Orders of the Day — Greece (Situation)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th April 1948.

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Photo of Captain Albert Blackburn Captain Albert Blackburn , Birmingham King's Norton 12:00 am, 16th April 1948

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. The issue in Europe today is not whether or not we can persuade the people of Europe to accept democracy but whether they are to be frightened into accepting totalitarianism. There is only one answer to it, and that is being firm, strong and of good courage. I am sure that the Foreign Office and my right hon. Friend bear in mind all the time that Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria are in continuing disregard of the resolution of the General Assembly.

In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Mack) I would say that the national agent of the Labour Party, Mr. Richard Windle, spent about nine months in Greece on the United Nations Balkan Commission, and they have established over and over again the fact that Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria are supporting the rebels, are arming the rebels and are doing everything in their power to help them conquer Greece. I have in my pocket documents captured in Delphi when I was there from the bandits who arrested and kidnapped the Liberal member, Coutsopetalos. What is the first object of these bandits? What does the document say is their objective? Is it liberty, freedom or democracy? No, it is "the destruction of the foreign imperialists." The aim of Marcos is the destruction of America and Britain and everything that the words "freedom" and "democracy" stand for in the world.

It is a tragedy to see defenceless villages one after another as I have seen them without any arms. I ask for one practical contribution—a mere quarter of a million rifles for Greece. We have millions of rifles here and we are doing nothing with them. I was assured by Mr. Papandreou, who was Prime Minister in 1944, that in his opinion with another quarter of a million rifles Greece would soon be free. These men in the villages have nothing with which to protect themselves, and I agree that it is impossible for an Army of 132,000 to clear the guerillas out of the present area.