Naval Mission, Athens

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd November 1955.

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Mr. Dugdale:

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he will explain the reason for withdrawing the Naval Mission from Athens.

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

Before the termination of the tour of duty of the recent Head of the Naval Mission, the question of the appointment of a successor was taken up with the Greek Government. In compliance with their views, it has been decided that no successor shall be appointed and that the Mission as a whole shall be substantially reduced. In order to maintain the cooperation between the Royal Hellenic Navy and the Royal Navy, a member of the Mission will continue as Director of Studies at the Greek Naval War College. The other liaison functions of the Mission will be taken over by a senior officer, who will shortly be appointed as Naval Attaché.

Mr. Dugdale:

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it somewhat strange that after such a very long time the duties of this Mission should be concluded? Is it not in any way due to the deterioration in Anglo-Greek relations as a result of Her Majesty's Government's policy in Cyprus?

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Hereford

I must correct the right hon. Gentleman. It has not been concluded; it has been reduced from five officers to two. I remember dealing with this question when I was out there twoand-a-half years ago. The Mission was under discussion then, which was long before the present violent troubles over Cyprus arose.