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Greece

Volume 414: debated on Monday 15 October 1945

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Army Promotions

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Dionysious Papodongonas, colonel of the Tripolis Security Battalion throughout the German occupation and the author of a congratulatory telegram to Hitler, dated 28th July, 1944, on the occasion of Hitler's escape from the attempt on his life, was recently posthumously promoted to the rank of major-general in the Greek Army; and whether he will direct the British Military Mission in Greece to inform the Greek authorities that the arming, equipping and training of the three Greek divisions by the Military Mission cannot continue if notorious traitors are promoted and reappointed to high commands.

As soon as this report vas brought to my right hon. Friend's attention, he asked His Majesty's Embassy in Athens to ascertain the facts. The matter was also taken up in the Greek Press. Admiral Voulgaris immediately cancelled the order for promotion, down-graded a number of Security Battalion officers who had been promoted by the Puppet Government during the occupation, and instituted an inquiry to ascertain who had included the name of Colonel Papadongonas in the list for promotion.

Is not my hon. Friend aware that this promotion was only cancelled as a result of nation-wide indignation expressed in Greece, and that, in fact, coupled with the promotion of Colonel Papadongonas was that of Colonel Dertilis, the leader of the Security Battalion? Does he not think it symptomatic of the present balance of forces in Greece at the moment that such promotions should be made?

No, Sir. While I have already made it plain that Colonel Papadongonas was immediately demoted, my information does not lead me to any other conclusion than that his name was just one of a list submitted. I have already said that Admiral Voulgaris has attempted to find out how his name came to be included in the list.

Is it not possible that the wrong "Papa" has, in fact, been mentioned?

Detentions (Kalamata)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that out of the 22 members of the Resistance, who constituted the Liberation Committee and administered the town of Kalamata after its evacuation by the Germans and the Quisling administration, eight, including George Dallas and Brigadier Costopoulos, have been in gaol, without trial, since 1st March; that the charges against them are charges of shooting Greek members of the Security Battalions captured during the German occupation; and whether, in order to facilitate the holding of the elections, he will make representations for their release.

My right hon. Friend has already been in negotiation on this case, and has now telegraphed for a full report, but meanwhile I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the British authorities in Greece have made frequent representations to secure the release of George Dallas. His case and that of his colleagues have been taken up with the last Government and representations will be continued with the new Greek Government as soon as it is formed.

Ireland (Travel Facilities)

24.

asked the Minister of War Transport whether he has any statement to make as to restoring facilities for travel to Northern Ireland to their previous standard.

25.

asked the Minister of War Transport when he will be in a position to announce a better travel service to Northern Ireland and Eire.

I hope that before Christmas two of the regular vessels, which are at present being reconditioned after release from war service, will be back on the Heysham-Belfast service. This will make a further vessel available for the Holyhead-Kings-town route and will enable sailings on the Liverpool-Belfast service to be increased to six a week in each direction. I also hope that before Christmas the Liverpool-Dublin service will be re-opened with three sailings a week in each direction and that an improved service will be provided between Glasgow and Belfast.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information as to when the regular Liverpool-Belfast boats, of which there are two survivors, will again be available?

Is the right hon. Gentleman taking into account the improvement of the service between this country and Rosslare?

I am aware that that service must be restarted, but I cannot give any information at the present moment.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the possibility of conferring with the Minister of Civil Aviation with a view to a further air service between the two countries?