95 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 60, SALONIKA[1], 13 May 1948, 11.20 a.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 33. I paid one day visit to [Athens][2] with a party of delegates to examine the possibility of moving there but present prospects are only fair. Took the opportunity of talks with Tsaldaris[3], also the British Ambassador and Americans.

2. The Military position is substantially improving and the guerrillas show signs of discouragement and disintegration over the last clean up in the South Central area. Northern logistical assistance is not very great and it is clear that no assistance in [the way] of personnel has so far been rendered. Consequently the time may be propitious to approach Northern neighbours.

As Yugoslavia is obviously the key State [in Greek question] and as I personally know Simic Bebler[4] well, I feel that the best approach would be for the Minister or myself to send a personal telegram to Bebler suggesting he invite me by telegram to visit Belgrade in my personal capacity to meet him and other members of the Government with a view to discussions on purely informal basis of Balkans in general interest of world peace. Opening can be given by mentioning in telegram humanitarian questions of children, minorities and refugees.

If you agree and an invitation is forthcoming I could go by air to Istanbul and thence by express to Belgrade as there is no travel connection Northward from Greece.

If we find that we can get the Northern States to talk with U.N.S.C.O.B. it could be suggested that the committee move temporarily to Istanbul or other neutral place for such purpose.[5]

[1] Sent via London.

[2] Words in square brackets corrected from the copy on file AA : A6530, 49/10/8.

[3] Constantine Tsaldaris, Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; representative of Greece at the General Assembly.

[4] Ales Bebler, Yugoslav Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and representative at the General Assembly.

[5] Shann annotated the file copy: 'The Secretary is to discuss this further with the Minister'. Subsequently a reply (cablegram 34) was dispatched on 17 May advising Hodgson to 'hold action for the present'.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/1, III]