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

6356. Ref: State 190828.2 For the Secretary.

As you know, I remain skeptical about prospects of future role for King in Greek politics for variety of reasons including his own behavior and extent of feeling against him among key leaders here. At same time I recognize that 1968 Constitution provides role for him and I can envisage circumstances in which his return might occur. There is good evidence, as [less than 1 line not declassified] has reported, that there have been occasional contacts with King involving individuals in or close to present government.
As Embassy and [less than 1 line not declassified] have reported, however, there is considerable internal ferment within government at present, outcome of which remains uncertain.3 Some of forces involved naturally consider King as one element to be reckoned with in arriving at future political establishment and are interested in exploiting him in their own interests. Others probably continue to regard him as hostile to “purposes of revolution” in view of his aborted December coup. Fluid situation means that any move by forces outside of Greece which can in any way be interpreted by Greeks, on whatever side, as evidence of U.S. “manipulation” of situation or of particular direction of U.S. interests is bound to have adverse ramifications.
Consequently I do not believe timing would be propitious for you to have conversation with King in Brussels. Since one of purposes of such meeting would be, as reftel states, to show interest in alternative other than present establishment, and meeting would receive publicity, we could anticipate that all elements of political spectrum here would unite in criticism asserting such conversation involves interference in Greek domestic politics. I would have no objection, however, [Page 751] to discreet contacts with him being arranged for purpose of our having independent assessment of his views on present situation.4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. II 1 Nov 1970–31 Dec 1971. Secret; Nodis.
  2. Dated November 20. In it, Rogers requested Tascaʼs views on whether he should meet privately with the King during the NATO Ministerial meeting in Brussels. (Ibid.)
  3. The Embassy reported on possible divisions within the Greek regime in telegrams 6212 from Athens, November 13; 6385 from Athens, November 24; and 6467 from Athens, November 30. (All ibid.)
  4. In telegram 6922 from Athens, December 30, Tasca suggested that Ambassador Martin set up a meeting with the King when he returned to Rome and discuss the points made in paragraph 1 above. (Ibid.)