Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


Border Provocations

On June 3, 1948, a group of Greek soldiers coming from the village of Matchukovo on Greek territory, crossed into Yugoslav territory in fighting formation near the borderstone N.52, in the vicinity of the Yugoslav village of Stojakova, penetrated 50 meters inside Yugoslav territory and took up battle positions. When the Yugoslav frontier guards approached this group of soldiers the latter opened fire from automatic rifles on the Yugoslav units, At the same moment fire from automatic weapons was also opened from Greek territory, in two directions — 80 meters east and 250 meters west of the above-mentioned borderstone. Only after half an hour of fighting were the Greek soldiers forced to withdraw across the frontier, leaving behind them on Yugoslav territory several dozen unused and empty cartridges for automatic weapons.

The premeditated character of these provocations and creation of military incidents against Yugoslavia is, perhaps, best shown by the incident which was organized 14 days before the beginning of the session of our General Assembly, with the aim of creating disorder on the Yugoslav border at that very moment.

On the night of September 6 and 7, a company of the 556th Battalion of the Athens Government army, crossed the Yugoslav Frontier in the Kaymakchalan sector, while the 1st platoon of the 3rd company of the same Battalion separated from it and crossed the frontier not far from the same spot, according to the statement of Vassili Mesiades, a soldier of this platoon, who was taken prisoner on September 8, on Yugoslav territory. This platoon lay in ambush waiting to create incidents and disorders on our frontier. And indeed, when a detachment of Yugoslav soldiers appeared the 1st platoon of the 3rd company of the 566th Battalion of the Army of the Athens Government opened fire on them; the response was evidently prompt, and the platoon retreated to Greek soil. In the course of the fight, one soldier was taken prisoner, and a fairly large quantity of arms, especially British, was captured, including mortars, heavy machine guns, etc.

At this time a fog came down, and when the detachment of Yugoslav soldiers lost their way in this fog, and unintentionally crossed into Greek territory, it was fired on without any warning by a large variety of weapons, including artillery, which obviously were in position and aimed to cover the spot where the units of the Athens Government had hidden on Yugoslav territory for the purpose of causing provocations.

In the period from September 16 to 25 alone, i.e. during the first ten days of the third session of the General Assembly, several provocations occurred and the Government of the F.P.R. of Yugoslavia sent eight protests to the Athens Government. In order to judge the seriousness and the provocative character of these incidents it is sufficient to mention what took place on September 25, when 20 shells were fired from Greece into Yugoslav territory in the Sector of Point 2154, on which occasion Branko Sovilj, a captain of the Yugoslav Army, was wounded; or the incident which was caused on the same day by two Greek Spitfires which flew over Yugoslav territory and dropped incendiary bombs which set fire to a forest on Yugoslav territory.

The Yugoslav government on July 1 and August 2, 1948, sent notes to the Security Council pointing out that the frequency of these repeated incidents and military provocations on the Yugoslav-Greek frontier, directed against the F.P.R. of Yugoslavia by the Greek army and other responsible organs of the Athens government, was clear proof that these incidents and provocations are not accidental, but premeditated, prepared in advance.

In the course of this year also there have been numerous incidents caused by provocations of Greek government armed forces against the People's Republic of Bulgaria. We shall mention only the incident of April 4, 1948, when about one hundred armed Greek soldiers crossed the frontier into Bulgaria and forcibly dragged a Bulgarian frontier patrol of three men into Greek territory. This brutal aggressive act exposes the hypocrisy of the Athens government's assertion that it is anxious to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of Bulgaria and shows that its negotiations with the Bulgarian Government ostensibly toward that end, served in fact to hide its hostile and aggressive intentions towards Bulgaria.

The continual and daily frontier provocations against the People's Republic of Albania have assumed this year the character of real aggression. During the last few months there have been hundreds of such incidents. Between August 13 and 15, i.e. in the course of three days, there were, according to Albanian data, eleven large scale monarcho-fascist frontier provocations.

To illustrate the character of these provocations against the People's Republic of Albania, we shall cite only two instances. On August 3, 1948, a Greek governmental unit, 150 men strong, penetrated into Albanian territory near the frontier points Nos. 76 and 54 (section of Kamenka), and a lively skirmish ensued with Albanian frontier guards, which lasted for an hour and a half, and resulted in many casualties, both dead and wounded, on both sides. On August 4, a Greek governmental unit again penetrated into Albanian territory in the direction of Tchezane, and lively hand-to-hand fighting with Albanian frontier guards ensued. On this occasion two monarchist Greek soldiers were taken prisoner.

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