259. Letter From the Chargé dʼAffaires in Italy (Stabler) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Rockwell)1

Dear Stuart:

I refer to Romeʼs 6315 giving an account of my talk with King Constantine on October 11 with respect to the Karamanlis initiative.2 There were several other comments which the King made which I thought I would pass on to you.

The King referred to his various trips to see Pipinelis in Switzerland last summer.3 He said that curiously enough, his calls on Pipinelis had taken place on June 28, July 28, and August 28. The first two had been entirely secret. However, the third one had leaked, possibly because by this time Pipinelis had moved to a hotel. In any event, shortly thereafter the regime had launched press attacks on the King and Queen Frederika, accusing them of being involved in a plot with the military to overthrow the regime. When the King had seen this, he had immediately called Pipinelis and told Pipinelis that he saw no reason for Pipinelis to remain in the government and that he should resign forthwith. He demanded that the attacks on him should stop immediately, or otherwise the regime would force him “to the wall,” in which case it was hard to know what the results might be.
The King also told me that some weeks ago the Greek military attaché, who has since been transferred, had called him at his house around midnight to say that General Angelis had heard reports that the King and his sisters were on the Ionian Islands. The King said he responded that he assumed the General was calling on instructions, that he was surprised at the regimeʼs bad intelligence if they did not know that unfortunately he was still in Italy, and that if indeed, he were in Greece, it would be none of the Attachéʼs business. The King then recalled his talk with General Angelis in late June and the proposals [Page 667] the King had made to him at that time (Rome 4079, July 2).4 The King said he was still awaiting a reply from Angelis on these proposals.
The King also mentioned that he had not so long ago sent word to the regime that if there was to be a plebiscite to determine whether there should be a republic or a monarchy, he would insist that it must be entirely free and that he must be allowed to return and to address the people directly. He said he had added, for the purpose of teasing the regime, that if the people chose a republic, he would run for president and that, if he were elected, he would have Karamanlis as his Prime Minister and Andreas Papandreou as his Finance Minister.
Finally, the King again inquired whether I had passed on to Washington his hope to see Henry Tasca before he went to Athens.5 I told him that I had done so, but that I had no indication of what Tascaʼs plans would be. The King laughed and said he assumed that Tasca would not come to see him. I did not disabuse him of this view. The King then noted that the Philippine Ambassador in Rome, who is also accredited to Athens, had called on him here before going to Athens to present his credentials. The Ambassador, according to the King, was going to make a particular point of informing the regime in this sense.
The King was very pleased that the astronauts were not going to Athens.6 He said he was surprised by our decision, but was clearly happy about it.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 30 GREECE. Confidential; Exdis; Official–Informal. A copy was sent to McClelland.
  2. Telegram 6315 from Rome reported on the Kingʼs pleasure with the Karamanlis initiative. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 593, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. I Jan 69–Oct 70)
  3. The Greek Foreign Minister, whose health was deteriorating, had spent much of the summer in Switzerland and reportedly held a secret meeting of Greek representatives abroad there August 26.
  4. Telegram 4079 transmitted King Constantineʼs version of meetings held with Pipinelis and General Angelis. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, FN 15–1 GREECE)
  5. See Document 254.
  6. The astronauts, who were making a world tour, visited Athens October 19–20.