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The British Prime Minister (Churchill) to President Roosevelt 78

LONDON, 29 December 1944. 863. 1. Ambassador Winant has sent me a copy of your message to the Greek King. We are all very much obliged to you for acting so promptly. Anthony and I have just returned. The War Cabinet have endorsed all our actions and have authorized us to urge the King of Greece tonight to appoint the Archbishop as Regent. The Archbishop left it to me to discuss the period of the Regency with the King, so that this gives a little latitude.

2. Failing agreement His Majesty's Government will advise the Archbishop to assume the Office of Regent and assure him that we will recognise him and the Government he forms as the government of Greece.

The British Prime Minister (Churchill) to President Roosevelt 78

LONDON, 30 December 1944. 864. 1. Anthony and I sat up with the King of Greece till 4:30 this morning at the end of which time His Majesty agreed to the announcement in my immediately following telegram.79 I have sent this to Ambassador Leeper in Athens in order that the Archbishop may go to work at once. The Greek translation is now being made and I will furnish you with a copy of it at the earliest moment.

This has been a very painful task to me. I had to tell the King that if he did not agree the matter would be settled without him and that we should recognise the new government instead of him. I hope you will be able to give every support and encouragement to the Archbishop and his government.

[Here follows comment by Prime Minister Churchill on telegram No. 681, December 29, from President Roosevelt on Polish affairs (not found in Department files); this section of the telegram is quoted in footnote 4 to the message from Soviet Chairman (Premier) Stalin to President Roosevelt, December 27, Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, page 223.]

78 Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.

For text of announcement, see Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 322.

79

868.00/12-3144: Telegram The Ambassador in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

ATHENS, December 31, 1944—2 p. m.

[Received December 31–11:35 a. m.] 205. The establishment of the Regency was announced here this morning and the Archbishop took the oath of office at noon, in the presence of the Holy Synod. As he is himself President of that body and there is no Vice President, the oath was administered by the eldest among the other members. The very brief ceremony was held at the Foreign Office and was attended by the political, military and diplomatic worlds of Athens, despite the fact that invitations were issued only during the forenoon. I saw no insurgents present. Fighting still continues.

MACVEAGH

PARTICIPATION BY THE UNITED STATES IN ARRANGING FOR RELIEF

SUPPLIES FOR LIBERATED GREECE

80

868.48/5142: Telegram The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Sweden (Johnson)

WASHINGTON, February 24, 1944–1 p. m. 289. Reference Department's 39, January 7 and Department's 263, February 18.81 Further discussions have taken place here with the British and UNRRA 82 concerning handling of relief and rehabilitation supplies in Greece subsequent to liberation. However details of such plans have not been worked out and necessarily involve full agreement with British and American military authorities as well as with the Greek Government with respect to any period of military responsibility, since decision has been made for combined Anglo-American military responsibility in civil affairs matters in this area. In making such plans we need to know whether the Swedish Government is in principle agreeable to continuing Swedish relief activities subsequent to Greek liberation, and if so, whether they have any suggestions as to how the Swedish organization can best be utilized and what responsibility it might undertake. In presenting the matter to the Swedes it should be pointed out that we fully appreciate the value of the work which has been done and are anxious to utilize the existing machinery to the maximum extent possible and that we are desirous of protecting to the extent necessary the neutral position of Sweden. It is not known for how long a period the basic responsibility for pro

$0 For previous correspondence on relief for Greece, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 167 ff.

81 Neither printed. 82 United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

curement and distribution of supplies will rest with U.S. and U.K. military authorities and when UNRRA will be invited to assume general responsibility for relief and rehabilitation. Depending upon circumstances UNRRA might assume such responsibility almost immediately following liberation by agreement with Allied military authorities and the Greek Government. The Swedes should be informed that we have discussed the problem with UNRRA and that it is likewise anxious to work out a mutually satisfactory method for using the facilities of the relief organization pending the time when Sweden itself might desire to become a member of UNRRA. It is understood that if the Swedes indicate a general willingness to continue, a more definite program will be discussed with them at a later date. The substance of this telegram is being transmitted to the British Foreign Office for comment and the issuance of appropriate instructions to the British Minister at Stockholm.

The British understand that the Greek Minister at Stockholm has been instructed to discuss with the Swedish Government the question of participation of the Swedish relief organization in post-liberation distribution of supplies and is waiting until his U.S. and British Colleagues are instructed. You are requested to join with your British and Greek colleagues in presenting the matter to the Swedish Government as soon as the British Minister receives appropriate instructions. Repeated to Cairo as Greek Series No. 30.

STETTINIUS

868.48/5226 : Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

STOCKHOLM, March 14, 1944–5 p. m.

.

[Received 8:22 p. m.] 880. Greek Chargé d'Affaires presented short note March 14 to Swedish Foreign Ministry expressing his Government's desire that Swedish Government agree in principle to continuing relief activities after liberation of Greece.

Later same day British Chargé d'Affaires and I presented notes to Foreign Ministry on same topic. Our note (see Department's 289, February 24, 1 p. m.) is practically identical with British note and states that American and British Governments in agreement with Greek Government inquire whether Swedish Government is prepared in principle to continue relief activities after liberation. Both Governments appreciate work done and are anxious to use to greatest practicable extent existing machinery in connection with which Sweden's neutral position will continue to receive due recognition. Accordingly they would welcome suggestions from Swedish Government as to manner in which relief organization could best function and what responsibility it might undertake. American and British Governments have discussed problem with UNRRA and find it equally anxious to reach understanding regarding continuance of relief organization until other arrangements can be made. When it is known whether Swedish Government is willing to continue relief work after liberation, more definite program could be discussed. (End of note.)

. In brief discussion when note was presented I mentioned interest of American and British Governments in knowing whether all facilities of Greek Relief Commission would remain available. Foreign Office officials mentioned probability that Germans would withdraw safe-conduct for ships if they were obliged to leave Greece.83 British Chargé and I said that in such case Allies would presumably offer usual convoy protection for relief vessels. Foreign Office officials indicated agreement in principle and general willingness to consider matter favorably. I stressed our readiness to discuss any related questions which might arise.

Minutes of meeting of Committee on Greek Relief (especially minutes of meetings on October 21 and November 4) which were transmitted with Department's instruction No. 461 of February 11 84 furnished useful background information for my remarks.

JOHNSON

868.48/5250 : Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

STOCKHOLM, March 30, 1944–9 p. m.

[Received March 30–8:55 p. m.] 1087. Boheman 85 received British Chargé d'Affaires and me March 30 to present Swedish reply to parallel British and American notes of March 14 (see my 880, March 14, 7[5] p. m.). Substance of Swedish reply follows:

Swedish Government will be glad to continue its Greek relief activities during transition period after liberation. This applies also to Swedish Government's members of relief organization.

Presumably present organization should continue along past lines until other suitable arrangements can be made. No doubt agreement to this effect will be easily reached on spot between Sandström 86 and authorities which take over administration of Greece. As suggested

* For correspondence relating to negotiations for the operation of Swedish ships in Greek relief operations under safe-conduct from the German Government, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. II, pp. 724 ff.

* Not printed. 85 Erik C. Boheman, Secretary General of the Swedish Foreign Office. 38 A. Emil F. Sandström, President of the (Swedish) Greek Relief Commission.

84

in Legation's note it would be helpful if more detailed program could already be submitted for discussion. However, question of continued use of Swedish ships now engaged in Greek relief traffic must in due time be object of special agreement with shipowners. End of note.

Ancillary Swedish memorandum presented at the same time states Swedish Government has not consulted International Red Cross Committee. Foreign Ministry would appreciate being informed if, how and when Allied Governments concerned deem such consultation desirable. End of memorandum.

Discussing last sentence of note Boheman said he supposes German safe conduct would be withdrawn after liberation of Greece. In reply to question whether fact that we grant safe conduct while Germans occupy Greece is reason for Germans to continue safe conduct after we reenter Greece, Boheman felt there was scant hope of retaining safe conduct on these grounds.

British Chargé inquired whether Swedish Government could not when time comes exert influence with Swedish shipowners to induce them to keep their vessels in Greek relief traffic even if German safe conduct is withdrawn and vessels must navigate under Allied protection. Boheman replied Swedes could not requisition ships except for Swedish purposes.

Government could wield influence but not necessarily decisive infiuence. He, Boheman, believes negotiations with shipowners should not begin until time is ripe because many factors cannot be foreseen. For instance, Greece could be liberated while war elsewhere continues and relief ships would be exposed to war hazards. Or Greece might be liberated in conjunction with general cessation of war.

Regarding ancillary memorandum possibility was discussed that in case International Red Cross should prove to be unwilling to [continue] sponsorship of Greek relief after liberation, relief activities might be conducted as purely Swedish Red Cross venture. This solution might preserve Red Cross character of ships even though German safe conduct be withdrawn. Boheman indicated that if International Red Cross were to assume this negative attitude he saw no reason why purely Swedish scheme might not work out. Swedish Red Cross can, he considers, give humanitarian aid to any suffering people.

Swedish note and Boheman's comments constitute favorable and sympathetic reply to our démarche of March 14 and foreshadow receptive Swedish attitude toward whatever further Allied proposals may in due time be forthcoming.

JOHNSON

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