781.00/3–2750: Telegram

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


666. Mytel 660, March 26.1 Venizelos called on me yesterday. He gave long explanation his action in agreeing form his own government in spite agreement with center group which he said first broken by Plastiras unauthorized and embarrassing press statements. Venizelos said he had acted under request from King and that he felt this patriotic duty to endeavor form own government. He was extremely worried as to stability his government and effects within his own party.

I replied that we have been concerned with recent turn of events since we had supposed Plastiras government which arose normally out of elections, was in process of formation. I assured him we are not interfering in Greek political affairs and will support any government which is broadly based, has mandate from people, is able to obtain support in Parliament, and is able and willing carry out energetically ECA program. Our policy is neither laissez faire on one hand nor direct interference on other but we must consider probable stability and effectiveness of any Greek Cabinet. I said frankly that I could not see that his narrow government based almost entirely on his own party (which is itself split) and without any real assurance of continuing support from any outside quarter could provide this essential stability. I added that we had thought and still think Plastiras government might offer new hope. I made clear, however, that we are not interfering for or against any government—that we are not interested per se in any party or political personality.

I think Venizelos was impressed with my remarks. Said he wished to appear before Chamber and see what support he could get before relinquishing mandate. However, I have feeling that he may before Chamber meets return mandate to King and offer support to Plastiras in behalf [belief] that voluntary action now would help save his prestige and that of party.

Kanellopoulos2 called and made strong attack on Plastiras, stating that latter’s criticism of army voting and developments of last few days make him impossible choice for Prime Minister. I commented that notwithstanding, Plastiras center coalition government seemed [Page 355] to reflect will of people as expressed in elections. To Kanellopoulos and also to Venizelos I warned against endeavors suspend Parliament. I pointed out that Greece has already had long moratorium on lawmaking, that much legislation now required facilitate general recovery, and that sudden dissolution Chamber might be interpreted as step toward dictatorship. I also told both these leaders that any general talk now of new election would have bad effect on morale people and stability of government and might be interpreted as negation of democratic procedures.

  1. Not printed; it communicated to the Department of State Ambassador Grady’s endorsement of the Embassy’s actions regarding the Greek political situation during his absence in Geneva and it suggested that the Department make a statement that the entire matter was in Ambassador Grady’s hands with the Department’s full confidence and that the Embassy was acting in accordance with Department policy (781.00/3–2650).
  2. Panayotis Kanellopoulos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, of the Navy, and of the Air Force.