262. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Herter, at Geneva0

Tocah 122. Secretary from Acting Secretary. When McElroy and I talked with the President this morning he expressed his concern regarding establishment of offensive bases in weak countries close to the borders of Soviet Union. He said he could understand Soviet reaction against this sort of thing and likened it to establishment of Communist missile bases in Mexico and Cuba. He also made clear that he had no desire to retreat in the face of Soviet threats. He felt that we should rethink on broad policy basis the whole question of our foreign bases having offensive capabilities.

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After discussion in which McElroy and I presented State and Defense viewpoints the President agreed that in present circumstances it would be all right to send telegram to Averoff along general lines of Secto 2411 provided telegram made clear on its face that we were not pressing GOG to come to come to a decision except at time of its own choosing. Accordingly, consider following text would be appropriate as substitute for first paragraph of draft telegram proposed Secto 241.

“I have great admiration for courageous action GOG is taking in face of Communist threats. I realize difficulties these threats and proposals for denuclearizing Balkans create for your Government. The united States feels that decision on missiles is one to be taken by GOG at whatever time it feels appropriate, and we have no wish to press for early decision if that should in any way be embarrassing to GOG. However, we do feel it important that firm position be maintained in face of Communist threats and that it should not be allowed to appear that delay in decision on missiles is due in any way to fear of Soviet threats. I am confident Greek people will not be turned aside from firm course their Government has adopted.”

If you agree with foregoing suggest you telegraph amendment to Athens with instructions that reply be delivered to Averoff.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–HE/6–1759. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Dillon.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 261.
  3. In Secto 258, June 18, Herter instructed the Embassy in Athens to deliver the revised text of the message to Averoff. (Department of State, Central Files, 660.0012/6–1859) No report on its delivery or Averoff’s response has been found.