868.20/1–1449: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Greece


Gama 7. Dept has received ltr from Sec Royall recommending Grk Govt be informed Tsaldaris request to Royall for temporary 15,000 increase GNA carefully considered, but does not appear justified this time.

Ltr expresses opinion GNA possesses means suppress guerrillas if given proper leadership and Govt support. Also notes each previous temp increase GNA has proved permanent. Letter states old ineffective [Page 239] GNA personnel can he eliminated by discharging immed many as possible without adverse effect on operations and by maximum utilization output existing training facilities to replace remaining ineffective personnel. Dept concurs Royall’s views.1

Request you advise Greek Govt US cannot approve request for temp increase, citing foregoing reasons. Also request you take this opportunity reiterate US position along general line penultimate and last substantive paras your ltr Nov 2 to Prim Min2 and line Lovett Dendramis conversation contained Dept Instr no. 5, Jan 10.3 Dept hopeful constant repetition US position by US officials Athens and Wash may bring Grk leaders appreciation realities Greece’s position vis-à-vis competing demands for US aid and our consequent diminishing returns Grk lobbying tactics.

Re recent 10,000 GNA call-up,4 Dept understands 5000 spaces presently available within authorized 147,000 [197,000?] ceiling and that Grk Govt has promised either assume full drachma responsibility for training remaining 5000 or make spaces available by immed release 5000 ineffectives (Van Fleet’s L 23685). Since support Grk economy depends entirely upon US assistance, any suggestion Grk Govt can independently assume drachma expense troop increase completely fatuous. Dept recommends you insist upon immediate release 5000 ineffectives in order create spaces for total call-up within authorized ceiling. Dept apprehensive Grk Govt may be encouraged attempt other similar maneuvers if such action allowed to pass unopposed.

  1. Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall’s letter of January 11, 1949, to the Secretary of State under reference here is not printed (868.20/1–1149). Foreign Minister Tsaldaris’ request was made to Secretary Royall during the latter’s visit to Athens on his December 1948 European inspection trip.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. iv, p. 179, footnote 6.
  3. The instruction under reference is not printed; for the record of the Acting Secretary’s conversation of January 4 with Ambassador Dendramis, see p. 231.
  4. Ten thousand men were scheduled to be called into Greek military service in early January 1949.
  5. In the message under reference, dated December 29, 1948, not printed, Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet, Director, Joint U.S. Military Advisory and Planning Group in Greece, reported that Greek Minister of War Constantine Rendis had issued a press release to the effect that any overstrength in the Greek Army beyond the 197,000 approved by the American military advisory group would be supported by the Greek budget.