166. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1

2505. I wish to supplement recent Embassy factual reports on local developments with personal assessment showing significance and prospects immediately ahead. Sequence of events may well be drawing Greece into real crisis in its relations with Western allies and we must expect that US relationship with Greece will be subject severe strain in coming months.

Breakdown of Cyprus negotiations and arrest Makarios have created atmosphere even more inflamed and embittered than that which followed Istanbul riots last September. Prospects that Karamanlis Government would have opportunity get itself organized and get down to work now jeopardized as popular passions mounting to peak which some local observers say unknown since Italian invasion 1940. Thus far government has kept cool head and police and military authorities are in control of situation, but government leaders are finding themselves impelled to give consideration to courses of action in foreign policy which likely prove injurious US interests.

For example, serious study being given proposal to send Cabinet Minister on special mission to Arab Capitals to make sure Arab support for Greek-Cypriot cause. Greek church has, as previously reported, appealed to Moscow Patriarch for support. Greek journalist has been informed by Yugoslav military Attaché that Tito trying to arrange meeting with King Paul in Corfu (where King arrived today).

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Under pressure of violent press and popular emotionalism government will thus find it hard not to risk some dramatic move aimed at showing “independent” Greek foreign policy. I feel sure Greek Government will not yield to this temptation if provided with some tangible evidence that Greece is not isolated or “abandoned” by all her allies. Now even more than last September the key to Greece’s remaining firmly within NATO family lies in US willingness to accord to Greece a generous degree of moral support and understanding.

In connection with foregoing I noted with special interest comments made by Department (Deptel 26652) to Greek Chargé and was able to draw upon them in an informal meeting yesterday with a large visiting group of US newspaper and radio personalities. Embassy has prepared a brief summary of my remarks for release to local press which has been clamoring for official US reaction. Of course, if Department planning issue public statement US position current Cyprus impasse in immediate future, this would have far greater impact than what I propose do locally tomorrow. Could Department give me niact some indication its reaction?

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 747C.00/3–1256. Secret; Niact.
  2. Telegram 2665, March 10, informed the Embassy of calls by the Counselor of the British Embassy and the Greek Chargé regarding the deportation of Makarios. Regarding a conversation with the Greek Chargé, Department officers reported that while they “refused to be drawn into position of passing judgment on latest British move”, they stressed that the United States recognizes that the “breakdown of negotiations and British arrest of Makarios are tragic setbacks in path toward solution” and that the United States hoped that “all diplomatic decisions will be weighed carefully in light of ultimate objective of restoring atmosphere in which meaningful negotiations can be resumed.” (Ibid., 747C.00/3–1056)