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

794. Subject: Report of visit of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff consultants Lowenstein and Moose. Ref: Athens 705.2

[Page 762]
As reported reftel Embassy has prepared detailed airgram3 on visit of Lowenstein and Moose. Ambassador has now decided that this matter sufficiently urgent that telegraphic transmission essential, both because of indications from Washington that important hearings may soon take place before Senate Foreign Relations Committee and because, according to this morningʼs press, Lowenstein and Moose have already made preliminary report to Committee which will be followed by published report.4 While we regret having to burden Departmentʼs communication facilities with this lengthy message, we feel that circumstances warrant it. Recently air pouch material has taken minimum of two weeks.
Summary: Two staff consultants of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Lowenstein and Richard Moose, visited Greece from February 1 to February 7 for purpose of reporting to Committee “on general situation in Greece, considerations affecting continuing military assistance programs, and status and future prospects of U.S.-Greek relations.” Lowenstein and Moose (hereafter referred to as Staff Del) had extensive contacts with opposition elements in Athens, most of which were arranged without assistance or even knowledge of Embassy. These contacts, however, soon became public knowledge and, together with unhelpful press reports, adversely affected willingness of Greek Government officials to meet with Staff Del. An interview with Prime Minister Papadopoulos, suggested by Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Palamas, failed to materialize; and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelis, who had promised to see Staff Del if Prime Minister were not available, bluntly told Embassy that he would not see them because of “inadmissible” character of Staff Delʼs mission.5 The Staff Del did on last day meet with Undersecretary to Prime Minister Georgalas, but he was obviously under instructions to take tough line that did little to refute opposition claims of lack of constitutional progress.
During their visit, Staff Del sought views of various Mission elements and listened to them attentively and politely. However, from their line of questioning, from fact that Staff Del particularly sought out some of the most outspoken critics of regime, and from remarks made by Staff Del to Mission officers and others, it is apparent that—despite their assurances to the Department to the contrary (State [Page 763] 13721)6—they came to Greece to make case against Greek Government and probably also against administrationʼs policy. Although we can only speculate on content of report Staff Del will produce, we expect that its main thrust will be that Greek Government does not enjoy support of Greek people, is not moving toward constitutional government, and in fact has not kept what promises it has made as regards restoration of personal liberties. It must also be anticipated, as now announced by Senator Fulbright, that report will be published.
Staff Del may also argue that U.S. Government is mistaken in tying its security interests in Eastern Mediterranean to such a regime, possibly alluding to Greeceʼs desire to maintain friendly relations with Arab countries as being a factor inhibiting Greek support for any U.S. policy involving Israel. Staff Del may also attempt to show that U.S. Government is poorly informed on situation in Greece because Embassy does not have sufficient contact with opposition elements.
We believe that Staff Del had developed general lines of its case before coming to Greece. They obviously had had contact with Greek exiles and came supplied with voluminous notes and lists of persons to see. Embassy attempted to refute arguments put forward or implied by Staff Del where we found them to be mistaken or biased. Occasionally there seemed to be emotional involvement on part of Staff Del regarding conditions in Greece as evidenced by such statements as that conditions in Greece are more oppressive than in Poland, and some of this tone may creep into their report. (Greek Government did not help situation by heavy-handed surveillance of Staff Del.)7
Since we anticipate that the report will be critical of U.S. policy and will have a bearing on future Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, we are giving a detailed chronology of Staff Delʼs activities in Greece, questions put to Mission officers, and their responses. This material should be useful to the Department in preparing for any hearings on Greece that may be called by Senate Foreign Relations Committee. End summary.

[Omitted here is the 20-page body of the cable providing a detailed chronology of the visit.]

  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; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to US NATO.
  2. Dated February 12, it stated that the Embassy was preparing a report on the mission of Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers James Lowenstein and Richard Moose. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, LEG 7 LOWENSTEIN)
  3. Airgram A–83 from Athens, February 23. (Ibid.)
  4. 92d Congress, 1st Session, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Greece: February 1971. A Staff Report (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1971).
  5. The Greek decision to cancel the meeting with Papadopoulos, and Angelisʼs refusal to meet them, was reported in telegram 597 from Athens, February 5. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. II 1 Nov 1970–31 Dec 1971)
  6. Dated January 26. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, LEG 7 LOWENSTEIN)
  7. Reported in telegram 643 from Athens, February 9. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files—Middle East, Greece, Vol. II 1 Nov 1970–31 Dec 1971)