123 Peurifoy, John E.: Telegram

No. 447
The Ambassador in Greece (Peurifoy) to the Department of State

top secret

121. When I called on Papagos and Stephanopoulos to present request for Cannon’s agrément (reference Embtel 118, July 13),1 Marshal, who had already learned of impending change from Greek Embassy in Washington, was in more belligerent mood than I have ever seen him. He opened conversation by saying, “we know who is responsible for this” and then launched into diatribe against Palace, and particularly against Queen, whom he accused of intriguing against me over long period and even of urging Secretary during his recent visit to Greece that I be recalled. Papagos declared that time had come to determine whether constitutional Government of Greece or Palace had decisive influence over Greek relations with US and that “this means open warfare between Palace and government.

He indicated intention to leak to press immediately story that Queen was responsible for my removal. I strongly urged him not to do so and finally obtained assurance that he would not. In view of fact, however, that he has already sounded off along same lines to several of his Ministers, it is not unlikely story will leak before too long.

Marshal also declared his intention of writing letter for immediate despatch direct to President Eisenhower.2 He intends to transmit letter through channels other than Greek Embassy since he does not trust Politis, whom he will remove from Washington very shortly. I strenuously objected to this proposal pointing out such action would only be keenly embarrassing to me.

As Department will observe, revival of smoldering but recently dormant warfare between Palace and Marshal, and over issue highly embarrassing to US, and to me personally, seems imminent. (See Embdesp 11, July 3.)3 Such development would be harmful to [Page 842] political stability in Greece, so recently achieved with our help, and to Greek-US relations.

In view Papagos’ extreme sensitivity to any encroachment his personal authority and possible serious local political implications of open collision between Papagos and Palace, I would like to be able assure Papagos Palace did not directly or indirectly approach you, notwithstanding fact it is widely known in high Athens circles that Palace has long hoped for my removal.4

  1. In telegram 118, Peurifoy reported that he transmitted to Stephanopoulos the request for an agrément by Greece on Cannon as next Ambassador to Greece on July 10, and Stephanopoulos assured him that the Greek reply would be shortly forthcoming. (123 Cannon, Cavendish W.) Agrément to Cannon’s appointment was announced by Stephanopoulos on July 17. (Telegram 174 from Athens, July 17; 123 Peurifoy, John E.)
  2. Papagos dispatched a letter to Eisenhower via the Greek Embassy. (Telegram 141 from Athens, July 15; 123 Peurifoy, John E.) Papagos’ letter has not been further identified.
  3. In despatch 11, Peurifoy reported on a recent conversation with Markezinis who expressed his views on the situation in Greece, including developments in relations between the Palace and government, after his return from the United States on June 9. Peurifoy informed the Department of the need for extreme caution in order to avoid being drawn into a personal contest between the Palace and the government. (781.00/7–353)
  4. Telegram 162 to Athens, July 16, informed Peurifoy that he might assure Papagos that the Palace made no approach directly or indirectly regarding Peurifoy’s recall. (123 Peurifoy, John E.)