868.01/1–1849: Telegram

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


118. Following memorandum in my name sent to King’s Political Adviser Metaxas January 18:1

“Referring to our conversation of this morning, I would like clarify the American position with regard to the present crisis in the Greek Government.

I have said on a number of occasions that the responsibility for the Greek Government lies with the Greek people. It has been and is my desire merely to be of such assistance as I can in giving advice when it is sought. Naturally, we are interested in a strong and efficient government as an essential to the success of our whole aid program, both the military and economic. It has been my conviction, and the Department of State fully concurs in this, that a strong and efficient government can be secured and maintained through democratic, parliamentary processes. It is my conviction that it is possible at this time to get a strong government by the normal constitutional process. Whatever may develop in the future that might call for emergency measures on the part of the King, it does not seem to me that that time has yet arrived.

I am clarifying these points to you because I want to be sure that the American position is understood by the King and the people of Greece.”

  1. In his telegram 117, January 18, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady explained the circumstances attending the delivery of this memorandum as follows:

    “Because I found that King and Queen still seem to feel that influential American governmental opinion was behind drastic solution of present crisis, I have after conversation with King’s political adviser Metaxas handed him memo. I will repeat this personally to the King after luncheon today. King seems to be moving toward non-parliamentary solution by imposing Papagos–Markezinis combination if other leaders fail comply literally with this demand for all-party government.” (868.00/1–1849)

    In his telegram 121, January 19, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady reported that British Ambassador Norton, Earl Mountbatten, and he lunched on January 18 with King Paul, and all three endeavored to impress the King with the necessity of proceeding within constitutional and parliamentary framework and to avoid any radical solution to the political question (868.00/1–1949). In his telegram 149, January 22, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady attributed to Lord Mountbatten, who was then staying at the royal palace and had the full confidence of King Paul, the decisive role in persuading the King to avoid non-parliamentary courses of action (868.00/1–2249).