Regent and Prime Minister (Powers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Greece – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1945.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr George Strauss Mr George Strauss , Lambeth North 12:00 am, 17th January 1945

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any undertaking was given by His Majesty's Government to the King of the Hellenes in connection with his appointment of the Regency; and whether any military or other undertaking was given to the Regent or to General Plastiras in connection with their assumption of office.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind the reports, which are, I believe, current both in Athens and in this country, that before the Archbishop of Athens was appointed Regent undertakings were given to the King of the Hellenes that the powers which the Archbishop would exercise if he were made Regent would be in some way limited. I can give a complete assurance that these reports are unfounded. On the contrary, when the Prime Minister and I spoke to His Majesty on this matter we made it quite clear that in our view the Archbishop must be given a completely free hand to deal with the situation as he saw fit. When the Archbishop assumed office as Regent he was assured that His Majesty's Government would support him to the full in his efforts to find a speedy solution to the conflict in Greece. He was also aware of our declared intention to restore order in Attica. Apart from this, no undertakings whether military or otherwise were given to him. When General Plastiras became Prime Minister he accepted office without making any previous conditions and no promises were made to him by His Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Will the Foreign Secretary be good enough to tell us how giving the Regent a free hand to deal with the situation as he sees fit, coincides with the promise made here that no advantage would be taken of the situation in dealing with opponents? Is it not quite clear, from what the Archbishop and Plastiras have said, that they will take very savage action against the representatives of E.L.A.S.?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

No, Sir, the recommendation we made in respect of the Regent was as a result of our conviction that the Archbishop was the best possible man to fulfil that difficult task. I may say that it was a recommendation which was strongly urged upon me from the benches opposite before the Recess.