We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Colonels' Coup and the American Embassy

A Diplomat's View of the Breakdown of Democracy in Cold War Greece

Robert V. Keeley with a prologue by John O. Iatrides

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: Penn State University Press

Front Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (763.6 KB)

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (35.1 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (86.7 KB)

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.1 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (186.5 KB)
pp. ix-xii

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...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (112.1 KB)
pp. xiii

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...

read more

Part One: Introduction with Dramatis Personae

pdf iconDownload PDF (248.7 KB)
pp. 1

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...

read more

Part Two: Setting the Scene

pdf iconDownload PDF (419.4 KB)
pp. 18-43

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...

read more

Part Three: The Author Gets Involved

pdf iconDownload PDF (120.6 KB)
pp. 44-65

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...

read more

Part Four: The Days Before the Coup

pdf iconDownload PDF (373.6 KB)
pp. 66-78

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...

read more

Part Five: The Coup

pdf iconDownload PDF (531.5 KB)
pp. 81-98

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....

read more

Part Six: Reacting to the Coup

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.6 KB)
pp. 99-117

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...

read more

Part Seven: Dealing with the New Government

pdf iconDownload PDF (226.7 KB)
pp. 118-131

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...

read more

Part Eight: Andreas Papandreou and Prospects for Democracy

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.0 KB)
pp. 132-145

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...

read more

Part Nine: The Countercoup

pdf iconDownload PDF (236.8 KB)
pp. 146-160

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...

read more

Part Ten: Assessing the Colonels' Regime

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.1 KB)
pp. 161-173

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....

read more

Part Eleven: Friction at the Embassy

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.6 KB)
pp. 174-182

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,...

read more

Part Twelve: Looking to the Future of Greece

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.4 KB)
pp. 183-196

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....

read more

Part Thirteen: Final Thoughts

pdf iconDownload PDF (193.4 KB)
pp. 197-202

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

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.2 KB)
pp. 203-205

Appendix B: Internal Embassy Memoranda, March-June 1968

pdf iconDownload PDF (605.9 KB)
pp. 206-256


pdf iconDownload PDF (70.8 KB)
pp. 257-264


pdf iconDownload PDF (69.7 KB)
pp. 265-274

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (738.6 KB)

E-ISBN-13: 9780271053677
E-ISBN-10: 0271053674
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271050119
Print-ISBN-10: 027105011X

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010