Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


A Little Gentle Pressure

In order to give "moral support" to such threats, Greece was suddenly — as is well-known by the inhabitants of Athens — deprived of fuel. Lighting, heating, industry and transportation stopped as if by enchantment. The whole economic life of the country was paralyzed. The American Mission forbade the importation of gasoline, oil and coal. It goes without saying that this method of solving" internal conflicts and dissensions in the Greek Government produced the desired effect and that the dissensions between the two "chiefs" with regard to the division of power were immediately ironed out. I think that these facts need no further comment.

Having thus formed a new Government by open pressure and interference, the United States of America did not allow any change to be made in that Government without its consent. Thus, during the Government crisis, in January, 1948, the American Charge d'Affaires in Athens, Mr. Rankin, according to the Greek press, visited Souphulis and Tsaldaris on January 18, 1948, and delivered to them, by order of his Government, an Aide Memoire in which it was stressed that the possible resignation of the Government would not only have "unfavorable results as regards the success of the program for aid to Creece, but would certainly also unfavorably influence any thought of further aid to Greece, as well as the amount of the aid that Greece will receive under the Marshall Plan."

This is the inexorable logic of the acceptance of so-called American aid, a logic which has found in Greece a classical expression.

The Chicago Tribune of January 22, 1948, openly admits: "… since we have taken over Greece, we have changed the composition of the Government several times, according to our wishes."1

However, it is not only a question of the Athens Government being in harmony with "American wishes", to quote the poetic reference of the Chicago Tribune to this Government. The fact is that the whole organization of the various services of the American Mission are, in fact, being transformed into governing administrative bodies in Greece. It is no secret that the American representatives in Athens are assuming prerogatives of the Government. It is the American representatives and not the Government who draft laws and decrees, submitting them to Parliament — only to satisfy Western parliamentary democracy — which has to adopt them without amendments. This was also the case with the law on the blocking of Greek assets abroad, the adoption of which was made a condition by the American Mission for giving the assistance which was needed for the importation of wheat.

1. American readers are prone to overlook a good many revelatory items of news when they are tucked away inconspicuously in their papers, without benefit of big headlines. Although Dr. Bebler quotes mostly from the Greek press, a great many citations could be culled from the American press also, in illustration and support of his charge that the United Stares has in fact taken over the political rule and economic domination of Greece.

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