HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc222-3W
Mr. Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement on the present position in Greece, with particular reference to the trials of collaborators, the trades union elections and the wholesale dismissal, victimisation and arrests of supporters of E.A.M., contrary to the Varkiya agreement.

Mr. Eden

I have not got full figures of the number of collaborators tried and sentenced, but a number of them have been sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment. As an instance, the first eight cases heard in Salonika resulted in six death sentences and two of life imprisonment.

In the trades union elections the voting has been divided between the moderate Left Wing group led by Hadjidimitriou and the more extreme group called Ergas, which is sponsored by E.A.M. and the Greek Communist party. The latest figures show that the Hadjidimitriou group have gained 91 places in the Workers' Centres and 56 in the National Congress as against 51 and 39 for Ergas. There has not been wholesale dismissal, victimisation and arrests of supporters of E.A.M., as suggested by the hon. Member.

In general, the political situation has improved considerably during the last month or two and the passions aroused by the civil war seem to be subsiding. Some excesses and injustices are still being committed by supporters both of the Left and Right, but I am satisfied that the present Greek Government are making a sincere attempt to carry out the Varkiza Agreement and that their impartiality is generally recognised. In spite of considerable provocation both from the extreme Left and from the extreme Right the Greek Government are doing their best to re-establish democratic principles in Greece and to prepare for a plebiscite and elections as soon as the necessary machinery can be created.

The main problem which now faces the Greek Government is to tackle the economic and financial situation. This must transcend in importance any political differences and will require the united efforts of the Greek Government and the whole Greek people.