the flight from Athens to Paris, see C. L. Sulzberger, A Long Row of Candles: Memoirs and Diaries [1934–1954] (n.p.: The Macmillan Company, 1969), pp. 428–431.
  5. In his telegram 112, January 17, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady observed that he was prepared to accept the statement made by Ambassador Harriman, but he added:

    “… I have seen minutes of conversation between Harriman and the King and Nuveen and the King (three days later) in which both are reported to have pressed their well known (to me) views. Both are reported to have insisted on drastic solution (along lines of their views) if aid to Greece was to continue. According to minutes of conversation Nuveen ended his remarks to King by stating he knew his and Harriman’s views were not those of the Ambassador and most people in State Department. Nuveen told me a week ago he did not discuss political matter with the King.” (868.00/1–1749)