Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


The Almighty Grip of American Business

These and other similar demands of the United States have been met and legally embodied in the above-mentioned Agreement on so-called Economic Aid, of June 20, 1947. In pursuance of this Agreement, the United States has assumed control over Greek imports and exports, financial policy and the supplying of the population. The United States Mission, which came to Greece according to this Agreement, has a special department, the so-called Economic Mission, which is headed by Mr. Clay. The representatives of this department are dealing with all the economic problems of Greece, drafting, approving or rejecting drafts of the state budget; and no economic plan is sent to Parliament for approval without having been previously approved by Mr. Clay. In accordance with the above-mentioned Agreement on so-called Economic Aid, the United States of America has forbidden the Greek State as well as Greek citizens to meet their obligations abroad either with United States currency or with other assets at their disposal, except by American permission; which practically means that American business has got the Greek market in its almighty grip.

The organizational structure of the Economic Department of the American Mission is such that it can fully carry out American purposes. From the report of the American Mission of December 1947 it appears that the Mission has a Financial Department dealing with problems such as budget, taxes and currency; a department for trade and the supply as well as the distribution of food in Greece. There is also a department which controls industry and agriculture. Besides, a Board of Foreign Trade was established and it is headed by an American. In the last instance this Board coordinates the total Greek exports and imports and the Athens Government cannot make a single trade agreement without its permission.

The London Financial Tunes of March 1948 reveals that: "The importation of iron and steel in Greece has become the monopoly of the American Mission," and the British Board of Trade Journal of March 20, 1948, states that in matters of trade in Greece the decision of the American official in the Greek Foreign Trade Administration "is final." The Board of Foreign Trade prevents — according to the Athens press — the export of such Greek commodities as, for instance, tobacco, oil, raisins, etc., especially to Germany and Austria, as these markets are being supplied with such goods by American exporters.

But this is not all. The American monopolists are not satisfied only to flood the Greek market with their products exclusively, but are in process of taking over Greek natural resources, especially mines, strategic raw materials, sources of energy, manufactures, and in general, all sources of national income. In this connection, I will cite facts which are an open secret in Greece. For instance, the companies Hugh Cooper and Co., Incorporated and Chemical Construction Corporation, joined in forming the society Hellenic Hydroelectric and Metallurgical Company. The agents of this society arrived in Greece in 1945 and obtained the right to implement a pre-war contract entitling them to exploit the waterfalls of Ahelos and of the rivers Megdovo and Agrafikotios and establish metallurgical and electrical industries which would make use of the energy of the said rivers. This contract gives the company privileges of a colonial character and priority over the State if it wishes to exploit the waterfalls of the rivers Mornos, Fidaris and Aliakmon. And this is not all. The company has the right to expropriate land necessary for its operations. Public land is handed over to this company without charge, and it is entitled to import all materials without paying duty, and is also empowered to protect the prices of its products. The contract also envisions concessions for the products of Greek mines. Furthermore the company is privileged to keep its capital in dollars; and to invest its profits freely, without regard for the Greek national economy.

The representative of the American financial group Helis obtained the right to prospect for oil in Peloponnesus. The company American incorporated obtained, against an annual payment of 10 thousand dollars, the right to exploit the Kirkos Mine (lead, zinc, pyrite). The American monopolists, through their middleman Filis, are obtaining a final concession for the lignite mines at Ptolomais.

Mining incorporated, an American concern, has already prepared plans for the exploitation of the bauxite mines of Parnaside, which are actually under State administration. In order to avoid a great public scandal, the state is permitting the former owner, the collaborationist Heliopolus, to take over the mine he had sold to the Germans during the war, so that he, and not the state, should hand it over to Mining Incorporated.

The American company Ulem supplies Athens with water; the AETE company, American-controlled, owns the telephones; the American company Hellenic Enterprises, Inc. received a concession for the manufacture of nylons, medical goods and electrical equipment. The company Trans-World Airlines (TWA) has secured a majority of shares of the Greek International Airlines Corporation. The American monopolists are now trying to get control of the Greek shoe industry with the help of the American Mission, which has already invested 120,000 dollars for this purpose. American companies have taken over all cinemas in Athens, etc., etc. "What are the effects of this beneficial American "aid" to Greece on the economic life of the country?

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