781.00/3–3150: Telegram

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


703. King seems so determined to destroy Plastiras politically that inherent weakness of Government being set up under Venizelos does not seem to concern him at all. I, and later Minor, gave him our views [Page 357] as to kind of government needed in present emergency and stated center coalition seemed to come nearer to meeting requirements, looked at from every standpoint. I have restated this to Venizelos and twice in last few days to Canellopoulos. They asked me if I wanted government to resign and I have replied that I would ask nothing of government. It is easy to see what would happen if they could say American Ambassador had caused fall of Government. I kept saying we are giving advice but not dictation. For this reason we have denied responsibility for newspaper statements even though they pretty accurately reflect our views. Venizelos regularly seeks word from Dendramis who advises him that Department in effect is behind Venizelos regime. Our own correctness here is being taken advantage of and we are drifting into political confusion. We can be neither dictatorial nor laissez-faire but “gentle persuasion” does not seem to be effective with irresponsible politicians and stubborn monarchs. We are all, particularly Porter, deeply concerned about effect on ECA program of political drift during interval of six months or so that it will take King to accomplish his very definite objective of getting Papagos in as Prime Minister. Hence, by agreement with Porter and concurrence of most of top staff I have sent a letter to Venizelos and issued it to press (mytel 702, March 311 gives text) setting forth what is expected of his government if our ECA program is to have a real measure of success. This letter may result in government resigning but if it does it will be a confession of weakness and inability to do job we expect. There are some risks but some form of positive action is clearly called for.

  1. Summarized in editorial note, supra.