15 DECEMBER 1944, Page 10

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Our aim in Greece is to secure conditions in which the Greek people shall have occasion to choose both the Government and the Opposition that they desire. I am not among those who regard EAM and ELAS as composed entirely of either brigands or com- munists. There may be a few brigands among them, but after all the Klephts have always played a romantic part in Hellenic history. It may well be that the inner core of EAM is communist in inspira- tion and intention, but after all the extreme individualism of the Greek workers and peasants would not permit of any totalitarian system being permanently established. Nor am I in the very least surprised that the Greek people, having suddenly been liberated from eight years of Metaxist or German repression, should have indulged for a while in their national pastime of shooting at each other. It was seventeen hundred years ago that Herodian referred to "that ancient malady of the Greeks" which tempts them at the most inconvenient moments to delight their enemies and embarrass their friends by indulging in internecine squabbles. Some such outburst was to have been expected and was certainly foreseen. Our very natural horror and distress at what has happened should not tempt us to falsify the focus of events or to attribute to our intervention motives by which qnite certainly it was in no sense inspired. Still less should we seek to argue that our action in Greece represents some violation of the principles of British foreign policy, whereas in fact it represents the execution of those principles. It is not that we are taking sides in a d:spute ; it is merely that we are preventing a single element in the Greek community from profiting by the circumstances of liberation to anticipate by force the freely expressed wishes of the Greek people as a whole.