356. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Greece1

98446. For Ambassador.

We have decided to move in the near future to a working relationship with the regime in Athens. Our plan is first to consult during the [Page 731] coming week in Washington with NATO reps2 and then to authorize you to pay a formal call on Pipinelis. Formal contact with Junta Ministers would not be authorized for time being but is envisaged as following step.
Decision is based on fact regime in control of country, belief we have extracted as much benefit as we likely obtain from present policy, and fact we have interests in Greece which require attention.
We do not intend make formal announcement, and will seek avoid publicly discussing question of whether we have recognized GOG. We plan say we resuming working relationship based on de facto situation of control.
During your future meetings with FonMin you should continue press for progress toward constitutionalism.
If you believe it would be helpful you authorized informally convey to FonMin, without awaiting occasion of formal call, acknowledgment of message which PriMin sent to President via private channel. Text being sent you separately.3
In light above we believe it preferable you remain Athens for time being.
At luncheon with Palamas January 15 Battle will be generally encouraging re US–GOG relationship.4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL GREECE–US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Rockwell, cleared in substance by Katzenbach, and approved by Battle. Repeated to the Mission to NATO and Rome.
  2. In telegram 98588 to Athens, January 15, the Department of State reported that Rockwell had begun a round of meetings with representatives of the NATO allies to explain the change in the U.S. position. (Ibid., POL 15–1 GREECE)
  3. The Prime Minister’s letter is printed as Document 350. In telegram 3248 from Athens, January 19, Talbot suggested that the appropriate line of approach would be a direct response from the President. (Ibid., POL GREECE–US) In response to a January 19 memorandum from Rostow outlining Talbot’s reasoning, President Johnson wrote: “OK Talbot call on PM. Isn’t this sufficient.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President—Walt Rostow, Vol. 3) In telegram 101277 to Athens, the Department of State authorized Talbot to convey orally to Papadopoulos an acknowledgement of his letter and to state the President would soon reply. (Department of State, Central Files, POL GREECE–US) In telegram 3246 from Athens, January 19, Talbot reported that Papadopoulos had been informed by an Embassy official. (Ibid.)
  4. In telegram 100451 to Athens, January 18, the Department of State reported that Rockwell had called in the Greek Ambassador on January 15 and explained the proposed changes in the U.S. position toward Greece. (Ibid., POL 15–1 GREECE)