681.82/5–652: Telegram

No. 308
The Ambassador in Greece (Peurifoy) to the Department of State1

top secret

4758. Fol info supplied by FonOff … today.

While Grk-Turkish talks (re Embtel 4712 May 2, 522) covered practically every subj of interest to both countries relations with Yugos unquestionably main topic discussed. Grks and Turks agreed that close collaboration with Yugo was indispensable for def effort. . . .

Grk Govt for some months has striven to better relations with Yugo and hence has purposely ignored number of disagreeable occurrences. For example, five bearers of Grk passports in Skopolje were recently refused exit permits by Yugos on grounds that they were not Grks but Macedonians. Similar incident occurred in Belgrade. Some of 64 Grk children repatriated from Yugo several weeks ago brought their Yugo school books back with them. Grks shocked discover that map of Yugo in children’s geography books showed Salonika as Yugo territory. In these cases, as in constant references by Yugo radio to Aegean-Macedonia, Grks have been careful to protest informally and in most friendly way possible. Officially, Grk Govt has behaved as if it believed such irritating Yugo acts and pretentions were due to various “broiled-heads” whom Tito obliged to pamper. This incidentally was explanation given Grks by Brit Amb Peake. Grks well pleased that their efforts have resulted in exchange of Mil Attachés with Yugo and consider this major step forward.

Yugo Mil Attaché recently called on Gen Grigoropoulos to inform him that he had been authorized by Yugo gen staff to state that in time of war Grks could consider their Yugo frontier as covered and protected by Yugo army. (Up to that moment Grk info was that Yugos had decided to concentrate on waging guerrilla warfare from strongholds in Montenegro–Bosnia–Herzegovina and mountains of Istria.) Yugo Mil Att added that Yugo gen staff did not think mil conversations with Grks immediately necessary since it believed there wld be time for such talks in case of real threat. Grigoropoulos logically maintained talks shld be held immediately. Yugo Att answered he not authorized to discuss such questions but [Page 593]that in any case initiative for mil talks must come from Grks or Turks. (Same view re initiative given Turk PriMin by Yugo Amb Ankara. Both Grks and Turks attribute this to Tito’s uneasiness over his internal pol sit.) Grigoropoulos asked Mil Attaché to transmit Grk desire for immediate staff talks and to consider this as Grk initiative. General added that he wld appreciate direct Yugo answer to his request.

On Apr 28 Averoff told Yugo Min here that Grk Govt highly pleased over Grigoropoulos’ conversation with Mil Att. Averoff added his request for early commencement of staff talks, arguing that Russia might strike with scant warning. In this connection he referred to events of 1941 when Yugo-Grk staff discussions were delayed until eight days before German attack to the great disadvantage of both countries. Yugo Min vaguely agreed but remarked that Grks need not be unduly alarmed as they could be sure that Yugo wld act strongly and quickly in their common interest.…

From past conversations, both Grks and Turks feel that Tito wants mil talks but fears to begin them because of his delicate internal sit. In fact, Grks believe Tito may be afraid of some of this own men, hence his insistence on Grks and Turks taking initiative. An indication of this is in months Yugos delayed in selecting Mil Att for Greece after agreeing to send one. This, Grks consider, due to difficulty incurred by Tito in finding man sufficiently trustworthy and able.

Grks agreed with Turks to take clear initiative with Yugo in urging mil talks and will assure them that conversations will be “top secret” only between officers and that Grks and Turks will not ask for treaty, only definite understanding. In this connection, Turk PriMin and FonMin agreed that immediately after his return to Ankara FonMin wld tell Yugo Amb of Turk desire for discussions to begin.

It has been and will be clearly implied to Yugo that without mil understanding it is very doubtful that Turks will be disposed to place strong forces on Eur front but on contrary if clear understanding can be reached, Turks prepared commit formidable forces in Europe.

Grks and Turks agreed that atmosphere helpful to it must be created without delay. With this in mind on May 2, Averoff proposed to Yugo Min Athens that group of six to ten members of Grk Parl make good will visit to Belgrade. After this visit he suggested that group of Yugo MP’s pay return call to Athens. Yugo Min liked idea and promised pass to Belgrade adding that it wld be well for Grk Min (read Averoff) to head group.…

Peurifoy
  1. Repeated to Ankara, Belgrade, Rome for Unger, and Paris for MacArthur.
  2. Telegram 4712 reported that a visit by a Turkish Delegation to Athens, Apr. 23–May 2, had resulted, inter alia, in an agreement to explore joint defense planning with Yugoslavia. (681.82/5–252)