267. Telegram From the Embassy in Greece to the Department of State1

226. Subject: Return to Greece of King Constantine.

Following his latest round of talks in Athens Archbishop Makarios flew to Rome January 18 to meet with King Constantine and returned to Nicosia same day. At my meeting with Foreign Minister Pipinelis today (other subjects reported septels)2 he told me in confidence he had received word from Makarios that Constantine wishes to return to Greece and sets no conditions. According to Makariosʼ message [Page 681] Constantine wishes to have a confidential talk with “someone” in GOG (presumably Papadopoulos himself) prior to his return. I gathered that the King wants some assurances from GOG in advance, but Pipinelis did not elaborate on what these might be. This was such fresh news, Pipinelis said, that he hadnʼt yet had a chance to pass it on to Prime Minister.
Foreign Minister commented that King Constantineʼs decision is a very important event and most timely. He believes it is a matter of urgency that the King return to Greece now. Pipinelis gave number of reasons to support his view that time is ripe for Kingʼs return. I tried to sound him out as to what the timing might be, but he merely reiterated his view that the best time is right now.
Comment: Kingʼs wishes are one thing and chances of authorization for his return by GOG are quite another. As Department is aware, single internal issue about which feelings run strongest among some key members of present regime is return or non-return of King Constantine to Greece. Certain “hard-core” members of Junta are dead set against any such return. Although it is possible that Papadopoulos personally favors Kingʼs return (eventually if not now) he might have grave difficulty in trying to sell idea to his associates, and he would run serious risks if he acted on this issue without full backing of important military personalities. Makariosʼ report that King now sets no conditions is of course measure of his eagerness to return and it also makes a favorable GOG response much easier. Kingʼs comment to Ambassador Hill (State 004696)3 that he thought US should resume heavy military aid shipments to Greece may have been intended as further indication of his flexibility.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 593, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. I Jan 69–Oct 70. Secret; Exdis. Another copy is ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 30 GREECE.
  2. Telegram 224 from Athens, January 19, reported on efforts to promote a return to democratic government. (Ibid., DEF 18–6 GREECE) Telegram 225 from Athens, January 19, reported on discussions about Cyprus. (Ibid., POL 27 CYP)
  3. Dated January 16. (Ibid., POL 1 GREECE)