760.5/11–2853: Telegram

No. 333
The Ambassador in Greece (Cannon) to the Department of State1

top secret

1419. Whereas first military discussions under tripartite pact (Ankara) outlined problems in defense common areas Yugoslav-Greece-Turkey and second meeting Athens established framework for cooperation, third meetings military representatives in Belgrade November 10–20 discussed specific military plan.

With some modifications and subject approval respective Chiefs of Staff and respective governments, third meeting adopted tripartite emergency plan of action submitted by Greek representative. Embassy understands plan had previously been informally referred Admiral Fechteler by Greeks. Emergency plan constitutes basic document which in course future meetings will be supplemented by more detailed appendices. Greek Government pleased with real progress made in coordinating defense effort and fact that military representatives have concrete program for future meetings. Greek General Staff points out that period of time required for formulating more detailed plans could be telescoped but they believe it more important firmly establish habit of cooperation between military representatives three countries. They therefore estimate planning will continue for perhaps next 12 months. Government hopeful that by fall 1954 more formal arrangements associating Yugoslavia with NATO defense effort may be achieved.

Final text plan not yet available but on basis working paper points set forth below appear to be of particular interest from political viewpoint. Text as finally approved may modify.

A. Purpose.

To coordinate defense of: [Page 635]
Yugoslavia area facing Bulgaria.
Central and Eastern Greek Macedonia.
Greek and Turkish Thrace.
Plan provides general directives and will be implemented in case of war according to form it will have at that time.
Plan will become effective after its final ratification by governments of participating countries.

B. General situation.

Plan prepared to meet general situation created by war imposed against Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey by invasion Bulgarian forces or Bulgarian-Soviet or other satellite forces. This war will not be restricted to three allied countries only but will be converted rapidly into a world war.

C. Assumptions.


When this plan placed into effect, Greece-Turkey-Yugoslavia will be co-belligerents against a common enemy.

Greeks suggested joint Greek-Yugoslavia defense of important potential invasion route through Yugoslavia connecting Struma and Varda valley. Forces would operate under Greek commander with joint staff. Yugoslavia offered counter-proposal providing that in time of war area would be defended by Greek division which would cooperate with Yugoslav division immediately to north and offered permit Greece send tactical teams study terrain and fortifications in peace time. Should modifications or expansion fortifications, mine area, et cetera, be necessary, Yugoslavia would undertake construction. Greek military thus unsuccessful commit Yugoslavs assign division this area. Greek military believes Yugoslav attitude based on following:

Yugoslavia did not wish at this time place a division of its forces under NATO commander.
Considerations of national prestige.
Intrinsic difficulties of operating Joint Staff.

Greek representatives accepted Yugoslav proposal with understanding subject can be reopened at later date.

On basis advance indications Greek representatives anticipated cool Yugoslav attitude toward recently concluded US–Greek facilities agreement. However, Yugoslav reaction US agreement was satisfactory except for complaint over fact Yugoslavia not informed prior conclusion. Yugoslav representative inquired whether agreement provided for naval and logistic bases.

Next meeting scheduled for Ankara. Date not fixed. Continuing to demonstrate initiative which has contributed so importantly to progress tripartite planning, Greek representative will submit draft working paper for next meeting.

[Page 636]

Reflecting sincere Greek interest these discussions Prime Minister Papagos in speech before Parliament last night stressed key position tripartite pact occupies in Greek policy.

Final text plan and, we assume, minutes will as heretofore be made available us on informal basis near future.

  1. Repeated for information to Paris for Reinhardt and USRO, London, Ankara, Belgrade, Rome for Maffitt, Bonn, and Frankfurt for Satterthwaite. Cannon was appointed Ambassador on July 28, 1953. Peurifoy left Athens on Aug. 9 and Cannon presented his credentials on Sept. 2.