868.20/6–2849: Telegram

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


Amag 62. Van Fleet’s statement as reported in Deptel 941 June 23 is perplexing. Our general planning for FY 1950 always has been based upon reduction in GNA strength during FY. Moreover one of final actions of Van Fleet before leaving for America was to send me memo as condensed below providing for substantial reduction in GNA in FY 1950.

On May 26 I requested Van Fleet to initiate JUSMAPG study to determine approximate size and cost of maintaining Greek armed forces that would be required (1) on assumption that guerrilla warfare in Greece will by October 1, 1949, have been reduced to police proportions and confined solely to border areas with continuing threat [Page 361] of support from three northern border countries and (2) on assumption that guerrilla warfare will by October 1, 1949 have been satisfactorily concluded with withdrawal of all aid from Communist countries and with complete cessation of hostilities.

On June 18, Van Fleet handed me comprehensive JUSMAPG study recommending that under first assumption GNA be reduced from 197,000 to 147,000, Navy be reduced from 14,300 to 13,000, that RHAF be reduced from 7,200 to 5,700 all by June 30, 1950, making a saving in military budget for FY 1950 of about $66,000,000. And, under assumption two, Army be reduced from 197,000 to 125,000, Navy from 14,300 to 10,300 and RHAF from 7,200 to 5,000 all by June 30, 1950 with total savings in military budget for FY 1950 of nearly $67,000,000.1

It is of course possible that Greek situation will develop in way that neither of aforementioned assumptions will provide basis for our actions after first quarter of FY 1950. Every present indication however is that end of summer campaign will see Greece free of organized bandit military operations with bulk of GNA in border areas where it should be able quickly to suppress excursions from across frontiers.

While we believe and expect this to be situation in autumn, prudence demands that at present stage of developments we must continue to plan to meet a more serious situation. Therefore we should seek to maintain present appropriation figures and not consider making reduction in Greek armed forces before summer campaign is completed. Then if campaign goes as we anticipate, personnel reduction should start immediately; otherwise adjustments should be made in light of actual circumstances prevailing at time, but in no event do I think decision should be made in advance that no reduction is possible or advisable during next FY. Substantial GNA reduction is essential for advancement of Greek economic program, for as long as GNA spends drachmae at near present rate there remains little for reconstruction. Dollar savings alone are not nearly so important as the internal problems which would be created by failure to reduce military establishment and consequently drachmae costs as rapidly as campaign warrants. I may add that responsible Greek leaders understand that decisive psychological, political and economic factors are becoming increasingly insistent upon the shift of emphasis of Greek needs from the military to reconstruction. Nuveen’s position has been consistent with this line of thinking.

  1. A copy of Van Fleet’s memorandum to Ambassador Grady, summarized here, subsequently given to the Department by the Ambassador in August, is included in file 868.20/6–2149.