31 Watt to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 258 Moscow, 9 August 1947, 7.05 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

GREECE

1. I secured an appointment with Vyshinski today and have just discussed the subject with him for thirty minutes.

2. I spoke to him as directed in your telegram 151 and referred to all points raised in your telegrams 152 and 154. To avoid any misunderstanding due to translation I left with him an aide memoire which summarised all the points in the Australian proposal. As matter of tactics I stressed throughout the danger to the prestige of the Security Council and United Nations rather than developments in Greece itself.

3. Vyshinski spoke freely and frankly in reply as follows:

'The Soviet Government appreciated the efforts of the Australian Government to devise a formula agreeable to all. The Soviet Government was also concerned to maintain the prestige of the Security Council. It would be difficult, however, for the Soviet Government to agree to the Australian proposal. Firstly, the proposal appeared to place Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria in the same category and thus, at least by inference, to blame all countries equally for the situation which had arisen.

The Soviet Government could not accept this interpretation of the facts. Secondly, if the Security Council did not in fact carry out its proper function of assigning responsibility for the developments of the situation in Greece surely its prestige would be diminished. The members of the Sub-Committee now conferring in New York would, presumably, do their best to reach an agreed formula but differences between the two points of view in the Security Council were substantial and one did not really solve them by avoiding reference to them.'

4. I suggested that if no positive action were taken by the Security Council its prestige would be lowered to a much greater extent than if it passed a compromise resolution which maintained its jurisdiction in the matter and held out some hope of achieving a solution of the Greek question. To this he made no reply.

5. Vyshinski was obviously au fait with the matter. His manner was friendly. Unlike all other Soviet officials I have met he was prepared to exchange ideas and to express immediately a definite Soviet attitude.

6. I take the liberty of suggesting the following modifications in the proposal set out in your telegram No. 152 as designed to help to secure agreement.

(i) Substitution of 'situation in Greece' for the existing phrase (2) Deletion of the word 'cease' and substitution of 'refrain from', substitution for the present clause the following 'Security Council expresses at the present time no opinion as to who is to blame for the situation.' [1]

1 See paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of first part of Document 29.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/7, ii]