781.00/5–850: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Greece 1


838. Embtel 1011 May 3.2 On appropriate occasion you may inform Palace of Dept’s gratification over opportunity graciously accorded [Page 370] by King and Queen to clarify misunderstandings that have apparently arisen. As Palace presumably aware, King’s magnanimous gesture in calling to Premiership oldtime republican Plastiras has been almost universally welcomed by US press and public as demonstration Grk attachment to fundamentals of constitutional democracy as opposed to mere appearances.

You may also convey to Venizelos Depths appreciation his statesmanship in yielding Premiership to make possible broader and thus presumably more stable coalition and our hope that he and Liberal Party which he heads will play full and vigorous role within Govt for promotion econ reconstruction and polit stability. (Embtel 1016 May 4)3

In Dept’s opinion, major dangers confronting Greece now come from within rather than from abroad, which fact highlighted by Commie Politbureau proclamation May 1. These dangers are:

Break-up of centrist coalition Govt which wld create polit chaos and prevent or disastrously retard launching reconstruction program. Essential therefore that Venizelos and Liberals take full and active role this Govt.
Polit interference with Army which wld undermine its morale and efficiency. Accord essential between Plastiras and Papagos.
Internal squabbling over Grk fon policy which wld weaken Greece’s internati position. Both opposition and Govt shld forego temptation seek polit advantage from fon policy controversy. Effort shld be made put fon policy on nonpartisan basis, as in US, by establishing procedure for consultations between Govt and nationalist opposition before major decisions taken.
Recreation of commie org and capture of TUs and municipal Govts by disguised commies in scheduled conference and elections. In Dept’s opinion this danger cannot be met by police measures alone, though reinforced police vigilance and careful screening of detainees before release certainly necessary. Equally important that Grk public shld clearly understand commie design and learn recognize commies and fellow travelers despite misleading labels. Effort shld be made thru polit tactics and publicity expose rift and drive deeper wedge between cominformists and noncominform leftists. Finally, where commie challenge likely be serious in municipalities or TU Conference, all nationalist parties from Eight to Left Center shld seek unite on single ticket. Other more general countermeasures are of course TU reorganization and early progress econ rehabilitation.

Grady now Calif has not seen this tel but ideas discussed with him and correspond his thinking. At ur discretion you may use in any [Page 371] effective and appropriate manner. Dept has already talked along these lines to Grk Emb and will find early occasion for public airing these views unless you have negative comment or reservations.

FYI Dept has just recd personal ltr Venizelos to McGhee dated Apr 26.4 Verbatim text being cabled. Consideration being given to reply in light Embtel 1016 May 4.

  1. Repeated to Moscow as 389.
  2. Not printed; it transmitted a report by Harold B. Minor, Chargé of the Embassy in Greece, on his meeting with King Paul and Queen Frederika at the Palace on May 2. Mr. Minor reported that the King and Queen “seem unable to understand our ‘opposition’ to late Venizelos Cabinet” and that “they continue regard Plastiras with suspicion, and feel his ‘fellow traveling tendencies’ will intensify Communist threat.” (781.00/5–350)
  3. Not printed; in it the Chargé, Mr. Minor, reported that Greek Liberal Party Member of Parliament Gregory Kasimatis “told Emb officer yesterday that unless early action is taken by U.S. to assuage Venizelos’ hurt feelings, Liberal Chief will withdraw his ministers from Plastiras Govt.” Mr. Kasimatis suggested a statement by the Secretary of State at his next news conference as the means of achieving this objective. (781.00/5–450)
  4. Not printed; see telegrams 901 and 902, May 18, pp. 375 and 376.