307. Research Study Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research1



The military regime in Greece enters its fifth year in power in April 1971. This paper, prepared at the request of the Greek Country Directorate, examines the directions in which the junta may move in its effort to institutionalize its values and political authority. Some of the strains that may envelop US-Greek relations along the way are also examined.

[Page 769]


The original members of the April 27 movement have demonstrated impressive cohesiveness over almost four years in power, and Prime Minister Papadopoulos has proven to be a tenacious and effective leader. The Greek economy continues buoyant, and resistance to the regime is divided and ineffective both within the country and abroad. The regimeʼs confidence in its ability to remain in power and to manage Greek affairs over the longer term has been increased by its success in having normalized relations with the US without the restoration of parliamentary government. The Prime Ministerʼs determination and energy, the militaryʼs desire to preserve its perquisites and influence over government decisions, and the need to restrain centrifugal forces beginning now to emerge among the original supporters of the coup, together with the current absence of effective foreign pressures, suggest that Papadopoulos may be readying an institutional framework that will govern the juntaʼs course for some years to come. In the pursuit of permanency, the regime may move in one of four principal directions of political development: these include institutionalizing the status quo or gradual shifts toward a more repressive, populist, or democratic system. Each of these possibilities can be evaluated in terms of five measurements of Greece as an ally: its degree of cooperation with US military needs, its overall diplomatic support of the US, its willingness to accept the status quo or a negotiated settlement for the Cyprus problem, its influence—intentionally or inadvertently—upon US prestige with the Greek people, and its financial demands on the US. The findings, based on varying weights for each of the five factors, are that the populist political model would be most costly to the US over the next five years. The range of costs among all four models is not extreme, however, and the US could probably do business with any one of them. Although American prestige is likely to be eroded regardless of political development in Athens, US influence should continue to be a significant force upon the regime.

[Omitted here is a discussion of the issues outlined in the Summary.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1264, Saunders Subject Files, Background Briefings 1971, Greece, 1/1/71–3/31/71. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. The paper was prepared by Gene Preston (INR).