781.02/4–1750: Telegram

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


852. Pass to ECA. Resignation of Venizelos government was due primarily to its innate weakness and to likelihood that it would not get from Parliament a vote of confidence. Venizelos and those behind him, however, have stated privately and certain of the press have published the charge that we demanded the resignation of the government. They also have charged that Porter and ECA refused cooperation. There is absolutely no truth in either charge. Outside my letter1 we have officially kept silent and I asked Porter to make every effort to get whatever things done he could by Venizelos government. He has done so but government officials have tried by public statements and by approaches to him to assume that the power projects were approved with no qualifications. They have sought to ignore the conditions attached to the approval. This he has not allowed them to do. Hence the accusations of non-cooperation. On Embassy side we have in private conversations frequently restated our original position that the center coalition was the logical outcome of elections.

My letter was to call to attention of a weak and irresponsible government “trying to get by” its serious obligations. Greece has an agreement (a contract) with US which we expect her leaders to live up to. It may be “unprecedented” for an ambassador to write a government to which he is accredited urging certain administrative and legislative measures, but it is also entirely unprecedented for a government to offer to another government freely and without quid pro quo plants to double its electric power capacity yet not to mention all the rest represented by ECA expenditures. The same coterie are also circulating stories that we are trying to force a Yugoslav alliance on them. This is a very important factor in the confused situation and the people seem to believe it. Of course, it arose from the unfortunate activities of Allen,2 and his talks with the King, Pipinelis, Venizelos, and the Yugoslav Chargé. He wanted to see Plastiras also, but Minor drew the line. Returning, he stopped in Salonika for several hours [Page 365] and inspected the erstwhile Yugoslav Free Zone there. Sunday papers state Allen will renew his efforts with incoming Plastiras government.3

I do not say we excercise[d] no influence in the matter of the government’s resignation. We got positive results by negative methods. Officially we were absolutely correct. But every effort Venizelos (and the brain trust) made to get American Government blessing failed.

Of course, those against the Plastiras government will stop at nothing. Metaxas says we and the British will be responsible for whatever the Plastiras government may do. I am afraid the King and his brain trust consisting of Pipinelis, Metaxas, and Ventiris will sulk and try to embarrass the new government with the help of their lackey press. Venizelos is playing “hard to get” and has gone to South Africa for 45 days but his party is cooperating in Plastiras government.

The new government has much talent and has a good chance to succeed despite the “saboteurs” who will endeavor to protect their selfish interests. The Greek people who are so fine and have fought so valiantly will suffer if this “coterie” goes on with its line of rule or ruin.

  1. See editorial note, p. 356.
  2. See memorandum by Patterson, March 22, p. 349.
  3. Formed April 15, with Gen. Nicholas Plastiras as Prime Minister and provisional Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Press and Information.