241. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Greek Ambassadorʼs Call on the Acting Secretary; U.S.-Greek Relations


  • H.E. Christian X. Palamas, Greek Ambassador
  • Mr. Michael-George Mazarakis, Counselor, Greek Embassy
  • The Acting Secretary
  • H. Daniel Brewster, Country Director for Greece
  • Robert O. Homme, Staff Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary

After the opening amenities, Ambassador Palamas, in discussing the capabilities of NATO, noted that Greece, for one, places much greater reliance on the United States as a source of defense against possible aggressors than on NATO as an organization.

Turning to internal developments in Greece he stated that the April 21, 1967 revolution had averted the danger of another bloody round with the Communists. The new constitution was now in effect with the exception of certain articles relating to civil rights which are still to be applied. The new institutional structure for political parties was being built and he hence believed the present situation was transitional. Political life in the future would be governed by new rules. Internationally [Page 616] Greece still stood as a bulwark against Slav expansionism to the Mediterranean.

The Ambassador added that the delivery by the United States of certain major military equipment had been suspended immediately after the coup. In his view this policy had not yielded anything politically but had affected the strength of the Greek armed forces. Last October the suspension had been partially lifted2 and he hoped that the new Administration could speed up the delivery of the balance of the heavy equipment. He also hoped that Greece would be treated sympathetically by the Administration in connection with new foreign aid allocations. Ambassador Palamas underlined that there was no anti-Americanism in Greece and that the U.S. could rely on Greeceʼs strong commitment to its NATO obligations.

The Acting Secretary stated that the question of arms supplies for Greece was under active review. In reaching its conclusions, the U.S. would, among other factors, take into account the position of Greece in NATO, the strategic aspects of the problem, relationships with the Greek Government, and the traditional friendship for the Greek people. We were also watching constitutional progress and, as the Ambassador knew, had to reckon with certain elements of U.S. public opinion on this score. We would have to help each other in this matter and make progress on a reasonable basis.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 17 GREECE–US. Confidential. Drafted by Brewster on March 3 and approved in U on March 5.
  2. Shipments of military aid to Greece were originally suspended on April 24, 1967. (Telegram 181282 to Athens, April 24; ibid., POL 23–9 GREECE) President Johnson approved a partial resumption of assistance on October 8, 1968. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XVI, Cyprus; Greece; Turkey, Document 371.