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Historical documents

113 Heydon to Burton

Cablegram 2067, LONDON, 23 May 1949, 7.40 p.m.


The Minister has addressed a personal letter to each of the four Foreign Ministers in Paris re conciliation in the Balkans.[1] The letter is being treated as entirely secret and no information is being given about it here.

2. Summary as follows -
(a) The conciliation group appointed at the Paris General Assembly issued a report in New York last Thursday which shows that substantial progress was made and that even in the end the Albanian Delegate did not reject the draft agreement as amended by conciliators and accepted in substance by Greece.

(b) Broader questions of urgent and fundamental importance are -
(i) It is clear that among the four powers there is a far greater willingness to complete an agreement than there was at Paris.

(ii) The matter of conciliating in connection with the internal war in Greece tended to obtrude itself on the work of the Conciliation Committee.

(iii) In my opinion the time has come to mediate between the Greek Government and those Greeks who are levying the war against it, or attempting to overthrow it by force.

(c) The paradox is that the continued fighting in Greece is partly due to the border situation and relationships, and at the same time they continue to be unsatisfied because of the internal war.

(d) The Czech Foreign Minister approached me as President towards the end of the Assembly suggesting that a Representative of the Greeks who are fighting the Government should come to New York to make suggestions with a view to conciliation with the Greek Government. This suggestion could not be adopted because it lay outside the function of the conciliators.

(e) I am of the opinion that a new approach to both the problems of border relations and the fighting in Greece should now be made by a mediating authority and that it should be supported by the Four Powers of the C.F.M.

(f) The questions of jurisdiction are of minor importance in view of the terrible privations suffered by the people of Greece in resisting Mussolini and Hitler and now by internal fighting. Australian soldiers fought side by side with the Greeks against Hitler. As Chairman of the Conciliation Committee I received protests against the punitive actions of the Greek Government against those aiding the guerrillas but at the same time I have received authentic information regarding atrocities perpetrated by the rebels against the Greek Government's forces. Because the present situation is so tragic, I believe it can be brought to an end on just and honourable terms.

(g) I therefore bring it to the attention of each of the four members of the council of Foreign Ministers suggesting that the whole situation of Greece, both internal and external can now be treated as one which can and should be handled speedily and on a basis of justice and fair play to all concerned.[2]

[1] The letter, dated 21 May 1949, was sent to Bevin, Acheson, Robert Schuman of France and Andrei Vyshinski of the Soviet Union.

[2] Acheson replied on 26 May 1949 expressing the view that the United Nations was the proper forum for discussion of the Greek question. Other replies not located.

[AA : A1838, 85/1/2A]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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