287. Editorial Note

At the 260th meeting of the National Security Council on October 6, General Cabell raised Greece in his review of developments affecting United States security:

“General Cabell then commented on the death of Prime Minister Papagos. He predicted that this event would bring to a head the political crisis which had been shaping up in Greece for over a year. He also predicted the probable end of the period of relative political stability which Greece had enjoyed under the dead Prime Minister.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

That same day, the Embassy at Athens reported that the death of Papagos on October 4, the resignation of the Rally government, and the King’s “bold and unexpected” designation of Karamanlis to form a new government had brought about an “immediate crisis” within the Rally Party and between the Rally and the opposition parties. The Embassy noted that Foreign Minister Stephanopoulos, appointed Acting Prime Minister hours before Papagos’ death, would attempt to seek a vote of confidence from the Rally. According to the Embassy, the King believed Karamanlis to be a “more suitable” leader. (Telegram 905 from Athens, October 6; Department of State, Central Files, 781.13/10–655)

The Karamanlis government, formed on October 6, was, like its predecessor, composed entirely of Greek Rally members. Karamanlis became Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Spyros Theotokis replaced Stephanopoulos as Foreign Minister.