Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Oral History Interview with
Spyros Markezinis

Greek lawyer, historian, and politician. Legal advisor to King George II of the Hellenes, 1936-46; served in Greek National Resistance, 1941-44; member of Parliament for the Cyclades, 1946, for Athens, 1952-67; founded New Party, 1947 (dissolved 1951); Minister without Portfolio, 1949; Minister for Coordination and Economic Planning until 1954; formed Progressive Party, 1955; and Prime Minister, October-November, 1973.

Athens, Greece
July 22, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened September, 1986
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]

Oral History Interview with
Spyros Markezinis

Athens, Greece
July 22, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson


Mr. Markezinis,"interview" consists of his written answers to a few general questions and a list of 21 specific questions submitted to him by Dr. Theordore A. Wilson, University of Kansas, as part of his research for the Truman Library Institute's special project on foreign aid during the Truman Administration. Mr. Markezinis submitted his replies in Greek and a translation was then prepared for the special project.

In giving my answers I have adopted the following course: As regards the general questionnaire I started with a brief summary and gave more definite and explanatory answers to questions on matters I am familiar with or, on which I can express an opinion, and in any case cannot be considered irrelevant for a Greek.

As regards the special questionnaire, which was personally addressed to me, I considered it convenient to number the questions and answer each one separately, and often more widely. I thought that excess of information can be cut down and is better than insufficient information.

A full analysis with all the data in my possession, I have included in the second section, soon to be published, of my work A Political History of Modern Greece, but the publication of the volume referring to the subject concerned,


will, I fear, be delayed. Therefore, I am willing to supply any further information required.

During 1946 -- barely one year after the termination of World War II -- it became clear in Western Europe that if the war had been won the same could not be said of peace. Both the defeated and the victors had come out of the war so exhausted from the long and hard struggle or from the foreign occupation and had sustained such wide economic destruction that their recovery appeared inconceivable. It is a fact that switching from war to peace is very difficult. But the problems arising after World War II were unique as regards their extent and the multiple future issues they presented. Moreover, J. Stalin's intention to exploit the situation for the furtherance on a world scale of his imperialistic plans could hardly be disguised and the dangers thereof increased daily. After World War I, as we all know, there arose differences of views between the Allies, often reaching the point of discord. But there was no example of one Ally trying to take advantage of any opportunity at the expense of his Allies. In Yalta, J. Stalin ruthlessly took advantage of the weaknesses of F.D. Roosevelt, at the time President of the U.S.A., who was the victim of his physical disability, which soon occasioned his death, and his naïve


idealism to believe in the sincerity of J. Stalin's intentions. When President Harry Truman took the succession of F.D. Roosevelt, it soon became apparent that essential changes were taking place. The public, having for long taken the habit of admiring F.D. Roosevelt, started by underestimating Truman as a negligible mediocrity. J. Stalin was perhaps among the first to ascertain that the contrary was true. President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb for the prompt termination of the war was enough to make him realize that he was now facing a resolute man with a strong will. This, as well as the fact that the U.S.A. was the only power to possess the atomic bomb, made J. Stalin alter his tactics by concealing as much as possible his ambitions and adapting them to the prevailing situation. This policy (also adopted by his successors) consisted in avoiding direct clashes and inciting unrest and undermining the countries exhausted by the war. The new tactic was to exalt and project Communist ideology in the tradition of Tsarist Russia, exploit the Orthodox Church and later enhance the idea of Panslavism. The Communist theory was offered to a wretched postwar society as the sole remedy of their ills and was brought forth by Russia as having determined the victory against Fascism. The idea was to create a state of mind similar to the impression prevailing


after World War I, that French Democracy had conquered despotism of Germany and Austro Hungary. Of course J. Stalin did not limit to this his propaganda. He made the best possible use of the well-organized Communist parties in the various countries and wearing in turn the masks of the lion or the fox, aimed at domination.

The Communists endeavored to appear as disinterested champions concerned only with the prosperous future of other countries. They were fully aware of the weariness of the peoples whose only desire was demobilization and realization of the material goods which they expected on a utopian scale. The same phenomenon was faced by the victors of World War I which was overcome by the myth that Germany could pay for everything. It is well-known that when Keynes published his famous book in which the victors were urged to adopt more realistic views, the London Times very nearly accused him of being the enemy's spokesman.

In any case, no one after World War II could dare put forth such a myth. Moreover, the colonial powers did not consider advisable immediately after the war, to admit even to a certain degree that colonialism could any longer survive. They thus opened the way for Communists to make the best of what Lenin had already marked out: that is,


for the Russians to become the champions of the peoples' right for self-determination and the pioneers of the abolishment of colonialism. And no one even dared ask: After all, what was and still is Siberia's status?

The U.S.A. was the only power to be in a privileged, from every point of view, position. They had sustained immense economic sacrifices and by far larger material losses and losses of lives than during World War I. But at the same time they undoubtedly stood forth as the country with unlimited economic possibilities. They were also immune as regards the sincerity of the democratic ideological motives for participating in the war. No one could possibly accuse the U.S. of being colonialists or having imperialistic purposes. It is a noteworthy fact, that J. Stalin with his sly genius tried to take advantage even of this. Had he succeeded, this would have meant the beginning of the end of Democracy in the world. In the U.S.A., a country with a highly developed democratic conscience, public opinion is taken into consideration. Precisely for this reason, however unlimited the rights and prerogatives granted by the American Constitution to the President, even the most powerful President has to comply with public opinion. Therefore, the substantial change which took place owing to President Truman's personality


when he assumed his duties as President, were not sufficient to alter American public opinion which, for the major part, continued to consider Russia a sincere friend and simultaneously to confuse propaganda with actual facts. That is to say, public opinion continued to believe that the Russians were really defending ideals, fighting against colonialism, for the independence of peoples and social equality and justice. Much indeed had to happen: i.e. J. Stalin, and in general Soviet leadership had to make many mistakes in order that American public opinion be awakened and assist and wholeheartedly contribute to the new struggle in support of real independence and freedom of nations and to safeguard democratic institutions.

It was most fortunate for the free world that at that time Harry Truman was invested President of the U.S.A. Had the U.S.A. been governed by the F.D. Roosevelt of the New Deal, I am convinced that his reactions would have taken the same trend. But if it was the F.D. Roosevelt of the Yalta period, I am afraid, the contrary would have happened. In my opinion, Harry Truman had one more quality of leadership: the gift to find the right man for the right place. The first evidence was the appointment of General G. Marshall, who combined -- and gave proof of -- ideological convictions with absolute realism which constitutes one of the biggest


virtues in politics. A proof is the disengagement of the U.S.A. from the Chinese mainland. Only after many years has it been made clear what the U.S.A. and with them the free world would have suffered if a different course of action had been adopted. The above cannot, in any way be compared with the situation in Vietnam. Moreover this timely withdrawal, without entailing the abandonment of Asia, gave the opportunity to the U.S.A. to turn their attention to Europe and consequently to the recovery of Europe. From my personal point of view I would wish to add two more personalities of the Truman administration: Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman. Specifically regarding Greece, and apart from answers in the questionnaire, I wish to mention the successful work of L. Henderson, at the time of the Truman Doctrine, head of the office of Near Eastern and African Affairs with the State Department.

In the case of Greece and Turkey, and mainly of the former, the new doctrine was being tested. The fact that President Truman understood the situation, and boldly dealt with it, decisively helped in subsequent developments. Furthermore, American public opinion was unaware of the threat of Russian imperialist communism and consequently President Truman's decision increases in value and importance. In addition, President Truman justly merits to be credited


with not only simply attempting, but successfully projecting the democratic basis of his policy which was adopted from the first moment as the official bipartisan policy of the U.S.A. We should be reminded that the Truman Doctrine finally obtained in the Senate, 67 votes against 23, and 35 of the 67 votes were Republican votes, while 32 were Democratic votes. Republican Senator Vandenberg and Democratic Senator Connally contributed in achieving the above. This bipartisan policy facilitated the shaping of American public opinion and contributed to its final success. Undoubtedly, the course was not easy, but subsequent results proved that the Truman Doctrine, as completed by the Marshall Plan, constituted one of the most important landmarks on a world scale in postwar history.

Mention has been made of the Marshall Plan. Indeed only three months after the implementation of the Truman Doctrine, General G. Marshall, at the time Secretary of State, on the occasion of his appointment as Honorary Doctor by Harvard University, delivered his famous address announcing the Marshall Plan. This plan, however, with its decisive issues for the survival of Europe, could not have been carried out if it had not been preceded by the Truman Doctrine. Moreover, the President himself was once heard to say: "The one and the


other are two halves of the same nut." Greece in 1821 -- with her struggle for independence -- was the starting point of reaction against the monarchist and despotic doctrine of the Holy Alliance. Its successful issue completed the triptych formed by the American Revolution of 1779 -- the French Revolution of 1789 and the Greek Revolution of 1821. The triptych was the cornerstone of 19th century liberalism. It was fated that it was in Greece, in 1947, that the U.S.A. was given the opportunity to set the foundations of the struggle against Communist expansion.


QUESTION: What were the most serious obstacles to recovery and to further economic development in your country? In all of the countries included in the European Recovery Program?

MARKEZINIS: The countries which participated in the European Recovery Program, each were facing more or less different problems. In France, for instance, large areas had been theatres of war with great catastrophes during the period of liberation. Such catastrophes of the same sort were experienced on a smaller scale in Greece. On the other


hand, the damages resulting from the three year triple occupation were great. Even greater were the catastrophes from the outside-supported guerrilla war which followed the liberation. The main obstacle was the fact that, during the period of American aid and especially during the first two years of major assistance to Greece, war was still going on. Consequently, a large portion of aid was purely military in character. As well, the largest part of economic aid was absorbed for necessities of life of the population. Whatever remained for the explicit purpose of the recovery program was utilized under most difficult circumstances because of the continued war against the guerrillas.

QUESTION: What were your expectations regarding the nature, extent, and duration of United States aid at the end of the war? At the time of Secretary of State Marshall's speech in June, 1947? At the beginning of the war in Korea?

MARKEZINIS: I do not know what the expectations of other countries were but in Greece they were great. The Greeks had the feeling that they alone, with the English


were struggling until their last drop of blood. And, as was natural, they were very much depending upon manifestations of admiration and sympathy on the part of the world's free nations. Despite the experience of being under triple occupation, Greece did not capitulate in any respect. Greek soldiers did not participate on any German front and no Greek workers voluntarily labored in Germany. And those who did cooperate with the Germans in Greece were a very small percentage. Other Greeks suffered terribly but they sustained themselves with most promising hopes for the future offered to them by the Allied radio broadcasts.

In addition, Greek resistance groups were called upon by secret Allied agents and the Greek Government abroad to prepare and send detailed reports for all assistance to be required after liberation -- not simply for reconstruction of damaged property but also for the reorganization and development of the economy to levels higher than those prior to the war. Having actively participated in the resistance, I can provide firsthand knowledge for what I have said. I should add, however, that as time went on a conviction was created


about the prospects for aid which surpassed any reality. This is the reason why all those who governed Greece during the years immediately after the war, being prompted by that peculiar mentality, usually submitted unjustified requests.

It must be made clear, however, that those expectations were not initially or wholly aimed only at the United States. Only when time progressed was it confirmed that almost the entire world was in a condition of poverty and that the U.S.A. was the only country with its industries intact and with sufficient assets. At that time a process of orientation toward the U.S.A. started, a fact which created a reaction in the U.S.A. because obviously the American public was not willing to play forever the role of a philanthropic organization. Gradually, an adjustment began to take place on both sides. The Europeans became more realistic about help from the United States and the U.S.A. realized that the maintenance of an independent Europe was of common concern. This was true not only from the ideological point of view but also from a purely economic one. I therefore believe that the announcement of the Truman Doctrine and of the Marshall plan later, which was similar in format and duration, was surprisingly sound. They took place in an atmosphere


when great expectations had been greatly diminished and simply from that dead point approaching disappointment we had entered the street of new realistic hopes. In my opinion, this was the situation at the time of Truman's decision; that is, something was expected but not what followed.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the aid programs of the Truman Administration facilitated the economic and political union of Europe? If so, in what ways? Was it the serious intent of the U.S. Government that they do so?

MARKEZINIS: The political and economic unity of Europe is a matter which presupposed and presupposes a long-lasting process and a whole series of assumptions. I believe that the intentions of all American governments coincided with the success of such objectives. The aid programs which Truman's administration initiated helped indirectly and they are helping now toward that goal. In order that the economic and political unity of Europe became reality, there must be assured first its economic and political independence. Those who share my views that Truman's administration decidedly


contributed to this aim admit that these programs undoubtedly helped.

QUESTION: Did you view United States economic aid as primarily anti-Communist in purpose? What were the broad motives of the Truman administration in providing assistance?

MARKEZINIS: I think it is a mistake to say that the primary purpose or intent of American aid was anti-Communist. Truman's administration was not negative but positive. It is summed up in all that he himself supported in his famous enunciation of the Truman Doctrine. He said: "I believe that the policy of the U.S.A. should be: support of free peoples who resist attempts to enslave them which are done by armed minorities or outside pressures." Of course, since at that time the danger was coming from Soviet imperialism covered over with the Communistic ideology, from this point of view American policy was anti-Communist.

QUESTION: What was the nature of the results of "public relations: efforts regarding ERP and other programs? Would you comment on the organization of this effort,


its relative success and which activities were most successful?

MARKEZINIS: I belong to that school of thought that believes Truman's aid policy had decided effects but that, relatively, the effects of public relations endeavors were poor. The fact that Greece preserved its independence with only American material aid and without the utilization of even one American soldier and with the preservation of democratic beliefs in Greece, it did not get projected universally as it ought to be. Just as I think the splendid success of the airlift in Berlin was also badly publicized.

QUESTION: Did the United States aid programs have influence upon the political system and internal political alignments of your country? If so, in what ways? Did U.S. aid serve to strengthen democratic processes by the general aims? By the methods adopted?

MARKEZINIS: American aid programs contributed decisively to the protection of democracy both by the goals which America stated (see content of Truman Doctrine and also of Marshall Plan) and by the methods, since it based their application on the acknowledged desire of the people and on their decision to fight for democracy.

QUESTION: In your view, where would Europe be if the aid


programs of the Truman administration had not been provided?

MARKEZINIS: Without American aid Europe, having mostly ruined its industrial structure and having been deprived of its assets, would have needed a relatively long time to recover. It must be stated, though, at the same time that social problems were multiplying and that the Soviet Union's eagerness for territorial acquisitions were being created. It was a big question mark for the U.S.A. whether Europe could recover by itself. It should be noted that without the economic aid programs NATO would not have been possible, and despite its various weaknesses, it is a fact that NATO has protected all the countries which it embraces from foreign intrigues.

QUESTION: Should (or could) American aid have been funneled through United Nations agencies, such as the Economic Commission for Europe?

MARKEZINIS: Without a doubt, no.

QUESTION: Did the cancellation of lend-lease come as a surprise? To what do you attribute this decision? How serious were its effects?


MARKEZINIS: For those mostly concerned with the situation, no, because it was a war-connected mechanism. But, strictly speaking, having contemplated the huge problems which existed, they asked themselves what would happen and what other mechanism could replace the system of lend-lease.

QUESTION: Did antagonism toward Germany influence measures taken for the economic recovery of Europe?

MARKEZINIS: After the war the peculiar mentality of the winners concerning Germany was so confused that it is difficult for one to come to a positive conclusion. He can only proceed to certain inferences: (a) just as only Frenchmen continued to be concerned about the German threat after World War I, only the Russians happened to see it after World War II. That is why they pushed through the division of Germany and the curious status quo of Berlin, while Clemenceau, Foch, and Poincare had failed mutatis mutandis in their similar pursuit earlier. (Boundaries of the Rhine, Rhineland, etc.) (b) the failure of the reparations after World War I and the consequences of collapse of the German mark led the


victors to other thoughts after World War II. They thought that the dismantling of German industrial installations (those which had survived the air raids) would enable German industry to recover. Whereas, on the other hand, the regaining of those installations by the Allies would somehow substitute for part of the reparations. At the same time, the quadruple military occupation of Germany was giving the impression of control over any possible threat. However, the opposite happened. Germans had approved of the vitality of the French after the War of 1870. Freed from any military expense and forced to start from the beginning in order to survive, France had entered into international rivalry with the most modern industry. At the same time, following the liberal policy of Professor Erhard and putting aside social needs, the Germans emphasized productivity. This brought about the acclaimed postwar German miracle. President Truman's aid program did not view Germany unfavorably nor favorably by the other European nations. The Russians continued to fear Germany and the other Europeans ignored and underestimated the Germans. When these nations found themselves facing a new era of regeneration, the American programs had been substantially


ended, and nothing remained but admiration for what had happened in Germany.

QUESTION: Would you comment upon the invitation to the Soviet Union to participate in the discussions at Paris? Was the invitation sincere? Why did the Russians refuse to participate? What might have happened if they had taken part?

MARKEZINIS: I do not doubt that the invitation to the Soviet Union was sincere. It was obvious, however, that the conference would have failed if the Russians had taken part because, strictly speaking, the aims of the conference were opposed to the Soviet Union's own policy.

QUESTION: Were there efforts at cooperation in Europe before Secretary of State Marshall's speech?

MARKEZINIS: They were in truth on a theoretical level.

QUESTION: Might one say that U.S. aid was a means of ending American responsibility in Europe? Was "neo-isolationism" a fair description of the attitudes of many Americans, especially Congressmen, with whom you have contact?

MARKEZINIS: On the contrary. The application of the


Truman administration's aid programs did not constitute the end of American concern for Europe or the creation of "neo-isolationism," but the starting point of the actual concern for Europe's destiny in peacetime. It can be regarded more as a forerunner of John F. Kennedy's policies of close cooperation of the U.S. with a United Europe.

The large number of American Senators and Congressmen with whom I had a chance to speak during the first years of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan did give me the impression that they were favoring an isolationist viewpoint. But even those who believed in the revival of the old isolationism did not give the impression that the aid was provided with the thought: "to help you recover and then depart." No one, of course, was contemplating that the aid would continue indefinitely. Rather, achieving its purpose would create immediately a powerful united Europe with which the U.S.A. would be better able to defend the democratic ideals of the free world.

QUESTION: Would you agree that the importance of the Marshall Plan, was not so much the amount of aid given but the


fact that the aid was concentrated in a short period of time?

MARKEZINIS: I certainly agree. During the time of the application of the Marshall Plan, if an idea of a necessary long lasting program had prevailed, failure most likely would have occurred. The "too little, too late" approach has always been catastrophic. President Truman fortunately did not follow this policy.


QUESTION: Would you comment upon the subject of UNRRA aid to Greece?

MARKEZINIS: The first aid on a considerable scale given to Greece was that of UNRRA which originated from American funds. It began in 1945 and terminated formally in December 1946; but actually UNRRA continued in operation until March 1947. It is estimated that approximately 250 million dollars was received -- 2/3 of which was for foodstuffs and hygienic materials and 1/3 remaining for raw materials, fuel, and, to a certain extent, industrial equipment. Reality showed that the Greeks had placed


excessive hopes in UNRRA; however, by taking care of the most urgent needs of the hours, it was of decisive importance for the survival of the country.

With regard to the accuracy of the figures, I am of the opinion that no Greek agency will be in a position to provide any guaranty. I should further add that the disorganization of the machinery of state at that time was conducive to the reduction of the results expected. At the same time, there is no doubt that UNRRA's machinery itself revealed great weaknesses and thus a considerable portion of aid came to be lost. A characteristic example was the dispatching of large quantities of useless and unnecessary materials; whereas, in reverse, there was a considerable lack of indispensable articles.

QUESTION: How important a role did German reparations play (or were expected to play) in Greek reconstruction?

MARKEZINIS: The role of German reparations was negligible Reparations did not exceed 18 million dollars which were given in automobiles, some tools, and scrap iron. To be sure, the World War I attitude, whereby the vanquished were expected to pay damages and to restore the economies of the countries which had won, did not exist in Greece


either. Yet there was a limited relevant expectation and momentarily particular significance was attached to the transfer and installation also in Greece of German industrial equipment taken from that which had escaped the destruction of Allied bombing.

Still greater expectations were placed in the hope that Germany would be in a position to help seriously with regard to her responsibility for the annihilation of the Greek currency.

With reference to reparations from Italy, these were substantial, having amounted to 105 million dollars. They mainly represented funds for passenger ships, which were delivered after a number of years and which have been used in domestic and Mediterranean communications. Reparations have also been paid with regard to the electrical network of the country.

QUESTION: Did British and U.S. approaches to Greek recovery differ significantly?

MARKEZINIS: In essence no comparison can be made. The aid given by Great Britain until March 1947 was primarily military in nature. Aid for the reconstruction of the country consisted of "off hand" repairs of roads


by the British Royal Engineers and the placing of Bailey bridges. Great Britain also made available during the first months of liberation mainly foodstuffs estimated in value at 28 million dollars by Military Liaison. There was also placed at the disposal of the Greek Government in office at that time an amount of 76 million dollars, the balance of an inter-governmental loan concluded in 1941.

To all of this, even if one were to add together the aid granted by UNRRA with that from other different sources, no comparison can be made with the amounts granted by the American Government pursuant to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The figures given, the accuracy of which I cannot guaranty, even if taken as an approximation to the real figures, constitute a precious measure for comparison. From March 1947 to 1966, this aid amounted to approximately two billion dollars, only part of which was in the form of long-term loans. In addition to the above, during the same period, military aid estimated at 1860 million dollars was received in the form of equipment and common use items.

QUESTION: Might you describe the reaction in Greece to the mission of Paul A. Porter in early 1947?


MARKEZINIS: The special mission by Paul A. Porter, who came to Greece in the beginning of 1947 to examine locally the situation and to suggest urgently what could be done, was received most favorably. Greek public opinion took it for granted that his embassy would make favorable suggestions, not only with regard to economic aid but military as well. No one could have predicted [or imagined] what was to follow. On the contrary, the Greeks had nourished great hopes and dreamt a great deal during the occupation. But after the liberation, they observed their troubles increasing while Allied support in the field of economic reconstruction had so far been on a small scale. Thus they became realistic in their expectations. Few Greeks believed it possible for the needs which Greece was facing to be fully understood.

QUESTION: Would you comment on the period of the announcement of the Greek-Turkish aid program? Did it come as a surprise? What problems, if any, did it bring to the Greek Government?

MARKEZINIS: The announcement of the Truman Doctrine created profound relief and raised expectations in Greece. Yet, at the same time, it was a surprise. American aid had been


expected since the Porter mission, but not to the extent the Truman Doctrine revealed. Moreover, the change brought about was felt immediately. The Greeks, in other words, realized that the U.S.A. had assumed responsibility, not merely for economic or military assistance, but to secure Greek independence and integrity provided, to be sure, that the Greeks themselves would be prepared to fight for it. They were and they proved it!

The significance of the Truman Doctrine cannot be fully realized unless one appreciates the point of despair Greece had reached. As you know, Greece, almost immediately after liberation, faced certain danger in December of 1944 -- the peril of submission to the Communist bloc by means of the open assault assumed by Greek Communists who were incited by Moscow and its satellites to take control. The Communists would have succeeded had it not been for Sir Winston Churchill's resolve. Supported by Marshall Alexander and Harold Macmillan, Churchill put aside reactions of different sorts, and having successfully transferred troops from the Italian front, he finally forced the Communists to surrender and to sign the Varkiza Treaty in 1945. The events of December 1944 were, however, a terrible blow to Greece. The aspirations


that efforts to reconstruct the country from the [ravages of] war and the triple-enemy occupation -- Germany, Italian, and Bulgarian -- would begin after liberation were, instead, followed by a period of internal political instability, uncertainty, and confusion which led to further dislocation of the machinery of State. The aid given originally by the British, UNRRA, and other secondary sources, was now directed towards the survival of the populace, not for economic recovery on which, however, depended Greek economic independence.

King George II was forced to remain in London and it was not until the first of April in 1946 that elections, in the presence of foreign observers, became feasible. The Communists abstained and conservative elements were predominant. These elements pressed for a plebiscite on the first of September in 1946 which voted in favor of the King's return -- he returned on the 18th of September. With regard to formal legality, things appeared to have been settled. In reality, however, it was obvious that a new storm was imminent. Stalin had agreed at Yalta not to interfere with Greek affairs; but, realizing the importance of sovereignty over Greece for Russian plans of expansion, he aspired to attain his goal in an


indirect way. The Greek Communists, with assistance from the Communist governments of neighboring Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, made preparations while attempts to erode democratic public opinion in Greece and abroad were made by disguising their real aims behind slogans of democracy, independence, and anti-Fascism. The situation became critical as British forces gradually began to withdraw and Marshall Montgomery was the first to notify Greek officials that the English could not stay much longer in Greece because of the economic difficulties Great Britain was facing. This came at a time when the Greek economy, already facing problems related with immediate survival, was completely unable to meet an additional outlay for maintaining military forces capable of fighting the guerrilla war under preparation. In addition, the Americans, the only people upon whom Greece could depend, displayed absolute neutrality during the crisis of December 1944. They contented themselves merely by allowing Churchill freedom of action. They continued, by majority, to be unable to understand what was happening to Greece. American democracy is


a democracy of public opinion and any action of the Government presupposes the understanding of the American citizen.

Only near the end of the fall of 1946, when the Communists had occupied temporarily the village of Scra in the borderland area, had eliminated the small garrison, and had executed a number of nationalists, did it become apparent that a new plan to conquer Greece was being carried out. The anxieties of the Turks were seen in the Macedonian question, which the Communists began to raise preparations for the establishment of a "Macedonian Democracy," which would isolate Turkey from Greece -- this contributed to the awakening of America. Nonetheless, whereas Washington officials began to realize the danger, the bulk of American public opinion not only ignored the reality in Greece, but it also remained under the adverse influences exercised by the skillful and intense Communist propaganda supported by "fellow travelers" who had succeeded in infiltrating officials of the Congress and the Government. The Government of Greece decided its only recourse was the United Nations and requested the dispatch of an investigatory committee into the borderland areas in order to ascertain whether Communist movements in Greece were


directed from abroad. The atmosphere was favorable as the Soviet Union began to bring pressure upon Turkey for concessions concerning the status quo of the Straits and for other concessions which would consolidate the infiltration of Russian influence in the area. Consequently, Turkey's reaction contributed to the awakening experienced in America. Even greater help was rendered by the systematic support given by the British Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin.

The Greek question had now involved two issues -- the economic one concerning that which the Porter mission had decided to send over and the political one concerning Greek independence and how it ought to be protected if, in fact, it eras threatened. The latter was to be ascertained by the International Committee which the United Nations decided to send. The situation, however, was so serious that a more courageous [i.e., bolder] decision was required before it was too late. The findings of the Committee were taken for granted, inasmuch as it was obvious that the economic situation was miserable. The assault of the Communists also became obvious as preparations had already begun. Yet, the best of intentions were blocked by a series of technical difficulties involving delay. In


particular, with reference to economic aid, there were bureaucratic obstacles involved and at any rate, under the existing "mechanism" aid would have been limited. Greece was fortunate and so was the entire free world, as things turned out, in that Harry Truman was President of the United States.

At that time, Byrnes was replaced by General George Marshall who, apart from his other qualifications, cooperated in full accord with the President. It was also then that Dean Acheson assumed the duties of Foreign Under Secretary. He had a complete understanding of "real-politik" and a determination in taking serious initiatives. Then the Policy Planning Staff was created under the direction of the well-known Sovietologist George Kennan. And Averell Harriman was added to that important team. He had a great deal of experience -- he belonged to the New Deal team; he had served as a special emissary of Roosevelt in Great Britain in 1941 and then in the Soviet Union; he was the head of lend-lease in 1942 in London; and he was U.S. Ambassador from 1943-46 to the Soviet Union and then in Great Britain. Several months before the Truman Doctrine was proclaimed, he succeeded Wallace in the Department of Commerce and his opinion played a role


in those historical moments just as Admiral Nimitz's did, for he was one of those who recommended a more permanent presence of one of the U.S.'s fleets in the Mediterranean.

Despair in Greece became evident not only from descriptions of what has already been mentioned, the guerrilla war having already commenced, but also from the extent of destruction caused by war, the enemy occupation, the resistance and the civil convulsion instigated from abroad. Major harbors had been damaged. The Corinthian Canal had been rendered useless. Fifty percent of the road network was fully destroyed; the rest, to a great extent, was in very bad condition. The railroads had suffered considerable damage, even greater the tunnels, bridges, and vehicles, of which a great part had been transferred abroad. Telecommunications had undergone great destruction. One-fourth of the forests had been destroyed. Automobile equipment had been reduced to a minimum. Losses to the merchant marine were in excess of three-fourths. Civil aviation had ceased to exist entirely. In addition, many town and villages had suffered serious damage. The State treasury and the currency were in a miserable situation.


If different measures had not been taken there would have been an immediate problem of food and fuel. Upon reflection of all of this, you can imagine the satisfaction caused by the announcement of the Truman Doctrine.

This sentiment was expressed by the Greek Government, which was formed by different parties, in a declaration to the Greek people. A special session of Greek Parliament on the 24th of April in 1947 was dedicated to the Truman Doctrine. The most optimistic view was expressed by George Papandreou, who was a member of the Government and who said that from that moment the Communist problem would be a matter to be dealt with by the police. The undersigned expressed a more reserved view. He was then the leader of the New Party, which along with the Liberal Party of Themistocles Sophoulis, did not participate in the Government.

In my speech in Parliament I expressed the view that the Truman Doctrine was a declaration of awakening and unity of all liberal men against the crude and immediate danger of communism. I stressed the fact that it was the beginning of the third period in the history of the U.S.A. The first was the War of Independence, the protection of independence on the American continent,


the prevention of intervention of non-Americans in American affairs, and finally unity. It was the period of Washington, Monroe, and Lincoln. The outlook of isolationism, however, characteristic of the 19th century, was incongruous with the realities created by the 20th century. What might have proved to be salvation in the 19th century now would prove to be a great danger to the U.S.A. Thus, Wilson in World War I and Roosevelt in World War II intervened, inspired not by imperialistic ideals nor even for the purpose of obtaining gains, to protect freedom, democracy, and to secure world peace. It was that ideal which led to the creation of the League of Nations in 1919 and the U.N. in 1945. President Truman inaugurated the third period. The United States intervenes during the period of peace precisely because it realizes what its new role is. This role necessitates the shaping of a policy aiming at the protection of these ideals.

I further stressed the need for the Greeks not to overestimate the consequences of the Doctrine and feel safe. They must realize the efforts required. The weight of these efforts must fall on their own shoulders, if American policy were to bring about the


expected results. It may be superfluous to say that Athens celebrated the event to the extent that Moscow was in a rage because of it. Communist reactions became apparent in the U.S.A. where they made use of an argument which could easily and bona fide affect feelings. Namely, that the U.S.A. was taking risks and their intervention could lead to war with Russia.

The twenty years which have elapsed since then have shown that the best way to avoid war is to be determined and strong. The Truman Doctrine led to the Marshall Plan and that to NATO. To these efforts we owe, if not entirely -- for in those critical hours and for a long time ever since the U.S.A. had the monopoly of atomic weapons -- the failure of Communist aspirations for expansion, at least in Europe and Turkey which are covered by the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and NATO.

QUESTION: Would you describe the administrative arrangements on the Greek side to implement U.S. aid to Greece? On the American side?

MARKEZINIS: When the new policy established in the Truman


Doctrine was decided upon, a whole series of measures had to be taken so as to bypass red-tape difficulties typical of American Government machinery. It is said that within only four days, the necessary measures were studied -- measures which would ensure on the one hand immediate aid, which was most urgent for Greece's survival, and on the other hand, a long-term program for economic recovery. L. Henderson then head of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs in the State Department, kept the Greek Embassy in Washington informed and asked that the Greek Government submit a concrete request which would thereafter be backed by the State Department. The form and extent of the aid made it necessary that the Greek Government accept certain important conditions which would constitute a prerequisite to facilitate approval by Congress of the U.S. Government plan. The Greek Government accepted the plan with a few minor alterations and thus President Truman was ready to take his final decision. It is obvious that the reports of the American Ambassador to Greece, Mr. McVeagh, and the information given by Paul A. Porter supported Greece -- although the Porter Mission ignored until the very last moment the rapid changes which were about to come in


Washington and were, therefore, working within a narrower framework. Lastly, Mr. Mark Ethridge, the American representative to the Committee of the United Nations, also supported the fact that the guerrilla warfare was instigated outside Greece.

The Greek Government accepted full American control for the rational disposal of economic aid. The American taxpayer should be convinced of the proper use of his money. In Greece, too, this was advantageous for two reasons: During the first period especially, the competent Americans had arrived in Greece, the majority of which were highly qualified and experienced -- assets necessary at a time when the Greek civil services were disrupted, and in any case in no position to adapt themselves within a short period of time to programmes of a scale far beyond Greek realities. It should be noted too that events clearly proved this weakness. For many years time was wasted in drawing up charts, statistic graphs or publications, which were subsequently sold by the pound.

Greek technicians who put forward the arguments that the guerrilla warfare was the cause of delays were only partly true, because areas not affected by warfare --


as for example Crete -- did not profit by the reconstruction programme, while in other districts where guerrilla warfare was waging, American technicians succeeded in a remarkable manner to restore and reconstruct roads or other vital technical works. The second reason for the necessity of the presence of Americans with rights of decision, was that many a time the Greek Government by projecting objections avoided political party pressure. This naturally occurs everywhere, but especially in the countries where the majority of the people are in dire poverty.

The above of course is not absolute. There were exceptions on the Greek side as well as on the American side. These latter were not due so much to the quality of the persons, but to the difficulty they had in adapting themselves to Greek reality. Sometimes, too, they adhere to theories, which, although correct, were not always practicable. A good example of the above is the failure of the Americans in the field of insurance although what they advocated was to a great extent theoretically correct. At times, also, the Americans insisted on theoretical principles -- as for instance on certain monetary matter s, which beyond certain limits resulted in an unjustified brake in the economy. Unless of


course, it was a policy purposely pursued -- a fact which was at that time consistently supported -- so as to create the impression that American aid could not be absorbed, thus smoothly preparing the way for the time when all aid would cease.

The American Mission's control was exercised mainly on: (a) The newly established services in the then Ministry of National Economy Commerce and Industry, known as the Foreign Trade Administration. These were composed of three to four American members aided by Greek personnel. The first director was Professor Dawson. The FTA had decisive competencies all on subjects concerning foreign trade. Without the FTA approval no import or export, either on behalf of the Greek Government or on behalf of a private account could be realized. If one takes into consideration that at that time and up to the summer of 1953, during my tenure in office, there were severe restrictions and lively interventions of the State in imports and exports, the FTA played an important role and limited the initiative of the Greek administration. (b) Another control body which was instituted in 1947 was the Currency Committee which determined the monetary and credit policy of the


State. It was composed of the ministers of the most important economic ministries, the Governor of the Bank of Greece, one professor as advisor and a British expert, Professor Sir Theodore Gregory. An American expert was also appointed after the application of the Truman Doctrine. In reality, no decision was taken unless the foreign advisors agreed, especially the American expert. This state of affairs lasted at least up to 1953. During my term as Minister of Coordination the situation had in practice, altered. (c) A similar body of control was the Central Loans Committee whose purpose was to grant long and short term loans for the reconstruction and development of the various branches of economy, i.e. agriculture, industry, fisheries, etc. This committee granted mainly industrial loans taken from American aid amounting to approximately 80 million dollars, which constituted the initial capital of the organization which subsequently succeeded this committee, known as the Financing Organization of Economic Development. This organization was later amalgamated with the Organization of Industrial Development, and resulted in the creation of the Hellenic Bank of Industrial Development, as it is known today.


The Central Loans Committee was the object of repeated criticisms and, in my opinion, not always justified.

The American mission was first known as American Mission for Aid to Greece (AMAG) but from April 1948, when the Marshall Plan was implemented and dealt with aid programmes for seventeen European countries including Greece, the AMAG changed its title to Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA); finally it was known as the Mutual Security Administration.

This mission, under its varied titles, besides the above-mentioned work, assumed other activities: it followed closely the work and the programmes of various ministries, cooperated with branches or organizations connected with Greece, and finally, aimed at the more general coordination of the endeavours towards a better use of American aid.

QUESTION: Would you comment on the ability and qualifications of those Americans who participated in the program? What was the status of relations between the U.S. Embassy and personnel carrying out aid operations upon the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan?


MARKEZINIS: Formally, the Ambassador of the U.S. was in charge of the mission, but in substance, responsibility lay with the Chief of Mission. The Embassy, did not as a rule, intervene, but it kept the mission posted on any information it required. Collaboration was usually smooth. As time went by however, and as American aid grew less, the role of the Chief of Mission decreased. It should be noted that, compared with the role of the Ambassador, the Chief's duties, in matters concerning the Mission, had already become secondary before lapsing into complete oblivion.

Political dealings were in the hands of the Ambassador; these were most important on account of the special conditions then prevailing in the Greek Parliament where many parties were represented. (The Communist Party was not represented in Parliament.) There were Royalist parties and Republicans. The party which was considered as representing the chief opposition in Parliament was the Liberal Party, headed by Th. Sophoulis. It should be noted that the first postwar Parliament had succeeded the occupation and which preceded the dictatorship. That is to say, that since 1936 -- a ten year span -- Greece had not had a democratic form of government. Following the


elections of 31st March, 1946, a government of broad coalition had been formed under the Premiership of P. Poulitsas, president of the Conseil d' Etat. But this government was short-lived. Three of the collaborating parties, the party of S. Venizelos, that of George Papandreou and that of P. Kanellopoulos, had resigned as they were against a prompt referendum concerning the return of King George II who was then in London. Another government was then formed under the premiership of C. Tsaldaris, who collaborated only with S. Gonata's party and A. Alexandris. The deterioration of the situation led, in the beginning of 1947, to another crisis and the parties previously mentioned reentered the government which was headed this time by D. Maximos, a non-parliamentarian. The party led by Napoleon Zervas, leader of the anti-Communist military organization (EDES) also joined the Government. Only Th. Sophoulis' Liberal Party and Markezinis' New Party -- composed of young deputies who had taken an active part in the Resistance -- did not join this government of broad collaboration. In any case, this new government facilitated both the Porter mission, the mission of the United Nations Committee, as well as the announcement of the Truman Doctrine. It


was obvious however, for careful observers of the political situation, that further political evolution was necessary. Only the entry into the Government of Th. Sophoulis' Liberal Party -- which was considered the main democratic party in Parliament -- could safeguard, to all outward appearances, the nations' unity. This was necessary to the Americans who, very rightly, were not disposed to be linked with only one party in the application of such a broad policy, for although it was a coalition government, the picture given was that of a right-wing government. Furthermore, not only would we have a united nation but the democratic character would be strongly represented.

So, in the autumn of 1947, following a series of political manipulations, a new government was formed by the Liberals and Populists, under the premiership of Th. Sophoulis. This however, was not sufficient for the Government to acquire the necessary efficiency to face the tremendous difficulties which had increased owing to the fact that guerrilla warfare had reached its maximum intensity.

In 1948, the Government evaded falling from power by one vote: only the opposition party under S. Markezinis had supported it. S. Markezinis did not


wish to join the other opposition parties which aimed at the Governments' fall but could not offer a necessary and strong alternative. What S. Markezinis' party aimed at, is explained in my reply to a later question.*

Concerning the American personalities who worked in the ECA, I shall briefly mention the following: As I have previously mentioned, the average efficiency of the Americans was higher in the beginning and included exceptional experts. It is a fact that the first chief of mission, Governor G. Griswold, had to face the most difficult period in American-Greek cooperation. American prestige was at its zenith but the peculiar situation, which can be described rather as an American super-government, led at times to disputes and reactions. Wherever there were efficient Americans, and above all able to adapt themselves, the work went smoothly. Where, however, this was not so, Griswold did not always succeed in smoothing over disputes or disagreements. In fact, sometimes projecting himself as "Governor" he increased animosity. Griswold did not lack in capabilities, but in my opinion, he was not the right man for that period. He had more of an American outlook and mentality than a European one. His

*Question and answer beginning on bottom of page 50.


successor John Nuveen was a serene man who fully understood the weakness of American red-tape and thus engendered far fewer reactions or animosities. He understood full well economic reality. Sometimes his placid character led to extremes, but this had its advantages, as Jack Blandford, a strong-minded personality, left a reputation of man of action and vast capabilities. Leland Barrows (1953-1954) who worked in Greece when I was Minister of Coordination, showed great understanding during a period of broad economic reforms. He, too, had a calm way of facing issues which balanced the perverse character of Tenenbaum, who had, essentially been asked to leave.

Of the other members of the mission, invaluable help was contributed in the agricultural field by Walter Packard. His zealous and insistent devotion to the reconstruction and recovery of the agricultural economy (introduction of rice cultivation) will not be forgotten by the Greeks. At Anthili, in the district of Phthiotis, a bust has been erected by the grateful inhabitants of that area. R. Drake also excelled in the administration organization. He was also Chief of Mission, during the last period. P. Schuler in the field of vocational


training and Allan Strachan in Labour and Syndicates were also most successful.

I would like to mention especially the Americans who worked in administration of Foreign Commerce. Both the first director, Professor Dawson, as well as his successor Ch. Terrel, offered invaluable services. Ch. Terrel, especially, was an authority regarding his field of business; intelligent, active and his work in general was exceptional.

Other members belonging to the Administration of Commerce who worked most successfully were Fr. Lincoln, R. Price and especially W. Libbey, whose contribution in applying the measures taken for the liberation of trade was outstanding. (He died during his service in Greece.)

In the field of electric power, Gissler's role as adviser was most important. Today's Public Power Corporation, which has grown into a gigantic (for Greece) organization, was founded in 1950-51, mainly because of American insistence. In the beginning it worked in accord with the Greek Government and the American firm Ebasco Services, Inc., which undertook to execute the first electric power programme.

Most worthy was the work accomplished by certain engineers and technicians in general. During the period of AMAG, head of the technical field was the late A.


Dobson, who closely followed and supervised all works of reconstruction. A. Dobson was a man of the utmost integrity, of great experience and calmness of character. During the ECA period McCauley succeeded him and continued his work successfully. In the engineering field of ECA, which had the most difficult task of supervising American contractors working in Greece during and immediately after the guerrilla warfare, the late Colonel Griffiths and his assistant chief, Major P.D. Troxler, have left a reputation of thoroughness, conscientiousness and ability. Two firms of U.S. contractors, Steers-Grove and Atkinson-Drake-Park were engaged on rehabilitation work under the Truman Doctrine. The quality of work of the former on major repairs on the ports of Piraeus, Salonica and Volos and on clearing the Corinth Canal met with universal recognition. The other contracting firm worked equally conscientiously carrying out road repairs on about 1600 kilometres of roads; railway reconstruction, the Bralo tunnel, the Gorgopotamos Bridge; two bridges over the Corinth Canal and major repairs to airports. It should be pointed out that the work successfully undertaken by Steers-Grove met with the official recognition of the Greek Ministry of Public Works which expressed its


full appreciation in writing on the quality and speed of work.

In the monetary field, I shall mention especially Al. Constanzo, who as a member of the Currency Committee, worked with prudence, wisdom, understanding and knowledge of affairs. His work was fruitful and he contributed greatly to the good economy of the country.

This would not be complete if it did not mention the members of the American Embassy who worked with tremendous zeal and ability. They were then among the younger officials; some of them have risen to high ranking posts, others have retired from the diplomatic service. Here are a few names: Dan Brewster, Harold Minor, Robert Miner, Noerbet Anschuetz. Charles Yost and his work over here is specifically mentioned in the answer to a later question.*

QUESTION: Please discuss the effects of the creation of the OEEC upon aid to Greece and Greek recovery.

MARKEZINIS: The creation of the OEEC in no way provided substantial aid to Greece. It only facilitated the use of one portion of American aid for imports to Greece on the part of European countries in which there were credit

*See p. 65


balances in favor of America. That is to say, drawing rights in European currencies were a means through which American aid was granted. The other ways were the opening of credits in dollars and the sending of merchandise in kind (agricultural surpluses, etc.). The counterbalance of imports made by the state and realized by American aid funds was deposited in a special account of drachmae (counterparts) and was made available to achieve the goals of American aid following the decision of the American mission.

QUESTION: How serious was the refugee problem as a drain upon Greek resources?

MARKEZINIS: The refugee problem resultant from the civil war was a most serious one. Duringi the more intense period of civil strife -- the winter of 1948-49 -- it is estimated that approximately two and one-half million Greeks were dependent in some manner upon the Government, and of these, approximately 675,000 were sustained by American aid. For the resettlement of those refugees approximately $130,000,000 were expended.

QUESTION: Would you describe your meeting with W. Averell Harriman?


MARKEZINIS: I first met Averell Harriman in the evening of January 1st, 1949, through King Paul's initiative. Our talk lasted nearly three hours. The meeting was top secret and was held at the house of Horace Smith, who at the time was a member of the Embassy and had previously served under Harriman. My wife, in her capacity as my private secretary, was also present.

It was a time when the situation was very grim. The rebels dominated large areas of the countryside. They had reached the outskirts of Salonica and a small number was on and around Mount Parnes near Athens. The National Armed Forces occupied the island of Crete together with other islands and the large cities and small towns, most of which were used as advance positions. Communications were carried out by air or sea, and by land only when under military escort and that at great risk owing to the large areas covered with minefields. The Greek Government survived by one vote, as already stated above.* The American officials were seriously anxious as regards the successful outcome of the struggle, and gave warning that if substantial results were not obtained until the autumn, the American Government would face great difficulties so as to succeed in continuing aid, especially on the necessary high level. Therefore,

*See p. 44


serious decisions had to be taken.

A courteous and urbane gentleman, Averell Harriman impressed me with his simplicity and assurance, and he revealed a deep knowledge of the problems. At the time, there was a belief that Soviet Russia would risk a war against the West. I was among those who excluded this. I remember asking Harriman his opinion on the subject, and he replied that he fully agreed with me, and, among other arguments, remarked that he had ascertained -- while in Moscow as Ambassador of the U.S. -- that the Russians had not yet started repairing the heavily damaged network of roads leading to the West. It should be noted, too, that General G. Marshall expressed the same opinion to Queen Frederika when they met in London. I heard this from the Queen herself. The Queen asked this question because Government officials also feared such a war could break out. Whereas this eventually was excluded, the dangers from upheavals and political undermining within various countries had increased. Greece at the time was one of the most important targets. The Russians had correctly marked Greece as the key position for the control of the Eastern Mediterranean. Berlin was the other target at that time. That is why I consider


that the final success of American policy in these two areas (Greece and the air bridge of Berlin) was one of the greatest war achievements of the U.S. regardless of the fact that neither of these achievements received the worldwide publicity they merited.

Due attention was given by Averell Harriman to the programme for copying with the situation, which had previously been discussed in detail between Their Majesties, the Commander-in-Chief General Papagos and myself. Harriman suggested and requested to have -- for his information -- a copy of the programme, tactfully avoiding to trespass the competencies of either the U.S. or the Head of the Mission to Greece. I stress this fact because I was later informed by the King that Professor Grady, the U.S. Ambassador -- who was not in Greece at the time -- had misinterpreted much and was somewhat offended. Grady was a man of great integrity, highly educated and had considerably helped this country in the past. His exceptional character was proven later when he himself did not hesitate to recognize and express to me, personally, his satisfaction for the rapid improvement. The programme was set up, translated into English and submitted. A brief account of its general lines reads as follows: (The detailed account


with all relevant texts are included in my book which is being published, The Political History of Modern Greece.)

The plan, divided into two parts, provided for: (a) the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief invested with full powers, and (b) the formation of a Government which would inspire the nation with confidence and reorganize the State at the earliest possible, so as to cope with the immensity of needs. Difficulties, however, arose for the following reasons: the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief was approved of by Prime Minister Sophoulis, but Ambassador Grady objected to this. The Commander-in-Chief being invested with full powers did not conform with certain clauses of the agreement on political and military assistance. Finally a compromise solution was found. As regards the Government, the party leaders -- whose votes caused the downfall of the Sophoulis Cabinet -- had agreed to propose a government under Alexander Diomedes. In this event, G. Papandreous wished to head the War Ministry, and therefore he was not prepared to approve the appointment of a Commander-in-Chief with full powers. As a first step, the King received the party leaders and requested them to bear in mind the gravity of the situation and to draw up a plan of action.


The audience was brief; standing, His Majesty gave a lecture of a short memo to those present -- also standing up. The situation seemed to have reached a deadlock. The King's intention was to avoid having recourse to the last resort, that is to say, to appear before Parliament, give lecture of a Proclamation and request to be given the responsibility of any future initiative he might deem necessary. I have the original text in my files and a full account is given in my book. A last effort was then made. On the King's command, I contacted the late Demetrios Lambrakis, owner of the daily newspaper Vima who, jointly with the late George Vlachos of the Kathimerini and the late Achilles Kyros of the Estia, had agreed to grant their assistance. Demetrios Lambrakis undertook to persuade Alexander Diomedes to accept the Vice Presidency in a reshufflement of the Sophoulis Cabinet. At the house of Mr. Metaxas, at that time the Kings' political advisor, the King, the Commander-in-Chief Papagos, and myself, met to discuss the situation. From there I telephoned the late Demetrios Lambrakis and was informed by him that Alexander Diomedes had been persuaded to accept the Vice Presidency. From now on matters were facilitated for


a parliamentary government. The new Cabinet was formed with Th. Sophoulis as President and A. Diomedes as Vice President with the participation of the Populist Party under C. Tsaldaris, the Liberal Party under S. Venizelos, the New Party under Sp. Markezinis and the United Party under P. Canellopoulos. (The parties have been classified according to their strength.)

G. Papandreou refused to participate in the Government because he insisted on retaining the War Ministry. The parties of S. Gonatas and Napoleon Zervas were not included in the Government with a view to give a more progressive character to the new Cabinet. The new Government having a big majority in Parliament differed from the previous one not only because it included most parties, but also in its structural nature. Firstly, a small council of Ministers was set up modeled after Lloyd George's War Cabinet of 1917. It was composed of the Prime Minister, the Vice President and the leaders of the parties, whose votes were equal, irrespective of the strength of their party. (i.e. 160 Tsaldaris' Populists, 40 Liberals under Th. Sophoulis, 30 Liberal Democrats under S. Venizelos, 20 under Markezinis, and 7 under Cannellopoulos.) Had it not been for this


decision, it is clear that the largest party having the largest number of ministers would always have had the last word. Whereas in the particular circumstances collective decision and responsibility were necessary. The new Government's first act was to appoint A. Papagos as Commander-in-Chief and invest him with full powers. As regards the relations with the Americans, the aforementioned compromise was adopted. However, this soon became a "dead letter" due to the improvement of the situation.

It should be noted that the state of affairs progressed rapidly. The Government inspired confidence. The new Commander-in-Chief altered military tactics; instead of static defense in the cities and towns, he drew up a plan of attack, clearing up the country from the Peloponnesus to the northern frontiers. At the same time strict discipline was applied everywhere. "Mutatis mutandis" similaries existed with the Clemenceau Government and Foch's military leadership during World War I. The new Government was formed on January 19, 1949. By September of the same year the armed rebellion had been definitely quelled. The Communists had been defeated. The successful issue was undoubtedly facilitated


by the breach between Tito and Stalin.

QUESTION: Might you comment on American efforts to secure financial and administrative reforms?

MARKEZINIS: From the very beginning the American mission aimed at improving the Government administrative machinery, and fiscal conditions. Characteristically, since the days of the Porter mission, the Embassy recommended a decrease in the number of ministries from 31 to 15. Success, however, was partial. During the guerrilla war (1946-1949) the restoration of economy and the machinery of the State was impossible. Occasionally, however, good results became apparent. In the field of fiscal and currency cuts it helped prevent further deterioration. After the end of the guerrilla war, efforts were intensified and the first steps of a real fiscal restoration appeared in 1951. The difficulties, however, were great and proportional to the adaptation of a wartime economy to a peacetime one. In Greece especially this period coincides with the reduction of American aid either from the Truman Doctrine or the Marshall Plan. To this day the Greek economy has been based on the foundations laid during a period which coincides with the coming to power of the Greek Rally Party in November of 1952,


mention of which here has been made below.*

QUESTION: Would you describe your responsibilities during your tenure as Minister without Portfolio?

MARKEZINIS: As Minister without Portfolio and member of the Inner Cabinet in Th. Sophoulis' Government in 1949, I was more specifically occupied with the following: In reality I acted as liaison between the Inner Cabinet and Field Marshal Papagos. In addition I had undertaken to study the organization of Government work which was to take its final form in 1952 in A. Papagos government where I held the number two position. I was also responsible for the coordination of the measures taken in the exceptional situations created by the guerrilla warfare which demanded immediate confrontation with regard both to the taking of decisions and to their realization. Together with the American Ambassador, I worked on the problem of the rehabilitation of the refugees.

In that government two political members of my party were ministers in the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Industry, as well as the Ministry of Labour. The first Ministry was under Mr. Th. Kapsalis who deputized for me in the Ministry of Coordination and later succeeded

*See pp. 60, 61, and 62.


me in Papagos' government. I closely followed the work of these two ministries which were exceptionally important at the time. I also acted as liaison between the Cabinet, Field Marshal Papagos and the three most important Athenian newspapers which supported that Government and subsequently the Greek Rally Party. Field Marshal Papagos' Director of Propaganda and Press, Mr. P. Siphnaios, was also a member of my party. He later became Minister in the Papagos' government.

QUESTION: Might you discuss the U.S. cuts and postponement of aid during the crisis of 1950?

MARREZINIS: The case mentioned, which was very controversial especially with regard to the attitude of Ambassador Grady, was apparently due in part to political motives. But, in my opinion, intervention was justifiable. Election: had been held -- the first after the guerrilla war -- and they had caused political "readjustments." There appeared in Parliament democratic elements among whom was perceived as their leading representative, General Plastiras. Certain circles of the Palace, with assistance from different politicians, wanted to hinder any such political developments that would bring to power these


elements. This would have been a mistake which even the Commander-in-Chief of the Army urged them to avoid. At any rate, the political crisis during the entire year of 1950 went through different phases because, in the first place, it became evident that the old political "world" (or parties) were not equal to (the demands of) the new situation. This was one of the reasons which led me to prepare systematically the creation of the Greek Rally Party. Secondly, there was the element of the eventual curtailment of American aid. The majority of the Greeks, and of the Greek politicians also, did not want to "realize' this reality. It is a misfortune for Greece that during the first years of Truman and Marshall aid, when American aid was at its highest point, Greece, because of the guerrilla war, was unable to take advantage. In addition, the guerrilla war multiplied immensely the destructions caused by the occupation. Instead of concentrating rapidly on reconstruction, the country was forced to concentrate primarily on restoration from destruction. Moreover, the impotence of the machinery of the States as a whole, for which, at times American and Greek officials were responsible, did not permit the absorption of certain


items of aid out of those which had been placed at the disposal of Greece.

When it reached a greater point of absorption, [i..e., when Greece became capable of making use of more funds], the funds available were limited and reduced annually. American officials did not promote absorption; that is, they did not authorize transfer of unused funds to the following years, so the curtailment would not be abrupt and the Greeks would not face it unexpectedly. It was a Government of the Greek Rally Party which acknowledged the reality thus created, adapted itself, and faced it successfully.

QUESTION: Would you describe your duties as Minister of Coordination and Economic Planning?

MARKEZINIS: The Ministry of Coordination was first set up in Greece after the war. It has operated for 25 years, though only during my eighteen month term of office as Minister of Coordination (November 1952 to April 1954) was its authority and branches of activities so widespread. That is why Mr. Hamilton Fish Armstrong, at the time head of the Council of Foreign Relations, in his introductory address before my speech (May 1953) said that I was not number two in the Papagos Cabinet, but number one and a half.


In a personal letter from Prime Minister Marshal Papagos, I was entrusted the responsibility to apply the new economic policy. The Prime Minister placed under my direct supervision all the economic ministries, the banks, and all public utility organizations; that is to say, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Public Welfare and the Ministry of Merchant Marine. The banks included the Bank of Greece, the Public Power Corporation (PPC), the Telecommunications (OTE), the Social Insurances (IKA) and the Greek State Railways.

The Inner Cabinet conferred daily, and was presided by the Prime Minister. It included, besides the Minister of Coordination, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Stefanopoulos -- who was later to become Prime Minister -- the Minister for National Defense, former Premier P. Canellopoulos, as well as the Minister without Portfolio and former Premier Emm. Tsouderos. Mr. P. Sifnaios, Minister of the Presidency, acted as the Secretary of the Small Council.

During my term of office, the budget was balanced


for the first time and the devaluation of the drachma was decided upon in great secrecy and came into effect on April 9, 1953. The devaluation of the drachma had previously been discussed. Many devaluations had preceded the devaluation of 1953. The first failed immediately, due to the events of December 1944; the following devaluations consisted simply in legalizing what in reality was a fact. But the devaluation of April 9, 1953 was a positive financial measure; the budget had been balanced and a series of measures which followed contributed to its success, which has continued up to now. On taking office I knew that a devaluation of the drachma had been contemplated. One of the plans had been drawn up by Professor Varvaressos. It provided for a new price of the dollar from 15 to 23 drachmas. It was based on a complex mechanism; it did not anticipate the industrialization of the country and dealt mainly with the reorganization of the administration, a housing program and the creation of small agricultural industries. This plan had influence to such an extent that the limited program of electrification which had been drawn up on a small scale and was already being carried out, although labeled "national,"


was separated in two sections: that of Northern and Southern Greece. Moreover, the plan to establish an oil refinery and blast furnaces had been abandoned. As regards the currency question, there was also another plan drawn up by Mr. [Edward A.] Tenenbaum, Financial Adviser of the American mission, who, having worked on the same subject in Western Germany, was most insistent and supported an imitation of the German plan, that is to say instead of a devaluation, a new currency. The policy I followed was quite different. My staff was composed of a few economists. On the Greek side, there was the Minister of Commerce, Th. Kapsalis, who later was to become Deputy Minister of Coordination, and Mr. G. Manzavinos, at that time Governor of the Bank of Greece. From the American side, Charles Yost, at that time number two of the American Embassy, and now the U.S. Representative at the U.N., and Al. Constanzo, at that time American representative at the Currency Committee and actually member of the central administration of the First National City Bank. Every facility was afforded us by the U.S.A. Ambassador Jack Peurifoy and the Chief of Mission, Leland Barrows. Tenenbaum's plan was rejected and finally his departure was requested.


The plan adopted and carried out, which had previously been approved of by the International Monetary Fund, was based on the following: Deep devaluation; new price of the dollar: 30 drachmas. A program for total freedom of trade, which despite the many fears expressed was most successful and helped to maintain prices which increased within one year to the foreseen level of 17 percent, whereas the devaluation amounted to 50 percent, thus leaving a margin more than sufficient to achieve success to the point of not having to apply, as we had every right to, for the assistance of the International Monetary Fund.

At the same time, the reorganization of the country's banking system was programmed and the first five-year program was planned and provided for the country's industrialization notwithstanding Professor Varvaressos' objections. The first projects to be carried out were the hydroelectric works at Megdova and the increase of energy of the Athens electricity plant, although certain administrative officials strongly objected to this, saying that this would undermine the electrification of the country. On the contrary, had we not proceeded to this increase, Athens would have had


to face a shortage of electrical power. Soon after, the connection of the Northern and Southern network was decided. Thus, the program of electrification became really national. Immediately after, and despite strong objections, especially from the various oil companies, the creation of the first oil refinery was decided. Moreover, the exploitation of Ptolemais was set up, on a more rational basis, and private initiative was moving towards the steel industry. The law enacted to attract foreign capital constituted the starting point for the gradual return under the Greek flag of the major part of the Greek merchant marine whose ships flew foreign flags. The first steps were taken for the tourist development of the country. The devaluation of the drachma helped the tourist movement but in order to maintain and increase tourism foreign capital was necessary. The new American administration seemed unwilling to continue at the necessary scale the financial assistance required for the development of the country. On our side, too, there were no delusions. When, in May, 1953, I was in the United States, I maintained -- knowing that I was voicing the views of the American officials in Athens -- that what we wanted was trade


and not aid, that is the granting of financial means, under advantageous terms for a long-term recovery plan. I used the same arguments that President Truman had put forth in Congress in order to obtain the means for the application of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan; that is that a percentage of the war expenses should be used in order to avoid that all war efforts and the victory be wasted. The same logic prevailed in my memorandum which I handed to Mr. Foster Dulles, at that time Secretary of State. In it I supported that a percentage, not exceeding five percent of the assistance already granted, would suffice to reap the fruits of victory and in a sense, would constitute an insurance premium. Despite the fact that I was kindly received by President Eisenhower, who had further reasons to be satisfied with the new Greek Government because A. Papagos, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, had sent a Greek force to Korea and was now granting facilities to the American administration in Greece -- and I was the bearer of the plan -- and despite the setting of the first basis for the triple agreement between Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia, I failed to convince the Secretary of State. But Stassen who was responsible for the program,


and Messrs. Francis and Morgan, seemed more cooperative. Nevertheless, it was clear that what Greece would receive from America would scarcely suffice for the implementation of the program for industrial development which constituted the basis of the new Greek economic policy.

Although perhaps not strictly relevant, it seems to me useful to stress here that after this vain attempt, I had to set up a new plan, original as regards public relations: Greece -- not having yet settled the old public debt -- could not expect the granting of loans. Therefore, we sought for medium or long-term credits for the execution of essential works which would be carried out with products from the countries granting credits. The plan was successful in its first stage. France was the first to contribute 25 million dollars. Subsequent increases followed so that at present, and including private initiative, France is amongst the countries with the highest investments in Greece. Western Germany offered 50 million dollars and Italy 20 million dollars. Soviet Russia was also willing, but none of my successors wished to exploit this possibility. The narrow minded views of certain American officials resulted in the loss of opportunities for American


companies to extend under the most favorable conditions their interest in Greece -- an important center of the Eastern Mediterranean.

At that time, a national loan was issued in Greece, It was the first since the loan of 1920, and proved a great success. Not only did it pay off on time, but it also increased the value of its bonds. Incidentally, it should be noted that experts of the International Bank strongly objected to the type of loan which was combined with a lottery. However, a few years later, the British imitated the Greeks -- this during Macmillan's government.

I shall return again to Averell Harriman. All the more so because what I have to say is related to the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. In May 1953 while I was in the United States in my capacity as Minister of Coordination, besides the official talks I was invited by the Council on Foreign Relations to speak on the significance of the Truman Doctrine and, especially, on a Greek-Turkish-Yugoslavian agreement. During my lecture I stressed the fact that, were it not for the timely announcement of the Truman Doctrine, Greece would have succumbed to Communist infiltration and would have become a Russian satellite. I added that this, besides


other results, would also have made it impossible for Turkey to join NATO, even if she managed to retain her independence -- which would be most improbable -- since Greece is, and was, the bridge linking the southwestern line of defense of NATO with the Eastern. At this point, I was interrupted by Averell Harriman who requested to speak. (It was rather unusual not to let me finish my speech for a discussion was to follow.) Averell Harriman went even further than I did, for he said that I had underestimated the consequences of the eventual loss of Greece by limiting them to Turkey only. He agreed that the Truman Doctrine saved the situation, and added: "Not only Turkey, but even Italy could not possibly remain in NATO, undefended as she would have been in the Eastern Mediterranean."

In December of the same year, as the guest of the Italian Government, I had a long audience with the late Eynaudi, President of the Italian Republic. I remember clearly that he too stressed the importance that Greek affairs had in shaping Italian diplomacy. Italy, he told me, is exclusively a Mediterranean country; she has not the advantages of France or Spain who have outlets on the Atlantic. What I had first heard from Averell


Harriman has often been repeated to me by eminent Italian personalities.

The day after my speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Averell Harriman visited me at the Sherry Netherland Hotel where I was staying in New York. I well remember the long talk we had. I did not conceal my disappointment in the interviews I had had with Foster Dulles. The other officials I had met showed understanding irrespective of results. I expressed my fears that Greece's interests would be greatly damaged, and informed him that I had sent a telegram to the Greek Prime Minister. He was as usual most cooperative; he added that not only Greece but the whole world, and first of all the United States, would pay a high price for the Secretary of State's way of thinking concerning world problems. In my opinion, Foster Dulles was a loyal man; his weakness lay in concentrating on one problem only. He did not give the impression that he could cope with many problems at a time nor could he adapt himself to sudden changes, which are a rule and not an exception in contemporary political reality. As a lawyer, I would say that he was a man who excelled in one case but not in many at a time. However, at the present


time, the head of the State Department is a man who has to face many and varied problems and their priority is only slightly graded.

In the summer of 1954 I had the privilege and pleasure to have my first long talk with Adlai Stevenson who was passing through Greece. He dined with me at my house and we talked till way after midnight. I was captivated by him and his classic Greek turn of mind and speech. If I remember correctly he fully agreed on all the subjects I had previously discussed with Averell Harriman.

QUESTION: Might you comment upon the issue of monetary controls?

MARKEZINIS: Currency and credit controls were strict and until the currency reform (9 April, 1953) were indispensable. It is also true that occasionally a very strict attitude prevailed. For example, under the influence of the quantitative theory of monetary circulation, the "ceiling" of the money (or banknotes) allowed to circulate was determined in a way which (not seldom) was arbitrary, thus creating a "taboo" of some sort which no one dared to touch. After the economy


was stabilized, the establishment of a different (or new) outlook and the creation of (conditions of) confidence in the currency, those views automatically lost their force and private saving began. This in turn prompted, because it was a prerequisite for it, a gradual relaxation of credit restrictions.

QUESTION: How important for Greek recovery was aid from international financial agencies (the International Monetary Fund, the IBRD, and the Export-Import Bank?

MARKEZINIS: Assistance granted by the international organizations mentioned was negligible.

Greece, an "establishing" member of the International Monetary Fund, received moral and technical support in regard to the readjustment period, but no material support. Much later -- in 1965-1966 -- during that critical period, I think it considered providing support, but even then materialization of aid did not become necessary.

Although the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development could have financed different projects, it did not do so, the pretext being that Greece had not settled its prewar debt. Even when Greece expressed its willingness to settle its accounts and did it


partially, again the Bank avoided helping Greece. Yet even after the definite settlement of old debts, the Bank, just recently, provided in two sections the ETEBA with small amounts for private purposes; just as loans were also granted to private enterprises.

With regard to the Export-Import Bank, it also granted, long after the expiration of Truman and Marshall aid, some small loans to private enterprises.

QUESTION: Was there serious concern in Greece that the ERP might force the adoption of a planned economy?

MARKEZINIS: Such a serious concern did not exist. Besides, Greece, which had followed, as a rule, especially since 1953, a liberal economic policy, combined that policy with programming and, to some extent, with economic planning. This applied to the entire program of infrastructure public works, public investments, and, until recently, programming of private investments. The combination of a liberal and of a planning economy was put into effect first in 1953 during my official visit to Great Britain in June of that year with R. Butler (acting Prime Minister) and the late leader of the opposition in England, head of the Labor Party, Hugh Gaitskell. A


posteriori, things revealed that this policy produced satisfactory results.

QUESTION: Was the issue of East-West trade an important factor in U.S. aid programs?

MARKEZINIS: During the years when American aid was great, East-West trade was almost non-existent for Greece.

To be more specific, the first trade agreements with the Soviet Union were concluded in the time of my ministership in 1953, and since that time, they had been expanded gradually. For Greece these agreements have been profitable because they concentrated primarily upon the sale of agricultural projects (tobacco, currants, oranges, lemons, etc.). During my visit to Moscow, which resulted from an invitation from Anastas Mikoyan, the discussions I had with Mikoyan and Krushchev led me to believe earnestly that they were prepared to see our economic relations expanding and to participate in the industrial investment program in exchange for Greek agricultural products (1959). The governing officials in Greece at that time either were not willing to take advantage of such offers, or did so with much reluctance.

The American Embassy, as far as I know, did not


raise any objection. The Americans only suggested that the sale of materials of "strategic" value should be avoided, and such materials, to be sure, have been excluded from all agreements entered into with Eastern countries.

QUESTION: How important was the European Payments Union to Greek recovery?

MARKEZINIS: The European Payments Union did not exercise any influence of consequence upon Greek reconstruction. Through the Union, Greece, along with the other participating European countries, had obtained short-term credits to meet current foreign exchange obligations, which have been settled entirely.

QUESTION: How did the Korean War affect U.S. aid programs in Greece?

MARKEZINIS: Apart from the significant fact that the Korean war reduced, as expected, the amounts of aid granted to the European countries, Greece was not particularly affected because, at that time, Greece still had its own problems related with the amounts of aid which had not been absorbed.


It should be noted, on the contrary, that the Korean war enhanced the more rapid development of the Greek merchant marine.

QUESTION: Would you discuss the transition from the Truman to the Eisenhower administration as it affected U.S. aid to Greece?

MARKEZINIS: There did not appear immediately in Greece a perceptible impact with regard to American aid because of the change from the Truman to the Eisenhower administration. In reality, however, things became different. The change in attitude had far-reaching consequences for Greek development. This had already become evident in 1953 when (as I have already described in response to another question earlier) the failure to understand certain views of the Greek Government -- precisely because a new outlook began to prevail in the U.S.A. -- led to a search for European credits and occasioned the need, to a large extent, for turning to the European market in search of support for the development of the Greek economy. No one knows what would have happened had President Truman continued in office, because it is certain that the period of "fat cows"


had ended anyhow. Personally, I am still of the opinion that the administration of the Truman Doctrine comprehended, or at least was always able to comprehend, problems of this sort with a broader mind.

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List of Subjects Discussed

    Acheson, Dean, 31
    Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 62

    Barrows, Leland, 46
    Blandford, Jack, 4-5, 46

    Central Loans Committee, 40-41
    Colonialism, 4-5
    Communism, 3-4
    Constanzo, Al., 49

    Dawson, Professor, 47
    Diomedes, Alexander, 55
    Dobson, A., 48
    Drake, R., 46
    Dulles, John Foster, and Greece, 68, 72

    Ethridge, Mark, 37

    George II, King, 27
    Germany, postwar economy of, 18
    Gissler, 47
    Grady, Henry F., 53, 54

      civil war in, 10, 26, 28-29, 57-58
      Currency Committee, 39-40
      and East West trade, 76-77
      economic ministries of, 63
      and Eisenhower administration, 78-79
      and European Payments Union, 77
      fiscal reform in, 58, 64-66, 73-74
      foreign investment in, 69-70
      Foreign Trade Administration, 39
      governments of, 42-45
      government, reform of, 53-57
      and International Committee of the United Nations, 30
      and Korean War, 77-78
      New Party, 33
      and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 16, 35, 71
      political crisis of 1950, 60-61
      and reparations, 22-23
      Rally party, 58, 60, 61, 62
      U.S. aid to, 7-9, 14-16, 24-26, 37-42
      in World War II, 10-11, 26, 32
    Griffiths, Colonel, 48
    Griswold, Dwight, 45

    Harriman, W. Averell, 31-32, 51-53, 70-72
    Henderson, Loy, 36

    International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. See World Bank.
    Italy, and Greece, 71

    Lambrakis, Dimitrios, 55
    Lend lease, 16, 17
    Libby, W., 47
    Lincoln, Francis, 47

    Markezinis, Spyros:

    Marshall plan, 8, 19, 20-21
    Marshall, George C., 6

    Nuveen, John, 46

    Packard, Walter, 46
    Papagos, Alexander, 57
    Papandreou, George, 33
    Porter, Paul A., and mission to Greece, 25, 36

    Schuler, P., 46
    Sophoulis, lhemistocles, 42, 44
    Soviet Union:

      and risk of war, 52
      and Turkey, 30
    Stalin, Joseph, 2-4, 6
    Stassen, Harold, 68-69
    Steers Grove corporation, 48-49
    Stevenson, Adlai, and Markezinis, Spyros, 73
    Strachan, Allan, 47

    Tenenbaum, Edward A., 46, 65
    Troxler, Major P. D., 48
    Truman Doctrine, 7-9, 14, 25-26, 33-37

    United Kingdom, and Greece, 23-24

    World Bank, and Greece, 74-75

    Yost, Charles, 49

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