868.00/3–1649: Telegram

The Ambassador in Yugoslavia (Cannon) to the Secretary of State

secret

272. Athens 471 March 11.1 As seen from Belgrade, we inclined regard proposal US–UK démarche to Bulgaria as premature. If Macedonian situation develops as Greeks think probable we feel early stages will be presented as self-contained autonomous movement toward secession and independence and Bulgarians would have no difficulty in officially disassociating themselves. It would only be later that issue, analogous to 1948 Markos recognition, might serve as basis US–UK representations. Démarche re unofficial support Macedonian revolutionaries by Bulgarian Government might not deter Kremlin more than similar representations re Greek guerrillas and unless we [Page 264]indicated our determination to follow through with vigorous and effective action, it might not achieve result desired.

We agree Macedonian developments threaten integrity of Greece and Greek Government must recognize that whether Yugoslavia or Bulgaria wins out in present Macedonian rivalry, pressure will steadily mount in years to come to absorb Aegean Macedonia. It is this eventuality that has made this Mission somewhat impatient with persistence Greek assertion their Epiran claim. Question of south Albania will surely come to fore again when Evatt exertions resumed and we feel that if Communists are again permitted to present to world opinion breakdown of negotiations as arising from Greek intransigeance toward Albania, grave harm will be done to Greek cause.

Working on idea that constructive disposition for Greeks is needed along following lines. Let Greeks, either before or at GA, take lead in realistic Balkan conciliation attempt by proposing recognition finality all present Balkan borders, both its northern [frontier?] and at least YugoslaviA–Albania and YugoslaviA–Bulgaria as well, with guarantee of that recognition by Big Four or UN. Special border commissions might or might not be proposed for border control. Greece could then express willingness forego Albanian claims in general settlement which would guarantee all its borders but such guarantee would be realistic only if Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria agree among themselves as to finality own borders. Otherwise conflicts between any of those states, on their own competing claims, would surely involve Greece.

Inasmuch as other border areas in East Europe also menace peace, proposal might be broadened include additional areas of border tension but we are thinking here primarily of Macedonia and Greece.

We do not know with what bait Soviets are tempting Yugoslavia’s neighbors, whether Albanians are being promised Kosmet region of Yugoslavia or whether Bulgarians are being assured Soviet Union will back incorporation parts Macedonia into Bulgaria or merely autonomous Macedonia under Sofia control. These possibilities arouse much concern here and we like idea compelling USSR to agree or decline to guarantee present Yugoslav borders in act which would assure Greece’s territorial integrity.

Seems to us little can be lost by such proposal and much might be gained. At very least, Greece would succeed in gaining diplomatic initiative and placing Cominform on difficult defensive.2

Cannon
  1. Not printed; it reported on the contents of a draft aide-mémoire under consideration in the Greek Foreign Ministry. The draft aide-mémoire analyzed recent Cominform actions in Macedonia in terms of Communist intention of wresting Macedonian territories from both Greece and Yugoslavia. The draft aide-mémoire would ask the Western Powers to undertake energetic démarches to the Balkan satellite states. Ambassador Grady recommended that the Department of State give serious consideration to the Greek proposals if they were made. (868.00/3–1149)
  2. In his telegram 772, March 28, From Moscow, not printed, Chargé Foy D. Kohler observed that the generalized approach suggested by Ambassador Cannon appeared to be the most promising measure to expose Soviets’ designs publicly and to aggravate to eventual American advantage the tensions existing among Soviet satellites in the Balkans (868.00/3–2849).