501.BB Balkan/9–4549: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State


2320. Depinfotel September 12 on Greek fear re proposed UNGA conciliation talks.1 While agreeing that every effort should be made to prevent Soviets from posing as sole champions of peace, I venture hazard view that normal sequel to present favorable course of events in Greece should be conciliatory move from the opposition rather than from US (though we should, of course, be prepared to respond to serious overture); and that we may be taking undue risks by projecting new conciliation machinery and formulae just at a time when success by existing means seems in sight. I believe it important not to lose sight of fact that Soviets have shown no signs of relinquishing their ultimate objectives in Greece. Though temporarily stalled by guerilla defeats and the Tito defection, I am convinced that Soviets will continue to utilize every political or diplomatic opening to put their friends in power in Athens. I believe that utmost vigilance should be exercised lest our conciliation efforts afford Soviets and Greek Communists entering wedge with which to turn their present military defeat into eventual political victory. Great as need may be for putting Greek political house in order, the dangers inherent in pushing Greeks too far on amnesty and elections should not be minimized.

On basis foregoing considerations I see great advantage in adhering to procedure devised 1948 UNGA whereby President GA and chairman Committee 1 take lead in talks with representatives Greece and its neighbors (Usun 1067 September 8 to Department2) as against [Page 418] alternative proposals calling for US and Soviet participation. On same grounds I question wisdom proposals envisaging abolition UNSCOB and substitution three new commissions therefor (Deptel 607 August 303). UNSCOB has done useful work in past and can now (either under existing or possibly amended terms of reference) concentrate its efforts on Bulgarian and Albanian frontiers leaving Yugoslav-Greek frontier problems as much as possible to anticipated bilateral attention two governments directly concerned (unless unexpected but possible changes in Yugoslav leadership should necessitate renewed attention that boundary by UNSCOB. If purpose establishment new commissions is to solicit Soviet cooperation such action would appear to undermine moral and legal validity of good work done by UNSCOB in past and lend substance Soviet criticism that body.

Department will perceive that I feel strongly that means and methods developed over considerable period to deal with Greek problem represents sound and effective approach to peaceful settlement. This connection I am disturbed by September 14 BBC report suggesting possibility Greek unilateral military action against Albania on basis article 51 UN Charter.4 Especially in view Epirus question Greek military move against Albania now would appear outright territorial aggrandizement (see Embtel 1701 July 8) and nullify excellent plans outlined Deptel 607 August 30 for bringing maximum UNGA pressure to bear on Albania and other satellites as step towards pacification entire area.

Furthermore, any such move by Greeks could have endless repercussions, most certainly vis-à-vis the Soviets and would also interject serious complication Yugoslav position.

Athens please pass to UNSCOB.

Sent Department 2320 Department pass London 246, USUN 5, Belgrade 113, Athens 71, Sofia 44.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted a summary of telegram 1503, Balcom 301, September 10, to Athens, p. 409.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed; it transmitted the substance of the recommendations subsequently set forth in document SD/A/C.1/272, September 9, p. 404.
  4. In his telegram 1840, September 14, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady reported that in a speech made in Larissa on September 11 and carried in the Athens press on September 13, Greek War Minister Kanellopoulos had warned Greece’s northern neighbors that renewed support by them for the guerrillas would result in Greek military action to destroy the guerrilla bases. Grady interpreted this statement, foreshadowing a possible invasion of Albania, as reflecting Greek Army views. (868.00/9–1449)