Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


No Mere Advisors

Here are my Greek witnesses on this subject:

Elephteria stated as early as November 1947: "…We are firmly convinced that American officers will make their appearance sooner or later on the battlefield. General Livesay has already at his disposal a radio transmitter which affords him direct contact with all his officers as well as with Greek units. All the American officers have been specially trained for mountain warfare. It is clear that the American staff, which is being formed, will become, sooner or later, an American-Greek organ."

The newspaper Vima of January 6, 1948, says that "American officers will not be mere advisors, but will make decisions on Greek military matters through the Military Mission."

But this was only a beginning. Soon the orders of American officers became compulsory for Greek officers and often American officers directly conducted operations and took an active part in them. Thus, Colonel Renier, United States "liaison officer" with the units of the Government Army in the region of Salonika, commanded a battalion in the battle against a unit of the Democratic Army, during the well known operation of the Democratic Army near that city; and during the fighting in Rumelia, in May 1948, the Government units were commanded by United States Colonel Ivert Perdicard. The United Press agency wrote that on August 16, 1948, the United States Captain Harry Bricard and Sergeants Samuel Newman and Frank Kelnet took part in the fighting at Alevica (Grammos) with the 61st and 73rd brigades.

The actual supreme commander of the armed forces of the Athens Government and of their military activities is General Van Fleet. The commanders of the Governmental army are changed and shifted according to his views. Thus, for instance, the New York Herald Tribune of August 3, 1948, Paris edition, carried an Associated Press story that the removal of General Kalogeropulos from the post of commander during the Grammos operation and the appointment of General Kitrilakis in his stead was done at the insistance of General Van Fleet, Chief of the American Military Mission. In the same article it is said: "United States dissatisfaction with General Kalegeropulos became apparent more than two weeks ago. The Americans took the view that General Kitrilakis should take closer control over plans and operations he had prepared."

General Van Fleet in the course of a statement made on August 27, 1948, said that in connection with the failure of the Government forces on Grammos, changes would be made in the higher command of the army. General Van Fleet issues Orders of the Day such as, for instance, the Order which he sent on August 21, 1948 to the commander of the 9th division, in which he said: "Please inform the officers and the men of the 9th division that they have fully realized my expectations and that I am sending them my heartiest congratulations." Mr. Tsaldaris' newspaper Anexartissia of September 6, 1948, published a photograph of General Van Fleet at the front, with the following caption: "Chief of the American Military Mission Van Fleet, tireless inspector of the front, in the company of higher officers of the General Staff Lt. General Jandzis and Brigadier General Manidakis, near the frontier."

Thus Van Fleet is attended by the Chief of the General Staff of the Governmental Army! The rightists sometimes protest formally against such proceedings. The newspaper Elephteria of September 2, 1948 complained: "By poking his nose everywhere, clamoring, moving around more than is necessary and speaking about himself, writing and always pushing himself to the fore, it seems that General Van Fleet is laboring today under the impression that the position of the Chief of the General Staff of the Greek Army, is in relation to himself, that of an orderly."

There is no doubt whatever that the army of the Athens Government has become an armed organ of the United States of America in Greece, having completely lost the character of a national army, having become a mere executor of the orders of its American "advisors."

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