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May 03, 1947

President Truman, about to Implement the Truman Doctrine in Greece, Calls Greek-American Politicians “Connivers”

Typed Letter Signed
1 page
Truman might look like a Missouri farmer in this letter, railing as he does against Greeks as connivers, but if his description of Greek-Americans seems small-minded at best, and bigoted at worst, that is almost beside the point – for this is a letter about the newly postulated Truman Doctrine, rolled out before Congress just weeks before, and about to be put into service on behalf of the Greek people. The Doctrine, which stated "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures," meant that 300 million dollars military and economic aid would, within the month, be brought to bear in the Greek Civil War. Truman, quite wisely, didn’t want the aid to be hopelessly dissevered among various anti-Communistic factions. His expression of that policy here is, undoubtedly, crude and stereotypical, but nonetheless not without a point:

It would be bad policy to appoint any Greek on a Commission to administer funds for the Greeks. Nearly every Greek in this country belongs to some political faction in Greece and, as you know, there are not any more active connivers and politic[i]ans than are the Greeks, so I am sure that if I expect to get a result that will be in the public interest of the United States I must have an organization that can't be influenced by local politics.

Truman’s objective, to assure the defeat of guerilla forces allied with the Greek Communist Party, was ultimately successful – and for this, he earned a special place of love and veneration,in the Greek American community.
Typed Letter Signed (“Harry”), as President, with autograph postscript, 1 page, quarto, The White House, Washington, D.C., May 3, 1947. To former Secretary of War, Harry H. Woodring.