124 Report by Atyeo

, [NEW YORK, 10 December 1949[1]]


CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ON THE CONCILIATION COMMITTEE[2] The Conciliation Committee, composed of General Romulo, the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Pearson, the Chairman of the First Committee, Mr. Sarper, Vice President of the First Committee, and Mr. Lie, the Secretary-General, had every opportunity of resolving at least some of the differences between Greece and her northern neighbours.

When the Australian resolution was passed, Committee One had high hopes of success. However, from the outset, the Greek delegation sabotaged its attempts. We know that any formula or proposal put up by the Conciliation Committee was first submitted by Romulo to the Greek delegation for their approval. Consequently these proposals became one-sided and had no chance of acceptance by Albania and Bulgaria. The Greeks wanted one thing and that was that the talks would break down with the northern neighbours being once again put in the position of having to oppose these proposals and Greece being able to accept.

After the Conciliation Committee reported to Committee One on 19 November, they did not sit again until 1st December in spite of very real urgings by Australia, Mexico, Israel, Lebanon and other delegations, including public statements by some of these delegations. Mr. Pearson and the Secretary-General did their best to convene the Committee but Romulo was either absent, lecturing, or he obeyed the Greeks. It must be remembered that Romulo is very friendly with the Greeks; he has received decorations from them and has a Greek secretary who repeated to the Greek delegation everything that went on in the Conciliation Committee. Kyrou, the delegate to the Permanent Greek Delegation to the United Nations, is a firm friend of Romulo and it was he who put pressure on Romulo. It was also Kyrou who finally persuaded the Americans that further conciliation talks of a political nature would only embarrass the Greeks. After much prompting by the Australian delegation, the Conciliation Committee did reconvene on 1 December and decided to limit their talks to the repatriation of refugees and guerillas. It was on the latter subject that they asked Australia to appear before them and elaborate the plan for repatriation[3] that the Australians had spoken of in the Assembly.

On 2 December the Committee then saw Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, and asked these countries if there was any opposition to the repatriation of children and guerillas. The Albanians and Bulgarians said they would have to ask their governments which, at this late date, meant that no answer would be forthcoming. Albania also said that there were no Greek children in Albania. Yugoslavia, who were in a special position, made no answer whatsoever but told us confidentially that they saw no reason why the Greek children and guerillas should not be returned almost immediately. The Yugoslavs did not want to be the first to break the ranks publicly. Also they are still critical of the Greek Government, and particularly of its treatment of Slav and Macedonian minorities. They further told us that they would prefer to use a staging area under the aegis of the United Nations rather than return the guerillas back to Greece direct. On the other hand, the Soviet bloc were completely unco-operative with the committee and also put up proposals which they must have known in advance were unrealistic and unacceptable.

THE FUTURE When it appeared that the conciliation talks would break down, the Australian delegate to UNSCOB privately ascertained the views of Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia as to the future work of UNSCOB. These three countries said they could not cooperate with this illegal body as they had stated previously many times. They were then asked if they might not cooperate with a small committee of UNSCOB which would not communicate to UNSCOB directly but to the Secretary-General and whose work would be limited to the repatriation of guerillas, refugees, and to some extent, Greek children. Yugoslavia said it saw no reason why it should not be able to work with it. Albania and Bulgaria said that as long as this committee did not sit in Greece, they perhaps could answer questions through the Secretary-General. When Albania and Bulgaria were asked if they would return guerillas, the Australian delegate was told in strict confidence that the guerillas were the only bargaining weapon that Albania and Bulgaria had left, and that until the Greek Government was changed in character and they were reasonably sure that no mass executions would take place, they did not feel they could return anybody.

The Australian representative then pointed out that surely their bargaining weapon would be limited to young, fighting men and certainly not to the old and the halt and the blind and surely these unproductive non-fighters represented a considerable economic charge on their countries. They agreed with this, and then thought that with sufficient guarantees they might be able to let these people go if they so wished.

[matter omitted]

Apparently there have been no incidents whatsoever in Greece since the end of the Grammos operations, and, as far as we can find out, there have been no executions in Greece since Mr. Pipinelis made the announcement in Committee One. It is not envisaged that there will be any observation to do in Greece. During the last few months the only work the observations groups have done has been to look at incidents which are not related to guerilla activity and apparently the observation groups which are now stationed at Salonika will be sent out from time to time to their old posts.

UNSCOB's only activity at the moment is wrangling about the paying of their per diem and the inefficiency of the Secretariat. They are proposing sending a letter to the USSR and Poland to take their seats at the table and will also send letters to Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia to send liaison officers, but it is not anticipated that these letters will be answered as they never have been in the past. After this it is difficult to know what next UNSCOB can do. Australia last year urged the committee to work on frontier conventions and the question of minorities. We presume that the Committee will make academic studies of these two problems [matter omitted]

[1] The report itself is undated. It was forwarded from New York under cover of memorandum 908 of this date.

[2] Atyeo kept in close contact with the committee during the fourth session of the General Assembly.

[3] See Documents 114 and 121.

[AA : A1838, 852/10/6/1, II]