3. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Rush to President Nixon 1
- Reappraisal of our Greek Policy
Events over the past two weeks have presented us with a changed situation in Greece which will affect our interests in ways that cannot yet be fully assessed.
- The Navy mutiny on May 22–232 brought an aftermath of arrests of royalist officers in all services. This development has raised a [Page 6] question as to whether the Greek armed forces can now be considered fully effective as a NATO force.
- King Constantine appealed to you on May 303 to forestall an impending move against the monarchy and to press the Papadopoulos government for evolution toward parliamentary rule. Our reply to Constantine, and the way we handle the monarchy issue, will have an impact on other monarchs in the area, especially the Shah of Iran, who has already expressed his concern, and King Hussein of Jordan.
- Papadopoulos announced on June 1 that the monarchy was abolished and that a prompt plebiscite on constitutional changes would be held with general elections to follow before the end of 1974.4 In a shrewd move, Papadopoulos has destroyed an institution that offered continuity and an option for evolution back to democracy while at the same time pledging that he will promptly return the country to representative rule within a republican form of government. Our reaction to this development should reflect our assessment of Papadopoulos’ actual intentions and capabilities. Papadopoulos’ announcement also faces us with an immediate question of recognition, since Ambassador Tasca is accredited to King Constantine.
Our approach to the various issues that have been raised over the past two weeks should be carefully coordinated, in the context of a review of all our policy options on Greece. While our preliminary assessment indicates that the Papadopoulos regime may not be viable over the long run and may indeed not be able to meet other challenges in the short term, we may also have to face the possibility that there is little we can effectively do to move events in the direction we wish. I recommend that you issue a NSSM along the lines of the attached draft as soon as possible,5 looking toward an early meeting of the Senior Review Group on the Greek issue. I will be sending you our views on the situation in the aftermath of the regime’s momentous decision.
Attached is a very preliminary tentative analysis.
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Scowcroft Daily Work Files, Chronological File A, Box 3. Secret.↩
- Tasca sent an analysis of the mutiny to the Department in telegram 3206, May 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 GREECE)↩
- King Constantine had requested a meeting with Ambassador Volpe in Rome to discuss his concerns about the political situation in Greece. (Memorandum from Eliot to Kissinger, May 29; ibid., POL 30 GREECE) The Department decided that it would be better for a subordinate Embassy officer to meet with the King. (Telegram 103077, May 30; ibid.) Consequently, the DCM met with Constantine on May 30. (Telegram 4621, May 30; ibid., POL GREECE–US)↩
- The Embassy in Athens reported the announcement in telegram 3496, June 1. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 594, Country Files, Middle East, Greece, Vol. IV)↩
- Attached but not printed. The NSSM was finally issued on January 16, 1975, as NSSM 215. See Document 33.↩