Wednesday, January 03, 2007

THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE

Part 4 of "OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952":


THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE



TWO years after Greece was liberated from the nazis and restored to freedom, the Greek people were again in danger of losing their independence. This time the danger came from communist-led guerrillas.

Most of these guerrillas were Greeks, but they could not

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have kept a civil war raging without active and substantial outside support. They were getting food, arms, and refuge from Greece's northern communist neigh-bors, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania.

In February and March 1947 the crisis came to a head. The British Government decided that it could no longer afford to maintain the forces which had stayed in Greece after liberation at the request of the Greek Government. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was due to wind up its business on March 31. On March 3, the Greek Government sent us an urgent appeal for economic and military help.

Meanwhile, it had become clear that Turkey was on the Soviet list of nations marked for "softening up" and eventual domination.

In 1945, the Soviet Government had announced that it would not renew its 20-year-old friendship treaty with Turkey.

Next the Soviets demanded a share in the control and defense of the Dardanelles –– an old Russian ambition. Third, the Russians revived an old claim to two large provinces of eastern Turkey.

Finally, the Kremlin launched a propaganda campaign against what it called the "fascist" and "reactionary" Turkish Government and urged the Turkish people to rebel.

In the face of these pressures the Turkish Govern-ment and the Turkish people stood firm in their deter-mination to maintain their independence. They con-

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tinued to keep their army mobilized following World War II, putting a sever strain on the national economy. In addition they were faced with the problem of mod-ernizing their armed forces in order to increase their effectiveness.

This was a burden too great for Turkey to bear. The Turkish Government asked help from Great Britain and the United States. However, at the same time that the British Government felt obliged to stop its aid to Greece, it also stated it could no longer afford to help Turkey.

This was the situation when, on March 12, 1947, President Truman went before a joint session of the Congress with a proposal to send military aid to Greece and Turkey. This proposal was based, as the President said, on a "frank recognition that totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States."

The President stated : "I believe that 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."

This policy became known as the Truman Doctrine.

Our policy was not to force any government of our choosing upon the Greeks but to help them keep the independent right to solve their own problems. If the communists were to get control, the Greeks would have no further chance to choose their own government,

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good or bad. The Soviet dictators would rule them as they rule their other conquered peoples.

In support of U.S. aid to Greece and Turkey the President said : "Collapse of free institutions and loss of independence would be disastrous not only for them but for the world. . . . Should we fail to aid Greece and Turkey in this fateful hour, the effect will be far-reaching to the West as well as to the East."

Today the American people can see that their help to Greece and Turkey has been a success. In Greece the guerrillas have been beaten. The country is at peace and on the way to recovery. Almost all the 700,000 war refugees have gone back to their homes. Railroads are operating, highways are passable, bridges have been restored. Forty thousand new houses have been built. Agricultural production is above the prewar level, and thousands of acres of new land are under cultivation. Malaria cases have dropped from more than a million to less than 50,000 cases a year.

Military assistance has also put Turkey in a far stronger position. Modern equipment and training have produced a much more effective military establish-ment, and civilian production has improved.

During 1950, the people of Greece and Turkey held free elections and voted new governments into office. The Turkish election made history in that it brought to an end the one-party political system that had ruled the country for 27 years.

The decision of the North Atlantic Council in September 1951, to recommend admission of Greece and

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Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a logical development. The strength of these two countries, increased by their own efforts and by our aid, will soon be integrated with that of the other NATO countries.

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