760.5/12–953: Telegram

No. 334
The Ambassador in Greece (Cannon) to the Department of State1

secret
priority

1517. Foreign Minister told me night before last, Greek military anxious to round out their agreements on technical level at recent tripartite military conference Belgrade by formalizing certain points left open, because of political implications. He emphasized this proposal represented desiderata of general staff and might, or might not be practicable at this time. He then outlined points a possible “military agreement” would cover.

Anticipating reopening of this question, I had taken care before this conversation to review our records (see particularly Department telegrams 2591 and 2594, February 21 and 232) and at once firmly reiterated United States position with which moreover he seemed to be fully familiar.

Note received last night briefly lists main elements Greek position and also states Yugoslavs will be informed of Greek views, which are as follows:

(1)
Greece agrees, in principle, that military cooperation should take form of written agreement;
(2)
This would be incorporated into Ankara pact and be integral part thereof;
(3)
It would define conditions under which military cooperation would be possible.

In exposition of proposal for military agreement, Foreign Minister said it might cover these points:

(1)
Common action to be automatic in case of attack in “common space” explained as Yugoslav, Greek and Turkish frontiers with [Page 637]Bulgaria’s against any one of participating States, such attack to come from bases in Bulgaria;
(2)
In case of attack from another region, meaning for example, an attack from Roumania pushing through Bulgaria States not attacked, would take “expediency measures” (state of alert) to be followed by decision after consultation of three States in NATO;
(3)
Similar measures to be taken in case invasion has guerrilla character and affects any one of participating States. Foreign Minister assured me he does not underrate complications we have repeatedly mentioned, or difficulties to be encountered with NATO, or delicacy of situation pending Trieste settlement. He said he would welcome our study of whole question and observations and advice. As I pointed out, many problems involved, he said this is what military would like, but how far it could be carried is another matter.

Looked at in context Foreign Minister’s remarks, three points cited third paragraph this telegram, may be taken to mean that Greeks do not consider themselves bound to make definite commitments at this time. Nevertheless, it goes far toward situation which we have been most anxious to avoid. Moreover, it is significant that in eleven months of Ankara pact development Greeks, and as they declare, also Yugoslavs and Turks, have come to believe something along these lines is essential to their national security. I learned tonight that one reason Greece feels impelled to take some forward step, is that they find Turkey so far in advance and so impatient of coordination, either with Greece or with NATO, that the formulation of a Greek position has become imperative. I have feeling that point about guerrillas is Greece’s particular contribution.

For our guiding influence to be most effective, I hope Department’s observations and instructions will discuss angle of national security in southeastern Europe mentioned in preceding paragraph, in framework United States-United Kingdom-French discussions with Yugoslavs and general European developments since last instructions issued. I think it quite probable Stephanopoulos will raise this question during his conversations at Paris. He leaves tomorrow morning.3

[
Cannon
]
  1. Repeated for information to Belgrade, Ankara, Rome for Maffitt, Bonn pass Frankfurt for Satterthwaite, Paris for USRO Hughes and Reinhardt, and London.
  2. Telegram 2591, Document 326; telegram 2594 recommended that any military planning done under the Ankara Pact then being negotiated would be done only on a contingent basis, and that this provision be included in the treaty. (668.811/2–2253)
  3. Stephanopoulos was departing for Paris to attend the North Atlantic Council meeting of Dec. 14–18. For documentation on this meeting, see v, Part 1, pp. 454 ff.