HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc897-9
Mr. Parker

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any recent information about developments in the Greek political situation and in particular in respect of the trials now proceeding of those concerned in the mutinies in the. Greek Forces last April.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

His Majesty's Government have frequently emphasised their wish to see the establishment of a Greek Government which would be fully representative of all patriotic opinion in Greece. In May last an agreement was reached at a Conference of Greek Delegates in the Lebanon, which was subscribed to by the duly authorised representatives of all the principal Greek political parties, including E.A.M. and the other Left Wing parties. The Lebanon Agreement held out every promise that such a Government would be formed and M. Papandreou has since made every effort to put the Lebanon Agreement into effect. In this task he has received and will continue to receive the full support of His Majesty's Government.

The leaders of E.A.M. in Greece have, however, declined to ratify the signatures of their representatives at the Lebanon Conference or to appoint Ministers to the posts in the Government which it was agreed should be reserved for them. Instead they have put forward fresh and unreasonable demands, the effect of which would be to give them control over all the guerilla forces in Greece and over the Greek Army abroad and a representation in the Greek Government out of all proportion to their actual strength. His Majesty's Government do not consider that at the present time any Greek political party which has the interests of Greece sincerely at heart can justify a refusal to join a National Government or to make conditions of the nature put forward by E.A.M.

Moreover, information received leaves His Majesty's Government in no doubt that an overwhelming majority of the Greek people welcomed the Lebanon Agreement and support M. Papandreou in his efforts to form a democratic and representative Government. His Majesty's Government are also satisfied that a large proportion of the members of E.A.M. are opposed to the obstructive and intransigent attitude adopted by certain of their leaders. His Majesty's Government still hope that, even at this late hour, E.A.M. will join the Greek Government on the basis of the Lebanon Agreement and thus give effect to the desire for unity which they have so often proclaimed. If they persist in their refusal to do so, they must be held responsible for the failure to achieve unity of Greek policy and arms at this, the supreme moment of the common struggle.

I wish to add a few words about the courts-martial now being held in Egypt to try those concerned in the Greek mutinies of last April. It has been suggested that these courts-martial form a serious bar to unity. It was, however, agreed at the Lebanon Conference by the representatives of all parties that courts-martial should be set up and the Greek Government were therefore under an obligation to do so. The trials are still in progress and, although a number of death sentences have been passed, none have been executed. No final decision can be reached until all the trials have been completed, but His Majesty's Government have advised the Greek Government that in their view the achievement of Greek unity should be the paramount consideration. I am confident that the Greek Government share this view, for M. Papandreou himself has made every possible effort to achieve unity and this continues to be the basis of his policy.