304. Letter From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry:

On 24 February 1971, we received [1½ lines not declassified] a report credited to a reliable source and reflecting comments in mid-December 1970 by General Angelis following his conversation with the President in Naples last fall.2 General Angelis told our source, [less than 1 line not declassified] that the Greek regime would probably make certain “cosmetic” gestures toward greater democratization but that they were not about to introduce basic changes that could result in loss of control. This would be true even in the absence of foreign pressures.

In this latter connection, General Angelis said that he did not anticipate pressure from the U.S. Government. He based this view on his conversation with the President last fall, saying that Mr. Nixon had made a special point of seeing Angelis and had told him emphatically that the important thing was that the Greeks had twelve divisions in NATO.

General Angelis seemed not to be concerned about Greek developments but rather about the mood prevailing in Europe and in some degree in the U.S. He deplored a spirit of indecisiveness and of turning to the left.

[less than 1 line not declassified] comments that the Presidentʼs meeting with General Angelis has been a remarkably well kept secret, although it is likely that General Angelisʼ report along the above lines may well have been accepted within the inner circle of the regime as the last word on U.S. policy. Our representative suggests that this should be considered in any estimate of the probable effect on the Greek Government of various courses of action the U.S. might follow in pressing for an early return to parliamentary government.

I am making no other dissemination of this information.


Richard Helms 3
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 78–07173A, Records of the Office of the Deputy Director for Operations, Box 1, Folder 8. Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Karamessines on February 27.
  2. The report was not found. Nixon and Angelis met during Nixonʼs September 29–30, 1970, visit to NATO headquarters in Naples. No record of the conversation was found.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Helms signed the original.