The Ambassador in France (Dunn) to the Department of State
137. From MacArthur. Greek DefMin Mavros visited SHAPE July 3 and 5 to call on Generals Gruenther and Ridgway respectively. Following is résumé of points he raised:
Greek defense budget Mavros had just completed calculating his defense budget to be presented to Greek Parliament in about three weeks. This calculation indicated if Greeks were to continue its ground forces at present level and undertake increased expenditures for air and navy (including work on airfields, naval ports and installations, etc.) it wld require 700 billion drachmae from other govt resources. Only place this could be picked up was from important reconstruction projects (hydroelectric, etc), and if work on such project came to halt, a serious economic and unemployment problem would be created for Greece. Also many reconstruction projects were in North Greece and halting work on them would have adverse psychological effect since might be interpreted as indication work stopped since Greece intended to abandon this area in event of aggression.
Mavros said considerable part of money was for common use facilities (infrastructure) particularly airfields and naval installations. To solve his problem of budget presentation to Greek Parliament he proposed include on credit side of budget an item of 10 million pounds sterling for infrastructure which he understood had been recommended by SHAPE for fourth slice infrastructure program. He wished to know whether SHAPE had any objection his doing this.
In reply he was told while SHAPE had made a recommendation for about 10 million pounds of infrastructure items in Greece, this had not been approved by Standing Group and would only become a firm figure when SG had approved and agreement had finally been reached by govts on sharing cost of fourth slice. Furthermore, SHAPE could not answer Mavros question since its role consisted in establishing requirements for infrastructure and not in getting [Page 798] into any phase—national or international—refinancing or budgeting for them. It was pointed out to Mavros, however, that Greece wld be expected to contrib to common infrastructure so that what it might receive would not, of course, be a net contribution.
- Mavros then brought up question of location of CP for Admiral Carney’s subord command or who would exercise control over Greek sector of southern command. He said Greek Govt believed CP shld be in Greece since this would eventually enable it to tie in with Yugo. In reply he was told that decision of location of CP could be made only after SG had approved General Ridgway’s recommendation on organization of southern command which was now being studied by SG and after receipt recommendations by Admiral Carney. Also question communications facilities was of tremendous importance. No commitment could be made by SHAPE as to location of CP, but regardless of where it was located, hope was expressed that Greeks and Turks would not engage in polemics.
- Yugo. Mavros said relations with Yugo improving daily. Greek Military Attaché at Belgrade now had excellent and close relations with Yugo military and recently Yugos Chief of Staff had indicated Military Attaché was free to visit any military installations he desired. Yugo Ambassador to Athens had also indicated clearly desire for closer relations. Thus far Greek-Yugo military discussions had consisted largely of an intelligence evaluation re Bulg. However, it was hoped this would eventually develop into some form of contingent military planning. Mavros expressed belief Greeks now had closer military contacts with Yugos than had any other power. He said US Embassy Athens is being fully informed of discussions with Yugos and Greeks hoped at appropriate moment US would join in with Greeks in talks with Yugos. Mavros believed Tito would go slowly with military talks with other Western Powers and would first wish to develop closer contacts with Greeks and then Turks. He stressed that eventual knowledge and coordination of Greek and Yugo plans was essential if maximum defensive strength were to be created in that area. For example, coordination of plans and military effort between two countries might enable adoption of a forward strategy re Bulg in place of existing defensive strategy. In event of aggression capability for forward strategy was important to Greece since without it Thrace cld not be defended.
- Mavros said question of policy re Yugo is linked with Albania. Greeks believe Albania will be first satellite country to be liberated. They think Yugos aim to establish a Tito type of Commie regime in Albania and then incorporate such an Albanian state with Croatia and Serbia in some form of greater Yugo federation dominated by Yugo. Mavros said he had excellent reason to believe Tito would even be willing to cede certain Yugo territory to such [Page 799] an Albanian state as a means of achieving this end. Greece was opposed to any such solution to Albanian problem, and thought it essential that Albanian territorial integrity be safeguarded until such time as an appropriate and democratic regime could take over. If Albania were liberated and then occupied by Allied (Greek and Yugo) forces, Greek Govt thought it of utmost importance these forces be integrated and under command of a US officer. In this way its integrity and independence could be best maintained. Otherwise Albania might be divided by Yugos just as Germany had been divided after last war.
- Repeated to Rome for Unger, Belgrade, Athens, and Ankara.↩