881.00R/4–350: Telegram

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

plain

727. Remytel 702, March 31.1 There follows text letter dated April 1 from Prime Minister in response to my communication of March 31. Prime Minister’s letter published here2 with my consent:

“It is with the greatest interest that I read your letter received yesterday and referring to the question of giving full value to the American aid for this aid to give the best results.

“The Government considers it to be its duty to assure you that it feels all its responsibility towards giving its full value to the American [Page 358] aid because it firmly believes that if this aid is not adequately used during the next two years, Greece will not be able to survive as an independent economic entity. We believe, that Your Excellency is of the same opinion considering that together with the delivery of your letter to the Prime Minister it was conmmunicated through the press to the Greek people.

“I do not think necessary to answer in detail regarding all the points of the economic program referred to in your letter, but I declare without any reticence that the Government[,] as long as it remains in power, is firmly decided to give full value, in collaboration with the American Mission, to the aid so generously offered by the American people and this to the extreme limits of possibilities.

“Proofs that this spirit of economy and of full understanding of the present critical circumstances inspire the policy of the present government have already been given during the short time of its existence in two instances—firstly, when at the first meeting of the Council of Ministers it was decided to stop every new appointment and, secondly, to sign the unpopular measure of curtailing grants to families of reservists. I hope that has been brought to your notice that the Government has begun to licentiate many civil servants. I am proud to believe that the Government acted in these matters with courage and unusual speed.

“Regarding the political questions I agree, and wish to emphasize that the essential conditions for giving full value to the American aid is the stability of the Government. But such stability is difficult to secure with the present composition of the Chamber of Deputies and I am of the opinion that more can be expected in this matter from a homogeneous government with wide parliamentary support than by a concentration government counting on its own forces but with only a small majority and which government would have moreover the fault of not being homogeneous, this entailing delays in reaching decisions. To substantiate this contention may I refer to your own judgment, as expressed in your letter that[,] notwithstanding the numerical strength of governments in the last Parliament, results regarding the administration of economic [al] questions were far from satisfactory.

“There are only two points in Your Excellency’s letter of yesterday on which I must express some surprise. These are the questions regarding the suspension of the work of the Parliament and its dissolution. [Both during a] meeting between us a few days ago and in my specific declaration to our Ambassador in Washington who forwarded my views to the State Department, as also in my repeated declarations to members of the press, I made known explicitly and categorically that there is no question of suspending the work of the Parliament. Regarding its dissolution, I fail to understand why this question found place in Your Excellency’s letter considering that I declared to the press again yesterday that the Government had never thought of submitting such a measure to the Chief of State, alone competent in the matter according to our Constitution.

“I should be obliged if Your Excellency kindly informed me if there is any objection to my communicating to the press the text of this letter.”

[Page 359]

In conjunction with Prime Minister’s letter all local papers carried the following comment by me:

“May I say that this letter was sent not merely to the Greek Government, but also to the Greek Parliament and to the Greek people in general. As regards the points about the suspension and dissolution of Parliament, they have been stressed not because it has ever been felt by the Embassy that they have been the aims of the present government; they have been mentioned just because of the widespread rumors both in the press and among public opinion”.

Grady
  1. See the editorial note, p. 356.
  2. °H Kαθημεριυή (Daily), April 2, 1950.