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formal approaches to the Swedes along aforementioned lines. Similar instructions are being telegraphed to British Legation.

In our view the question of Swedish relief fleet in Greek traffic is not germane to shipping discussions currently being held in London and should preferably not enter those negotiations. Even if Swedes should decide to enter shipping pool (and for your confidential information shipping authorities here are sanguine that they will), pool commitments do not become effective until after the end of war with Germany, when the safe conduct arrangement would no longer be needed in any case. The period in which we primarily are interested for Greek relief scheme is from the present until German surrender.

Reference Paragraph 10, London's 381 Relief, Department has inquired of Athens if Swedish plan to recall Fenris and Virginia has approval of military authorities, but no reply has yet been received. Reports of caïque shortages lead us to believe that small Swedish ships might be used to advantage for local relief distribution. Fenris could, in opinion of authorities here, be profitably used in St. John run.

For your information, and at your discretion for communication to Swedes, 150,000 tons additional Argentine wheat have been made available to International Wheat Council (reurtel 4521, November 4 24). Department informed Greek Embassy but made it clear that we assumed no responsibility for shipment of any such supplies obtained. In view of wheat supply in Mediterranean and of backlog of varied foodstuffs in this country, Department and FEA think it advisable for time being that all Swedish ships load at St. John. Sent to Stockholm, repeated to Athens.25


868.48/11-2144: Telegram

The Ambassador in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

ATHENS, November 21, 1944–5 p.m.

[Received November 22–3:45 p. m.] 67. Without (as I am informed) prior consultation with either the Swedish Swiss Commissions the Greek Government has telegraphed Stockholm and Geneva requesting that Commission continue its work for 6 months after December 15 (re my telegrams numbers 13 and 33 of November 6 and 16 [13] and Department's 26 of November 16 26). While the official explanation of this action is that Government does not desire to appear ungrateful for Swedish Swiss efforts by abruptly accepting the Commission's withdrawal and that it is not certain that the matter of the continuation of the operations of the Swedish ships is entirely separate from that of the continuation of the Commission, competent observers are of opinion that the Government's move has been motivated by a disinclination to assume public responsibility for distribution with probable attendant criticism.

24 Not printed. 25 Repeated as telegram No. 33. 28 With reference to telegram No. 26, see footnote 22, p. 207.

On other hand Mr. Sandstrom has not changed his view that Commission should discontinue operations and is proceeding to Stockholm by air next Monday to consult his Government.

Concurrently with these developments discussion of the whole question of distribution continues in General Scobie's Advisory Committee and Matthews and Hugh Jackson of UNRRA are expected here this week in this connection. At present the general feeling in the Committee appears to be that while the Greek Government should be pressed to accept responsibility for distribution assisted by the advice of a policy committee such as that mentioned in my 33 above referred to and should be urged to set up appropriate distribution machinery immediately this may take so long that it may prove necessary for the Swedish-Swiss Commission to continue distribution at least for a while after December 15.

The Department will be advised of further developments as they



868.01 AMG/11-2544 : Telegram The Ambassador in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

ATHENS, November 25, 1944–10 a. m.

[Received November 27-11 a. m.] 87. By an exchange of notes dated yesterday November 24, the British Ambassador and the Greek Prime Minister 27 concluded the agreement (see Department's Number 139 of October 16, 5 p. m.) “regarding questions concerning civil administration, jurisdiction and relief arising out of military operations in Greek territory”. In accepting the agreement the Prime Minister made four "observations" not directly referring to clauses of interest to the United States except for the first in which Papandreou "notes” that since discrimination as to race, religion, nationality or political belief is forbidden by the Greek Constitution, 6(a) of the agreement is superfluous. Copies of the notes exchanged are being sent to the Department by airmail.

As regards associating the United States with this agreement in the manner authorized I have today informally handed to the Foreign Office a copy of the text contained in the Department's A-45, October 18 and have suggested that if agreeable to the Prime Minister a formal


[blocks in formation]

note containing that text and a formal note embodying Papandreou's

a reply (draft of which he will make available to me in the meantime) be exchanged simultaneously between us on a date to be decided on preferably not later than the middle of next week.29


868.48/12-244 : Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State 30

STOCKHOLM, December 2, 1944—noon.

[Received 9:15 p. m.] 4926. I went November 30 with British Minister to make informal démarche at Foreign Ministry in keeping with first four paragraphs of Department's 2329, November 18, 9 p. m. We spoke with Grafstrom and Lundborg and raised following points in particular:

1. Minister's aide-mémoire of October 19 (enclosure 6 to my despatch 4341 of October 21 31) is very disappointing in that it gives no certainty that Swedish ships will remain in Greek relief service if Germans withdraw trans-Atlantic safe-conduct. American and British authorities would prefer to have Greek relief ships sail in convoy but will be satisfied with any arrangement insuring their continued use. Boheman (cf. my 1087, March 30, 9 p. m.) and Gunnar Carlsson (cf. paragraph 3 of British Legation's telegram 776 transmitted as enclosure 3 to my despatch 4059 of September 8 32) gave impression that convoy idea would be feasible.

2. Distress in Greece is intense and there are no reserve stocks. Shipping shortage is such that continued use of Greek relief fleet is essential. This traffic cannot bear interruption such as might result if new sailings were held up during an argument with Germans. Such interruption might cancel whole effect of Swedish help to date.

3. Present satisfactory arrangements may be interrupted at any moment if Germans cease to grant safe-conduct. We need to have this uncertainty removed in order to allow for rational forward planning.

4. Certain other Swedish ships have been sailing regularly in Allied convoys.

5. Basic Greek relief undertaking is that ships be used for relief of Greek civilian population. We can give assurances that this condition will continue to be observed.

6. Question of continued operation of Swedish fleet of Greek relief ships is not germane to London shipping pool discussions. It is for period until German surrender that we desire certainty regarding Greek relief fleet.


The notes were exchanged on January 31, 1945. 30 The substance of this telegram was sent as telegram No. 100, December 8, 3 p. m., to the Ambassador in Greece.

Not printed; see telegram No. 4258, October 19, 6 p. m., from Stockholm, p. 194. 32 Not printed.


Grafstroin declared emphatically that Swedish Government for its part desires to continue its help. Should Germans withdraw safeconduct, Swedes would exert every effort to induce them to allow traffic to continue. While appreciating this, we said it did not constitute sufficient certainty.

Grafstrom explained that Swedish ships which operate in Allied convoys were already outside Skagerrak blockade at time it took effect. Ships in Greek relief traffic were let through blockade on basis of special commitments to Germans.

Grafstrom and Lundborg mentioned certain commitments other than governmental made to Germans by owners of Greek relief ships. On this point we replied (a) we do not have these commitments on file; (6) such undertakings between private shipping companies and the German Government are surely on a plane subordinate to inter-governmental undertakings; (c) Foreign Minister should work out plan to overcome these engagements and should prepare minds of shipowners and crews to continue in traffic despite possible withdrawal of safe-conduct.

Grafstrom did not seem to agree with our statement that present question was not germane to shipping pool discussions. He did not go into details, but expressed regret that Carlsson was not here.

Grafstrom added that we submit a brief memorandum on subject to our démarche. He said he was not authorized to speak further now, but matter would receive sympathetic attention.

Subsequent to above meeting Lundborg intimated that shipowners' commitments to Germans were the “usual ones" for all Swedish ships which are let out through blockade. He contended that these engagements do not conflict with those Swedish Government gave but devise more exactly the conditions under which the vessels are allowed to leave and obligated to return to Swedish waters. Implication is that they are not susceptible of being interpreted as flexibly as assurances given by Swedish Government.


840.50 UNRRA/11-2744 : Telegram The Secretary of State to the American Representative on the

Advisory Council for Italy (Kirk)

WASHINGTON, December 2, 1944-7 p.m. 444. Department somewhat concerned over statement made by Jackson (Caserta No. 1515, November 27-UNRRA from Jackson No. 95 324) that continuance of use of Swedish ships is not related to continuing operations of Swedish-Swiss Commission. As stated in our No. 33 to Athens 33 the question of Swedish ships is now under discussion with Swedish Government and it appears that continuance of Swedish-Swiss Commission at least in a nominal capacity may be necessary in order to assure continued use of the ships. You will be advised of any further developments. Repeated to Athens.

32. Not printed.


868.00/12–1144: Telegram The Secretary of State to the Appointed Ambassador to Italy (Kirk)

WASHINGTON, December 13, 1944–8 p.m. 471. Reurtel 1695, December 11, noon. The Department's information on the rapidly changing situation in Greece is incomplete and we should not wish to take any position at this distance which would put any lives in jeopardy. However, it is the Department's view that our military participation in ML is for the purpose of helping to bring relief to a gallant Ally and to ensure distribution of relief supplies, largely of American origin, to the Greek people without discrimination. American withdrawal from relief operation might well be interpreted as use of relief as instrument of political pressure. We therefore believe that during present period of Greek-British conflict US officers should continue on combined basis where combined relief operations are possible, and that if authorized by SACMED 35 they should independently do everything possible in areas presently closed to British personnel to carry out objective of relief program, in cooperation with Swedish-Swiss Commission, appropriate UNRRA personnel and Greek organizations.

It should be kept in mind that General Sadler is operating under orders of the Theater Commander and that no unilateral action can be taken by American officers without consent of the latter or instructions through appropriate military channels. Any questions you may have concerning the policies being pursued by ML Greece should be reported to the Department which can then act in consultation with military authorities in Washington. Sent to AmPolAd, Caserta, repeated to Athens.



See footnote 25, p. 208. 34 Not printed; in it Ambassador Kirk asked the Department for guidance on the question of the position of American forces engaged in relief and rehabilitation activities in Greece, in view of the fighting there between Greek partisans and British forces (868.00/12–1144). For correspondence concerning interest of the United States in the political situation in Greece, see pp. 84 ff.

* Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater.

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