Dr. Alex Bebler
With unheard of insolence, and on the advice of the anti-Balkan Commission, which thus once more abused the authority of the United Nations, the Athens Government addressed telegrams to the governments of Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, requesting these governments to send the children not to their parents, but to the territory under the control of the Athens Government!
To this telegram of the Athens Government, the Government of the F.P.R. of Yugoslavia sent the following reply:
"It is a matter of common knowledge that terror prevails in the Kingdom of Greece. It is also known that the victims are very often innocent children; victims either directly, as in the sad event of the organized slaughter in Stromni village in Rumelia, where dozens of such innocent children were strangled or slaughtered; or indirectly, as victims of numerous bombings, machine-gunning, and burning of unprotected localities, by the destruction of villages, of food-supplies, etc.
"In such circumstances, faced with the danger of physical destruction along with other refugees from Greece, a considerable number of Greek children sought safety in escape to Yugoslavia. Our country granted the right of asylum to these victims of terror, and the Yugoslav Red Cross, pursuing its high humane aims, assumed the responsibility of providing for these children and raking further care of them.
"Thus there are no forcibly abducted children in Yugoslavia, but only children who escaped from terror with their mothers or who were left without parents, i.e. children threatened by the danger of death through terror, cold and hunger.
"Yugoslavia, as a sovereign country which in no way interferes in the civil war in Greece, considers it her obligation in the name of humanity and human rights, to which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Greece refers, to offer hospitality to these innocent victims of terror, who were forced, under the most difficult conditions, to desert their motherland, until the reasons which compelled these children to leave their homes are removed."
Similar answers were sent to the Athens Government by the other democratic countries.
All I have said concerning foreign intervention and terror in Greece is only a pale reflection of a reality which is difficult, if not impossible, to put in words. I believe nevertheless that I have sufficiently proved that the situation in Greece has become more grave since your unwise decision of last year, a decision which has encouraged all enemies of Greek democracy. But this result should not surprise the majority which voted for last year's decision. Anyone of common sense could have foreseen this. Another equally logical consequence of your decision was not, however, apparently, foreseen by you, honorable members of the majority. That result is the ever more determined armed struggle of the Greek people for their independence!
Mr. Kardelj, my Foreign Minister, in the course of the general debate pointed out the profound reason for this, saying that "if truth is not to be disregarded, it is easily understood that increased foreign intervention gives rise to increased resistance by the people."