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Greece (British Policy)

Volume 414: debated on Wednesday 17 October 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a widespread belief still persists in Greece that it is the desire of His Majesty's Government that the King of Greece should return; that they will use their influence to secure this result when the time comes for the Greek people to vote on the constitutional issue, and that British support would be withdrawn from a republican Greece; and whether he will make a statement of the attitude of His Majesty's Government.

Yes, Sir, I have heard it suggested that some Greeks still believe that His Majesty's Government wish to intervene in favour of the restoration of the Monarchy. I can assure my hon. Friend that if in fact this belief still exists, it is without foundation. His Majesty's Government consider that the Greek people themselves must decide the future constitution of their country, and we strongly resent insinuations which are apparently being made by interested persons in Athens that we wish in any way to influence that decision. We shall, of course, accept the vote, whatever the result may be. There is no excuse whatever for the suggestion that, if the Greeks decide to establish a Republic, our support for Greece will be in any way diminished. That is completely untrue. It has, moreover, been made clear in the statement issued on 19th September by His Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the Governments of France and the United States, that in the opinion of the three Governments the constitutional issue should not be raised at the present time. The date for the plebiscite should only be determined after the elections when conditions of normal tranquillity have been restored.

In view of the importance of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, can he give an assurance that it will receive the widest publicity in Greece so as to counter the present propaganda?

Is the Minister prepared to take the step of withdrawing General Scobie and the Ambassador, in view of the fact that they have been very closely associated with the Royalists?

I cannot accept the insinuation contained in the hon. Gentleman's remarks.