881.10/1–3050

The Chief of the American Mission for Aid to Greece ( Grady )2 to the Greek Prime Minister ( Theotokis )3

confidential

Excellency: In my letter of October 23, 1949 to Prime Minister Diomedes,4 a copy of which I am enclosing for your convenience,5 I recommended a reduction of 50,000 men in the Greek Army by January 1, 1950 and mentioned subsequent additional reductions in all the Greek Armed Forces as well. I have been pleased to learn that the demobilization during the months of November and December has progressed satisfactorily and that the recommended reductions in strength will be completed this month.

In the carefully considered opinion of American and, I believe, British military advisers and Greek military leaders as well, the current situation permits a continued gradual reduction in the strength of all three components of the Greek Armed Forces. I agree with this opinion and think that a reduction in man strength will have an overall beneficial effect on the country.

If the resources of Greece could support the present large Armed Forces it might be reasoned that they should be maintained as an additional safety factor, but under the present financial circumstances Greece has no alternative but to reduce her defense expenditures. In another letter I am communicating to you my concern over the continued [Page 336] high, level of Government expenditures and particularly of those for defense.6 If Government expenditures are not reduced, there will be insufficient funds to carry out the planned reconstruction program and this in turn may cause a cut back of the American economic aid.

I therefore strongly advise that the following maximum strengths for the Greek Armed Forces and Police be established for June 30, 1950:

Greek National Army 114,000
Royal Hellenic Navy 10,000
Royal Hellenic Air Force 6,100
Gendarmerie 23,200
Civil Police 8,000
Category “C” –0–

These strengths would be reached by a continued gradual demobilization in accordance with plans drawn up by Greek military authorities with the assistance of American advisers. I emphasize that these are maximum strengths and that I am in favor of any further reductions which military authorities find necessary in order to bring expenditures within the present budget.

In my opinion the Greek Government should also look forward to making continued reductions in the strength of the Greek Armed Services during the second six months of 1950 with the objective of attaining the following strengths by December 31, 1950:

Greek National Army 80,000
Royal Hellenic Navy 7,000
Royal Hellenic Air Force 5,700
Gendarmerie 23,200
Civil Police 8,000

I believe Your Excellency will agree that in democratic countries like yours and mine, while military authorities give advice on matters such as this, the initiative and responsibility for decisions of this nature rest with the civilian government. Although decision on the reductions for the second half of 1950 may be deferred until a postelection Government has taken office, I think that the responsibility for the reductions for the first half of 1950 necessarily lies with Your Excellency’s Government.

I wish finally to point out that the plans of my Government for continuing military aid to Greece are based on the expectation that the reductions suggested above will be realized. The position taken by the Greek Government on this matter will, therefore, be of the utmost importance in determining my Government’s policy with regard [Page 337] to the amount of military assistance to be finally allocated to Greece during this fiscal year.

I urge Your Excellency to communicate this letter to members of the Government with the aim of reaching a firm and early decision regarding the recommendation contained herein. I cannot emphasize too strongly my feeling that the Greek Government has a responsibility in this matter to its people, and indirectly to the American people who have provided so much assistance to Greece. I should very much appreciate receiving at your earliest convenience the Government’s decision on these recommendations.7

Please accept [etc.]

Henry F. Grady
  1. Henry F. Grady also served as Ambassador in Greece.
  2. The source text was transmitted to the Department of State as enclosure 3 to despatch 113 from Athens, January 30, not printed. John G. Theotokis was Prime Minister and Minister of War, of the Navy, and of the Air Force.
  3. Alexander Diomedes, former Prime Minister.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, p. 440.
  5. Not printed.
  6. In a letter to Ambassador Grady dated January 27, not printed, Prime Minister Theotokis agreed to a reduction of 33,000 men in the strength of the Greek Army by June 30, subject to a reexamination of the situation in March (Athens Post Files: Lot 58F6: Box 45: 500 ECA). In a letter to Prime Minister Theotokis dated January 29, not printed, Ambassador Grady replied that he was “deeply disappointed in the very limited assurances” given by the Greek Government regarding reduction of military personnel and expenses and he stated that the American program for reequipping Greek Armed Services was based on a force level below the 92,700 ceiling recommended for December 31, 1950 (ibid.).