The Colonels' Coup and the American Embassy
A Diplomat's View of the Breakdown of Democracy in Cold War Greece
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Penn State University Press
Table of Contents
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This book was originally written in 1971 and 1972 in Princeton, New Jersey, and Kampala, Uganda. Its genesis might be of some interest to the prospective reader. For thirty-four years, from 1956 through 1989, I was an officer in the Foreign Service of the United States, the career diplomatic corps. After initial postings in Washington in the executive secretariat of the International...
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In the fall of 1944, as the war in Europe entered its final phase, the liberation of Greece from Nazi occupation appeared imminent. Lincoln MacVeagh, the American ambassador to Greece (1933–41, 1943–47), prepared to fly from Cairo to Athens and to the post he had occupied since 1933. While eager to...
Part One: Introduction with Dramatis Personae
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In setting out to write an account that is admittedly personal, and labeled as such, one should not have to apologize for presenting the story strictly from one’s own perspective. Yet so much historical writing by public servants purports to be the inside-story-as-it-actually-happened rather than only one...
Part Two: Setting the Scene
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I arrived in Athens on July 31, 1966, and reported for duty at the Embassy the following day. When I learned that I was to be responsible for reporting on external rather than internal political affairs, I was dismayed to realize that I knew perhaps less about the Cyprus problem than I did about the...
Part Three: The Author Gets Involved
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Two embassy officers—John Day and Richard Helgerson, the USIS information officer—decided to attend a speech given by Andreas Papandreou to the Foreign Press Association weekly luncheon in Athens on March 1, 1967. For the convenience of the correspondents present, mimeographed copies of the...
Part Four: The Days Before the Coup
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About April 17, I began to be seriously concerned that we were inevitably headed toward a coup d’e´tat of some kind in Greece, and it was my firm conviction that such a development would be a genuine disaster for the...
Part Five: The Coup
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My first knowledge of the coup came from my son, Chris, who burst into the bathroom where I was taking a shower and informed me that I wouldn’t have to go to work that Friday morning, because the schools were closed, the buses weren’t running, and Kifissia Boulevard was filled with tanks moving....
Part Six: Reacting to the Coup
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This scene upset me emotionally to such a degree that I was unable to concentrate on my work for the next hour. But later in the day I gathered myself together and set down on paper my first reactions to the coup, in the form of a memorandum to Mrs. Bracken, since I despaired of obtaining her undivided...
Part Seven: Dealing with the New Government
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With John Day in Washington attempting to explain things to Rockwell and Brewster, it fell to me to accompany the ambassador (at his request) on his first formal call on Prime Minister Constantine Kollias on the morning of Wednesday, April 26. Because the king had attended the swearing in of the...
Part Eight: Andreas Papandreou and Prospects for Democracy
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There had been a great deal of concern in the hours immediately after the April 21 coup, among both Andreas’s family and friends in Greece and his friends in the United States, that the clearly anti-Papandreou group that had seized power might move immediately to execute him. President Johnson...
Part Nine: The Countercoup
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On November 14 a childhood friend from Salonika, Argini Goutos, and her husband, Michael, arranged a meeting for me at their house in Kifissia with George Mavros, the leading Center Union party personality then still in circulation (George Papandreou had been almost continuously under house...
Part Ten: Assessing the Colonels' Regime
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In mid-February, a few weeks after the Embassy had resumed normal relations with the Greek regime, Ambassador Talbot enthusiastically accepted a proposal by the local American military that he invite Colonel Papadopoulos, the new premier, to a luncheon aboard the Sixth Fleet carrier Franklin D....
Part Eleven: Friction at the Embassy
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I believe this is an appropriate place to slow down if not to stop this memoir, because I begin to get the feeling ‘‘More of the same!’’ Kay Bracken, having been passed over by Talbot for the DCM slot, had decided to retire to Florida. She offered to stay on till summer, until a new political counselor arrived,...
Part Twelve: Looking to the Future of Greece
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In pursuit of these parallels I have moved far afield from Greece, my frame of reference. By way of a conclusion I shall try to answer two questions that seem to be still floating in the air, followed by three observations that might be termed the lessons to be learned from this tale. The first of the two questions....
Part Thirteen: Final Thoughts
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A Greek nationalist, after reading this account, might be compelled to protest that what I was advocating at this critical period of recent Greek political history was nothing different from what my adversaries were engaged in, specifically that I was advocating one kind of intervention whereas they were...
Appendix A: Seferis and the Clinton Speech
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Appendix B: Internal Embassy Memoranda, March-June 1968
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010